Sparmax SP-20X – Unboxing and ReviewDN Models
One of the hardest reviews I had to make was about this particular airbrush. The fact that the needle/nozzle combo is small and I enjoy that, combined with the way that this ties my hands while working on larger applications, made it such. It is always difficult when you have a scalpel and you want to cut a bread with it. And I quite often get into situations like this with airbrushes.
Finest needle/nozzle combos are meant to be used on precise work. Mottling, free-hand camouflages, stripes on WWII aircraft and post-shading. The thing is, those airbrushes are quite often the ones with the highest quality and the most comfortable too. That makes you wanna use the particular airbrush most of all, despite having other more suitable ones in your toolbox. Exactly like in my case.
Those airbrushes are also, almost every time – the most expensive ones in the line. And that makes you wanna use them even more. The case with Sparmax SP-20X is not exactly this, however, the .2mm nozzle and the way that everything felt while using it, made this review very demanding. I needed to think it through, gather my thoughts and feelings and combine them. The result is what follows:
Box & Contents:
The box is made of translucent plastic, and it is wrapped in fancy black cardboard. Over it, there are basic notes on what you get with this set and the airbrush specs for the specific piece embedded. In our case Sparmax SP-20X. The other Sparmax airbrushes that I reviewed featured crown caps, which I found to be the most precious item included in their sets. Here, crown cap is missing. Unfortunately, for an airbrush so precise, where I believe this should be “a must” it isn’t there. Why? Well, Sparmax probably decided that the nozzle/needle combo of 0.2mm is delicate enough by itself, and crown won’t improve the overall performance with much. I am only guessing.
Whatever the case is, the hole in the foaming bed of the airbrush is present, so maybe some editions feature crown caps, mine doesn’t. There is also a cleaning brush, two sheets of instructions and the dual-to-single action converter, something that seems to be a standard for Sparmax. They are a nice gesture, especially if this is your start-up airbrush.
We have one sheet for the airbrush and one for the converter. The latter one shows the basic steps of converting your dual-action airbrush into single-action piece. In the beginning I thought that for .2mm single action might be useless, but then I remembered the panel lines made with Alclad2 paints, which works perfectly when sprayed through single-action airbrushes. The coats are even and the shine is improved compared to dual-action applications.
The other set of instructions feature a complete guide for how to start using your airbrush, basic recommendations and troubleshooting alongside with solutions. I recommend reading through this before using the SP-20X for the first time, no matter is this your first airbrush or you just bought another one for your collection. Sometimes, even the most experienced users find something different in the design of their newest airbrush, and in case you want to avoid accidents at any costs, this is the way to go.
There is a standard brake-down of the airbrush, with all of its parts and O-rings /very important here/, which gives you basic understanding of the assembly. That helps not only to familiarize yourself with SP-20X, but if you look thoroughly you might be able to recognize some signs of worn parts or simple symptoms of troubleshooting in very early stages.
The body of the SP-20X is crafted with finesse and you can tell that Sparmax are experienced in what they do. The first two things that grabs your attention is the coating which allows for easy cleaning and the trigger. The trigger is soft enough to allow for very nice touches when spraying and the movement is not accompanied by unnecessary swaying when pulling it. It moves gently and strictly backwards.
Besides being ergonomic, the airbrush is well balanced too. For precision airbrush, this is more than necessary and we have it here. The cup can be removed and this leaves you with small paint jar embedded in the brush body. This however, does not ruin the balance.
Seeing the O-ring on the bottom of the removable cap, at first made me think that this should be used all the time. Removing it though, and the comfy feel that the airbrush showed, made me change my mind. This allows for only few drops of paint to be used, clear the view seeing the tip of the needle /from the top/ and spare you some cleaning time.
Overall, the whole body of the airbrush can be called “standard looking” and indeed it is. However, compared to others, the feel is better and the weight is just the right one.
Included in the set we have a blue-handled brush and a dual-to-single action converter. As I’ve mentioned above, the crown cap bed in the foaming is present, but no crown cap in it. Both add-ons are useful, especially if this is your starting tool. They are included in other Sparmax kits, like MAX series or SP-35C that I recently reviewed. I mentioned above about the converter and the brush, well while testing the airbrush I used it a couple of times to clean the needle and then clean the airbrush after the session. Very comfortable!
Although not vital in SP-20X set, these two are very nice touch from the company. If you happen to have another one of their airbrushes, they will be more than useful for sure.
Sparmax SP-20X is one very fine airbrush. The fact that the color cup is removable, and leave you with quite smaller paint jar embedded in the airbrush, makes it very versatile solution. You can spray larger applications using the big one, or just do fine touches like mottling, stripes or precise weathering, using only the small amount of paint that the airbrush body can holds.
The design of the airbrush is refined compared to the competition and the pre-set handle is a definite must with such small nozzle. The only disadvantage in my opinion is the lack of a crown cap, which maybe will improve your performance a bit. Other than that, there is no other disadvantages that I see. On the other hand the greatest plus of them all is the price tag.
The value that Sparmax SP-20X brings is more than competitive. For similar airbrush from other major brand you will pay 3 or 4 times the money. One thing is certain – you won’t get 3 or 4 times better tool!
Sparmax are on the market since the late 70s. They do make airbrushes for other companies besides having their own line. That speaks for experience and for knowledge. All in all, their airbrushes are known to be reliable and fine working, mostly due to the craftsmanship and the finesse they have shown.
For a precision airbrush /in my book .2mm or less/, Sparmax SP-20X is one of the best options on the market today. The price is unbeatable and the performance is absolutely comparable with the Iwata’s and the Harder & Steenbeck’s available.
It is very competitive tool, one that you can rely on and one that you cannot beat the price of!
Highly recommended tool!