Harder & Steenbeck New Airbrushes | Armorama™

Harder & Steenbeck has announced the new versions of the UItra and Evolution airbrushes

This is partial text from the full article (usually with photos) at https://armorama.com/news/harder-steenbeck-new-airbrushes
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I guess I just found the Christmas present for my self. Huge fan of the Harder & Steenbeck airbrushes.


I have all Iwatas but was given a Harder & Steenbeck Ultra for my birthday. I have to say, I put it through it’s paces and it is one smooth and sweet airbrush.


I’m an Iwata guy too (I’ve got a HP-CS Eclipse with a 0.3 needle for the grunt work, an HP-C with a 0.5 needle for big stuff, an HP-B with a 0.3 needle for whenever I feel like it and I do my detail work with a Custom Micron Takumi and a PS771 with a 0.15 needle for detail work, and a super cheapo Fengda FE180 as a backup and for varnishes and so on) and never got on with the H&S Ultra I learnt on.

I bought a H&S Evolution second hand on Ebay for a super price for my dad a while back and tested it out, just wasnt a fan. It feels super clunky and “agricultural” compared to the high end Iwatas I use so much.

Its funny, I started out with airbrushing with some trepidation and it never really happened for me until I moved to an Iwata Eclipse and started thinning my paints properly. Almost three years on from that move and I think my airbrushing is the biggest (only? hahaha) skill I’ve got and I’ve really developed it and pushed on to - I think - a very respectable standard. Its just a shame my brush painting, building skills and PE are nowhere near the same standard. I didn’t realise what “an airbrush guy” was until I became one, is the point I’m, making.

I prefer Iwatas but find it amazing the results others can get with Paasches, Badgers, H&S’ and in UncleNightshift’s case, just a cheapo $25 Fengda from China. There is some snobbery involved in it but I do prefer Iwatas. I know other guys who don’t rate them.

Lots more to learn but airbrushing remains the most fun part of the hobby for me, even if it is frustrating at times.

I’d be interested to get hold of one of these new Ultras to put it through its paces to see how it goes, better than the Ultra I learned on (the hard way!). It wasnt a bad brush but the lack of control on the trigger was tough to get a handle on. It was a lovely brush to clean though, nice and easy. I think a lot of my struggles back in the day were related to me not thinning my paints correctly and (as I only found out later) trying to thin Tamiya paints with Vallejo thinners and retarders. The finesse of it, the nuance of just putting down barely enough paint to do what you want rather than just bombing it all on there, was a tough thing to learn on the Ultra as the trigger action is the way it is and there is no trigger stop to prevent the back travel on the needle. I dare say I’d be able to get better results using one now, probably.

My favourite brush?

The Creos 771. Finicky at first and not for beginners but once you get the hang of it (and thin your paints correctly) it is a dream. Every bit as good as the Custom Micron Takumi at half the price, and I mean that sincerely. Amazing bit of kit.

Anyway, moving on.

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Well said!

Exactly the same experience & impression here, word for word except I bought a new one. Much prefer my customized Paasche VL over my clunky Harder-Steenbeck Evolution.

There’s definitely a lot of personal preference in airbrush selection. How much one has used a certain type of airbrush also plays a factor. Snobbery is also a factor. Likewise fanboy devotion.

The Iwata Micron B is my “best” airbrush but I’m far more “comfortable” with VL.


Getting the trigger right matters 10x more than Technical Perfection of spray pattern. Iwata gets the trigger more right in my experience, out of the box than the competition. When the trigger is right one gains control, control builds confidence and confidence yeilds satisfying results to the painter.

My customized Paasche VL, with worked trigger, custom button, polished needle, custom matched to cone, crown tip, chopped handle, sealed up with beeswax absolutely wiped the floor with my Harder-Steenbeck Evolution.

I’m amazed how close to the Iwata Micron B, the old dog VL will perform with TLC. Micon B is better in everyway than the VL but not by much. Results might differ more so with inks but with enamels & lacquers, not all that much difference in my experience.

I’m sure if equal time and fiddling were invested into the Harder-Steenbeck Evolution, I’d be happier with it. But really if a high tech precision out of the box HSE can’t out perform a tricked out Paasche VL from the 1930’s, why would I want to fool with HSE?

HSE can beat what I got or go home without me having to tweak their product to make it better than something designed in the 1930’s! I’m probably to harsh on HS but still angry at what a disappointment their over hyped product proved to be to me.

Of course, Iwata bought HS so maybe Iwata “fixed” the trigger feel. That would make for a pretty awesome out of the box HSE airbrush.

Anyway on a serious note.

Any quality airbrush that can be customized to your personal preferences wins in the great airbrush debate🏆

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Isn’t Harder & Steenbeck Made in Germany and Iwata Made in Japan?

I have a H&S, brand new, bought from all the hype online and I haven’t used it much at all. One huge thing that disappointed me was that the chrome (plated?) body is not as robust as an Iwata. I laid the airbrush on my concrete laundry tub sink (I know that I shouldn’t have) when cleaning it and to my amazement, the pebble finish of the concrete imprinted onto the chrome body—the H&S got pitted just by surface touch! WTH? The H&S chrome is so soft that any rough surface literally dented it! The Iwata is much more robust in terms of construction.

I had a lot of fits with my Iwata Eclipse and a lot of it is attributable to Vallejo AIR paints that I read from other modelers really clogs the airbrush practically all the time because adding thinner just clumps up the paint. Windex thins out and breaks down the paint. When airbrushing Gunze Sanyo or Tamiya with Flat Base, my Iwata Eclipse performed well.

I need to use my H&S more to determine how much I like it, but I tell you, if it is so fragile that it cannot be laid on a rough surface whereas the Iwata can, what does that say about chrome plating versus a solid chrome Iwata airbrush?

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Stop wasting your time and get a Grex.

(Mic drop).


Nice a fellow Grex TG user, not many of us around. Love mine with a .2, .3 and .5


I like the pistol grip a LOT.


WOW…a LOT of swing here on the airbrush topic. I have been an “airhead” since 1971, which coincidentally is my current age. I have a Badger 150, Aztec(chrome), Colani, 3 Iwatas, 4 H&S guns, including the new ‘Aluminum’ body version, Sotar 2020, Iwata pistol Grip, Grex regular & Pistol Grip, and a new Gaahleri Swallowtail, oh ya, and a Iwata Takumi. You might ask, WTH does this guy need/do with all those guns…? Well, for one thing, I have been teaching the art to fellow modellers for the last 20 years or so, and I can tell you from 1st hand experience, that any issues folks have with their choice of gun, is almost NEVER with the gun itself… it’s how they mix their paint and maintain the airbrush. Using dissimilar products from all over the farm to thin paint. Using the wrong cleaners. NOT cleaning their guns properly or thouroughly. Improper spray techniques. And finally, expecting perfect results after only a short time of use. I spent 6 months at a technical graphic arts school doing nothing but airbrush practice, practice, and more practice. Sheets and sheets of grid paper putting “dots” where the lines crossed, to get control over the brush. Lines, shades, patterns, tear drops, the lot, in the days when there was no masking sheets. We made our own hand made “frisket paper” from rubber cement and onion skin…! Everyone has a fave gun, and we all have experiences with how they perform for us. I used to race production based street bikes(600 cc class), and was decent at it but never a top flight rider. I’m using this as a comparison to show that a top rung rider on a so-so machine, will beat a mid-packer on a more powerful bike. A real GOOD airhead can make almost any 50 buck gun work for him over the 300 dollar gun in the hands of a rookie. Ya, I know there are some real crappy guns out there that just will not perform, but on average, the pro will win.
Sorry for the long ‘rant’, I just wanted to get this in words after dealing with some very annoying chaps that busted my chops about trying to set a base standard for them to start airbrushing, and they all were moaning about the cost of thinners and why they can’t just use Windex, or straight alcohol. It’s mostly that modellers in our town are so tight they squeak…LOL…!

the hermit


“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low prices is forgotten.” Benjamin Franklin

Honestly, i think it’s hilarious to see someone with a $150 airbrush trying to cut corners on buying the proper, correct or proven thinner/reducer to save $5.


Hear, hear,
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :+1:


@CFster Vallejo Airbrush thinner…

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