SPARMAX is a well known company for all airbrush users around the world. For a company that is in the business for almost 40 years you will be amazed to find how much SPARMAX has done for the art of airbrushing /one of the first palm-sized compressors was their DC-25, their patented airbrush cleaning pot, the Silver Bullet mini airbrush moisture trap and many others/. Being a long time SPARMAX airbrush user /a SPARMAX DH-2/ I was thrilled to be able to make a review of one of their newest airbrushes, the SPARMAX MAX 4.
The SPARMAX MAX 4 is a continuation of the good old DH line. MAX 4 is addressed to the arts and crafts hobbyists but also to the professionals and is perfect for us scale modelers.
WHAT`S IN THE BOX
MAX 4 is a double action airbrush and comes in a plastic case wrapped in a self-adhesive plastic sleeve and all this is slid in a cardboard box. Is this clever packaging or what? In the plastic case you`ll find a hard foam inlay with precut slots holding the airbrush and all additions to it. The set comprises one SPARMAX MAX 4 airbrush, a nozzle wrench, one crown cap, removable lid for the paint cup, cleaning brush and an additional inlet air valve which turns the double action SPARMAX MAX 4 into a single action airbrush.
As the name of the airbrush suggests the SPARMAX MAX 4 is equipped with 0.4 mm nozzle and needle. As a side note, SPARMAX also offers the MAX 3 which is similar to the MAX 4 but is equipped with a 0.3 nozzle. This comes to tell that the airbrush is set for general paintwork and to help that SPARMAX have installed a 7 ml color cup with nice, tight fitting metal lid. The whole airbrush is made entirely of metal and is nickel plated /or so it seems to me, but I`m not a specialist when it comes to plating so it may well be chrome/ so if you feel the need to use strong detergents or solvents don`t be afraid, just watch out for the rubber and silicon seals and O-rings.
Overall the SPARMAX MAX 4 sits really nice in the hand. It has the precise amount of weight to keep it steady while you use it. It`s not too heavy or too lite and it has the perfect weight distribution. I`m a big fan of SPARMAX trigger movement and the MAX 4 doesn`t disappoint. There`s no change to the trigger tension throughout the whole length of the needle control and the vertical, air valve, control is just the same. In few words – it`s perfect. The needle stopper at the end is a very nice addition to an airbrush in that price region, especially comparing it to my old and trusty DH-2. It moves nicely without any resistance and you can tighten or loosen it with one finger while you hold the airbrush with the same hand, yep I`ve tried it!
And here we come to the icing on the cake – the crown cap. For a long time this was kept for the high end airbrushes only but SPARMAX decided to change the game by including the crown cap in their budget airbrushes. I can`t and don`t want to remember how many needles I`ve bent and how many nozzles I`ve destroyed while airbrushing without the cap only to be able to get close. The crown cap allows you to get as close as possible, you can even airbrush with the cap touching the surface that you paint, while still protecting the protruding needle! How cool is that?
The cleaning brush is a nice addition. It is made with quite stiff bristles and is really useable when cleaning the nozzle. The last but not least is the single action add-on valve. To use it, first you have to unwind the standard air valve and then put the single action one in his place. What the single action valve does is that it lets the air flow through the airbrush constantly, or in other words the air valve is constantly open, so you only have to control the needle movement by moving the trigger back and forward. As a side note, I`ve used this type of single action airbrush a long time ago in a galaxy far away and in the beginning it was really awkward, I couldn`t have escape the feeling that the brush was broken as it was constantly bleeding air. But after I got used to the unstopping whistling it turned out it was a great type of airbrush and I was able to extremely thin lines, end of the side note.
So, to summarize:
+ Well built and a great overall finish
+ Perfect size and weight distribution
+ Smooth and constant trigger movement with just the right trigger pressure
+ Crown cap
+ Single action valve
- The 0.4 nozzle is big for really fine lines so if you want to paint so finely you`ll need one more airbrush
- Single action valve, because it could be really awkward to control the paint instead of the air, as in 99% of all other single action airbrushes
The final verdict
SPARMAX MAX 4 is a superb budget airbrush manufactured to the highest standards of the SPARMAX company. It`s great for the beginner but also very useable for the old dogs. Thumbs up for the inclusion of the crown cup in a budget airbrush set. The 0.4 nozzle is perfect for most of the painting a modeler needs, but for really fine work you`ll still need a 0.15 or 0.20 airbrush. After all that can you believe it costs only 65 $? I can`t believe that you can buy that much quality so cheaply! That`s the best price-quality ratio I`ve ever seen when it gets to airbrushes.
I can recommend SPARMAX MAX 4 to everybody. You won`t be disappointed!