Iwata Professional Airbrush Maintenance Tools Review
|Date of Review||December 2015||Manufacturer||Iwata|
|Subject||Professional Airbrush Maintenance Tools||Pros||At last!|
|Cons||See text||MSRP (USD)||$99.95|
A little over a year ago, Iwata released a nice cleaning kit which brought some useful tools to the bench to keep your airbrush running smoothly. I was so happy with that set that after trying this set out on my airbrushes, I shot a YouTube video demonstrating the merits of that set. One of the missing elements in this set was a tool to remove the air valve from the airbrush (I improvised with some pointed needle-nosed pliers).
Iwata has now released a professional airbrush maintenance kit which will appeal to many Iwata airbrush users. This set comes in a zippered soft carrying case which looks strangely empty on first inspection, but room is provided for using this case not only for tools, but carrying your airbrushes on the road as well. In fact, this case is available separately for those that want to carry their tools to the job (nail artists, graphics artists, automotive graphics artists, etc.). In many of these scenarios, the artist uses their own tools while using the air compressor at a given work location. This isn't quite a common environment for the scale modeler though such accommodations can be made at club meeting locations. But I digress...
This set is designed to support a range of Iwata airbrush products and I gave them a test by breaking down and reassembling my Iwata HP-CS. The tools included in this set include:
- Soft Jaw Pliers
- Spare Needle Storage Tube
- Needle Packing Screw Drivers
- Air Valve Guide Wrench
- Nozzle Wrench
I dismantled the HP-CS by hand as far as I could, the soft jaw pliers make removal of the nozzle easy and without harming the chromed surface of the airbrush. The nozzle wrench (red tool) in this kit is sized for some of the other airbrushes in the Iwata line but my cleaning kit provided the correct wrench for the HP-CS. The air valve guide wrench (greenish-silver tool) is perfect for removing and re-installing the air valve guide. The two screwdrivers with the hexagon-patterened handles have non-pointed needles of the same diameter as your airbrush needle portruding out of the screwdriver tips. Simply insert this into the rear of your airbrush and the needle tip aligns the screwdriver head to the needle-packing screw inside. You can loosen or tighten the packing screw to optimize your airbrush, or remove and replace them if needed. I completely dismantled my HP-CS, inspected the air and paint flow channels, and reassembled the airbrush in just a few minutes.
As with any such endeavour, the first try at dismantling/cleaning/reassembling your airbrush might take a little longer, but with practice and the right tools, it becomes quick and easy. I recently had need of such a set of tools as I was using my HP-CS to apply Vallejo primer and ran into the dreaded tip-drying phenomenon, even after using thinner with retarder. In the process of trying to clear the blockage without emptying my paint cup, the thinned primer back-flowed into the air valve. I learned some new aspects of the HP-CS which I will share in an updated cleaning video soon. This tool set would have made that cleaning job faster and easier.
Combining this set with the fine brushes and nozzle wrench from my cleaning kit, I have virtually all of the tools I need to fine tune, clean, and maintain my airbrushes. While this set may be more than the average modeler might need using a single airbrush, this set (along with the cleaning kit) would be ideal for an IPMS chapter to invest in so that a designated airbrush 'guru' can help club members keep their Iwatas up and running.
You can find the Iwata Professional Airbrush Maintenance Tools at your favorite hobby shop and if not, they can special order it for you. In the meantime, you can read more about these and the other cool products from Iwata by visiting their website at http://www.iwata-airbrush.com/
My sincere thanks to Iwata Media for this review sample!