Wargaming Tradecraft: Disassembling Airbrushes


Disassembling Airbrushes

This is my airbrush. There are many like it, But this one is mine.

The airbrush shouldn’t be a mysterious device that you use and treat with an unknown reverence. It’s a tool, like any other, that you should be comfortable with. For this reason, you’re going to want to take the airbrush apart, maybe a few times. Get to know what goes where and what things do.

You need to know how to take the airbrush apart to properly clean it – eventually, it WILL BE taken apart.

Better you do it a few times when everything’s clean and easy to work with. Parts just get dirty. Things will need to be lubed. If you’re not sure what things look like when they’re working, how will you know what they look like if they’re broken or bent.

Be careful when you’re taking it apart. Not all airbrushes will come apart the same way. There are a few little parts and a couple springs – don’t lose these or you'll be crawling on all fours or hunting something launched across the room. Keep track of where everything came from so you know how to put it back together… draw a diagram if you need to. Airbrush manuals should already have a diagram for you to use and a list of all the parts.

[update] A good question came up in the comments, wondering how long it should take to disassemble and reassemble your airbrush. After some practice, it won't take too long - maybe 5-10 minutes. (plus cleaning time) However you rarely need to take apart the air intake or the rear assembly, needle guide, trigger. Usually you'll just be taking apart the caps to clean them out.

All these images are hi-res and can be blown up for more detail.

My airbrush, the Iwata Eclipse HP-BS [amazon]

First, remove the back handle and the needle. (right) You don't want to accidently bend it while taking stuff apart.

I then removed the caps and the nozzle. (left)

There are also rubber o-rings on the main body where the cap attaches and the handle.

The cap comes apart and breaks into the Needle/Crown Cap, Nozzle Cap and Head Cap. (left)

Now I've taken the screw on cap from the needle chucking guide. (right)

Then I screw out the spring guide, revealing the needle chucking guide and the needle spring. (right)

Then I remove the needle spring and the needle chucking guide (right) and the main lever / trigger. (top)

Here you can see the air valve guide screw and the bottom of the air valve sticking through the center.

I use a pair of tweezers to remove the air valve guide screw. Careful that the air valve spring doesn't launch away and get lost.

Now the air valve guide screw is removed. (bottom)

Now the air valve spring and the air valve can be removed. (bottom)

Take a look at the Wargaming Tradecraft Techniques Page for links to the entire Airbrushing series and other tips, tutorials and information.


  1. You star! Great article once again sir!

  2. This is great advice that I was fortunate enough to get before I put any paint through my airbrush. The very first thing I did was take it apart and re-assemble it a couple times so I would know what I was doing when it came time to clean the sucker.

    You definitely want to know how to dis- and re-assemble the airbrush because it is impossible to clean everything without taking it apart.

  3. Excellent again. Can I enquire how long it takes to take apart, clean and reassemble? It looks very intricate.

  4. Good question, and I'll update the post in the morning to cover it.

    Not long actually. I haven't timed myself, but would guess in the 5-10 minutes or so range. (mainly because you want to slow down at steps so you don't lose tiny parts)

    You rarely need to open the air intake though, and that cuts out a lot of fiddley time messing with tweezers and watching for springs.

    You also usually don't have to take the whole rear assembly apart besides removing the needle.

    Most of the time you're just taking apart the nozzle section.

  5. My experience has been very similar to what Dave posted. The first couple times took longer because I was being very careful to make sure I learned each piece and how it fit in the airbrush but after that 5-10 minutes is very realistic.

    Unless something breaks, you will usually be taking out the needle and taking apart the nozzle section for cleaning after use.

  6. Thanks again. To be fair it is the intricacy and start time starting that has always made me reticent to get one. This goes along way to help. Thank you

  7. You're welcome. It's pretty straight forward once you're comfortable with it. Out of curiosity, what do you mean by "start time starting" ?

  8. Ahh, that's just my inability to type coherent scentences... I hard started a comment then was interrupted and never checked the final issue. Also corrective text does not help ( reticent instead of hesitant - damn chubby fingers on iPhone!)


Please keep all comments civil and language appropriate for a child-safe environment.