I’ve had this for a couple of months now with the aim of reviewing it and sharing my experiences. I was looking for a work horse airbrush, something that could handle the daily wear and tear of multiple uses but still have a little flair to do all the nice detailed stuff.
Price: £45 excluding shipping. This airbrush comes in at the lower end of the market and is the perfect purchase for the first time user. You don’t feel like you are sinking your money into a tool that provides far more utilities than you will ever use and offers a fantastic introduction into airbrush care and maintenance.
Usage: This thing comes with a two year warranty and spare parts are readily available for a good price.
The Sparmax MAX-4 airbrush features:
• Gravity-feed with 1/4 oz (7ml) fixed cup with lid
• Dual-action airbrush with Single-action valve included – converts the airbrush from a dual-action to a single-action airbrush (simple installation guide included)
• 0.4mm needle and nozzle combination for high performance, general purpose, high paint flow spraying and wider spray patterns
• 0.4mm nozzle suitable for thicker or heavier paints
• Fine detail to 1" (0.4mm to 25mm) spray pattern with the one size nozzle
• Ergonomic handle design with a Pre-set colour flow control
• Extra Crown Cap included
• Cleaning brush included
• Replaceable internal PTFE solvent-proof needle packing for use with solvent-based paints
• 2 Year Warranty
The things we really want to take notice of is that all the fittings are metal and can be cleaned with more caustic chemicals for a deeper more thorough clean. Since the day to day purpose of our airbrush will be to run water soluble acrylic paints through we don’t need to worry about getting anything stronger than airbrush thinner. It is a gravity feed which means we can mix paints and check consistency immediately when putting the paint into the airbrush. It has a dual action trigger which means you can control the airflow and paint injection. This ticks all the boxes.
The .4mm needle and nozzle is a little bigger than you’d normally look for and I was concerned at how I’d hit those finer details on the small models. Would this end up as my secondary airbrush for larger models, tanks, titans etc? The first project I tackled with the airbrush was Eidolon from Forgeworld.
I enjoy hitting very fine lines of highlighting with an airbrush, creating the basic sketch and refining with a brush. The trigger action has a smooth firm spring and is responsive to the tiniest of movements. I found that I was able to create very fine highlights and shading as the paint atomised very well. I was surprised just how well this was performing for an airbrush that is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum.
Cleaning straight forward and uncomplicated. I used a cleaning brush set with Airbrush cleaning solution and the paint came straight off.
With Eidolon down I moved onto a bigger project - Deathguard knights, tanks and a Primarch.
The nice thing with dedathguard is that you can do a lot of nice weathering a chipping techniques (I've written a tutorial here). To create the base layer of brown rust there needs to be a certain amount of chaos. Instead of using your forefinger to pepper the rust layer try using your thumb instead. This creates irregular ‘blobs’ that will look great once the proceeding layers are on. This airbrush handles large areas (as you would expect from a .4mm needle).
I used some white spirit to create oil weathering effects on the hull and flanks of the Land Raider and I used enamel paints on the deepest recesses to show an accumulation of dirt and damage. There was no loss of performance changing between the two mediums nor was there any problem cleaning the airbrush after use.
Overall I've found this to be a versatile, accurate and well made airbrush that offers the durability of a more well known model with the price of a plunky new comer. If you are thinking of getting into airbrushing this would be the perfect model to start with and learn the fundamental techniques. However I haven't been able to do anything with this airbrush that I wouldn't be able to do with a more expensive model.