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AK-Interactive Real Colors turning to sludge in my airbrush

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  • Member since
    March 2020
AK-Interactive Real Colors turning to sludge in my airbrush
Posted by cervelo_mark on Sunday, September 12, 2021 9:22 PM

I am using AK-Interactive Real Colors brand paints in my Paasche Talon air brush for the first time.  They spray well straight from the bottle without thinning.  When I am finished and want to clean out the airbrush I pour in home-made airbrush cleaner to flush it out.  A chemical reaction occurs and the paint turns to sludge and makes cleanup very difficult.

It is hard to describe what happens to the paint.  It thickens up and clumps together in long strings and bonds to the insides of the airbrush very well.  The nozzle becomes totally clogged and takes a lot of time to clean out the old paint.

Has anybody else out there seen this or a similar problem?



  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Monday, September 13, 2021 12:33 PM

It's your home made cleaner causing the problem. You need to experiment with other cleaners in a safe container, glass or metal, to see how they react with the paint before trying them in your airbrush. That's how I try out new combos before putting them into my airbrush. I've read of too many similar horror stories on here over the years


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  • Member since
    June 2014
Posted by BrandonK on Monday, September 13, 2021 1:24 PM

Yup, its your home brew thats causing the issue. AK and Vallejo are super sensitive to certain thinners that work well with other paints. That being said, clean with water or even Windex and you will have no issues. I use water mostly and Windex for more stuburn jobs and have for years with no hassles and it won't hurt your AB.


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  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Monday, September 13, 2021 1:40 PM

The manufacturer has recommended cleaners and thinners for their products.  Granted, each market's their own, but Is the money saved worth the time invested in trying to clear up a big problem?

Only the individual can make that decision.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 3:02 PM

Must be isopropyl alcohol in your mix,that'll do it

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Naples, FL
Posted by tempestjohnny on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 5:08 AM
I use AK all the time. For cleaning I run lacquer thinner through my brush. Comes out perfect


  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 8:23 AM

I though AK Real Color was lacquer, so I'd think lacquer thinner would work as mentioned in the message above mine.

  • Member since
    September 2021
Posted by DooeyPyle67 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 2:36 PM


When I am finished and want to clean out the airbrush I pour in home-made airbrush cleaner to flush it out.  A chemical reaction occurs and the paint turns to sludge and makes cleanup very difficult.


That was your first mistake - attempting to use "home made brewed" thinner; which  everyone has already mentioned. FWIW... I always follow this simple rule of thumb when using new paints... ALWAYS use the manufacturer's brand of thinner recommendation first before you try an alternative thinner. Ask me how I know. 

Each paint brand will have a chemical reaction to certain types of thinner one way or another - both good and bad. Hope this helps.


  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 11:37 AM


...home-made airbrush cleaner...

What is in your home-made airbrush cleaner?

Others have mentioned using a manufacturer's proprietary products with its paints.  But others have mentioned using lacquer thinner, which ought to have worked relatively problem-free, too.

So, what's in your cleaner?

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.



  • Member since
    February 2006
  • From: Boston
Posted by Wilbur Wright on Sunday, October 17, 2021 8:08 PM

I use Tamiya X-20A thinner for airbrushing AK Real Colors without any problem.

I clean the AB with 91% alchohol from the drug store.

No problems.


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