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Safety of modelling and brushing

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  • Member since
    June 2021
Safety of modelling and brushing
Posted by Pekka P. on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 1:38 PM

Hi everyone! I am new to modelling (started this spring) and I have been enjoying quite a bit! Only down side is that I am quite a safety freak, and I am still a bit uncomfortable with the cement and other stuff. I still only paint with brush so there is not that many particles from that. I am quite sensitive to the smell of the glue (i use tamiya extra thin) and it sometimes gives me a slight headache if I do it for long. I have a very adventorous cat so I really cannot have windows open to get air, and I live in a quite small apartment and have to work in my bedroom, so after modelling session, the smell of the glue still floats around quite some time. I try to pace my breathing when using it (grabbing fresher air behind me shoulder) and trying to keep the bottle open as little time as possible. I know that acetone is not that bad when compared to laquers and enamels, but still it bothers me sometimes. I have a mask (3M 4251+) whoch helps a lot (I cant smell the acetone with it on), but I really dislike using it, as it makes breathing some what heavy, and after a while it starts to become quite straining for the head. I actually ordered now a spray booth from germany (From wiltec, the 9 cubic m/min version) as it has the light (To this moment I have used a headlamp for extra light...). I was mainly wondering if the spray booth is good enough to replace the mask.

Another question is sanding, as I use mainly files for sanding (I have also range of sand paper and just bought some small hobby sanding pads, will see how they performe), but the amount of dust is usually quite small (I first take most with modelling kife, and then smoothen it out with the file). The file seems to make less of an mess and dust in the air that the sand paper, but should I still use mask for sanding? Some how it seems a bit pointless for a small nub, but there is propably more dust in the air that is visible. Is the spray booth of any use for sanding (Like if I were to sand inside the booth)? Some suggest wet sanding, but I suspect that is not possible with files (I dislike using the sand paper as it is musch harder to use for straight edges and smaller details...). I know plastic dust is not that bad, especially when compared to resin dust (which is not that great, but luckily I dont have that many resin parts in my current kits). I have also simpler 3M masks (1883+), I dont know if they would perform better with sanding... 

I know that Im not getting airbrush anytime soon, as I dont have a place to paint in (unless I want to paint in by bedroom next to my cat and dog), but at least the I have the booth already. For paints I use Vallejo, MIG and AK acrylics (And one Tamiya acrylic), and I have a varnish from Vallejo as well. I do have some enames washes from AK. 

Sorry for long message (and possible grammar mistakes, english is not my native language). The main question is propably that should I be worried with my current setup? I really just want to get rid of the odd feeling that slightly keeps me from fully enjoying creating models and building the kits...

But anyway, thank you for reading and have a nice summer, where ever you are

With kind regards, Pekka P.

PS. I am currently building 1:35 AF35124 :)

Tags: Safety
  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 6:47 AM

They make a smaller model but I use a Medify 40 air purifier for pet dander, dust, mold spores and odor eater in my house. Made a big difference in pet dust bunnies for sure.

I use paper dust masks for sanding. 3m N95 for spraying acrylics or wood turning, the ones with an exhaust valve. Either type for cutting grass. And 3m respirator with organic particulate solvent rated cartridges for solvent based paint spraying. 

You can get portable sliding half screens for your window. Put a fan in front of it. And that cat will safely love the open window. Probably not with the fan there lol but otherwise, although I have one that love a fan breeze...

Brush painting and glue never bothered me . I'm sure the air purifier eats those odors in a few minutes anyway but they never bothered me even back in 1960 when none of us used much of anything for personal protection. Somehow I've made it to 71yo.



  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 7:30 AM

Paint and sanding particles are pretty large as airborn particles go. A simple sanding mask is likely sufficient and will make breathing easier.  Doesn't filter out solvent vapor from airbrush or brush painting, so you will still have put up with odor.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 7:49 AM

You definitively need to open windows for air circulation. Get yourself a couple of portable fans and put them on the widow ledge venting out. They will act as extractors and suck out the fumes. You can use the booth the same way venting out the window. 

I have the luxury of using my garage to spray so I have excellent ventilation with doors open and fans blowing out fumes. The only times I mask up is when spraying Alclad or other metallic paints.




Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 5:36 PM

Either the fans that you can put in an open window and close the window to should  the fan in place, or those screens you can stick in an close the window to hold them in, thus securing the cat.

  • Member since
    October 2020
Posted by rcguy on Thursday, July 1, 2021 9:02 AM

I agree with all the above comments but I feel if your that concerned and are as sensitive to the effects of the products that a person needs to use for the hobby even with proper safety gear I might be inclined to look at taking up another past time.

Sorry no offense intended just my thoughts on your situation.

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by Pekka P. on Thursday, July 1, 2021 12:27 PM

Hey! Thank you for your answers! I propably made my text over specific and hid the true question I was looking answer for. I am fine with the mask and all, but I just dont like it feel of it, as it is quite clunky and makes me feel like suffocating after a longer session. My true question is that with the spray booth, and if it will have sufficient airflow for my working space that I can work without the mask? For sanding dust that stays in the air, I am thinking of getting a air purifier (mainly just for the dust created by animals dandruff etc.). You know it just gets to you when you are struggling to find decent information for protection. Some say you will need a respirator for all the time for everything and everything causes cancer etc., and some say you dont need to wear one if you have any fresh air inflow (excluding airbrushing of course which needs truly great airflow and mask). Also do you have any information on how long the respirator will last wearable? The package says one month after opening of the package (yeah I bought the one without replaceable filters, my bad) but This seems like a really short time when Im using it couple times a week.

Also the windows in my small apartment are not sliding, but they open (falling back style) on the top and swings open at the bottom, so screen system could be a but difficult to install (even if my landlord would approve it).

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by Pekka P. on Thursday, July 1, 2021 12:31 PM

Also I have wondered if changing the cement to something less odory/not solvent based could help, like testors or tamiya limonene etc.

  • Member since
    October 2020
Posted by rcguy on Thursday, July 1, 2021 3:46 PM

Definitely try the Tamiya Limonene Extra Thin.

AK Interactive makes a Citrus Extra Thin  Cement as well.

I haven't used these myself but from what I have read they are pretty good products.

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Thursday, July 1, 2021 6:28 PM

As to a respirator, as long as not spraying paint, it'll probably last a lot longer.  Paint particles clogging the filters is the main issue.  Put it in a Ziploc bag when not using it, and squeeze out as much air as you can.


If you're just hand sanding you shouldn't get much dust hanging in the air.  That would be more inline with power tools.

  • Member since
    April 2021
Posted by Cafguy on Monday, July 5, 2021 12:40 PM

If you look up and read the MSDS (safety data sheets) for some of the glues and paints we use in this hobby than it can really take you aback-- but heres the deal if you are not "huffing" the glues and paints and using good ventalation (A must) then you have nothing to fear. I too have pets and as oldermodelguy pointed out you should get an air purifyer It really does make a difference when it comes to pet dander hair etc... as far as sanding goes, plastic particals are pretty heavy and settle out of the air pretty quickly A simple facemask will do the job if you feel you need to use it If you are painting Acrylics than many companys make great little paint booths for about 100 bucks that works like a champ they are kinda loud tho.   I wouldnt spray enamels inside the house I just dont think its a good idea,  Outside in the garage only i.m.o

Life tip:  Skip marrage: find the women you hate the most and buy her a house and car.

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, July 5, 2021 3:28 PM

As far as glue goes I've always used Testors for plastic models. I use the Orange tube for much of the build, the black bottle for parts that get more stress or if I just feel like it. And the black bottle stuff they make for clear parts. I do use a little super glue sometimes in certain applications. Ya the black bottle is slower hardening than Tamiya but it just gives me more time to fit things. I ain't ever been known for speed building anyway. But I've never thought any of these glues were overly obnoxious smelling. When my wife was alive some of her fingernail glues and polishes would about blow your head off by comparison. Not to mention the acetone soaks to get the stuff off.

  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Jon_a_its on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 3:36 AM

Schoen Gruesse Aus Engeland. Smile

Opening tilt windows at the top by 2.5-5cm is fine for your situation, I leave my top 1/4 window open all the time.

If you can arrange air-flow away from you to window, then that is better.

Sanding dust settles reasonably quickly. Just keep your workspace clean. You can always wet-sand with auto parts store wet paper.  (ALWAYS wet-sand RESIN model parts though, resin dust is harmfull and not pleasant)

I use 3M 72xx (01/02/03 = S/M/L) series mask, with replaceable VOC and N95 dust filters, keep filters in zip-lock bags when not in use.

I have a full beard and wear glasses, no problems, wear it all day for DIY work (with dust filters). I replace filters when clogged.

I only, (but always) use it when spraying acrylics and gloss/mat topcoats, (Covid19 damage). I no longer use enamels.

I also have a home-built spray booth, 4x 240CFM fans is probably overkill and LOUD, so I only use when spraying. Exhaust hose goes out of window.




All acrylics are a form of resin, with differing carrier mediums, water, to  cellulose/lacquer, and not recommended for breathing. Brush painting schuldn't be an issue.

My concern is with bedroom & bedding dust (been there, done modeeling in bedroom...) consider a transparent storage box to keep dust off model when drying.

Also Cats.... Boxes, if it fits, it sits! Surprise

Remove from modelling environment. Wink
The housecat was banished as it considered my workbench it's play area and my models as chewtoys....

East Mids Model Club 29th Annual Show 19th MAY 2019

Don't feed the CM!


  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 9:57 AM

I am 83 now, and have been modeling for 75 years.  I am not in the best of health but none of my health problems are due to toxic materials.  I have never been cautious about toxic fumes ( I airbrushed for twenty years, and used spray cans for far longer than that before building a spray booth).

I did develop an allergy to saw dust and tree pollon, so now use a face shield and dust mask when I do wood working.  Only time paint fumes bothered me was when I used a full size spray gun to spray acrylic enamel on full sized race car parts in my basement.  After about five minutes I had to retreat from basement without cleaning spray gun.  Was a real pain cleaning out that gun!  Bought a fancy mask to complete that paint job.

But I have never used that gear for my modeling.  I realize there are some people with allergies to various substances, but I think these forums overemphasize the danger of model paints.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 10:32 AM

But I have never used that gear for my modeling.  I realize there are some people with allergies to various substances, but I think these forums overemphasize the danger of model paints.

Have to say that I agree with that.  But I also cringe a little bit when I see videos of guys airbrushing models and having a cloud of paint in the air in their paint booths.  Always baffled as to why there is so much paint being thrown.  I don't even use a paint booth as I find them unnecessary for my airbrushing style which never creates paint clouds.  The only protective gear I use is latex gloves for keeping MEK off my skin when I'm fishing my airbrush parts out of my cleaning jar.

The only health issue I have had was caused by 30 years of exposure to high-powered microwave radiation that, ironically, was never officially classified as dangerous.  Go figure.  

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 10:45 AM

I am sensitive to fumes and when I first got back into modeling and cracked open a Tamiya Extra Thin, it near sent me running to the hills. Now, I can barely notice it. I became desensitized to it. Not sure that is a good thing but it is what it is.

The one thing I will never use in the house is Bondo Spot Putty, and/or filler. That stuff stinks the whole house up and literally makes me feel ill. It is incredibly pungent and fumes horribly. Good thing there are other options.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 11:09 AM

Good ventilation is certainly a good thing to have.  Whether that means having a window open, or working in an area with good airflow (like a garage with the garage door open), will really depend on your specific circumstances.

As far as filters or filter masks go, again, you've got some specific circumstances to address.  I don't use any masks myself, but I don't have any particular sensitivities to fumes, and my area is generally well-ventilated.

For sanding, you can keep dust down by wet-sanding, using some water to wet down the surface or the piece and keep dust from becoming airborne.

As far as painting goes, water-based acrylics, and Tamiya's alcohol-based acrylics, give off very little in the way of fumes, and you might decide to use such paints, primarily.  I use water-based acrylics, enamels, some lacquers, and oils.  Of those, the lacquers tend to have the most noticeable fumes, but it's more the solvents needed to work with those different media-mostly mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, turpentine.  Again, for me, my work areas are ventilated well enough, and the exposure to those solvents is brief enough, that it doesn't bother me.  As someone else pointed out, I'm not "huffing" them, so the concentrations in the air are small, and they dissipate quickly.

But it's worth it to take whatever precautions you feel necessary. if you enjoy the hobby.  I think you'll get it worked out pretty well.

And don't worry about your English, it's better than the English of many of us here whose mother tongue is English Wink

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.



  • Member since
    April 2021
Posted by Cafguy on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 6:52 PM

I have said this many times thruogh different threads.  The only time I have heard of anyone being injured or having abnormal effects from Modeling products is mixing C.A. glue,  witch in itself can be very dangerous! The bonding process for the chemicals used for each brand of glue can differant totally from one to the other Therefore  You do not want to mix say superglue with locktite gel to think you will get a better bond or a bond that gives you more time to work with parts. With C.A. less is more.  If you mix glues to try to hasten your assembly, What you will actually get is noctious fumes, and a chemical mixture that is prime to combustion on its own, just like linseed oil Does to cabinate makers. It is a real hazard-- find the ONE brand C.A. that works best for you and stick with it.  That is my only modeling safety advice besides keep plenty of band-Aids close to your work area

Life tip:  Skip marrage: find the women you hate the most and buy her a house and car.


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