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AFV Painting & Weathering
Answers to questions about the right paint scheme or tips for the right effect.
Airbrushing .... please help
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 10:04 AM UTC
Hi all,

I'm new here.

I just returned to armour modelling. Bought an airbrush a couple of weeks ago.

I live in a small apartment, and don't have a spray booth. I do, however, have a 3M organic respirator.

Because I'm worried about health issues, and not having a spray booth, I've been trying to use only water based acrylic paints. I just ordered a bunch of Tamiya acrylic paints, as they were suggested.

However, I just found out that the Tamiya acrylics aren't water-based, but use a solvent. This concerns me.

Is it safe to airbrush Tamiya acrylics with the window open, a fan going, wearing an organic respirator? Like I said, I'm worried because I don't own a spray booth.

Thanks,

Nathan.
Belt_Fed
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 10:36 AM UTC
Short answer: you *should* be fine.

Water based acrylics really arenít much ďhealthierĒ than solvent based paints, if we are being honest. The paints themselves might be safer, but the thinners arenít much better to be breathing in than solvents.

If using Tamiya acrylic paints, thin with Tamiya Lacquer thinner, Mr. Color Leveling Thinner, or Gaia Notes thinner. These paints really perform much better using lacquer thinners. Keep the window open and a fan blowing when spraying, and a mask is recommended.

If you decide to go the water based acrylic route, you have a few options. Mission Models acrylics are well liked, but their thinner has a high odor. I am also not that big of a fan of the paints, personally. Vallejo model air and color brush paint well, but do not spray well. As of late, I find Mr. Paint acrylics from Slovakia to perform very well. Their thinner is also very low odor.
barnslayer
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 10:58 AM UTC
OP... you don't have a spray booth. But.... if buying one is not in your budget you can make one. It's just a box with a hole in it for the fan. Flexible duct from the fan to a window plug. That's just a board that will fit in your open window. The exhaust will be blown out.

Whether you buy or construct one.... make sure the fan is rated for flammable materials. Unless you decide to go strictly water-based from there on.

In addition, even with the spray booth I wear an organic solvents half face mask.
barnslayer
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 11:15 AM UTC
This link covers making a DIY spray booth. I did some things differently but the end result is basically the same. I did use the same fan.

https://hobbyzero.com/model-supplies/homemade-spray-booth-for-models/
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 11:24 AM UTC
Thanks for the reply. I see a small portable one on amazon.ca for about $140.00. Not sure how good it is however.
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 11:26 AM UTC
Thanks for the reply.
phil2015
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 11:33 AM UTC
I bought a portable spray booth on Amazon 3 years ago now. I think they were much cheaper then. I use it in the basement and not sure how much it really helps, but it's pretty easy to stick the tube out the window and evacuate the fumes outside. I wear a mask for anything I'm brushing.
barnslayer
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 11:53 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Thanks for the reply. I see a small portable one on amazon.ca for about $140.00. Not sure how good it is however.



The most important spec. is CFM.... how much air it moves per minute. The more the better.
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 12:13 PM UTC
What is your opinion on spraying with just a respirator and fan, in the absence of a booth?
barnslayer
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 12:31 PM UTC

Quoted Text

What is your opinion on spraying with just a respirator and fan, in the absence of a booth?



It's not ideal. The open window is a mixed blessing. Fresh air is good but the draft created could cause overspray and spread dust. A well-fitted window fan will help. But you'll still be moving unfiltered paint spray. What color is the exterior of your building? Will it become panzer gray or olive drab?
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 01:09 PM UTC
The Amazon spray booth is 4 CMP apparently
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 01:11 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

What is your opinion on spraying with just a respirator and fan, in the absence of a booth?



It's not ideal. The open window is a mixed blessing. Fresh air is good but the draft created could cause overspray and spread dust. A well-fitted window fan will help. But you'll still be moving unfiltered paint spray. What color is the exterior of your building? Will it become panzer gray or olive drab?



You mean paint dust from airbrushing? Ok. I just don't have the money for a large spray booth.
barnslayer
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 02:17 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Quoted Text

What is your opinion on spraying with just a respirator and fan, in the absence of a booth?



It's not ideal. The open window is a mixed blessing. Fresh air is good but the draft created could cause overspray and spread dust. A well-fitted window fan will help. But you'll still be moving unfiltered paint spray. What color is the exterior of your building? Will it become panzer gray or olive drab?



You mean paint dust from airbrushing? Ok. I just don't have the money for a large spray booth.



Dust from the spray kicking up dust. And dust if the fan isn't pulling the spray away from the model. Even a cardboard box lined with inexpensive AC filters is better than nothing.
joepanzer
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 04:02 PM UTC

Quoted Text



If using Tamiya acrylic paints, thin with Tamiya Lacquer thinner, Mr. Color Leveling Thinner, or Gaia Notes thinner. These paints really perform much better using lacquer thinners. Keep the window open and a fan blowing when spraying, and a mask is recommended.




Tamiya makes an Acrylic thinner, too. I just tried some. It's alcohol based so that's about as offensive a smell as compared to a paint/lacquer thinner. Works fabulously with Tamiya Acrylics.
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 05:43 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text



If using Tamiya acrylic paints, thin with Tamiya Lacquer thinner, Mr. Color Leveling Thinner, or Gaia Notes thinner. These paints really perform much better using lacquer thinners. Keep the window open and a fan blowing when spraying, and a mask is recommended.




Tamiya makes an Acrylic thinner, too. I just tried some. It's alcohol based so that's about as offensive a smell as compared to a paint/lacquer thinner. Works fabulously with Tamiya Acrylics.



I actually have some of that. X-20.

Safe to use with a mask?
barnslayer
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 12:56 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Quoted Text



If using Tamiya acrylic paints, thin with Tamiya Lacquer thinner, Mr. Color Leveling Thinner, or Gaia Notes thinner. These paints really perform much better using lacquer thinners. Keep the window open and a fan blowing when spraying, and a mask is recommended.




Tamiya makes an Acrylic thinner, too. I just tried some. It's alcohol based so that's about as offensive a smell as compared to a paint/lacquer thinner. Works fabulously with Tamiya Acrylics.



I actually have some of that. X-20.

Safe to use with a mask?



If your mask is equipped to protect against organic solvents you're good to go. As with any mask.... if you smell the solvent with the mask on... it's not working.
SSGToms
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 03:38 AM UTC
Okay. If you have a gravity feed airbrush, you shouldn't be shooting at over 20 pounds. It's just not necessary. I personally shoot at between 5 - 12 pounds. No overspray, no clouds of paint. If you're using an airbrush and it's coming out like a rattle can, you're throwing WAY too much paint at WAY too high a pressure.
Airbrushing Tamiya thinned with X-20A wearing a mask with a fan and open window is perfectly fine. Like I said, if you see clouds of paint, you're doing it wrong anyway. Tamiya is a great paint to start airbrushing with. It shoots beautifully and is very forgiving. You can thin it with X-20A up to 50% and it won't splatter on you.
As for a spray booth, I own a portable one that I reviewed here 10 years ago:https://armorama.kitmaker.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=4680 I suspect it may be the one you are looking at. If it is, buy it! Mine is still going strong with weekly use after 10 years and it's great to be able to put it away when I'm not using it.
Scarred
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 04:06 AM UTC
I've got one of these:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-Hobby-Airbrush-Paint-Spray-Booth-Kit-Exhaust-Filter-Extractor-Model-Set/233629095117?epid=16028310094&hash=item36656114cd:g:U~kAAOSwHmhe85-0
Amazon has them between $90 and $110 USD

I've been building for more then 40 years. I've never wore a respirator while painting, only wore a dust mask when sanding filler or resin. I've shot enamels and lacquers for years and all I did was open a window and place a fan behind me blowing at 90 degrees to the left or right of my work to keep the fumes from building up. I've never been concerned about fumes from painting (unless I was shooting are 1/1 scale car and then I was in a rather large paint booth).

But it's my choice, the amount of fumes and particles are pretty small, most paint hits the model and sticks rather than flying around.

Nowadays I use about 99% acrylics because the industry is going primarily to acrylic paint. About the only non-acylic I use is Testors Dullcote/Glosscote and Tamiya TS80.

Now a word of advice. Most acrylics make their own thinners. It seems that manufacturers are making proprietary formulations so when you buy their paints you need their thinners/levelers/retarders. I know some paints say they can be thinned with water and have seen some concoctions on youtube and other forums that are reminiscent screwing around in high school chemistry, but I wasn't impressed with the results when I did that so I went with their thinners with better results. So to take one unknown variable out of your painting I recommend using the manufactures thinner with their paint. It will save you some headaches, heartaches and keep you from getting discouraged.

Get familiar and comfortable using acrylics before trying to mix them with other products or water. There was a pretty steep learning curve switching from enamels and lacquers to acrylics and what I knew and did with those paints wouldn't work with acrylics.
Kevlar06
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 04:22 AM UTC
I agree with everything Matt said above. A quality airbrush, air pressure, and thinning are the keys to getting good performance from any paint. The lower the air pressure, the lower the particulate saturation from your airbrush. But to achieve that lower rate, youíll have to thin the paint to allow the Venturi effect to carry the paint out of the brush. As others have said, there are really no ďsafeĒ paints altogether, just degrees of ďprotectionĒ. Tamiya paints are acrylic lacquers, and not water based. And even X20 is alcohol-like thinner, but itís not alcohol (by the way, donít think alcohol as a thinner is safeó it can be just as toxic if inhaled). So the best solution to your problem is to keep the air pressure low, the paint thinned properly, And use a filtered paint booth if possible. However, a fan mounted in the window with the airflow pointed outward will likely work too, if your particulate volume is low. Might be a bit cool in the winter though, so a paint booth is your best option.

Having said this, Iíve been painting with Tamiya, Mr. Color, Model Master, Testors, Humbrol, and other paints for years. I use a MSA approved mask (sometimes), and I donít have any problems (when I follow Mattís advice above). However, Iíve been experimenting with Vallejo Model Air recently, following their instructions with regard to thinner, retarder and air pressure, and Iím quite impressed. If youíre really concerned about lowering your toxicity level, you might give them a try. But, as indicated above, you should still take precautions with any paint, as they all vary in toxicity levels.
VR, Russ
ivanhoe6
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 04:34 AM UTC
All good info here ! A big thanks to all who contributed.
Scarred
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 05:35 AM UTC
If your model space is a room with a window and/or a door I'd crack the window a bit, place a fan in the door to blow air out while drawing in fresh air thru the window. In fact a fan in the doorway will keep all fumes down even if you don't have a window including those from the cements and fillers. About 95% of the time I'll turn on my fan to blow out the door, it really helps.

Wearing a respirator or filter mask is difficult for me due to some extensive facial surgery the Army did back the late 80's to remove a cancerous tumor. Can't get one to seal properly and the pain from the severed nerves isn't pleasant without a mask and excruciating with one.

UpperCanadian
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 06:04 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Okay. If you have a gravity feed airbrush, you shouldn't be shooting at over 20 pounds. It's just not necessary. I personally shoot at between 5 - 12 pounds. No overspray, no clouds of paint. If you're using an airbrush and it's coming out like a rattle can, you're throwing WAY too much paint at WAY too high a pressure.
Airbrushing Tamiya thinned with X-20A wearing a mask with a fan and open window is perfectly fine. Like I said, if you see clouds of paint, you're doing it wrong anyway. Tamiya is a great paint to start airbrushing with. It shoots beautifully and is very forgiving. You can thin it with X-20A up to 50% and it won't splatter on you.
As for a spray booth, I own a portable one that I reviewed here 10 years ago:https://armorama.kitmaker.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=4680 I suspect it may be the one you are looking at. If it is, buy it! Mine is still going strong with weekly use after 10 years and it's great to be able to put it away when I'm not using it.



Thanks for the helpful reply. That is the spray booth I'm looking at. Nice to see that it works!
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 06:05 AM UTC

Quoted Text

If your model space is a room with a window and/or a door I'd crack the window a bit, place a fan in the door to blow air out while drawing in fresh air thru the window. In fact a fan in the doorway will keep all fumes down even if you don't have a window including those from the cements and fillers. About 95% of the time I'll turn on my fan to blow out the door, it really helps.

Wearing a respirator or filter mask is difficult for me due to some extensive facial surgery the Army did back the late 80's to remove a cancerous tumor. Can't get one to seal properly and the pain from the severed nerves isn't pleasant without a mask and excruciating with one.




I appreciate the advice.
Scarred
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 06:30 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

If your model space is a room with a window and/or a door I'd crack the window a bit, place a fan in the door to blow air out while drawing in fresh air thru the window. In fact a fan in the doorway will keep all fumes down even if you don't have a window including those from the cements and fillers. About 95% of the time I'll turn on my fan to blow out the door, it really helps.

Wearing a respirator or filter mask is difficult for me due to some extensive facial surgery the Army did back the late 80's to remove a cancerous tumor. Can't get one to seal properly and the pain from the severed nerves isn't pleasant without a mask and excruciating with one.




I appreciate the advice.



The fan doesn't need to be on high speed. You just want to keep the air moving without blowing the instructions across the room.