Sunday 26 November 2017

New Airbrush: Sparmax Max 4

It was my birthday recently and my long-suffering other-half was gracious enough to get me something that I had been lusting after for some time... An airbrush and all the trimmings!

Now this is an acquisition that I have been considering for a number of years but I have managed to talk myself in and out of purchasing one multiple times. Finally though I decided I wanted to make the move into airbrushing and thus set about researching the subject fully as a decent brush is an expensive commitment. Now there is loads of information and guidance on the web from other hobbyists...but the trouble is nearly all of it is contradictory. Eventually though I established that both a high-quality airbrush and compressor were vital to achieve good results... It is clear that there are some names on the market that seem to dominate the airbrush industry (Iwata, Badger, Steinbeck) and these are acknowledged as the premier league of airbrushing... However a little bit of digging revealed something quite interesting, it seems that many of these top-end airbrushes are actually made for these market leaders by another company... yes it seems the less well-known company Sparmax actually manufacture models on behalf of the other firms who then just add their own branding.

With this in mind I decided to look at Sparmax's own products and found that they were of a comparable quality to more well-known competitors but at a significantly reduced price (though they are still by no means cheap). The more research I did the more I was confident that this company could provide me the tools I needed at a reasonable price.

I settled on the Sparmax MAX 4 as it has a marginally wider nozzle for base coating compared to the MAX 3 and MAX 35 models! On opening the protective hard case it arrived in it was immediately clear by the build and finish that this tool is a precision instrument made to very high-standards... In fact it felt more like a complicated medical tool as opposed to something designed for spraying toy soldiers with!

I have to say the airbrush just looks bloody gorgeous! 

The model itself is a gravity fed, dual-action airbrush which general consensus indicates is the best type for miniature painting.

The compressor that my partner bought me is also a high-end product, and from what I have read it seems that a decent compressor is actually more important than the airbrush itself as a smooth, consistent air supply is needed to deliver a professional finish. In order to maintain continuity I went for a Sparmax 510 with integral tank, and once again this product oozes quality with its professional matte black finish and robust construction. 

I also bought myself a basic airbrush spraying booth from eBay to give my somewhere to spray my toys without destroying my house. This comes with its own extractor fan which is vital for sucking those insidious paint particles out of the air.

I trialled the whole set up this weekend, utilising the two intercessor squads from the Dark Imperium boxset as my test models. I used the airbrush to apply both the initial black undercoat (Citadel Air Abbadon Black) and the first basecoat (Citadel Air Kantor Blue) and I have to say I was massively impressed... This is a real game changer for me. Usually basecoating my Primaris Marines by hand requires multiple layers to get a deep rich blue and thus can take up to an hour and a half per figure... Whereas I managed to knock out the entire formation above in exactly an hour...and the finish was lovely and smooth. The longest activity was actually cleaning the airbrush itself when I had finished.

It is clear that this airbrush is a fantastic piece of kit, and although it took me a little while to get used to I can see this is going to be a vital tool in my painting repertoire!

So for Christmas I have asked Santa for a big box of Citadel and Forgeworld airbrush paints!


  1. Yeah - the cleaning is the bit that takes longest. A guy called Drew Manton created an excellent YouTube video about stripping and cleaning one quickly (Iwata, but probably similar enough); I found it very useful.

    1. I must have a look at this!! Do you strip yourse every time... I just ran cleaner and water through mine then gave it a good hard scrub. My plan is to strip once a month for a full clean

  2. Well... That is really good to know... Thanks for the information on the Sparmax brand. I was actually window shopping around at better quality airbrushes and compressors to upgrade my set-up.

    I'll be seriously looking into getting one now. And you've just probably saved me a ton of money, Thank you very much :)

    1. No worries mate!! Happy to help. Yep Sparmax are just as good as the other brands you're just not paying for the branding. Like I say they still aren't cheap but you know you're getting a quality product! Let me know how you get on!

    2. I managed to convince the better half to let me buy the upgrade.

      Time will tell what I think of the new set-up once it's arrived and taken it for a spin :)

    3. Cool!! Let me know how it goes. Did you go for the Sparmax?