by: Matthew Toms [ ]
Everyone who has an airbrush seeks to have some kind of spray booth to control dust, overspray, and paint fumes. Airbrushing ideally should be done in a temperature and humidity controlled room. Most commonly the two major issues keeping people from buying a spray booth are price and space. Most commercial spray booths are priced in the $300 - $500 range and are beyond the budget of the majority of modelers. Then, where to keep a big empty box of a spray booth the size of a large air conditioner becomes a problem. So does keeping it free of dust and hair between airbrushing sessions.
portable spray booth
Model Expo has addressed both problems with this revolutionary collapsible, portable spray booth for just over $100. Made of metal and high quality plastic, it is about the size of a shoe box when stowed, and has a carry handle. The booth only weighs about 4 pounds. There is a storage compartment for the power cord, which automatically retracts itself with the touch of a button. No folding and cord stuffing while desperately trying to pop a cover on. The lighted power switch controls the 3 cubic meter per minute exhaust fan.
If you can open a kit box, you can set this spray booth up in about 20 seconds. The engineering and design is, in my opinion, absolute genius. All the booth panels are hinged and permanently attached so there is nothing to lose. 6 slots and tabs keep the whole thing sturdily upright. While mostly plastic, the construction and materials are of high quality - don't let the price fool you.
When deployed, the booth interior is 15" deep x 16" wide x 12" high, easily holding a 1/35 Maus or E-100 at all angles. For the ship modeler, 2 booths can be snapped together to provide a 32" wide booth interior. The frosted clear panels let in plenty of light. A low profile turntable is included.
When operating, the fan is whisper quiet, about as loud as a running microwave. The fan exhausts out the back of the booth cabinet, so it is more appropriate for interior use with acrylics. However, it is so compact that it can easily be placed on a windowsill and vented directly outside for use with enamels or lacquers. Even though there is no provision for a duct hose at the fan outlet, you could also easily attach a dryer duct collar and hose to the fan shroud with, what else? Duct tape!
In use with Tamiya, Lifecolor, and Pollyscale acrylics, there was not a hint of paint fumes or odor out the back of the booth or from within. The fan efficiently evacuated any hint of mist or odor. This booth has been "wife tested and approved" for odorless use indoors, unvented, with acrylics. The poly fiber filter at the back of the booth is removable and replaceable. Model Expo sells replacement filters, but the filter material can be purchased very inexpensively at a home improvement store and cut to size with scissors.
Having no spare rooms and a limited work area prompted me to purchase this booth. I would expect a spray booth this size to cost twice this much, and one so clever and innovative even more than that. This booth is an excellent value and a brilliant idea, very well executed. I have 30 years airbrushing experience and I have a feeling this booth will become as valued as my Iwatas.
Very Highly Recommended.