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Cleaning airbrush

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I want to try and use Mr. Color on my build. I have a few questions.

1 - Is Mr. Color a lacquer base paint?

2 - If it is, can you use the Alcad Airbrush Cleaner? I really like how the cleaner cleans my AB after using Alcad.

3 - If not, what is the best stuff to sue to the AB with Mr. Color paints?

I am look forward of using Mr. Color because I heard so much positive comments about the paint.


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Hi Ken,

Mr Color is Gunze's Lacquer range of colors, and their Acrylic Range is called Aqueous. I use the Aqueous colors, but have not tried the Mr Color. I can tell you the Aqueous is awesome from my experience, so judging by that and what others have said the Mr Color will be great as well.

You will want to get this for both thinning and cleaning your airbrush:


I even use that to thin and clean my AB using Aqueous paints as well, it works GREAT!

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I use Mr Color, which are Awesome paints, and clean my AB, regardless of paint, using plain old lacquer thinner in the big can from the hardware store.

I thin with the above mentioned Mr Color Leveling Thinner. Love that stuff!

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I use Mr. Color almost exclusively. It's absolutely the best paint out there. Love the stuff.

Yes, it is lacquer. The Mr. Leveling Thinner is well worth looking into for thinning. It will blow your mind what it will allow you to do with an airbrush...it really pushes the paint. It's also fantastic for thinning Mr. Hobby and Tamiya Acrylics, and Model Master enamels if you must use that stuff.

Don't use the Mr. Leveling thinner for cleaning your airbrush though. It's too pricey for that. You can use your Alclad cleaner for that...since it's a lacquer thinner of sorts...but I'd recommend getting normal lacquer thinner from Walmart or Home/Lowes/Depot. It's a much cheaper prospect in the end, and works just fine for cleaning.

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I'd love to switch to Mr. Color but the vapors/smell is just too much for me and the family. The great thing is that it's readily available in the U.S. (unlike their Mr. Hobby range).


Edited by galileo1
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Don't use the Mr. Leveling thinner for cleaning your airbrush though. It's too pricey for that.. but I'd recommend getting normal lacquer thinner from Walmart or Home/Lowes/Depot. It's a much cheaper prospect in the end, and works just fine for cleaning.

That is a very good point.

I think I may look into getting some to keep my Mr Color Leveling Thinner use down. it can be tough to find sometimes (ScaleHobbyist has it on backorder more often than in stock) and is indeed not cheap.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm curious to this as well.

What other good cleaners are out there that are easily accessible for cleaning the airbrush?


Hi Doug,

Heard Ultimate Airbrush Cleaner is pretty good. Hope this help. :lol:/>/>

"Ultimate Airbrush Cleaner

Airbrush cleaning is one of the bug bears of the new user, and until you evolve a routine of your own, it's a process that can be a bit of a pest. This new cleaner is good to have on hand, and will dissolve paint that has dried in the cup or on the brush while you've been using it. If you've been silly and left paint in the cup for days, it'll still cut through that, but you'll need to leave it to soak a wee while longer. Again, I've tried it with all the above brands, and it just whisks the paint out of the brush, and after a few back-pressure bubbling sessions you're ready to spray the next colour without a strip-down.

An interesting side-use that I have found for it is as a brush cleaner. All brushes eventually get a build-up of paint in the shaft of the bristles where they enter the ferrule and are packed tightly. This can be tricky to remove, and can result in a ruined brush. If you decant a puddle onto a resistant surface like Formica or your cutting mat, then dab the brush side-on, being careful not to damage the bristles, you can expel all that dried on paint after a few attempts. I usually use a drop or two, soak the brush, dab it, then wipe away the dirty thinners and repeat a few times until the brush regains its natural bristle colour. I recently used this technique on my dry-brushing brush, and re-discovered its bright orange bristles! If you can clean a dry-brushing brush, you can clean any brush."

You may check them out. :yahoo:/> :yahoo:/>



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Hi Guys,

From my experience the only cleaner if you are using lacquer-based paints is lacquer thinner. No other solvent can do. The down side is the extremely strong fumes and the danger of damaging the seals in the AB unless they are non-PTFE type like the Badger 150 that I have. If you are using Humbrol or Tamiya enamels or perhaps other brands of enamels, any turpentine that you get from the hardware shop can do the same but of course the original thinner will be preferred by some price notwithstanding. You can save the more exclusive (and expensive) thinners from Humbrol or Tamiya for thinning to airbrush your model. That was what I have been doing till I switched over to aqueous acrylics mainly due to the fumes of the turpentine when cleaning. Likewise for the lacquer thinner, you can use those equivalent from the hardqare shops.

It has been some 3 years that I am using Mr Hobby/Tamiya acrylics. White spirit works with acrylics but not lacquer or enamels as far as I know from the kind that I get from the local hardware shops here in Singapore. Whatever type of paint used and the corresponding thinner/cleaner used to clean the AB, I have learnt that the key factor is keeping the paint chamber clear of any paint residue, however thin. This may entail the stripping down of the AB as per the manufacturer guide which in same cases can be pretty tedious and cumbersome. Recently I have found a way to circumvent this. I used water and Windex to clean my AB after the paint job by shooting them through and back-flush several times. This is followed by using a squeegee type air-duster with the brush removed to blow out any residue diluted paint left in the chamber. I first remove the needle from my Badger 150 and the regulator from the head. Then with one finger I close the end of the open chuck where the needle is inserted into the AB and blew the duster into the opening. Give it about two to three squirts. Next I close the opening where the paint cup fits into the AB and similarly gave the duster two to three squirts. The duster nozzle should be able to give a fairly good fit to ensure the maximum force into the chamber. So far with each session I noticed a considerable amount of diluted paint being forced out from the chamber. Just peer through from the end of the chuck opening and one could see the light through the nozzle opening. I have noticed that this was not the case prior to the blow-through with the air duster. This is in spite of the usual flushing by shooting through water of Windex earlier. I have not strip down my AB so far except removing the needle and regulator. But more importantly I have not experienced stuck needle or sluggish needle control.

Thought I share this with fellow users. I believe the same technique can be applied to other brands of AB. It works for me.

Best regards,

S K Loh

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