When airbrushing, the compressor is the most important, complex and usually most expensive part of the system. Compressors that we use are either heavy and home-made designs, or expensive and usually mid-sized boxes from the famous brands. Latter ones are often with the size of the box of a 32nd scale kit, and sit in standing up position, usually capable of supporting two or more airbrushes.
Moving those can be a bit of a hustle though. Modelers that travel a lot and those who make presentations at shows and conventions know that from a bitter experience. That results in using different compressors every time are not a good ones. People are being forced to use what is available locally and with that, the eventual surprises as an unpleasant bonus.
The compressor that we’re going to take a look at in this article is something that will help out in such situations. It is a Sparmax product and it is from their Arism line of compressors. The name is simply : VIZ.
Arism VIZ comes in a cardboard suitcase, made from the black material that Sparmax uses to pack their airbrushes. The opening is from the top, and there is a plastic handle which – when the flip cardboard pieces close – forms a suitcase to run around with.
The box is relatively heavy, since there is a lot of cardboard walls inside, separating the main compressor body from the rest of the parts. And they are many. Additionally, compressor body sits on four cardboard-made legs, to avoid Arism VIZ to sit directly on the bottom of that suitcase.
Outside, besides being black /and always in fashion/, many logos and short descriptions can be seen, pointing out the characteristics or the features that Arism VIZ holds. Much like Sparmax airbrushes, from the outside it looks very neat and attractive, with design suitable for a gift, rather than a tool.
Besides the compressor body, inside of the box we can find everything needed to start spraying, with only the airbrush missing. Each part is carefully packed in translucent plastic bag, protecting it and making everything to look more in order.
We have a hose with 1/8 fittings from both sides, usable with most of the airbrushes available nowadays. There is a Silver Bullet Plus moisture trap, cable that goes into the compressor with adapter and a cable for the main, in this case EU standard plug. Two instruction sheets are presented, first one being a signed declaration that the compressor corresponds to the international standards and the second – the user guide. That latter one has thorough description of the compressor, how you should adjust the pressure and how to cope with eventual troubles that might arise during work.
Sparmax Arism VIZ has a DC motor. You get your power through an adapter, pretty much the same looking black box, as the one you have with your laptop charger. The C13 three-pin connector makes this pretty self-explanatory for usage Worldwide. In this particular case, Sparmax supplied EU plug, but the same C13 cable can be easily obtained with US standard plug and since the adapter is here, the compressor will work everywhere you plug it into the main, as long as you have the correct plug.
Sparmax offer a battery chrger pack in case your modeling room is detached or you spray where no electricity is present. Also, in case of a power failure, while you are in a middle of a spray session, that will pull you out of trouble.
The VIZ is very luxurious looking box. It has Sparmax logo on the front and back and both sides mention are with mirror-like cover. On the front, we have a pressure gauge, small but clearly visible, featuring the Sparmax logo. Also, the 1/8 fitting for the hose. On the back, we have an ON/OFF button, as well as the hole for the power supply.
Four legs support the compressor to sit correctly in place, and on the top we have a handle, with the Sparmax logo, which is comfortable and sturdy. Right next to it is a square hole-button, where the Smart Stop trigger-airbrush-holder sits. But for that a bit later.
The compressor is 2.5 kilos in weight, 20cm in length, 12 in width and 18 in height.
Smart Stop feature from Sparmax is the most important add-on for this compressor. It is represented by a plastic translucent airbrush holder, made from material looking like a glass part. You put that in the hole on the top, and it sits on the square base, that is one with the holder. When an airbrush is placed over it, the weight is enough to push down the button and the Smart Stop is activated. The compressor stops working and it is if like you just shut it down.
Another interesting add-on /besides that holder/ and again, doing more than one job is the Silver Bullet Plus moisture trap. It serves for more than just collecting the excess water, due to the fact that it has a swiveling knob with which you can regulate the pressure. The compressor itself lacks such knob, and this is the way through which you can set up the correct pressure.
Moisture traps are often neglected by modelers and accidents tend to happen due to that fact. Sparmax made it somewhat mandatory feature with the Arism VIZ, which I liked a lot in the very first moment I saw it.
Another add-on to that compressor set is the hose /1/8 fittings on each end/, which you probably won’t consider as something special, except when this is your first compressor ever. In that case, the hose is wonderful addition and will save you time and money. Choosing the correct hose isn’t that easy as it sounds, since it all matters – fittings, materials and length of course.
Doing the job:
Arism VIZ is very quiet. It purrs like a cat and most importantly, doesn’t vibrate. Small single-piston compressors /sometimes dual-pistons too/ are shaking and bouncing around, which is annoying. Besides, sometimes that could cause trouble, when the compressor slowly slips away from you bench and simultaneously pulling the hose with it, while you are carefully spraying on your model. That is, in case you leave it on the ground. If it is on the bench and same thing happens – it could cause a small catastrophe.
The pressure supplied is enough for .4 or .5mm nozzles, the flow is steady and above all, you are protected by the Silver Bullet Plus. Despite being small, Arism VIZ works just like a big compressor and doesn’t disappoints. The pressure gauge seems very accurate and the fact that the compressor is quite movable, completes the package.
Arism VIZ from Sparmax is a dream come true for those who travel a lot and bring their work with them. It is perfect for presentations and demos, it is quiet, doesn’t shake and bounce and above all – it works reliably. Sparmax are famous for that quality.
In terms of price, it is comparable with small single-piston or even dual-piston compressors that doesn’t have metal cases, but it offers a lot more than them. Cable wise it is very smart and organized tool. Cable management is much appreciated nowadays as you all know.
The battery pack offer, combined with the Smart Stop feature from Sparmax makes it extremely flexible compressor suitable for many unusual purposes. With that said, for a first compressor I believe the VIZ is perfect.
For experienced and heavily armed modelers, Arism VIZ will probably serve as an additional tool, one that can help when the main compressor fails or when on the road. Especially for demonstration purposes on scale modeling shows, when the room is limited usually.
Just remember, no matter if you are experienced modeler with couple compressors or a first-timer with one or none: the main gear is not eternal, and we all know what can happen if your main tool fails you right in a middle of an important project.
Very flexible, very user friendly and wisely contemplated tool!