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Airbrush Tailstopper. Do you really need it?

Airbrush tailstopper. Volume adjuster. Needle limiter. Fluid control knob. Those are all names describing one and the same thing. A function featured in some airbrushes, which helps you limit the movement of your trigger/needle in the backwards direction. It is located at the rearmost part of your airbrush and can take various forms. Like a nut or a bullet, sometimes variation between the two. Whatever the shape is, the goal is the same. When you pull your trigger and this limiter is loose, you can experience full free motion rearwards, meaning largest paint volume spraying through the business end of your gun. When you start tighten it up, that little thing prevents your trigger from going backwards and thus not-allowing too much paint to be sprayed. It actually limits the needle. But they are interconnected anyhow.

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Many expert airbrush painters consider this to be an useless feature. The control is in your trigger /finger/ – is what they claim. If you cannot control that, you are finished. Even though that might be the truth to some extent, the airbrush manufacturers do not install this needle limiter on their beginner or even intermediate series of airbrushes. That inevitably begs the question “Why?“. Why would manufacturers, who often host the best of the best in airbrush business as a knowledge and as a skill, fail to understand the value of the limiter for beginners? Or why, if experts are so good at what they do, still need it? That is, according to the makers.

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It is often the case that many features remain unused in some tools or technology. Check your smartphone for an example reference. When it comes down to airbrushing, we have seen – as many of you have too – experts spraying with the tail cover completely removed, leaving a bare needle sticking out and thus exposing it to unnecessary risks. But that gives better balance for some. Lighter airbrush means longer sessions too. In the same time it omits the purpose of the tailstopper, simply because the latter remains on a separate element not any longer attached to the airbrush.

The situation is more or less this: Experts still need it. Beginners do too, but in both cases there are exceptions. Confident and experienced painters can go without the fluid control knob. They know when not to drink caffeine, how to mix their paints, when to stop airbrushing. But even with that, if longer session is happening and you are already tired, you can still take the advantage of the limiter just to be certain that accident won’t happen. With that said, they know when to pause for intermediate cleaning session, so…

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On the other end of the spectrum, beginners are not expected to spray mottling camo on 72nd scale Bf 109 or paint the pupils of the eyes of 1/43 Fantasy Figure Warrior. They are too “green” for that. Therefore, the logic dictates the simpler design of the beginner’s airbrushes, without the nut at the end and …whatever result you might get – it is all you.

But in the actual life we live, this feature is needed and necessary. It is like a condom. Better have it when the need might arise, than not to. With that said, we actually think that beginners probably need it more than the pros. That goes both for tail stopper and the condom of course. But joke aside, it is extremely undervalued feature by some, often even ridiculed and neglected. Speaking of it, we are probably on the right path with our conclusion here. Why? Well, check how manufacturers are slowly but steadily starting to introduce that feature in their lower series of airbrushes. By lower we mean more of a – mid-series. But this is definitely not a feature reserved for the top of the pops, high-end super expensive airbrushes. Not anymore.

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Same goes for Chinese airbrushes. There is barely a knock off or even proprietary design of the new wave of Chinese-made airbrushes that comes without that feature. The reason is – it is simply very useful. You can still always remove your tail end and spray with bare needle. But if you want it, it will still be there. And why not? The technology behind it is super simple. Heck, if you want to, you can stuff your hollow end of your Iwata Revolution with something to limit the needle before spraying. Pre-set it, spray, remove/replace. Simple. Home made stuff. But why do that, when you can get an airbrush with a stopper?

Beginner or a pro, tailstopper, volume limiter or whatever the heck one might want to call it – it is a good and beneficial feature. No matter the time spent airbrushing, this little thing will never get old.