I finally did it! After almost 15 years of talking about it, I decided it was time to just buy an airbrush and find out whether or not I have a) a real interest in airbrushing and b) have the ability to match the interest.
For the past month or so I've been researching airbrushes and a few weeks ago I decided on an Iwata. It wasn't my first choice only because Iwata is considered a 'top line' manufacturer and to be honest, if I was going to bomb at this little venture, I only wanted to bomb a little painfully not a lot. However, after much discussion with my husband yesterday, who is a veteran in the spray field, he convinced me that even if I did discover I didn't like airbrushing, he was certain we'd be able to sell it without any problem. He was certain though that I'd love it and making the cost of the airbrush and all other equipment back in my first job was quite possible. My husband is usually quite wise in his rationale so I decided that he'd convinced me to just go for it.
Off we went, 20 minutes before store closing, to pick up my newest little toy and little it is. The entire brush measures about 6" in length from tip to end and has a dainty little paint cup propped about 1" from the nozzle. The pen is a sleek, cool and well weighted chrome and is quality throughout. My imagination raced with all kinds of ideas...body tattooing, t-shirts, nails, fine art, motorbike parts, scrap book accenting, cake decorating. The moment I actually held this little puppy I knew the money was well worth it.
There are several parts to the airbrush with the most delicate being the 'needle' which guides the paint out of the tip of the pen. It runs the full length of the airbrush and is the most easily damaged part of it. The airbrush consists of the outer casing, the needle, a chuck to keep the needle secure inside the airbrush and the tip which can be removed in three separate sections or all in one. This model, like all Iwata's comes apart easily, quickly and cleaning it is quite easy to do. Quick color changing is a simple matter of spraying cleaner through the airbrush until cleaned and then adding the next color.
Paint for the Eclipse runs the gamut from something as simple and inexpensive as water & food coloring for practice or perhaps for anyone who would like to get into cake 'painting', to the transparent and opague paints specifically designed for airbrush work. Other paints that can be used include watercolor, acrylic, oil, guache and automotive paints.
The trigger is smooth and effortless and took me little time to master. It's a simple matter of remembering that the steps to follow are 'trigger down, air on, trigger back, paint out, trigger return then air off steps. The hardest part is convincing your brain that your index finger is allowed to continue pushing down on the trigger for the air, even if you aren't pulling back for paint. After I got my brain and finger in sync, things went much easier. I was even getting pretty good at creating fine, medium and thick lines, daggers (the hardest part of learning to airbrush but one of the most important techniques to learn) and went on to actually do a little template work. I was hooked!
The one thing I would have preferred is a larger paint cup, although this one does hold an amount of paint that lasts surprisingly long. For larger areas that require more paint, this would still be great but you have to refill the cup a little more often.
This airbrush is a gravity feed rather than siphon feed unit meaning that instead of the paint being sucked up from a bottle/jar located on the bottom of the pen it sits above the pen and drops down into the chamber/needle for spraying. Double action refers to the trigger action, pressing down for air on or off and back for paint on. It's also an internal mix which means that the paint atomizes at a much finer spray than an external mix brush would do.
The spray diversity of this pen is from as fine as 1/32" to 2" so a wide array of spray widths are possible and it's versatility means I won't have to rush out and purchase another airbrush ASAP.
Since getting over my 'stage fright' I've adapted to using it quite quickly surprisingly and I'm looking forward to putting my airbrush to work on the first project I've got in front of me...a gas tank from a motorbike courtesy of my husband. Nothing like going big or going home! It's obvious to me that my husband and his staff have more confidence in my abilities than I do. With the ease of use that this brush has shown me so far however, I think I'm going to be able to match (or exceed) their expectations.
The Iwata Eclipse Revolution retails for between $179 - $213 but deals are available like the one I got. The air compressor which should be capable of ranges between 5psi and 50psi at least as well as air hose, moisture cup, paints and airbrush cleaner must be purchased separately but there are 'starter kits' available that provides the beginner with everything they need. Such a starter kit for this particular unit would run approx $700.00 although the Art store I frequent had the kit for $419.00 and sometimes you can find these on Ebay for even better pricing, but watch for shipping/duties etc which can bring that price up further than you could purchase locally, which was my case.
In my opinion an excellent multi-purpose airbrush with great handling, comfort and ability. If you're thinking of getting into airbrushing for almost any purpose, spending the extra on a quality unit like this one is highly recommended. I don't think I'll be selling mine anytime soon..just one night's use and I'm addicted!
Update On Jul 07, 2008: **NOTE: I am obviously bad with letters...this is the Iwata Eclipse Reolution, Model 2500, HP-BS not BP Sorry for the error which I should have caught when I was proofing!
Update On Aug 30, 2009: The "geeks" in my family seem to have found a new use for my airbrush - it just happens to make a great "canned air" replacement for cleaning out computer keyboards, motherboards, video cards and cases. The ability to control the air flow is what attracted the guys to this little perk and although it has nothing whatsoever to do with the airbrush under normal conditions and I will usually watch them like a hawk when they use it :) - it appears that an airbrush is not just an airbrush anymore! Also the replacement moisture trap I received from Iwata Medea is still working like a charm so the first one was obviously defective.