High spec, pistol grip tool at an attractive price

I've spent the past few weeks trying out a new airbrush in the 'Neo for Iwata' range, and have been impressed with the results. Offering high spec tools at lower prices than the 'real' Iwata range, this airbrush compliments the very impressive Neo 'CN' dual action airbrush released last year. The pistol-style handle and trigger is really comfortable and saves the old aching fingers, especially when working on larger models or when doing any scenic work. There's an adjustable needle travel guide at the back too, that governs the amount of paint emitted, thus offering a safeguard against putting too much liquid down too soon. There's also a choice of 3 paint cups supplied, to suit different sized jobs.

Build quality appears impressive and the performance is jolly good. This TRN2 is a side-feed unit with a 0.5mm needle/nozzle combo, and so is a real maid of all work. It's especially suited to priming and overall livery coats, as well as varnishing and other general tasks. I've managed to do some decent weathering on OO gauge models, but getting very fine streaks is asking a bit much. Instead, a gravity-fed version, with a 0.35mm nozzle is also available with the same trigger style, the TRN1.

Stripping the tool down for cleaning is easy, although I did manage to break part of the nozzle, although I suspect that my advance review sample had had a rough time in the post, as it wasn't packaged in the fetching (and secure) box that the production tools will be. Either that, or it was my incompetence(?!). Once I'd apologised profusely and received a replacement, I've been using the TRN2 solidly for a month with no complaints. Besides, a 5 year warranty is provided with these tools - if bought from a licensed dealer - so the makers are very confident that they'll last.

You can tell that this Taiwanese-made tool is not a 'real' Iwata, as it feels lighter and it lacks the supreme finishing of the Japanese airbrushes. But then, you're looking at near £300 for an Iwata Revolution TR2 with an equivalent spec. At £130, the Neo TRN2 looks to be worth the investment.

If I could sum it up in terms of 1980s Ford cars, the Neo TRN2 could be likened to the erstwhile Escort GL, as compared to a 'real' Iwata being the top of the range Granada (were they called 'Scorpios'?). The cheaper model may lack the superior engineering and extra attention to detail, but it still has the potential to be a reliable workhorse, with more 'trim' than the Escort 'Popular' model and certainly more power than a Fiesta!

For more info, see the Airbrush Company's website and look out for a full review in Model Rail magazine in the next few months.


  1. I would agree with you comments as the TRN2 appearsidentical to the Sparmax GP50. There is a review on Scale Plastic and Rail comparing the Sparmax GP35 to the similar Iwata pistol grip model and it comes out very well. I would conclude that the Neos, at 130 pounds are over priced by about 50 pounds compared the Sparmax equivalents and not such good value.

  2. Hi, I've never tried any Sparmax airbrushes so can't really comment on them as far as a comparison is concerned. You'd have to look at the materials used in both, along with the standard of manufacture as well as performance and specification.
    Incidentally, I've also been trialling the Neo TRN1 in the last two weeks and that has felt even better than the TRN2, although they're the same price - the TRN1 has a finer needle and a choice of gravity feed cups and it's proving to be a much more versatile tool, making the rrp seem better value. Probably like a Cortina, to keep the old Ford car comparisons! Look out for a review of the TRN1 here and in Model Rail mag, once I've completed my thorough road test...

  3. Hi Fellas,

    I have the feeling that there is a tie-up between Sparmax and Iwata (I believe that the former has made/makes compressors for the latter). Sparmax manufacture in Taiwan (where the Neo's are also made). A lot of the van based mobile car-body repairers use Sparmax products with superb results.

    I see that one of the bigger tool suppliers were supplying a trigger (single action) airbrush and that could well have been a Sparmax too.

    I asked one UK supplier/importer if they would approach Iwata with a view to Iwata introducing a Neo version of their trigger based - dual action - airbrushes (as the Sparmax version was - and is - sporadic in terms of supply in the UK).

    I see that the NEO TRN1 & 2 are now available which is a good move by Iwata as that covers off several market sectors/segments - for those not wanting to spend/cant justify the more expensive Iwatas.

    I also understand that Sparmax has made, good quality, introductory, airbrushes for one of the larger UK airbrush specialists too. I seem to remember Model Rail were giving them away with a years subscription at one time.

    The thing to remember with, eg. the GB-50 and the TRN2 is that the TRN2 comes with an extra paint bottle and a 5 year warranty (I think that the Sparmax only comes with 1 year). The handles are, of course, slightly different too. So one pays their money and makes their choice. Some of the Sparmax range are a little harder to get in the UK and I wonder if that may be due to a trade agreement between Sparmax and Iwata?

    I have an Iwata - which is superb. Yet Sparmax and Neo certainly seem to offer super products at a fair price.

    I hope that helps to shed some more light on the subject.


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