Sagyma | SW770 Double Action Airbrush

Reviewed by Rato Marczak

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First Look

If you ever wondered about an Iwata-like airbrush, costing one third of its price, I think I've just found it. This is a new airbrush called Sagyma model SW770, a gravity feed double action airbrush with built in pressure regulator and a 0.25 mm fluid nozzle. In fact, except for the lateral opening in the main body and a smaller nozzle cap, it seems a copy of the Iwata HP-C Plus. It is a Chinese brand. However, this is a high quality product. After the dealer, Sagyma is a well known spray gun brand in USA and Europe, but never made its name famous due to the fact that they trade their products under the brands of the local, third party machining companies hired in each country. In Brazil they adopted the original name.

The product comes in a nice acrylic case with contents protected by high impact foam. It comes with a complete airbrush, a screwless hose adapter and a nozzle wrench. The quality of the tooling is very high, and unless you look very closely, you will believe it is a Iwata.

The main body of the airbrush is made of chrome plated parts, with the aft handle in Aluminum, ensuring it completely safe to spray lacquer thinners. The air valve screw is the same of Tamiya Spray-Work series, so if you have a Badger hose, you'll need the Tamiya adapter (item #93010). The other option is to use the adapter that comes in the set for friction fitted hoses. The needle has a high pitch adjusting screw at the end of the handle, which is a welcome help to spray constant width lines. Of course you can leave it open to allow full amplitude trigger stroke, or take it off the airbrush to remove the needle without the need to unscrew the aft handle.

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After the dealer, the nozzle/air cap system is self-centering. Like the Iwatas, the nozzle cap has only a protective function, avoiding a complete exposure of the needle. And since the nozzle is 0.25 mm, the needle is very fragile at its end. Too bad an extra needle is not provided. A common feature of high performance airbrushes is their ability to spray without the needle cap attached, something a Testors or a Badger airbrush cannot do (except for the Sotar 20/20). This feature is particularly important to spray very fine lines, since the needle cap always produce some turbulence when the atomized paint leaves the nozzle.

Removal of the air cap reveals the fluid nozzle, which is sealed by an o-ring. I don't like this type of seal, but the manufacturer assured me it is thinner resistant. They also advised me that it's not necessary to remove the nozzle after each painting section. Since it is a very delicate part, you should remove it only in case of clogged nozzle, or occasionally for a complete clean-up.

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A useful feature of this airbrush, copied from the Iwata as well, is the built in pressure regulator. Basically, it is a valve installed inside the airbrush responsible for controlling the air pressure the air reaches the air opening. Although you can't read the exact pressure, this is a very handy device: you set your compressor/cylinder pressure (maybe slightly higher than usual, say 15-20 psi), and perform a quick fine-tuning for the mix you have just loaded to your gun, without taking your eyes off the bench. You can even shut the air completely. Leaving it full open, you have the same pressure you adjusted in your compressor/cylinder. Note that (particularly in the case of compressed air) the pressure you set in your compressor regulator is not exactly the same that your airbrushing valve is delivering (head loss, technically speaking).

The gravity feed cup has a 9 ml (1/3 oz.) fluid capacity, which will allow you to load enough paint for a large project. It comes with a chrome plated lid to avoid paint spills. Trust me, you will thank for it sooner or later. The fluid cup is deep in comparison to other airbrushes, but it you can easily reach any spot with a cotton swab due to the absence of recesses or cutouts.

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I played a bit with this airbrush for this review. Having tried a Iwata a few times before, I can tell you the SW770 perform pretty much like that, except for an annoying click when the air valve is triggered. It weights about the same of a Badger 100, and the needle action is very smooth. I made some tests using water soluble inks (my standard test for airbrushes) to see how it works when pushed.

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On my very first trial, I found this tool produce an excellent atomization pattern for a wide range of pressures. I started with 8 psi and increased the pressure up to 25 psi, and the gun performed very well in all tests. I was able to paint very fine lines by removing the needle cap, and almost touching the surface with the needle (watch out, don't bend it!). More than the spray patterns obtained (agreed, they could be done with a number of other brands), what impressed me the most was the easiness with that I sprayed fine lines and mottling. Honestly, way easier than with my trusty Badger workhorse.

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You all know how to clean an airbrush. As a rule, however, I always remove the needle and clean it separately (in this case, just remove the aft handle and release the needle chucking nut). The manufacturer instructions simply tell you to wash the fluid cup with solvent using a brush, refill the cup with solvent, and block the needle cover with your finger to backflush the remaining paint in the nozzle. This was probably copied from the original Iwata instructions, which doesn't have a crown needle cap. The SW770 has a crown type cap, and then the backflush trick won't work very well. If you can, use another airbrush to flush the nozzle with air. It really was a simple operation, anyway. I left mine shine as new (including the needle) in less than five minutes.

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An excellent airbrush. For its price - approx. 80.00 USD, few airbrushes can match its price/performance ratio. The 0.25 mm fluid nozzle will allow for use of most media. Being smaller than the 0.30+ nozzle of the Badgers and Testors, and larger than the 0.18/0.20 high precision airbrushes, you can do both jobs - large cammo and fine detail/mottling/touch ups - in any scale using the same tool. And by the way, it is a good idea to get a spare needle. Parts replacement can be an issue, though, if you don't have a dealer in your country. The dealer assured me that that their products are available in most countries, possibly under different names, though.

You can find more info about this airbrush with the Brazilian dealer Yamar Tools & Machines (where I got mine) through their web-site or by e-mail. Don't forget to mention Large Scale Planes.

© Rato Marczak 2007

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This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016