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Airbrush Maintenance 101

Maintaining your best hobby tools to keep them at their peak condition is a fundamental part of scale modeling. Here's a quick and easy guide to cleaning out your Airbrush kit for models and miniatures.

“Keeping your tools clean is the best way to become a better modeler. - Mr. Hobby”


While there are many types of Airbrushes available in the hobby, the Double Action Gravity Feed type is the most common modern Airbrush. We'll be using the standard Otaku ME Airbrush Double Action for this demonstration.


Cleaning out an Airbrush might be a cumbersome task, but it's one worth doing.

    You'll need the following:
    1. Tool Cleaner (or an equivalent cleaning fluid)
    2. Tissue paper
    3. Small wire brushes. (Found in Airbrush Maintenance kits)
    4. Metal Dishes or pallets to hold liquid. (Plastic will not work as tool cleaner is strong enough to dissolve through)
    5. A pair of Gloves and a Facemask if you may be sensitive to Tool Cleaner

    Knowing the basic parts of an Airbrush’s system is very useful information.

    Study them by disassembling the Airbrush into the main key components. These include:

    1. The Nozzle - The point of exit for paint and airflow
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    3. The back-end lid - This protects the inner chambers and mechanisms of the Airbrush
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    5. Needle - A precise component that determines and controls the accuracy of your paint flow, tightly secured in place with a fastener.
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    Pro Tip: It helps to take photos of the disassembly process to retrace these steps when reassembling the Airbrush.

    Why should I clean and maintain my Airbrush?
    In the world of fine-scale modeling, precision is of utmost importance. Without proper maintenance, an Airbrush can get clogged over time with repeated uses, and often leads to uneven paint splatters which ruin the precision factor in painting. In the worst case, the paint may not even exit the nozzle at all if cleaning is completely neglected.

    How often should I maintain my Airbrush?
    A quick cleaning can be done after each paint job, though regular cleaning is recommended at least once every week of use.

    Can I use paint thinners instead of tool cleaners?
    Paint thinners can work in a pinch, though it's best to save them for the actual paintwork. Tool cleaner is a more potent and volatile solvent, dedicated to cleaning tools by easily dissolving paint and grime away.

    Tool Cleaner is not paint thinner and is not meant for plastic surfaces. Please avoid using it to directly clean up parts of your model kit as doing so will most likely damage and melt parts away.

    For a simple method of cleaning:

    Pour out the tool cleaner into the cup of the Airbrush and pull back on the trigger while your Airbrush is still connected to an Air Compressor. The Backflow of air causes the fluid to splash, cleaning the cup and inner-chamber.

    The remaining excess liquid can be dumped into Tissue paper to wipe the cup, cap, nozzle, and tip clean.

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    Since the needle controls the main point of exit on the tip of an Airbrush, it often gets coated with layers of paint too.


    Unscrew the back-end lid and fastener that secures the needle in the housing and slide it out.
    A Tissue damped with Tool Cleaner can also be used to wipe the paint away.

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    For a more thorough method of cleaning:


    Airbrush maintenance kits will include a set of wire brushes, essential tools as they can reach the tight and narrow crevices within the inner chamber of the Airbrush's mechanism and scrub them clean.

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    A small wrench can also be used to access the narrow passage behind the nozzle where paint also tends to build up over time. Be sure to clean this area out too!

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    Finally, A quick wash and spray of tool cleaner can be performed to ensure that no paint residue is found.

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    We hope this easy guide helps you with your painting endeavors!

    All the necessary maintenance tools and cleaning accessories can be found over at the Otaku ME Stores in Dubai. If you still might have trouble with your Airbrush, our staff will be more than happy to give you a live demo too!

    Otaku ME Main Store: Sunrise Building Showroom, Al Safa 2, Dubai.

    Open Saturday - Thursday from 10 AM - 10 PM, and Fridays from 11:30 AM onwards

    Mall Branch: Times Square Center, Ground Floor

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