What’s in the Shops – Sparmax ‘Zeta’ compressor kit

A compressor is an important part of equipping a paint shop for model painting. Nigel Burkin tested the Sparmax ‘Zeta’ in his own paint shop and found it to be the ideal equipment for modelling all scales.

When I first started to use an airbrush to paint models in my student days, constraints on my finances led me to try all manner of so-called money-saving ways of powering my airbrush. Anything from inflated car inner tubes to compressed air canisters were tried, with varying degrees of failure in trying to achieve consistent paint finishes.

Having never been a great fan of paint aerosols, I persevered with airbrushing and came to the realisation that an air compressor, along with its ancillary equipment, was the only way forward.

As good as an airbrush might be, a reliable supply of regulated air is required for good painting results. A compressor kit such as the Sparmax ‘Zeta’ is ideal for the hobby paint shop, and will provide years of reliable service. During testing, it ran quietly and with a consistent air supply which was easily controlled with the supplied regulator.

A compressor supplies consistent compressed air to an airbrush which, when fed through an air regulator and moisture trap, will be reliable and easily controlled. A compressor dramatically improved the performance of my airbrushing, and consequently my paint finishes became infinitely better, so my first compressor kit saved a great deal of money and time in the long run.

The Sparmax ‘Zeta’ air compressor kit is precisely the type of equipment that should be purchased with an airbrush for achieving excellent and consistent paint finishes.

It will save a great deal of time and effort over short cuts in obtaining an air supply, and equipping your painting zone with such kit will save a great deal of material wastage as well as making a good air supply instantly available for use whenever you need it.

This review takes a look at the Sparmax ‘Zeta’, together with its unique ‘Smart-Stop’ feature. I am impressed by its compact design, and the ‘Smart-Stop’ feature is so simple to use – it’s intuitive to the process of painting models. You have to place the airbrush somewhere between spraying bouts after all.

Sparmax ‘Zeta’ features

The compressor, together with ancillary equipment, outlet ports and pressure valve, is contained within a tough steel casing that has a pleasing grey finish, and a handy carry-handle is fitted to the top. The ‘Zeta’ does not include an air receiving tank because the use of the patented ‘Smart-Stop’ feature that ensures that the same pressure stabilising effect of an air tank is achieved without the need for a large air tank, thus making the ‘Zeta’ very compact.

Several ports are fitted to the compressor, including the all-important air supply port and one for the ‘Smart-Stop’ lead. The kit also includes an air regulator and gauge assembly with moisture trap assembled to a bench clamp. The ‘Smart-Stop’ assembly is made up of an airbrush hanger or stand which plugs into a rocker switch box. A braided hose for linking an airbrush to the regulator together with a curly hose for connecting the compressor to the regulator are included in the package.

Safety features include the steel case which will prevent accidental contact
with hot surfaces on the compressor while in operation.

An air valve prevents too much pressure from building up, and a thermal cut-out will pause the compressor if it shows signs of overheating: the process of compressing air causes heat build-up which is normal. All of the parts and the compressor itself are very neatly finished with no sharp edges and some very attractive polished metal components.

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

For a complete list of stockists and how to get your copy, visit: www.railwaymagazinemodelling.co.uk/distributors