Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus 2-in-1 - Unboxing

Greetings and salutations fellow plamo nerds! You might have noticed from my past few posts that I've been acquiring some of the most well regarded airbrushes out there for model painting. I started off with the affordable but well-reviewed Master G233, followed by the bad-ass Badger Krome, the versatile Patriot, and most recently the invincible Iwata Eclipse. I've been on a personal quest to find the perfect airbrush for this hobby, and today I'll be sharing my newest acquisition - a tool that many consider to be the holy grail of airbrushing equipment: the Harder and Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus!



Click on the Read More link for a heavy dose of tool porn...
(WARNING: lots of images)




A few days after it was announced on their shop page, I cracked open my piggybank, sold off some backlog kits, and ordered the H&S Infinity CR Plus 2-in-1 kit from Pub Hub, but I was too busy with other projects including my entry for the GMKC and I never got to share the unboxing.




The airbrush comes in a nice plastic case with some well made inserts that explain how to clean and troubleshoot the device. Compared to Badger's black and white printouts, the pamphlet really adds to the premium feel of the package. Badger's Renegade cases are still better though...but enough about the packaging, let's look at the goods! Here it is, in all it's sexy German-engineered glory. If you ever in your life get a hard-on for an inanimate object, this is one time it is perfectly acceptable.






I follow a lot of modeling forums, and have always wondered why so many have decided to ditch their tried-and-tested brushes in favor of one tool - the Harder and Steenbeck Infinity. I used to think it was all hype, but now that I have it in my hands, I understand. The look and feel of it alone is enough to make the most loyal of Badger, Paasche or Iwata fans jump ship. The finish on the Infinity is simply flawless. This is the CR plus model, which gets a triple coating of anti-allergenic chrome.



The handle on the rear is made of aluminum and is anodized red. Paired with the shiny gold accents at the midsection, the trigger assembly and the needle limiter, the Infinity CR plus looks like an airbrush you'd find in Tony Stark's workshop.







The trigger assembly is unique to Harder and Steenbeck and makes pushing down and pulling back feel a little different from the traditional design. Instead of a separate rocker that slides against the trigger shaft as you pull back, the H&S trigger has a curved metal piece attached to the trigger itself, making it simpler to take out and put back. Spring tension is a little stiff out of the box, but is adjustable. Action is very smooth, as expected from the precisely machined parts. My set came with the .15 and .4 needle combinations. The needles themselves are highly polished from the tip down to the back end. The shape of the tip is linear and there are no abrupt changes in the taper of the needle.





For accessories, the kit comes with a protective cover for the needle, a rod for loosening the gold middle part, 2ml and 5ml cups with their own lids, a quick release connector attached to the standard 1/8 air inlet, and a distance cap for illustrators that lets you paint at a constant distance from the canvas. All chrome parts in the set have the same triple-coat finish. The needle caps are two-pronged similar to what we have for the Badger Krome, but the Infinity simplifies attachment by making them plug-in types.




A unique feature of this airbrush is the preset handle. You can dial in a precise setting on the needle limiter, and when you need full action on the trigger you can pull back on the gold part to unlock the limit. To restore the limit, you simply push the gold bit back in. In testing this has been a nice feature to have when I had to flush the airbrush in the middle of a session.



The Infinity CR plus has a triple Teflon needle seal, designed to withstand the harshest of paints for a longer period of time. The threads between the cup and the body also has a Teflon seal to ensure no paint leakage occurs. The inside of the cup is extremely well polished, with no scratches or tooling marks visible. The nozzle is a drop-in self-centering design that also has a Teflon seal at it's base which holds it liquid-tight against the paint chamber.






As opposed to the Badger Krome and Iwata Eclipse, the nozzle isn't locked in place with a hold-down bit that has air holes drilled around the sides. Instead, the air cap itself holds the nozzle in place. The inside of the air cap has channels machined into it, which distributes the air evenly around the nozzle all the way up to the front end where the aircap meets the nozzle opening. I don't know if this has much of an advantage over the "drilled holes" design that Badger and Iwata implement, but it might help improve atomization and keep a tighter spray pattern. The downside is that since the air is directed all the way forwards until it hits the needle, you cannot loosen the air cap to back-flow the air and gargle the paint cup like you could with the Iwata Eclipse. The air cap comes with a solvent resistant Viton rubber seal to keep it airtight against the body. Cleaning is super simple, with lots of space to really get in there with a cleaning brush or cotton swab.




The Infinity CR Plus is arguably one of the best looking and most feature-packed airbrushes in the market today. With the .15 needle option, it has the smallest configuration available for achieving super thin lines, with which some say one can get as fine a line as the legendary Micron. There are also .2, .4 and .6 needle/nozzle options for pretty much any kind of paint job, short of doing an entire car body or a house. Build quality is as good as it gets. It's made in Germany with the best materials, and that alone is enough to explain the premium price (around $300). IMHO, you justify this purchase the same way you justify buying a high-end wristwatch or a super car. It won't improve your painting skills one bit, but you don't buy a Ferrari to get better at driving, you buy a Ferrari to enjoy driving.



If there's anything negative I can say about it at this point, it's that it has more than the usual number of seals that may need replacement later on if you use harsh solvent type paints. That said, seal kits are available at a fair price. Needles, nozzles and aircaps are a bit expensive at about $60 a set plus shipping, and you need to replace all three when switching between setups (except for the .2, which uses the same air cap as the .15).  Getting a 2-in-1 is a better deal than buying a solo and adding alternate setups later on.

Iron Man and Warmachine! :)

I'll spend more time painting with it before I do a full performance review. For now here's a video of the same unboxing. Please forgive the moments of dead air, it's hard to talk while fighting back tears of joy...



If you're interested in getting this aribrush or any other Harder and Steenbeck model, drop by Pub Hub's facebook page and send them a message. Click on the banner below to check out their store!




Stay tuned for more rants and reviews! Until next time, keep building plamo!




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