Airbrush cleaning 101


A typical airbrush

Today I’m going to tell you how to clean your airbrush. Now, you may be an expert at airbrushing and you know all the tips and tricks, but follow along anyway. For the new airbrush owners out there cleaning your airbrush is very, very important. I cannot stress enough how important cleaning your airbrush is. These are the steps that I’ve taken with mine.

It begins when I want to airbrush something. I put the paint in with a little thinner, crank up the compressor and spray. Oh crap, the paint is spidering all over the part. Ok, take the paint out of the cup, clean the cup thoroughly and check my paint. Uh oh, the paint is thicker than molasses and that’s why it didn’t go through the airbrush. I try again, less paint than before, a little more thinner, and what do you know, it still doesn’t run through!

At this point I put away the paint and look through my paint collection. I see nothing that looks like the other shade of paint. So I realize I must break down the airbrush for a thorough clean.

Ok, turn the compressor off, take out the set screw with the little hex wrench, dropping the set screw in the process, unscrew the cone tip, take out the needle. Soak the cleaning brushes in thinner and go to town on the needle, realizing that I should have put on gloves. This is messy.

Dry off the needle and make sure it looks good and clean. Spend five minutes looking for the set screw I lost earlier. Put the tip and needle back in place, tighten the set screw and drop the hex wrench. Hell, it’ll work this time.

Turn on the compressor, add paint and thinner, fiddle with the paint flow and air pressure for ten minutes. Turn the paint flow 5mm to the left, a little bit of paint comes out. Turn it a little more, nothing. Turn it back the other way, a little bit of paint. Turn it a little more, nothing. 

Then I look at the tip. Maybe it’s clogged. So I run a cleaning brush across the tip, eliminating a tiny bit of dry paint. Okay, I try again. No paint at first, then I turn the paint flow 5mm to the right, a little bit of paint comes out. Turn it a little more, nothing. Turn it back the other way, a little bit shoots out. 

Now I realize the needle and tip might be clean, but the intake from the cup might be clogged. Get the cleaning brushes soaked in thinner and clean out the cup intake. Really get in there deep and push the brush in really deep to clear the crud out. Bend the cleaning brush to an angle impossible to straighten out. I expect a lot of crud to come out, but very little does.

Now, after washing my hands and donning gloves, I put the airbrush back together (after finding my hex wrench.) Put a little bit of paint in the cup with a few drops of thinner, stir well. Okay, now is the big moment.

Turn the compressor on, adjust the air pressure, and slowly press the trigger. 


I turn the paint flow 5mm to the right, a little bit of paint comes out. Turn it a little more, nothing. Turn it back the other way, a little bit shoots out. 

I give up, put the airbrush away, grab a spray can and re-paint the part with a slightly different color. 


NOTE: the preceding has been a work of satire. Cleaning your airbrush usually is not this difficult, so read all you can about how to clean it properly.

New model started!

Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I’ve put the stealth fighter decals on hold for now. I’ve started a Transam Blackbird model, Smokey and the Bandit style! Here’s a few photos of the body:

I sanded off the mold lines, put on a few coats of primer and sanded it smooth. Next is the color coat. Wish me luck!

Godzilla model kits!

In honor of the new trailer for “Godzilla King of the Monsters”, I decided to cover the field of Godzilla and related model kits. There have been many issued over the years and re-issued in the last few years, both of the big green guy and his allies and foes.

I went to Scalemates and did a search for these model kits and there are quite a few of them. I also looked on eBay and saw the prices of some of the kits available. Needless to say, the classic kits do command higher prices.

There are kits of Godzilla, Rodan, King Ghidra, various ships designed to defeat Godzilla, Mecha Godzilla and more, all in different scales (ha!) and skill levels. Some like the Aurora kits which have been re-issued by Polar Lights are the more 60s style of Godzilla while others are more modern interpretations or even the smaller Chibi style.

Whatever your preference for Godzilla and related monster movie kits there is sure to be one that you want to put together yesterday. I’m going to put a link to the Scalemates page of Godzilla kits because I don’t want to duplicate their effort here.

Scalemates Godzilla page

So go track down a Godzilla model kit and have fun!