Frequently asked questions 

by Fabian Vera  © 2004 Modeler Site


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Nowadays, the airbrush has turned out to be a must-have instrument to get a superb result at the moment of finishing a model. Mastering the airbrush, is neither impossible nor requires to be very skilful or experienced. A few techniques and practice, that is still your best teacher, will help you, not to come into trouble that could at times discourage you.

Along this article, I’ll share with you some of the most common problems that can appear when using the airbrush, the reasons and the possible solutions.

These recommendations are especially for double-action airbrushes, but many of them are also valid for the single action ones.

I also advise you to read the following articles from our back issues.

Painting, the key to plastic modeling?

One more technique...

If this happens to you…


Problem Possible reason Solution

The airbrush spits paint and it does not flow regularly.


The pressure is not proper for the type of paint you’re using. Adjust the airflow.
The paint nozzle is clogged Remove it to be cleaned.
The paint is not correctly diluted, too heavy. Empty the airbrush, clean it and fill the reservoir with well diluted paint.
Paint accumulated in the air nozzle. Clean the paint needle and adjust it.
Broken or deteriorated paint nozzle. Replace it.
The paint needle and the air nozzle don’t fit well. Replace one or both of them.
Dirt in the paint supply. Check out the compressor air filter or air source.Take the air valve out and blow compressed air through it.
Paint  build up obstruct the air line. Replace the seal from the air valve. Mend or replace the valve.
Paint has filtered through the air conduct damaging the valve. Mend or replace it

 Splashes to one side.


Twisted needle.Broken or embossed paint nozzle.



Splashes when you start painting.


Paint accumulated because the trigger has been pulled back too fast

Pull the trigger back more slowly.

The needle is damaged or twisted.

Replace it

Paint accumulated in the air nozzle.

Clean the air nozzle and adjust the needle.

Dust in the paint nozzle.

Remove it to be cleaned.

Dirt or humidity in the air hose attachment.

Check the air filter out.

In case of storage tank compressor, you should purge it. Have the air line dried by means of compressed air.

If possible replace it with a translucent one.

Splashes at the end of the spraying.


Excess of humidity or dust particles in the air line.

Check out the air filter.

In case of storage tank compressor, purge it.

Have the air line dried by means of compressed air .If possible replace it with a translucent one.

Damaged paint needle or dirty or damaged paint nozzle

Replace it or clean it.

Paint dots or puddles at the end of each line.


The hand stops at  beginning or end of each spraying.

Make an extended movement with your hand before and after concluding the trigger movement.

The trigger bottom has not been pushed down at the proper time. Paint was supplied before the air

Make some tests on paper, cardboard or useless pieces to get confidence.

Irregular and splashed lines.


Wrong movement when handling the airbrush.

Spray leaving the arm movement free. Test the technique before painting the model.

Dust or dirt in the paint nozzle.

Remove it to be cleaned.

Spider effect. The airbrush forms puddles which spread 

The airbrush is being held too close to the model.

Keep certain distance from the model. Adjust the paint needle and nozzle. Less amount of paint. Lower air pressure with a proper paint dilution.

Too much paint.

Adjust the trigger to control the airflow and paint flow.

You let the paint enters before the air.

Correct it practising by operating the trigger.

The spraying doesn't flow continuously.


Loss of pressure speaking about a compressor without tank.

Install a pressure regulator.

Install a tank to give a constant pressure.

Have it repaired.

Bad adjustment of the paint nozzle or air nozzle.

Remove them to be cleaned if necessary. Adjust them.

Teflon washer of the paint nozzle has broken. Bad adjustment of the paint nozzle, for those like the Pasche that doesn't supply a washer made out of Teflon.

Replace it.

Correct adjustment of the paint nozzle to the airbrush body.

Fine lines without defined borders.


Broken or twisted needle.

Replace it.


Have into account that an airbrush is a precision instrument, the result you obtain will depend on how you’ve cleaned it after every painting session..

Clean it by using cotton swabs, paper towels an so forth, they will help you to keep things clean inside and out. Use also lacquer thinner, of course. The needle should be removed several times up to get it perfectly clean.

After every session, I recommend you to add to the needle a drop of WD40, especially if the airbrush has teflon sealed hubs, as most of the Badger(s)

It can be tedious and messy but cleaning it thoroughly, is the best way to keep it working properly and guarantee a quality paint job.

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