This article is a description of the Iwata Eclipse along with a recommendation for the product and some tips for its use and airbrushing in general. The items described can be found on Amazon.
As merchant of airbrush stencils, we are consistently fielding questions about what we recommend for a new member of the painting world. As a disclaimer, I rarely paint anymore aside from testing out new stencils for intended effect from various spray angles, spacing of cuts and durability of the stencil after washing and bending them. However, with a few years of lure painting experience, I have developed a few likes and dislikes for the equipment I use.
When I first started out as a paint slicker, I decided to purchase a real airbrush and put the spray cans away for good. After reading a bunch of reviews and recommendations, it became clear that the Iwata products were the best in class. Many people suggested starting out with a Neo and then moving on to the Eclipse later on. I did not want to buy two airbrushes, so I just bought the Eclipse right out of the gate.
The Iwata Eclipse kit came with the airbrush, a cloth weaved hose and the tool for disassembly. I purchased the moisture filter separately. I already had a 6 gallon Porter Cable air compressor, so there was no need to buy a compressor.
- The box was well constructed and ended up being the storage place for the airbrush after every use.
- The airbrush is comfortable in the hand. It light, but solid.
- Its all steel, so it survived a few drops and never had any problems during disassembly or assembly for cleaning.
- The dual action trigger on top is amazing. The action is smooth and gives so much control of the amount of paint you throw.
- No need for multiple airbrushes. The trigger allows for throwing a quick thick coat of base on the lure, then allowing for light, fine lines during the detail phase.
- The gravity feed holds more than enough paint. It comes with a cap, but I never used it because I found it annoying to put on and take off constantly.
- Disassembly is easy. Loosen the needle retention nut, back off the needle a ¼ inch, remove the nozzle cap, remove the nozzle. Done. Simple.
- The hose is soft and makes for easier airbrush manipulation during painting.
- Its fun. Having never used an airbrush before, there were many hours of practice and I was always learning new things as I went, but I always enjoyed taking out the airbrush and getting to work.
Some of these list items are common to any airbrush, not specifically the Eclipse.
- The needle and nozzle are very small and bend easily. Any damage to either component will cripple your ability to produce the results you are looking for. One time I dropped the nozzle on my workbench and it slightly damaged the hole the needle sits in and the thing simply would not spray right. So I had to buy a new one. Which leads to the next point.
- Replacement parts are expensive. A new nozzle was $30.00. Needles are cheaper at about $10.
- Cleanup. A complete disassembly and washout is required after every use, cutting corners here will cause problems down the road.
- You need a stand. Since the paint is in the gravity feed and the air hose comes out the bottom, you cannot set down the airbrush on the bench, you need a stand that will hold it upright.
Now that you know how I feel about the airbrush, here are some tips I’ve figured out over time.
- Rather than buying expensive cleaners, buy a big blue jug of blue windshield washer fluid. It works great and its cheap. I’ve used it for years and never had any issues with the metal and it cleans out paint quick and easy. I usually would run some through the gun between colors so that disassembly was not required.
- If you don’t have a stand, use a vice. I often used my workbench vise as my airbrush stand. Close it just enough that you can set the airbrush in it with the hose coming down out the bottom of the vise.
- Paint from light to dark. You can always but red or yellow in after white paint, but you can never put any colors in after black. You need to perform a washout after darker paints, so plan ahead.
- Keep the box the airbrush comes in, its a great place to store it and prevent it from getting damaged, especially the needle. The needle has a guard, but you’d be surprised how easy it is for it to get bent.
- Buy the airbrush you want long term now. Some people suggest buying a cheaper airbrush so get the feel for it, then upgrade later. To me, this is just a hassle, the Iwata products seem to hold their value, buy the good one now and save yourself the headache.
- Note: If you buy a cheap airbrush, you may have issues getting decent results because of the poor quality of the airbrush, this may discourage you from wanting to pursue your painting venture, and kill some of the joy you would otherwise get from painting.
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