Iwata Eclipse HP-CS Airbrush Review – 2023 (What Makes It So Good)

The Iwata Line of Airbrushes are beautiful, smooth and precise.  Is the Eclipse HP-CS worth the extra money?  I believe the answer is clearly yes, and I’ll explain why.

Iwata-Medea is a very well known airbrush manufacturer from Japan.  A quick look at any of their social media pages and you’ll see amazing artwork in all kinds of applications.  Painting, models and miniatures, cosplay and anything else you can think of.  

The Iwata HP-CS was the second airbrush I ever bought and used for miniature painting.  While I have quite a few brushes now, the Iwata is always connected to my compressor and ready to go.  

I tend to reach for it when I’m doing finer detail work, or something I want to be especially smooth with.  

Let’s get going with the TableTopDash Iwata HP-CS Airbrush Review


  • Very well made, with a simple and effective design.  
  • Smooth and precise spray, capable of thin, gentle lines.
  • Very well known brand and model.  It’s been heavily tested by artists who love using it.
  • Smooth and precise trigger
  • 0.35mm needle and nozzle size is ideal for moderate to fine spray patterns.
  • Easy to clean and beginner friendly


  • It’s a bit more money than a baseline airbrush
  • It sits in between a broad spray, and very fine spray.  It’s good for either but not the “best” at either.


  • Airbrush Body:   dual-action, gravity-feed, internal mix 
  • Nozzle and Needle: 0.35mm needle and nozzle combination. 
  • Paint Capacity: 0.24 oz (7 ml)
  • Trigger Control: dual-action trigger mechanism
  • Construction: precision-machined metallic body
  • Recommended PSI Ranges:  25-35 psi is what Iwata recommends
  • Hose Connection:  ⅛ BST connections
  • Manufactured in: Japan

Iwata Eclipse HP-CS Review: Airbrush Overview

The Iwata-Medea Eclipse HP CS won the all around category in the TableTopDash list of Best Airbrushes for Miniatures.  That’s the real advantage of this airbrush.  It’s really good at anything you need it to do.  Simple things like priming a miniature, all the way down to getting very small dot highlights, or really thin lines of paint.  The Iwata can handle it.

If you compare it to our best beginner airbrush, the Badger Patriot 105, the eclipse is more expensive.  Both airbrushes are dual action, gravity feed, internal mix.  What you get for that money though is increase control and precision.  That comes down to two things:  the trigger and the nozzle.  

The HP-CS’s nozzle is 0.35 mm, compared to the Patriots .5 it’s significantly smaller.  That translates to a thinner cone of spray, and therefore more precision.  At the same time, it’s not so small that it clogs constantly or requires you to thin down everything to an almost watery consistency.  

The trigger assembly on the Iwata has a more precise feel to it as well, giving you more control over how much air and paint you release.  

The eclipse was the second airbrush I decided to buy after getting into painting.  It fit my needs in terms of features and more control.  While I do have other airbrushes that are able to do even finer spray than the eclipse, there is very, very little that the eclipse can’t handle.  

Iwata Eclipse HP-CS: Set Up and Best Airbrush Compressor to Use

No set up is required for the airbrush itself.  It comes ready to go out of the box.  The paint cup is part of the body, and is not detachable.  You can lubricate the trigger, and Iwata does include lube in the kit for you.

What you will need is a compressor and an air hose. 

The compressor I use and recommend is the  Zeny Professional Airbrush Compressor.  I’ve had it for years and it’s never failed me.  I like that is includes everything you want:  adjustable pressure valve, auto shut off, air tank and a 1/5 horsepower motor.  Without any features you wont use.

The Zeny includes teflon tape to help seal up the connections and includes a hose that will fit the Iwata.  

The compressor itself requires a bit of assembly.  Just a few simple screw in items:  the pressure gauge and water trap simply screw on the front.  Then screw on the hose to the compressor nozzle, and screw the hose on to the airbrush on the opposite end.  

From there it’s a matter of plugging in the compressor and turning it on.  Air should flow and fill the tank.  Once it hits the air pressure you set, the compressor will automatically turn of until it’s needed again. 

As you use the airbrush and use pressure, it will kick on again to refill the tank. 

If you notice the compressor turning on a lot, or not shutting, you might have a leak in your hose or a loose connection.

Iwata suggests pressures between 25 and 35 psi.  I personally set mine right around 25 or a touch higher and that works for me.  I will occasionally go higher or lower PSI but it’s rare.

Iwata Eclipse HP-CS Review:  Cleaning and Maintaining

I’m happy to report that the eclipse is very easy to clean and maintain.  I learned to clean my airbrush two ways:  Done for the Day, and Deep Cleaning.  So when I teach cleaning and maintenance it’s with those two methods in mind.

I’ve fully outlined both, along with how to change colors, in this article on airbrush cleaning.  I’ll go ahead and summarize here for you:

  1. Use a squeeze bottle full of water to flush out the paint cup.
  2. Dump any used paint and water out.
  3. Backfill your airbrush by adding water, covering the tip with a nozzle cap or paper towel, forcing air back into the paint cup. (The Iwata has a great needle cap that allows me to just use my finger to cover it, but be careful not to get poked)
  4. Use a baby wipe to give the inside of the paint cup and the needle tip a quick clean.
  5. Fill paint cup with water and spray into an airbrush cleaning pot.
  6. Loosen needle chucking nut and remove the needle.  
  7. Wipe the needle with a baby wipe or paper towel with airbrush cleaning fluid on it.
  8. Replace needle, tighten needle chucking nut.
  9. Fill paint cup with airbrush cleaning fluid and spray into airbrush cleaning pot.

This process is very easy to do and doesn’t take long.  You’ll do this when you’re done airbrushing for the day.

For a deep clean, you’ll need to disassemble it fully and possibly give it some time in an ultrasonic cleaner.  

Iwata Airbrush Brand Quality:


Very high quality materials in general with Iwata and the eclipse is no exception.  The beauty of these airbrushes are the simple and effective design.  It’s not a complex mechanism.  

They are made to give you good paint flow, excellent accuracy and reliability.  

One of the reasons I can recommend the HP-CS is how many people use them regularly.  Widely used products will get tested in many applications, and any issues the airbrush might have will be talked about.  In the case of the Iwata, users almost universally like using it.


This goes along with what I was saying above:   Iwata has been around a long time and has established their reputation for quality airbrushes. 

It’s a bit convoluted but the simple version is:  Iwata-Medea is the US division of Anest Iwata, a Japanese company that manufactures airbrushes and air compressors.  Anest Iwata itself is much larger than just an airbrush company though.  

Here is a timeline of the company that I pulled from several sources including Anest Iwata’s site:

  • 1926: Anest Iwata Corporation is founded.
  • 1930: The first Iwata airbrush is introduced.
  • 1960: Iwata airbrushes are exported to the United States.
  • 1975: Iwata-Medea is incorporated in Oregon to distribute Iwata airbrushes in the United States.
  • 1980: Iwata introduces the HP-C airbrush, which is one of the most popular airbrushes ever made.
  • 1985: Developed the world’s first electric, articulated painting robot together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
  • 1990: Iwata introduces the Eclipse airbrush, which is another popular airbrush that is still in production today.
  • 2000: Iwata introduces the Custom 85 airbrush, which is a high-end airbrush that is used by professional artists.
  • 2023: Iwata continues to be a leading manufacturer of airbrushes in Japan.


The Eclipse HP-CS is a mid range airbrush that is made to be a notch or two above the entry level brushes.  It is made for people who want a higher end experience and not necessarily the cheapest option.  If you fit that description, the airbrush has a lot of value.

You get more control and precision in a very reliable tool.  At this price point it is very competitive.

What Paints Can I Use in the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS?

All the paints.  Seriously though Iwata rates this class of airbrush as “versatile”.  Their definition of versatile means it was made to be “high flow” and can accommodate a wide range of sprayable mediums.  Meaning if it’s a liquid paint, you can probably spray it.

I use acrylic paint almost exclusively, which can be rather thick out of the bottle.  I recommend thinning that down, unless you are already using airbrush paint.  Airbrush paints are pre-thinned for use in an airbrush.  

The most commonly used brands in miniature painting include Vallejo, Citadel, Army Painter, Pro Acryl, Scale 75, Reaper and P3.  While you can use cheaper options like craft paint, the results will not be as good. 

If you’re spraying something porous like styrofoam or cardboard, craft paint might be fine.  For resin and plastic miniatures, I highly recommend a good brand paint for best results.

Other Needle and Nozzle Sizes Available:

You can get a .5 mm needle and nozzle for the Eclipse.  It’s an easy swap and remember you need both the needle and nozzle to be .5mm so buy both.  I personally keep mine at the .35 because I use my Patriot 105 at .5mm, but it is an option to be aware of.

Best 2nd Airbrush to Pair with the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS?

You can go one of two ways with this:  A super fine option, or a more broad option.  

Infinity CR+ is a very high end airbrush with a .2 and a .4mm set included.  This is what I would consider the #1 high end airbrush for miniature painting available.

While it is amazing at high-detail, I would only recommend this to experienced users and painters.

Badger Patriot 105 is my workhorse airbrush.  It’s great for all your day to day painting, and then save the Iwata HP-CS for your detail work and highlighting.

The 105 is a great airbrush and perfect for beginners, but if you want one and only one airbrush to grow with, my choice is the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS.

The Iwata Eclipse HP-CS Airbrush Review:  Summing it All Up

This particular airbrush has a whole lot going for it.  The non-negotiable features are all there:  gravity feed airbrush, dual action trigger, internal mix. 

It’s a great first airbrush that give efficient paint flow through a 0.35mm nozzle.  Miniature painters, modelers and artists all use it and give it high marks.

This is very capable of fine lines, as well as your day to day priming, varnishing and base coating.  

Maintenance is no problem, it’s easier to clean the needle on this than my other airbrushes.  Simple to disassemble and take apart for cleaning, replacement parts are readily available, and it comes with a small wrench and iwata lube.  

If you want to try using an airbrush, this needs to be on your short list.  

I wanted to end off with a few common questions I had when I was researching these, and some others I see asked in forums frequently:

  • What is the difference between the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS and the Iwata Eclipse HP-BS?

The only difference between the two airbrushes is the paint cup size. The HP-CS has a 0.24 oz (7 ml) cup and the HP-BS has a 0.05 oz (1.50 ml) cup.  They are both gravity-feed airbrushes, dual action and internal mix . All of the eclipse series airbrushes have a .35mm needle size to start.  

  • Can I change the needle size on the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS?

Yes, I mentioned this above but you can change the needle size on the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS. The airbrush comes with a 0.35mm needle, but you can also buy a 0.5mm needle. Changing the needle size will change the size of the spray pattern, larger needle gives a wider spray.  So the .5mm will be a wider spray than the .35m.

  • How do I adjust the air pressure on the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS airbrush?

The air pressure going to the airbrush is controlled on your compressor.  Not all compressors have an adjustable gauge so check our recommendations for that.  The Iwata Hi-Line series of airbrush has a MAC valve on it that allows you to adjust the air pressure from the airbrush itself.  The eclipse series does not have this feature.  Here is an image of the Hi Line, you can see the MAC valve on the under side of the paint cup:

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