Product Review: Saving time – and frustration!

 ‘SharpenAir’ Original, a convenient universal hand-heldtool for sharpening and rejuvenating damaged airbrush needles, is investigated by Nigel Burkin.

Airbrush needles are particularly prone to becoming bent at the tip or damaged during airbrush cleaning routines, no matter how careful one is when handling them. As an experienced user of airbrushes, I know that a needle, particularly a ‘fine’ one, can become bent at the worst possible moment, usually during an extended spraying bout which usually happens only when I have a creative painting mojo in action.

A tiny spot of Iwata airbrush lube can be applied to the needle before refitting to the airbrush to make its action smoother.

 Experienced painters usually remove the needle tip guard whichprevents paint build-up in the guard, but also leaves the end of the needle exposed. It can then become damaged if the airbrush is dropped on its front or by catching the very tip of the needle on something – it can snag protective clothing for example. To have a creative painting session interrupted because of a hooked needle (which also risks damaging the spray nozzle or tip) is frustrating – but it happens to us all.

Together with the spraying nozzle, the needle is probably one of the most expensive ‘wearing’ parts of an airbrush to replace, making the‘SharpenAir’ airbrush needle repair tool such a useful device particularly for those modellers who do a lot of airbrushing. If you use several different types of airbrush for different media and purposes, this tool is definitely one to have in the paint shop.

What is the ‘Sharpen Air’?

‘SharpenAir’ is a universal hand-held device designed to sharpen and restore damaged airbrush needles in a few minutes to allow a spraying bout to continue with minimal interruption; a simple tool composed of hard black plastic measuring 85mm by 90mm and weighing 145g, which sits neatly in the hand.

It is fitted with four sharpening stones under a cover at one end which provide different levels of sharpening for the tip and the cone of the needle. Two stones are of 600-grit and two of 1200-grit, set at different angles depending on the desired sharpening action.

For the full article, see theDecember edition of Modelling – available now!

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