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Lacquer/Enamel dissolves Acrylic?

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Since I see that many modelers here use Tamiya Acrylic and I'm old enough to consider my health seriously, I think it's time to say good bye to Mr. Color (which is Lacquer) which has been damaging my health for the past 2 years and it's time to switch to Acrylics.

I vaguely remember somewhere I've read an article that said if you spray a layer of lacquer on top of acrylic, it'll dissolve the acrylic and mess up the whole thing. :blink: And if you use enamel on top of acrylic, it'll do the same thing. However, it said if you apply acrylic over lacquer, it'll be fine??

I've been using Lacquer and Enamel (enamel for washing) ever since I started using airbrush and I've never had experience using Acrylic before. If you guys can give me some heads-up here that'll be great (i.e. do they dissolve each other? if so how should i avoid it?).

ps. Anyone knows a good place to buy acrylic paints (Tamiya, Testors, etc. doesn't matter) in Toronto? (Any online-stores having a base in Canada is perfect too)

Thanks!!!! B))

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Basically, it's how "hot" each type of paint is. And you can go by smell and common sense. Lacquer is the hottest. It will dissolve/eat anything, even plastic. Nothing else will affect it. Enamel is in the middle--lacquer will eat it, it will eat acrylic. Acrylic is the "weakest"--it won't eat anything, and will be eaten by all other paints. Note that lacquer will smell strongly for hours, while you can brush-paint acrylic for hours with almost no smell.

Another basic rule---enamels and lacquers will re-liquify when exposed to their own proper thinner/solvent, acrylics will not. (this is important for bottles--if some dry or almost dry enamel paint falls back into the bottle--it'll reliquify in a little while, no problem. But a dry clump of acrylic--will remain a clump floating around forever)

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Basically, it's how "hot" each type of paint is. And you can go by smell and common sense. Lacquer is the hottest. It will dissolve/eat anything, even plastic. Nothing else will affect it. Enamel is in the middle--lacquer will eat it, it will eat acrylic. Acrylic is the "weakest"--it won't eat anything, and will be eaten by all other paints. Note that lacquer will smell strongly for hours, while you can brush-paint acrylic for hours with almost no smell.

Another basic rule---enamels and lacquers will re-liquify when exposed to their own proper thinner/solvent, acrylics will not. (this is important for bottles--if some dry or almost dry enamel paint falls back into the bottle--it'll reliquify in a little while, no problem. But a dry clump of acrylic--will remain a clump floating around forever)

Thanks for the reply David.

Just to confirm, so basically it's impossible to apply lacquer over acrylic then??.... :mellow: Also panel-lining using enamel over acrylic will eat it away too?...

See the thing for me is I don't have good ventilation at my house and smelling lacquer makes me feel sick and even if it doesn't I'm pretty sure it's unhealthy (I do wear a mask tho while spraying), that's why I wanted to switch to acrylic. So now seeing all these advantages of acrylics, should I just stick to lacquer for now and never mind switching to acrylic then? :wacko:

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Lacquer over acrylic is almost guaranteed problems.

Panel lining with enamel over acrylic? Could be ok. Enamel is much "weaker" than lacquer generally, and the enamel and acrylic versions of the same brand/line usually tolerate each other fairly well. You just don't want to actually coat enamel over acrylic.

If water is 0, I'd say acrylic is 1, enamel is 3, and lacquer is a 10...

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here's my personal experience. the General rule of thumb is as David explained it (lacquer is the strongest, fallowed by enamel, then acrylic) but there are some exceptions. first, sometimes you can get away with enamel coats over acrylic. if the acrylic is ABSOLUTELY dried AND cured.

once an acrylic paint is completely cured, enamel usually won't be enough to damage it, usually.

another point to make is that not all lacquers are created equal. for instance Tamiya lacquer (both primer and colors that they sell in rattle cans) --- while hotter than any enamel or acrylic hobby paint --- isn't as hot as automotive lacquer. putting real automotive lacquer over a tamiya/Mr. Color lacquer will have about the same effect as spraying tamiya lacquer over tamiya enamel (i.e. bad).

and then there's testors/model masters clear Lacquer. Don't ask me why this is but for some reason you CAN to spray model Masters/Testors clear Lacquer over model masters/testors enamel. this works about the same as spraying enamel over acrylic. if the enamel paint is 100% cured and dried, you can spray the clear lacquer over it and not have any problem.

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Howie, that's the same situation I'm in. Two things you can do. Get some used or cheap brushless fans and make a basic spray booth. I even have two fans on dryer hosing on my bench to suck out the glue fumes - that stuff is nasty! Take a piece of wood, plastic, whatever and tape it over your window with a hole(s) for the ducting to go through. VERY low budget and it gets the fumes out. For painting, I usually spray the base color from a quality rattle can (Krylon is converting most of it's products to the fine spray). Immediately bring the model inside and stick it in a room or big closet where it can cure with the door closed and YOU can breath. Finish off with Tamiya's acrylics. If the weather is too cold or humid you can still do this method, just don't take your time outside ^_^ - MT

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Since I see that many modelers here use Tamiya Acrylic and I'm old enough to consider my health seriously, I think it's time to say good bye to Mr. Color (which is Lacquer) which has been damaging my health for the past 2 years and it's time to switch to Acrylics.

I've been using automotive lacquers for 12 years and haven't had any problems with my health. I haven't been happy with any water based acrylic paint yet. I like having a very hard paint to work on. And the water based paints don't shade worth a darned compared to enamels. A fan blowing out a window should take care of your lacquer fume problem and you'll get to stick to the products you know.

that's my 2 pennies.

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Thanks for the heads up guys! :lol:

I also heard from some one from a local hobby store that acrylics are actually harder to airbrush compared to enamels and lacquer because acrylics will form clots in the airbrush if not cleaned properly. And since most of the time acrylics can only be used on top of everything but not as the base, it feels like it complicates the painting process a whole lot.

So for now I think I'll stick with lacquer, and I'm planning on using the ventilation fan in the kitchen to suck the harmful fumes out so I don't get a headache after each paint job :rolleyes:

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Thanks for the heads up guys! :lol:

I also heard from some one from a local hobby store that acrylics are actually harder to airbrush compared to enamels and lacquer because acrylics will form clots in the airbrush if not cleaned properly. And since most of the time acrylics can only be used on top of everything but not as the base, it feels like it complicates the painting process a whole lot.

So for now I think I'll stick with lacquer, and I'm planning on using the ventilation fan in the kitchen to suck the harmful fumes out so I don't get a headache after each paint job :rolleyes:

Proper cleaning is an issue with any type of paint. I always flush my airbrush's between colors and then tear them down and clean them between paint types and after finishing a painting session.

I never find acrylics any harder to use than other paints when airbrushing, and they work better threw an airbrush than hand brushing.

personally though I prefer enamels for most jobs. enamels can do metallic, bare-metal, and high gloss finishes better than acrylics and enamel fumes aren't as bad as lacquer so I can get away with using the stove hood vent's in my kitchen (they're some pretty powerful fans) and a simple respirator.

I only use Lacquer for primer and body colors on model cars. as for acrylics, I tend to use them for colored clears, gloss/matte clear coats, and the occasional wash.

Acrylics are the most useful when painting odd materials like Vinyl.

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Proper cleaning is an issue with any type of paint. I always flush my airbrush's between colors and then tear them down and clean them between paint types and after finishing a painting session.

I never find acrylics any harder to use than other paints when airbrushing, and they work better threw an airbrush than hand brushing.

personally though I prefer enamels for most jobs. enamels can do metallic, bare-metal, and high gloss finishes better than acrylics and enamel fumes aren't as bad as lacquer so I can get away with using the stove hood vent's in my kitchen (they're some pretty powerful fans) and a simple respirator.

I only use Lacquer for primer and body colors on model cars. as for acrylics, I tend to use them for colored clears, gloss/matte clear coats, and the occasional wash.

Acrylics are the most useful when painting odd materials like Vinyl.

One thing I found out about enamels (I use them for panel lining and washing) is that they do take a LONG time to dry. I could basically do the wash, put aside for overnight, wake up the next day and play with the piece and some of it will actually come out. Acrylics take a long time to completely dry too, but it does seem to take less time that enamel. And lacquer does dry the fastest, I normally wait for only about 30 minutes before touching it.

And just like you I also use the stove hood vent in my kitchen, and it's very powerful too (if I put a paper on top of the stove, and turn the vent to full power, it can actually suck the paper up :ph34r: ), so I guess I'm set except doing a paint job in a kitchen feels weird no matter how I try to tell myself not. :lol:

But ya thanks for the heads up! B))

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something that I find helps a lot with dry times is a food dehydrator. I have one of those old Ronco dehydrators, the kind with the stackable trays thats electric and heats form the bottom.

I've found that it cuts the dry and cure times dramatically. also, it's great if you're trying to work somewhere that's cold or humid,

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OK, let me start off by saying that I am an idiot. I have been collecting Macross toys for less than a year, and customizing them for only a fraction of that.

I have been haphazardly applying coats of paint to my toys, completely oblivious to any differences in types of paint. I just checked my paints and custom chunkies, and it appears that I have sprayed lacquer, over both enamel and acrylic paints. The toys seem to be fine so far though.

Some of them I coated in future before the lacquer and some of them I did not. I'll have to be a bit more careful in the future. :)

Edited by optimator88

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