Okay, who has never wanted an Olympos? They’ve always been at the top of my wishlist along side Iwata.
Then I got my Iwata, actually a few of them, and a few other brands. But the Olympos has always eluded me. The main reason is that they were no longer available in the shops. But they still have their online shop. No problem you say. Most businesses ship worldwide and so do they. Yes but have you ever dealt with the South African postal service? You can not order anything to come through regular mail anymore. It will most likely never make it or if it does, it will be six to ten months late. And using a courier will just eat into the money you are saving.
Then I turned to Ebay and found a HP-100SB. The seller is an authorised seller and sells new airbrushes, the same ones you would have gotten if you bought from the Japanese site.
The HP-100SB falls in the same range as the older Iwata HP-SB. It was at a great price and the seller had free shipping to my mail forwarding box. It took a couple of weeks and I had it in my hands.
I knew the Japanese shop sold them without cases and that is a reason a they were cheaper so I assumed these would be without as well. And I was right. It came very well wrapped in bubble wrap inside a sturdy box.
You don’t get much.It’s just the gun, the cup and the little wrench. And that was when my heart started beating faster. Now I just want to get paint in it and get going.
First thing I do with any new airbrush is to strip it and clean off all the factory oils and waxes. It comes apart just like any Iwata does. I did not remove the nozzle or the airvalve as I did not see it necessary. What you will notice is that it does not have a teflon packing nut seal. That is a few extra dollars.
Then I started comparing it to my Iwata Micron. I know it is not in the model range it just look way to similar to ignore the similarities. They are the same size and weight.
The distances from the cup to the end of the needle caps are also the same. The Olympos looks longer because the head, which does not remove by the way, starts to taper earlier.
The cups are almost identical. The Iwata one has a better finish to it on the inside.
(Olympos on the left, Iwata on the right)
(Olympos on the left, Iwata on the right)
I tried to remove the bottom of the cup but it did not want to budge. I poured some water in to see if it would help. When it came off it was filthy. I gave it a good cleaning and all was okay again.
By inspecting the the Olympos a little closer and comparing its finish to the Iwata, you realise why they are cheaper. The chrome has a slight texture and that is because the brass and all the coatings leading up to the chroming were not up to standard.
You can see how much smoother the finish is on the Iwata compared to the Olympos.
Here you can see how bad the welding/braising/filling (whatever they do) is. They just let it be and plated right over it.
Mine also came with a ding on the cup mounting hole.
Okay fine, they offer an airbrush that is a fraction of the price of its counterpart by not spending tons of money on the finish. So how does it spray?
I struggled in the beginning because I got wider line horisontally then vertically. I looked under the loupe and the needle had a slight bind in. And boy is that needle sharp. It is almost concave. When I tried to bend it straight, it just broke off. I got advise to just sharpen the point again and it worked.
After a few hours of playing I could feel it is not my Iwatas with their softer springs. I dug out the placements and was painting again three minutes later.
What I did see was that the air spring was already modified. I read about this but thought it would not be necessary to fit my Zsolt spring. I would have actually liked it if I got it un modified. I never do anything to original part so that I could return the gun to what it was. Here you can see the air spring that’s been shortened.
I also fitted my modified crown cap so that I could see what I was doing.
Okay, now I was ready to paint. I felt really comfortable and the blend it produced was super smooth. With the correct paint, it just loves low pressure. I had a teaspoon full of Trident Tru-black and it went on forever at 5psi (0.35bar).
Trident smells like it is more than a water-based paint. There are some chemicals in it. When I used true waterbased E’tac, the results were different. I tried with light grey and not white as white is a nightmare no matter what brand you use.
I compared it with my Eclipse and Micron. This way I could just move the cup from gun to gun without losing paint have to mix a new batch. This is about a 1:4 (paint:water) mixture at about 10psi (0.69bar).
Even the Eclipse with its 0.35 nozzle gaver smoother and finer lines. The Micron was just showing off.
If you want an Olympos because I can not afford an Iwata, then you will be disappointed. If you want to replace your no-name Chinese one, then this is a step in the right direction.
Believe me, if someone could make a product the quality of Iwata for cheaper, then they would have. I think it costs what it does because it delivers what it does.
UPDATE: (15 February 2018)
I replaced the stock needle and nozzle with ones from the HP line from Iwata. What an improvement. Totally different machine. The needle just feels tougher as soon as you remove it from the packaging. But make sure it’s the old HP line and not the new HP+ ones. The thread is different on the nozzle.