Does the Thought of Using an Airbrush Fill You With Dread and Trepidation?

Iwata dual action airbrush

Does the thought of using an airbrush fill you with dread? Is it something that you believe is just for the more advanced talented model maker? Then you’re not alone!

A great many of your modelling compatriots feel exactly the same! I did too for many years, seeing airbrushes as something exotic and expensive and difficult to use. I’d read articles on their care and use and it seemed to me to be a disaster in the making with the damaging of your prized airbrush as a very real possibility.

My First Leap of Faith

After many years of secretly wanting to try one I bought a very budget model and tried it out. It seemed to prove all my worst fears; difficult to use, hard to clean, expensive to run.

I later realised that it was the cheap and nasty airbrush I was trying to use that made things so hard and difficult (and funnily enough my mindset also played a part!). I was using cans of propellant that were expensive and my airbrush seemed to go through them at an alarming rate. So I put it into the “too hard basket” and didn’t try again for many years.

Take Two

After reading a lot of articles on the subject and seeing those camouflage paint schemes that were impossible to achieve with the use of a paint brush, I made up my mind to try again. With so many articles and so much information online it all seemed a little too over whelming, but I gritted my teeth and made my mind up to try, and keep trying until I got it right.

First off, I made up my mind that I would buy an airbrush that was cheap to practice with so I wouldn’t be too worried about damaging it irrevocably. I would buy a double action airbrush as it offers more control. It seemed a good place to start as a double action airbrush offered greater creative possibilities.

So off to the local auction web site (TradeMe in my case) I went courage screwed to the sticking place and determined to buy an airbrush! What I wasn’t prepared for was the large variety of airbrush and pricing I was presented with! A simple decision suddenly became very difficult to negotiate.

However I remembered what I wanted and started narrowing my search to just those. I ended up buying a second hand one for virtually nothing! Now second hand is not necessarily the best thing to buy as you might be buying some one else’s problems. But this one seemed to be too good to pass up; barely used, still with all the tools and extra’s in the original case it came in. So I thought nothing ventured nothing gained and purchase it I did.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the very real fear I seemed to have over using something so simple as an airbrush! I put off using it finding reasons that justified NOT using it, then one day I realised I was using delaying tactics and I was close to shelving it once again.

I was at a point during building my model that called for a feathered camouflage job. Perfect for an airbrush and almost impossible to achieve using a brush. With shaking hands I took my airbrush poured paint into the cup, thinned the paint to the recommended level, (at least what I perceived to be the correct thinning ratio), and set about airbrushing my model.

Lo, and behold, if it didn’t go more or less without a single hitch! Cleaning was a breeze I stripped the airbrush to it component parts and thoroughly cleaned them all then reassembled it without damaging a single thing!

I sat there and thought what the HELL have I been so scared of?

In Conclusion

This is what I think it boils down to:

  • first is the belief that airbrushes are for “advanced” modelers,
  • second that I would damage or break beyond repair said airbrush when using or cleaning it, and
  • thirdly that this was something so far out of my comfort zone as a modeler that I reinforced the first two beliefs to the point where I was “frozen” and unable to move forward.

So I’m here to tell you that using airbrushes is easy, that the cleaning of them is simple common sense and routine, and that there is no reason that every modeler shouldn’t try them out!

Where to Start

I would suggest that if you have a modeler who is your peer and mentor that use an airbrush, get them to show you how they do what they  do. Learning from someone who uses an airbrush as second nature during their build will eliminate most of your fears and hopefully enable you to realise the only thing stopping you using an airbrush other than finances is, effectively, you.

There are some very good cheap to buy airbrushes out there that any one can buy and get to know airbrushing for themselves.

So if you feel the need to talk to someone and get some advice then drop me a line through the channels here and I’ll do what I can to encourage you and help offer some insight into the problems bothering you about the purchasing and use of airbrushes.

That’s all for now, happy modeling and good luck with your new airbrush!




Sorry, no items were found to display. That could mean that these items are currently not available or that there is a temporary problem.

You could try checking later, or go and search eBay directly.

Another thing you could try is to search


Avid WW2 aviation enthusiast and modeller. Been making model kits since age nine and I now model mostly ww2 model airplanes. (my wife is an understanding one!)

Related Posts

  • Post Image
  • Post Image