View Full Version : Iwata Airbrushes - FYI

02-10-2009, 11:40 AM
Thought I'd post this for anyone who might need the info.

We use Iwata airbrushes for our airbrush makeup. Have been using them for several years, they are workhorses, I wouldn't recommend any other brand.

This year was the first year we had any trouble with them, I had two of our makeup artists complaining that some of the brushes weren't working well, regardless of them cleaning them thoroughly. So at the end of the season I ended up with a few brushes that I figured I would fiddle with and see if I could diagnose the problem. After a couple hours of thorough cleaning and inspection, I gave up, they were working, just not how they typically do.

So I visited the Iwata website, and found that they offer a professional cleaning/ repair service for $25 I called them, they gave me a return authorization, and off went 4 brushes to them.

For the $25 they go through the brushes completely, professionally clean, and replace any necessary parts (extra charge for parts). I just received them back, good as new. Here's the info:


For returns or repairs please call 503-253-7308 ask for an RA (return authorization number) then mail, Fed-Ex or UPS your airbrush or air compressor to:

Iwata Medea, Inc.
1336 N. Mason
Portland, OR 97217
Attn: Repair/RA#_______

** Remember to include your RA#, name, address, phone number, and brief description of the problem or repair desired.

Also, some more fyi, when I was talking on the phone with one of their reps, and explaining what we use them for, I mentioned that we use both the eclipse and the revolution models, and that although less expensive the revolutions seem to work better for the makeup. She let me know that she had heard that from others as well. So, if you're going to buy any brushes, check out the Iwata Revolution.

Even more fyi, during the season one of our makeup artisits replaced the nozzle in one of the eclipse's, one that ended up not working so well. Be very careful to only use the .5 nozzle, not the .3, it's hard to tell the difference between the two (especially with bad eyes).

And heres the major FYI...even if your makeup artist is telling you that they clean the brushes, and you're having problems, they are probably not cleaning them enough. Clean, clean, clean...between colors, between uses, between different types of makeup, and probably several times each night as they are using them...preventative maintenance goes a long way!

All in all, as I said above, we love the Iwata brushes, have tried others with not much success. Would highly recommend to anyone looking at buying equipment. I'm glad I found out that they offer this cleaning/repair service, and figured there are others out there who would like to know about it.


Raycliff Manor
02-12-2009, 09:41 AM
Thanks for the insights Chris! I'm in the process of gathering information and this is very helpful!


02-12-2009, 09:58 AM
Great insights man. Always good to hear POSITIVE things in the industry you know.

I will have to look for them when I am in Canada for the Body Art show. Not sure if they will be. I know my buddy Pashur is going to it and the Wolfe Bros.

Well, good to hear something positive and I will look into them next time I purchase.

02-13-2009, 10:23 PM
I've used Iwata for many years & recommend them all the time.. never had to use the repair service, but that's good to know! thanks!
I use the HP series & have an old 'W' series that is 'my baby' :cool:

Matt Marich
02-14-2009, 07:46 AM
That is a great post, excellent information! I still use my old HP, I've wanted to try the other models as well. I keep mine clean after each use in an Ultrasonic bath. I bought one of these units from Habor Freight and use 90% Alcohol for the solution.


Kevin Dells
02-17-2009, 03:53 PM
Here's a little FYI also to maybe new haunts or haunts that may have the problem and haven't figured it out yet. A LOT of haunts endure cold extremes during the season and the cold plays more havoc on the airbrush then anything out there.

Were in North Carolina and by 2nd or 3rd weekend the temps have dropped enough to cause issues, what happens is the airbrush paints start to get a little more harder and less liquified resulting in a lot more clogging of the guns during the nights use.

We had somebody suggest building a small box to store the paint in during the night as we used it, with a 100 watt bulb mounted in the back of the box keeping the paint warm until needed. Take a color out use what you need and put it back in the box, we built two boxes for each airbrush artist and it worked pretty dang good!

And of course store your airbrush paint during the off week inside in a nice warm place. Like latex and many other chemicals once it freezes it's garbage!

02-17-2009, 06:59 PM
Good input Kevin, sounds like you could probably bake some easy bake oven brownies in there too!

Another thing that can help is to make sure there is no moisture in you air line, we don't have that much of a problem here in Denver because it's so dry, but in other areas I'd pay attention to both the temperature and the humidity.

Speaking of makeup, I will say the Mehron liquid makeup is pretty resilient, we've left some in storage, where it probably froze, and it was still ok. I wouldn't recommend storing it that way, but just in case you think you might forget about it :)

Since we're on the topic, what airbrush makeups are people using? I'm curious, we've been through a few and have settled in on 2 for different reasons/uses, I'm curious what everyone else is using, maybe there's one out there we haven't tried.


Kevin Dells
02-18-2009, 04:19 AM
We buy our airbrush paint from a guy who deals it through a side bussiness through his haunt, he uses it as well but i don't recall the name, worked good though, no problems.

02-18-2009, 07:01 AM
We use Mehron and Graftobian (although Graftobian is a bit pricy, but it looks fabulous).

02-18-2009, 11:00 AM

Are you talking about paint or makeup? Do you know who you got it from, we're always up for trying new products, and he'd probably appreciate the endorsement.


04-03-2009, 12:30 PM
Great info.

How about a description of a solid flexible set up. For multiple colors, do you keep multiple brushes or switch out paints

For multiple stations do you run seperate systems or manifold off a larger compressor?


04-03-2009, 10:11 PM
Your best bet is to manifold off the compressor you use to run your props if you can.

Greg Chrise
04-03-2009, 10:15 PM
With expensive air brushes it is better to just flush them out and change to another color. No manifolds, no high dollar quick disconnects. You end up with mutiple air brushes but each has a different purpose and needle and orifice rating from micron to big larger coverage air brushing.

In your style, these different sizes and coverages may each be a different color or colors are only switched for the final touches.

Manifolds and multiple airbrushes, each with their own color can be done but, it is usually a bunch of cheap airbrushes being used in production that might be thrown away or damaged beyond reliability each season.

Good air brushes get constantly maintained and never allowed to just sit there with paint or some other medium just sitting in the barrel.

It all looks cool in the airbrush books but, you can have $1200 into a manifold or quite a few high dollar airbrushes. People do buy manifold systems but, never use them to there proper level of requiring that much production. Maybe if you were doing non stop Tshirts at the beach or a Mall kiosk and even then it would be to make it look like you were a professional rather than you had to have it.

The more you have, the more that gets screwed up and makes more work to try to fix. When it is expensive stuff that is not something available from just anywhere, this gets to be rather emotional when something gets ruined if not for a dollar figure, how rare and special these things are when something gets ruined. You get very involved in fine tuning the use of your trusted machine. Having to switch to something else sucks.

Jim Warfield
04-03-2009, 10:37 PM
Everyone here seems to be sort of.."anal"? I mean all this talk about trusted expensive tools and we are just talking about a hair brush?
Gregg, how many hair brushes do you need anymore anyhow?

04-04-2009, 09:24 AM
The manifold system we use is just so that every make-up station has it's own airbrush, not multiple brushes at each station. We usually have one person that goes around to each station to make sure the airbrushes have been cleaned every night. Most have Paasche H brushes. When I do make-up at my station I use an EL-CHEAPO brush ($9 or so from Harbor Freight). They aren't designed for any real detail, but great for applying a base coat or high lights.
As for Hairbrushes, we only have one of those. We like to share it. We call it a lice mass transportation system. We are environmentally friendly. ;)

Greg Chrise
04-04-2009, 01:39 PM
I could go to the dollar store right now and buy 6 hair brushes and hook them up on a motor but, I already have too many bald spots to need that. I've always been a comb man. Somehow I was brain washed as a small child to always carry a comb at all times while once a day is enough.

50 years of wearing a spot on my leg for what? Those bastards!

Greg Chrise
04-04-2009, 01:46 PM
Maybe a better way would be six air brushers, six colors, six chairs and the actors getting make up move when the music stops?

Greg Chrise
04-04-2009, 01:49 PM
One airbrush and some roller blades or a slip and slide.

Or all the actors in chairs in a circle and airbrush like in the Matrix.

04-04-2009, 01:58 PM
We use a manifold to run air from a larger compressor to the workstations. Each of the makeup artists typically use one brush (air not hair, cuz that would be gross), flush between colors, yeah, you loose a bit of makeup, but it's pretty quick. Remember my initial post on this, clean, clean, clean, between colors is a good idea if you're switching makeup types.


04-05-2009, 03:28 PM
So where is a good placce to go to buy the Iwata airbrushes?

I checked their website, and they dont sell directly to the public.

04-05-2009, 04:12 PM
I've bought a lot of my Iwatas from Dixie Art (http://www.dixieart.com)

They are decently priced and ship quickly.

04-05-2009, 04:21 PM
Looks good to me. Thanks!