Iwata is well known in the art industry for its high-performing Iwata airbrushes, air compressors, and paints.
Since 1982, the company’s ethos has been to “Create A Great Experience for the makers and creators of the world.”
However, the emergence of many cheap airbrush tools and pens on the market means beginners often go for these lesser or no-name brands over Iwata.
So, this is where the Neo comes in. As its name suggests, it’s aimed at airbrush beginners.
The Neo airbrush is made for Iwata in China, and overall, this is a good entry-level airbrush that is affordable and effective.
The brush is pretty versatile and can be used for numerous applications types.
Iwata describes the brush as delivering “soft, effortless coverage at low air pressures,” which they say makes it ideal for many types of spray applications.
So, before we delve into the details, let’s start with the specs.
|Spray Performance Category||Effortless coverage|
|Series||NEO for Iwata|
|Spray Scale||Fine to wide|
|Optimal Working Pressure||08 – 20 psi (0.06 – 0.14 Mpa)|
|Head System||N3 – needle, needle cap, nozzle, nozzle cap|
|Paint Capacity||Cup: 0.10 ounces
|Paint Capacity||Cup: 0.24 ounces
|Net Weight (lbs)||0.20|
|Net Weight (kg)||0.09|
|Assembled Dimensions (inches)||1.06 x 5.88 x 2.75|
|Assembled Dimensions (millimeters)||27 x 150 x 70|
The NEO CN Gravity Feed Dual Action Airbrush has a detachable 0.24 ounce/7-milliliter fluid cup with a large lid for color mixing and an additional 0.10 ounce/3-milliliter color cup that is ideal when using small amounts of spray medium.
The Neo allows you to achieve fine atomization with the smallest air compressors, making it ideal for first-time airbrushers who don’t want to break the bank.
Who the NEO Is For
As the name suggests, the Neo is best suited to entry-level airbrushers.
It’s ideal for anyone who wants medium-range detail and coverage area and is a beginner in airbrushing or has some experience/knowledge of the art.
It’s great for anyone who wants to achieve atomization at low air pressures and offers a range of feature and model options.
Iwata recommends using the NEO for applications requiring between 5 and 35 psi and smaller air compressors that produce a maximum of 20 psi.
Iwata categorizes its airbrushes in five different ways. They design each airbrush with a specific spray performance and spray scale in mind.
When airbrushes atomize the liquid, they produce either tiny droplets for making distinct lines or a fine mist.
So, whether or not the Neo is for you largely depends on what type of spray you hope to achieve.
Iwata’s “five ways to spray” consist of the following:
- Absolute precision.
- Total control.
- All-star versatility.
- Effortless coverage.
- Full finish.
The Neo fits into the “effortless coverage” range, providing a medium-level spray and coverage that is soft and easy to apply even at low air pressures.
This is what makes it great for beginners as it doesn’t require expert precision or control.
That said, it is still good for detailed applications, particularly on models.
The brush has a slow flow of paint, and the 0.35-millimeter tip makes it capable of spraying fine lines.
If you’re looking for an airbrush that can provide extreme detail, however, you may be better off looking at Iwata’s custom micron series instead.
The Neo airbrush has a good, heavy feel with the weight being slightly nose heavy before you’ve installed the hose (this isn’t supplied, by the way).
The airbrush comes with a 0.35 needle and large 1/3-ounce cup (with lid) installed, a small 1/16-ounce spare cup (without lid), and a spanner for removal of the air nozzle.
The large cup is an ideal size for most jobs; however, a slight drawback is that there is no lid for the smaller cup, but this isn’t surprising considering the low price of this airbrush.
Overall the airbrush has a quality feel despite the low price.
The nozzle and needle are protected by a tough-looking crown.
However, this will possibly make re-chucking the needle a little trickier as you will have to rely on touch rather than touch and sight.
The air cap is large, with its surface designed to aid removal. A layer of grease on the thread helps prevent air leaks.
However, I did notice that there’s no additional air seal for added protection against spillages.
The small size of the paint nozzle shouldn’t be underestimated, and if you have larger hands, this can be a little tricky to handle without dropping or damaging.
The diamond pattern on the needle-chucking nut helps aid grip, and while there isn’t a trigger tension nut, the barrel can be wound out to adjust the tension if you wish.
Thankfully, the little “tongue” that presses against the trigger back is secured to the tensioner, so you need not worry about losing it, and a small copper-colored spring provides the tension.
There are some disparities between the reviews of the Neo, with some users loving it, and others claiming to have nothing but issues with the airbrush.
However, apparently Iwata is happy to help if you do find you get a “bad” Neo.
Finding replacement parts for the Neo can also be a little tricky, but hopefully, this will improve in the future.
One thing to bear in mind is how delicate the Neo airbrush is, which I guess could be a benefit and a drawback all at once.
For absolute beginners though, they might find the Neo to be a little too fragile.
The fine 0.35-millimeter needle and the tiny, delicate nozzle with the O-ring can make it difficult to handle for those not used to airbrushing.
Another feature I’d like to highlight is the narrow gap between the nozzle and the nozzle cap.
This means that if a user presses too hard when installing the needle or should the needle slam forward when the trigger is released, the nozzle could flare.
Of course, this can happen with any airbrush.
However with the Neo, there is very little space for airflow to begin with, so your spray pattern could be affected if this happens.
Bang for Your Buck
Overall, the Neo provides great bang for your buck, and in terms of value for money, it’s probably one of the best on the market.
Iwata designed the Neo to compete with some of the cheaper Chinese-made airbrushes on the market, and while Neo is not manufactured by Iwata but assembled in China, it still has a quality feel to it without breaking the bank.
It’s also frequently on sale or promoted online, so you may be able to get it for an even lower price than usual.
- Great bang for your buck.
- 0.35 tip for fine application.
- Two cup sizes included.
- Ideal for first-time airbrushers.
- Perfect for painting models.
- Works well with low air pressure.
- No lid with small 1/16-ounce spare cup.
- The delicate tip and body of the airbrush may not be ideal for beginners.
The Iwata Neo Cn Gravity Feed Dual Action Airbrush overall meets my expectations.
This is an affordable, good quality airbrush that is well suited for those who want a medium spray level with the ability to apply detail, making it ideal for those who are spraying models and features.
Because the brush isn’t manufactured by Iwata themselves but in China, it’s of lesser quality compared with other Iwata brushes.
However, overall it still feels well balanced and provides a clean application.
While the spray application type is well suited to entry-level airbrushers, the delicate design and tip of the brush make it a little difficult to take apart and reassemble, which may be problematic for an absolute beginner.
It would also be useful if the spare 1/16-ounce cup came with a lid, just for extra peace of mind and to protect from spillages.
Overall though, this airbrush provides a medium-range detail and achieves atomization at low air pressures.
On Amazon, it has many highly positive reviews where it’s praised for its smooth and precise application and easy cleaning.
Generally, people found that it was of far better quality than some of the other entry-level brushes on the market with some even claiming that it competed with some of Iwata’s higher-end airbrushes.
Taking into consideration the cost of the airbrush, I think the Neo provides great bang for your buck and is definitely worth the money.
Sure, it could be improved, but it also competes with some of the more expensive brushes and costs a fraction of the price, which overall, is pretty impressive.