Monday, December 4, 2017

Sparmax Max 3 - Review

Hey plamo nerds! The generous folks over at Sparmax decided to send me one of their fine products - the Max 3 airbrush kit - so I could give it a once-over and see how it fares compared to the other airbrushes I've reviewed thus far. I've heard great things about this airbrush, and I'm excited to see how it performs. Let's take a look!

Click on the Read More link for the rest of this post...

The Max 3 is a double-action, gravity-feed type airbrush produced by Sparmax, a Taiwan based company that specializes in fine airbrushing equipment. Sparmax is well regarded in the western market, with their products carried by other trusted brands such as Tamiya - attesting to the high quality standards that Sparmax maintains with their products.

The cardboard packaging looks nice and professional, with clear markings and details on the product specifications. In the box you'll find a plastic case holding the airbrush securely in thick foam, a nozzle wrench, a cleaning brush and a printed manual. There's a label on the box I received that says an alternate air-stem is included, which converts the Max 3 to single-action for use with continuous air sources, such as the Tamiya Sparyworks Basic compressor.

The entire airbrush is finished in chrome polished to a deep mirror shine, giving the tool a premium feel. This model is equipped with an adjustable limiter in the handle for producing consistent line thickness. The 7ml gravity feed cup holds an adequate amount of paint for most scale modeling applications.  The trigger assembly is very easy to take apart and reassemble, thanks to the air valve button and rocker design.

As suggested by the name, the Max 3 comes equipped with a 0.3mm needle and nozzle combination, which is a popular setup among model painters. 0.2mm and 0.4mm variants are also available, named Max 2 and Max 4 respectively. The nozzle is a traditional screw-in type with a rubber o-ring to ensure an airtight seal. It came attached pretty tight from the factory so I used the wrench to take it off, but it sealed just fine just using my fingers to screw it back on. The needle itself is also well polished, feels very solid, and has a long, linear taper which suggests good control on the spray pattern. You can find the full parts breakdown for this model here: Sparmax Max 3

In testing the Max 3 performed really well, atomizing the pre-thinned lacquer paint with no problems. The airbrush sprayed smoothly at 25psi, showing no signs of tip dry after a 20-minute session. I was able to produce pencil thin lines all the way up to about an inch wide spray pattern. The trigger offered good sensitivity and control, with just the right amount of resistance on both the air and paint action.

Cleanup was fairly simple. I gargled the cup and then flushed the airbrush a few times using industrial lacquer thinner. After the session I pulled back the needle to give it a quick wiping, then swabbed the inside of the cup with a cotton bud soaked in thinner.  A couple more flushes and the airbrush was clean. As the airbrush was already spraying clear, I didn't bother taking off the nozzle during cleanup. It's a very small and delicate part, and I suggest only taking it off when you feel it requires deep cleaning, or if you're having issues that may be related to the nozzle.

Here's a video version of the review showing the airbrush in action:

The Sparmax Max 3 turned out to be a remarkable airbrush, and one that I can recommend if you are looking to upgrade from a generic setup, or coming from the Tamiya Sprayworks configuration. It's also a good choice for a beginner airbrush thanks to the simplicity of the trigger assembly and the optional single-action setup, which some users might be more comfortable with. Where it really shines is in build quality and performance. It demonstrated exceptional paint atomization and trigger response, which to me are the most important aspects of an airbrush. I'm not a big fan of the screw in nozzle design and the angle of the cup which contacts my trigger finger when at rest, but other than those quirks, the Max 3 just looks, works and feels like an airbrush that should cost twice as much.

A thousand thanks to Sparmax for hooking me up with a review unit! If you're interested in purchasing a Max 3 for yourself, click on the Amazon ad link below. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks!

You can also visit your region's official website for more info on Sparmax products and packages:

Product Info:
US orders:
Distributors for all regions:

That's all for now, until next time, keep building plamo!


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