Scale Modeling How To: Airbrushing, Part 3 – Using and cleaning your airbrush

After you’ve picked out your airbrush, and procured your air source, it’s time to start airbrushing! This simple video guide will help you understand thinning, spraying, color changes, and cleaning.

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By Jon Bius

Jon Bius is a scale modeler, building models in a variety of genres, including Gunpla, Maschinen Krieger, Star Wars and other scifi. Through his blog and video channel, Jon shares the tools and techniques he uses to produce results than anyone can achieve - and have fun doing so!


  1. I have been airbrushing for years, models and illustration. Even my airbrush teacher in art school used the 2% milk analogy but she never demonstrated why and what that looks like in the color cup. I really learned something from this video. Thanks!
    I had used a glass eyedropper to mix paint in the past, adding the paint to thinner in the cup then sucking it back into the dropper, drop back into the cup, repeat… Worked well with enamels and if you are using exact ratios. I used a plastic palette and a brush to mix up acrylics but, I’m going to try the in cup with a brush next time. Makes for less things to clean later as well as speeding the paint process.
    I had found that lacquer thinner just eats up acrylic paint and flushes the airbrush quickly. However, in the long run I think that really damaged the inner seals of my airbrush. So now I have switched to the alcohol, usually a high-proof moonshine. Just spray it into your mouth until you can no longer taste paint.**

    ** Actually, that is a really bad idea, don’t do that! 😜😳 Moonshine is great for cleaning vinyl records, but that’s another story…

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful Tom! 😀

      It is amazing how the simple process of putting milk in the airbrush makes things so clear. I highly recommend it!

      Let me know how you like mixing in the cup – it’s a bit of “seat of the pants flying”, but when you have a solid visual grasp on proper thinning, rather than a strict ratio, it goes very fast. Eventually you just “know” how much works.

      Thanks for keeping up with my work!

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