Iwata Eclipse HP-B Plus Airbrush Review
|Date of Review||December 2014||Manufacturer||Iwata|
|Subject||Eclipse HP-B Plus||Pros||Precision double-action airbrush, nice balance|
|Cons||Nothing noted||MSRP (USD)||$248.00|
For those of you who've followed Cybermodeler Online over the last 15 years, you might remember how I replaced my Pasche and Badger airbrushes with a simple Iwata Revolution. For the first time I didn't dread cleaning the airbrush. Over the years that followed, we have seen a variety of Iwata airbrushes run through our lab and each of Iwata's airbrushes have proven to be very reliable. Two of my main airbrushes are now over ten years old and I have yet to replace a seal or other part.
Iwata has released a new airbrush into their High Performance range - the HP-B Plus. This unit is designed for the modeler, custom auto painter, fingernail designer, etc. This airbrush features a 2mm needle and nozzle, which can be converted to 3mm if desired, but with the proper combination of paint viscosity and air pressure, you can easily achieve hairline resolution all the way up to a 3/4 inch round spray pattern. Because of the solvent-based finishes used by the automotive and nail salon users, Iwata has provided replaceable PTFE needle seals to mitigate air/fluid leaks you'd experience from less-durable seals (a problem I frequently had with by previous brands of airbrushes). With that level of durability built in, you won't have any problems with reliability in this airbrush.
Iwata Eclipse HP-B Plus
Iwata has several styles of airbrush to meet your need though one thing might help you as you look through the variety of options in their catalog. This airbrush is an HP-B with the B designating the capacity of the gravity-fed cup. In the HP-A, the paint is loaded into a small recess atop the airbrush with a capacity of 1/32 oz. This HP-B has a small cup with a capacity of 1/16 oz. The HP-C has a larger cup with 1/3 oz capacity.
The open handle on this type of airbrush allows you to grab the needle retaining nut inside and pull it back to clear a blockage while the nut on the rear of the handle adjusts just how far back your dual action trigger can move. This latter function will keep you from accidentally over-shooting a delicate task.
I connected this airbrush to my Iwata compressor and put several drops of Vallejo Model Air paint into the paint cup. I have a Micro Air Controller (MAC) valve on my quick-disconnect line so I can easily regulate air pressure in the palm of my hand. There is a variant of this airbrush that offers a MAC valve near the airbrush nozzle but I don't use that feature on the airbrush with the MAC valve in my palm. With only a few psi and very little needle movement, I was achieving hairline resolution on my test subject. Increase pressure to 15 psi and more needle movement, I was getting great surface coverage. This feature would be ideal for free-handing camouflage patterns on the surface of aircraft and armored vehicles and then fill in the areas inside the lines (carefully). As with my other Iwata airbrushes, a few drops of Windex cleans out the acrylic paint and I'm ready for the next color(s).
Here's a quick video on how this airbush works:
Note the tube of blue substance that Iwata is now including with their airbrushes. This is a relatively new non-petroleum-based lubricant that you can apply to the airbrush's moving parts like air valve and needle travel without the risk of contaminating your paints. This substance is now available separately and I'm now using it as part of the regular maintenance/servicing of my airbrushes.
Cleaning the airbrush is a simple task, in the photo below I've removed everything except for the nozzle (which is removed with the included wrench), the needle limiter nut at the end of the handle, and the air valve in the stem. If you've been using airbrushes for a while, you'll appreciate the quality of this design and how easily and quickly it can be cleaned/serviced.
You can find the Iwata Eclipse HP-B Plus at your favorite hobby shop and if not, they can special order it for you. The 'list price' is around $250 USD though I've found the 'street price' to be closer to $200 USD if you shop around. 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/