I’ve made couple of reviews already and I couldn’t wait to write this one (the special one) about Iwata Custom Micron C Plus airbrush (CM C+). All because the fact that it has been all this time within my reach. In one of my earlier posts you can see a video Airbrushing Mural where my brother is working with this particular airbrush.
So, what’s so special about this airbrush and why will every professional tell you that Iwata CM C+ is awesome airbrush and they all just love it?
When I started airbrushing I had no trust in names like this one - Iwata. I’ve never heard of it and now I don’t know even why. When finally I decided to check it out I was shocked, as the price for this airbrush was enormously high. Then I started to look around (mostly on the Net) and I found out that Iwata really belongs to the top-end of airbrush.
First of all let’s see what we have in the box and what feeling does it make when you see it for first time.
First Impressions of Iwata
Nice metal box and nice finish color which gives you the felling of top quality. The nice box (definitely in this case) is not just for a demonstration. So, what’s in it?
- The airbrush gun itself
- Pistol grip moisture filter (for clean and dry air-flow)
- Nozzle key
- The lube for storing purposes.
Closer Look at Custom Micron
It is a gravity feed double action airbrush with internal mix. It comes with only one 9ml cup but with a lid by default. Airbrush comes only with one nozzle tip 0.23mm (100psi/0.2cfm) but you can optionally buy smaller 0.18mm tip.
If we look at everything that comes with this airbrush, we can see a big difference when comparing to airbrushes I have reviewed before (airbrush reviews). Actually the set is very poor. So, what makes this airbrush so special and so expensive?
- Quick Fix with a dial
Yes, it has a speed dial similar to one I mentioned in Infinity review. The function is similar to set the limit for trigger maximum level. As in Infinity it adjusts the needle movement and paint flow but it doesn’t have two functions (screwing only).
It has open quick fix but some professionals prefer to work without it. Some even take the front part off. Why? First it gives you better visibility and second, the airbrush feels much lighter. So, all that fancy speed dial becomes useless in hands of a Pro. When I asked for advice “Have you ever needed to use speed dial to limit the paint flow?” I received an answer “No, I have a good feeling in my fingers, why would I need to limit the paint flow and waste my time playing with a dial. It is for beginners only“.
- MAC – External Micro Air Control Valve
It’s a huge plus of this gun. Especially, if you want to do a really fine art with incredible details, then you may find very useful to limit the air pressure
- Quick Disconnect
Also useful feature when you use more airbrushes at the same time or perhaps if you use more compressors and keep switching between them. This advantage is mostly optional for other brands, but here it comes by default and with pistol grip moisture filter (no more worries about filtering the air from compressor).
- The Cup 9ml
Minuses (cons) of Custom Micron
- If the nozzle is destroyed then the whole head system has to be replaced to keep original performance.
It can result in some unexpected costs but it gives you really the original performance. So, by replacing only the head, system is practically completely refurbished and airbrush gun set to “factory settings”. Almost, but the trigger. Yes, only cleaning and applying lube the air piston will make it feel like new. The airbrush comes with a lube so you can use that one. The lube should be used every time you going to store the gun for longer time, or if you do some maintenance work on airbrush or fix some problems like sticky trigger…
- Weak Nozzle
Iwata deals with the weak nozzle better than most airbrushes as the head system can be removed to clean out the inside of the nozzle without removing the nozzle (which isn’t that bad quality) and as I wrote earlier many Pros work without the head system anyway.
- Bent needles
This is the most common problem but it’s only user fault. In some cases needles can be repaired, but in most cases you will have to order the replacement nozzle or needle set with nozzle. If you’re careful you may avoid buying replacements – but you never know and replacement isn’t that cheap (My Bro bent the needle 3 times and now he’s got 3 spare needles and 2 spare nozzle for any unexpected situation. I didn’t even ask him how much does it cost as every time I talk about it he becomes sad :(.
Here is the airbrush taken apart.
Standard cleaning process is not difficult. The construction of the cup and quick step to take the system apart makes the cleaning really easy. But you have to be careful as you can run into cleaning problems even during the work.
- Dry tip
This happens a lot, especially if you do fine work, your needle sticks out more and the paint will dry out on the tip of needle. There is a solution to use slow reducer, otherwise you will have to clean it during the work.
This happens only if you paint with some longer breaks which gives the paint time to dry. It happens really often, especially because of small nozzle and low air pressure.
What can I say to describe my feelings. I don’t own the gun, so I can’t be so certain if it’s really worth the money. Yes, it is a top brand and top quality airbrush. I see the light in eyes of people who have worked with this airbrush anytime they have to describe their feelings about it. It has plenty of pros and perhaps few not that relevant cons (especially for pros as they know how to deal with them). But one and the largest cons is its price which makes it unavailable to some people.
Don’t get sad, there is many airbrushes that we can afford and their quality is good for most of our demands.
At the end I got an idea “I would say that they could make a pro version of the brush, just by reducing the number of parts, which may cut the cost. Why do they need to have them in the first place, if after experimenting with the brush most of the people take those part off anyway.
Until then Iwata Custom Micron C + is primarily only for professionals and will be taboo for many of us for a long time.