With the P-38 and MQ-1 painted added with being far from needing my airbrush anytime soon, I feel like now is a great time to do a deep clean on my airbrush and mixing jars. When I first started to use my airbrush, I could go quite a while without cleaning it. Normally I will run lacquer thinner through it until it comes out clear. Since I have been having intermittent issues now, I like to break it down and give it a thorough cleaning at least once a month. With the way that I build, there are so many different colors that get run through each month that I am bound to have problems.
So preventative maintenance is required to keep the builds flowing through my workbench. To start, I break down the airbrush completely. The nozzle cap, nozzle, chucking guide, spring guide, and needle spring all take a bath overnight in a jar of lacquer thinner. The needle gets dipped in the thinner and I wipe it down with a rag until all the paint is removed. After soaking overnight, I remove the parts from the thinner and scrub them with a cotton swab. The gun itself gets a meticulous cleaning with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs too. After all the paint is removed, I assemble the airbrush and wipe it down to remove any paint on the exterior. It’s not the most fun part of the hobby, but it’s a crucial step to avoid a mishap mid-paint. I have been in that situation in the past and I was not a happy hobbyist.
Along with my airbrush, I clean all of my jars as well. They get pretty funky with all the use so it is imperative to keep them clean and functional as well. The whole process starts a few days in advance. I like to soak the jars and lids in a jar of lacquer thinner to loosen up the leftover paint. This makes it much easier to clean. I use a pipe cleaner to clean the feeder tubes and run quite a bit of thinner through them to make sure the paint bits are free. Most of the process is just using a paper towel to wipe out the jars. Doing so makes for a much easier and heartache free time when I need to paint my models. It’s the dirty work that comes with the territory that no one likes to do. It’s also the dirty work that provides the functionality of the most important tool to the painting process.