Recently, an eBay seller from whom I’ve bought a few ridiculously cheap items (like $1 braided airbrush hoses) sent around an email about a new online store they were opening – PleasedShop.com.
I’m always open to really cheap stuff, so I clicked over.
And then my jaw dropped.
I’m not really sure what I was expecting. But it sure as hell wasn’t $10 airbrushes. $10 airbrushes that looks to be fairly decent knockoffs of far more expensive airbrushes.
Curious, I ordered two – the $10, 0.3mm number that looks like an Iwata HP-C knockoff.
And a second $10 airbrush, a 0.2mm dual-action that looks for all the world like an Iwata HP-B.
Instead of the usual review, I’m going to do this as more of a Q&A. Mainly because I hate photographing/reviewing airbrushes. You don’t care if I can draw little food coloring stick figures on a paper towel, and neither do I. Ultimately, there are people out there who can do things with a Paasche H that would put any work I’ve done with a high-end Iwata to shame.
Ultimately, airbrushes come down largely to feel. They’re subjective.
Q. Is this a scam?
A. I was hesitant, but no. I placed my order (two airbrushes and a 10-pack of glass bottles) and received my goods in about two-three weeks. Packing wasn’t anything to write home about, but the airbrushes come in their own protective cases, and the glass bottles didn’t break or anything, so everything worked out.
Q. Are the airbrushes cheap Chinese knockoffs?
Q. So that means they suck, right?
A. No. Both the 0.3mm and 0.2mm spray rather well. They aren’t as smooth as an Iwata or a Grex, and I wouldn’t necessarily favor them for work that requires detail and maximum control, but for general duties I can’t fault them.
Q. How do they “feel”?
A. Both are solid and don’t feel cheap at all. Balance is not as good as with my Iwatas, and on the HP-B knockoff the trigger seems uncomfortably close to the paint cup.
Trigger resistance is relatively light (lighter than Iwata), and there’s a slightly gritty feel to it. Paint flow is linear and easy to anticipate.
Q. How are they to clean?
A. Overall, these airbrushes aren’t as smooth/precise as the best from Iwata/Grex/Harder & Steenbeck/etc. That means rougher textures in the paint cup, paint channel etc. And that means more places for paint to grab. These definitely require a bit more elbow grease to clean.
Q. Any problems with them?
A. Yes. The nozzles are cheap. I managed to snap one in half when reinstalling it the other night. Fortunately, replacements are also cheap.
Q. Are they worth it?
A. Yes. Think of it this way – they’re $10. Your argument is invalid. I would argue they’re worth it even just to experiment with different airbrush styles…
Conclusion. These two airbrushes aren’t about to replace my regular stable…but I have quite the stable. For me, they’re going to get the nasty jobs when I don’t want to trash out my better brushes. But for somebody looking into a first airbrush, or looking for a spare or four, I can’t recommend these highly enough. Just be sure to order some extra nozzles.
4 Comments Add yours
I think with just a little work, you can bring these brushes up to Iwata or Grex standards. From what I’ve learned, it’s all about tolerances. The needles, when compared under magnification to an Iwata, are rough. But… they can be polished using basic metal polishing techniques. Same goes with the trigger mechanisms. If you screw it up, you’re only out ten bucks, so it’s probably worth the risk. It think it’s the same basic concept as taking your out-of-the-box pistol to a gunsmith to have the trigger and ramp polished. Makes a big difference for small money.
If you haven’t already seen this site, check it out: https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/
I’ve been interested in picking up several more airbrushes. Now that it is November, how are these holding up?
Pretty well. The needles and nozzles are weaker than, say, Iwatas, but for 5% of the price you really can’t complain.