by: Jon [ ]
introductionHarder and Steenbeck are a German company with a 50 year history of producing airbrushes. The Ultra, Grafo, Colani and Infinity ranges are complimented by the mainstay of their range, and subject of this review - the gravity feed Evolution.
I had been looking at this brand for some time to offer, hopefully, more flexibility than my Iwata Eclipse BS - and now that Little-Cars (www.little-cars.co.uk) have started to import them to the UK it offered the chance to finally purchase one locally.
The AirbrushThe brush for this review is the "Two in One" model which contains a .2mm needle and nozzle as well as a .4mm needle and nozzle, as well as a 2ml and 5ml paint cup. This flexibility offers an airbrush suitable for both wide area coverage of base coats as well as for close-in detail work. The airbrush can also be used without a paint cup for really precise detail wok using small amounts of paint. Additional needle/nozzle sets ranging from .15 to .6mm are also available.
Packaged in a yellow plastic box surrounded by a cardboard sleeve, the brush is chrome finished with gold coloured detailing. The contents are held securely in place within cutouts in the foam within the box, and the box itself is lockable utilising the plastic slide clips on the front.
It can be used with standard hoses (e.g. Iwata) and a quick release clip is also available.
In UseTo put the airbrush through its paces I first installed the .4mm needle and nozzle and 5ml cup and used Lifecolor 361 Light Stone to base coat an AFV Club Churchill Mk III (first primed with aerosol Tamiya Fine Surface Primer). Thinned 50/50 with tap water, paint flow was smooth with only a little clogging at the tip during the spraying process. I cleared the clogging by pulling fully back on the trigger to force the paint through.
Atomisation of the paint was excellent - the paint misted onto the model in even smooth coats. The trigger action was smooth and I was amazed at how fine a line could be achieved even with the .4mm needle/nozzle combination. Several light coats resulted in a nice even base coat.
As the camouflage of the Churchill was hard edged I used Vallejo ModelAir Black Grey and a paintbrush to outline the camouflage stripes on the model. I then installed the .2mm needle/nozzle and the 2ml paint cup and loaded the airbrush with Vallejo ModelAir Black Grey (thinned 60/40 with Vallejo thinner) and proceed to fill in the previously outlined areas. The flow of ModelAir through the airbrush was astonishing - it was smooth with no clogging whatsoever! Hairlines were easily achievable with the brush and the trigger control was precise and easy to control. There was a little overspray here and there - but that was more down to me than the brush!
Next I flushed through the Evolution with airbrush cleaner and loaded up Vallejo ModelAir German Grey (again a 60/40 mix) and proceeded to highlight the Black Grey areas with this lighter colour. Again control was easy and paint flow excellent.
CleaningBreakdown of the Evolution was simple and will be familiar to owners of most gravity feed airbrushes, including Iwata owners. First, I unscrewed the rear of the brush and loosened the needle chuck nut and pulled the needle back slightly, next I unscrewed and removed the front tip -which the nozzle sits in, then pushed the needle out the front of the brush. I always do this to avoid dragging paint back into the airbrush.
I then soaked the nozzle in cleaner and used a Q-tip to remove paint. The needle was wiped with a kitchen towel and cleaner and the paint cup and short passage from the cup to front brush with a micro brush. The Evolution was then reassembled and a bit of cleaner sprayed through. The whole process taking less than five minutes.
ConclusionThe Evolution is simple to use and operate and offers great flexibility with the needle/nozzles provided. The trigger control is smooth and intuitive to use. Cleaning was straightforward and it seemed remarkably tolerant of acrylic paint - especially the ModelAir. I have found this brand to be problematic through my previous Iwata Eclipse BS, but offered smooth, problem free performance via the Evolution.