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Modeling in General: Health and Safety
Have a question about what is safe or an experience that might warn others?
VMS Black Track Pro chemical reaction
Jedite
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 04:39 AM UTC
Recently I bought a set of metal tracks for a T-34/56 as the plastic one was horrible and I always wanted to try metal tracks out. I found relatively cheap ones from China on eBay and they arrived in good time and besides the occasional sanding here and there the links went together like a charm.
After that I was thinking to try out a burnishing liquid and I chose VMS' Black Track Pro as the activator is reusable and the burnishing liquid itself is a concentrate. It really sounds like more bang for your money.

After watching VMS' video on how to use the liquids I decided to go for it.
As soon as I've put the tracks in the activator, I got a very violent fizzing and gases which were very nasty, so much so that one could easily suffocate from them. Compared to the video where there is absolutely no fizzing and the liquid stayed clean and reusable, mine got dirty and absolutely useless.

In the end I did got a descent result, but this seems to me like an unknown health hazard.

I contacted VMS to let them know about my experience, but so far all I got is that their product is meant to be used with Friulmodel,
Masterclub or similar.

Now for me this seems like a very useless statement. The product doesn't have it's components printed on the bottle and there is no hazard warning about it behaving this way with certain metals and alloys. Saying "similar" is not an option. We can't expect people to know what alloys the "preferred" manufacturers use and what others have.


Did anyone else have any similar experience with their products, if so what types of metal were used?
Does anyone know what chemicals they use?

The tracks didn't have any information about the metals either, but in this instance I think VMS needs to be the one providing proper safety information and guidelines.



Kevlar06
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 07:07 AM UTC
I’m not familiar with VMS Black Track. Pro, the more common blackening solution on this side of the pond is a product known as “Blacken It” which I assume is probably akin to the VMS product. However. If you want to know if it’s the solution or the track, the best thing to do would be to try it on Fruilmodel track, or anther product like brass, and see if it does the same thing. The issue might not be the fluid at all, but the component materials in the track you purchased. I agree, it would be better for VMS to state somewhere on the label “intended only for xxxxx tracks”. However, experience with Chinese made goods is they sometimes use unknown alloys and metals in many products which might have adverse effects in common solutions, especially etching solutions.
VR, Russ
Scarred
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 07:16 AM UTC
Not all white metal are created equal. As with most things from China I'm leery of of what they are made of and whether or not they were pirated. Some white metal is tin based others are lead based. Sadly, you have no way of knowing what yours are made of. And I don't know what fruils are made of.

Edit: I just did a little experiment. Took 10 minutes, maybe? I don't have any metal aftermarket tracks nor any commercially prepared track blackening solution but a few days ago I bought a 3oz bottle of gun bluing solution from Wally Worlds sporting goods section intending to test it on white metal like the stuff used for tracks. But I didn't have any tracks. But what I did have was a Gunze/Sangyo M60A1 with RISE. The ERA blocks are made of white metal. So I took a q-tip and applied the bluing solution to the largest of the ERA blocks and it indeed blackened the white metal. Well not blacked but darkened it to a very dark shade of gray. And that was with barely any solution on it a sitting less than 30 seconds before I rinsed it.

How many pieces of metal a 3oz bottle will darken is a question that needs to be tested.
Jedite
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 10:27 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Not all white metal are created equal. As with most things from China I'm leery of of what they are made of and whether or not they were pirated. Some white metal is tin based others are lead based. Sadly, you have no way of knowing what yours are made of. And I don't know what fruils are made of.

Edit: I just did a little experiment. Took 10 minutes, maybe? I don't have any metal aftermarket tracks nor any commercially prepared track blackening solution but a few days ago I bought a 3oz bottle of gun bluing solution from Wally Worlds sporting goods section intending to test it on white metal like the stuff used for tracks. But I didn't have any tracks. But what I did have was a Gunze/Sangyo M60A1 with RISE. The ERA blocks are made of white metal. So I took a q-tip and applied the bluing solution to the largest of the ERA blocks and it indeed blackened the white metal. Well not blacked but darkened it to a very dark shade of gray. And that was with barely any solution on it a sitting less than 30 seconds before I rinsed it.

How many pieces of metal a 3oz bottle will darken is a question that needs to be tested.



You are right about the metals not being equal.
The one that I bought is definitely a softer metal alloy made probably with zinc or lead. It does have the heaviness and that typical lead-ish sheen.
The blackening solution wasn't the problem in this case, the activator liquid was. VMS sells it as a combo deal. I don't know what goes in to the activator one, but it definitely eats that metal the tracks were made out of.
The blackening solution had no such effect, it darkened the metal, but not completely black, rather a dark shade of grey. No aggressive chemical reaction whatsoever.


I think the conclusion is that first and foremost manufacturers, especially the ones creating these solutions, need to be more specific about what types of alloys one can or cannot use. Not just say "similar to brand X".
Second, people need to be VERY careful and test the metal with the liquid, before they go and lob the whole batch in to it as I did.

Lesson learned from my part, I hope it can be a good example.
Tojo72
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 10:58 AM UTC
Whoa !!! How small of room were you in so that suffocation could easily occur,sounds scary.Thats a lot of oxygen displacement,must have been some reaction.No warnings on the product?
Scarred
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 10:59 AM UTC
The bluing liquid I used is from Birchwood Casey and contains selenious acid, nitric acid and phosphoric acid. But didn't fizz or act suspicious in any way.
Jedite
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 11:40 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Whoa !!! How small of room were you in so that suffocation could easily occur,sounds scary.Thats a lot of oxygen displacement,must have been some reaction.No warnings on the product?



Maybe suffocation wasn't the best term. The gas had a distinctive pungent smell, similar to ammonia, so strong that it made me unable to breath when being close to it. It wasn't that much in the air and I was able to open windows and went the thing out after I stopped the reaction and walk outside to catch my breath.
I can imagine this in some circumstances if not being fatal, but having some poisonous side effects.

I have a feeling that the reaction released chlorine and this so called activator liquid is some sort of acid based on that.
Jedite
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 11:43 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The bluing liquid I used is from Birchwood Casey and contains selenious acid, nitric acid and phosphoric acid. But didn't fizz or act suspicious in any way.



It's not the bluing liquid rather what VMS calls "activator" liquid which had this effect. It supposed to be used before blackening to get a much better results.

What kind of metals were you using?
Scarred
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Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 02:56 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

The bluing liquid I used is from Birchwood Casey and contains selenious acid, nitric acid and phosphoric acid. But didn't fizz or act suspicious in any way.



It's not the bluing liquid rather what VMS calls "activator" liquid which had this effect. It supposed to be used before blackening to get a much better results.

What kind of metals were you using?



Don't know. The kit just says white metal which could be tin base, solder based or a mixture of the two.
barkingdigger
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ARMORAMA
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Posted: Friday, October 09, 2020 - 03:14 AM UTC
Does the activator have a smell BEFORE you add the metal track? And is the track raw pot-metal, or is it coated in any way? I'm not sure what kinds of lacquer coating might produce nasty gases...

Is the track OK now that you've blackened it and cleaned up? Or has it been affected in any way?
Jedite
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Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 11:09 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Does the activator have a smell BEFORE you add the metal track? And is the track raw pot-metal, or is it coated in any way? I'm not sure what kinds of lacquer coating might produce nasty gases...

Is the track OK now that you've blackened it and cleaned up? Or has it been affected in any way?



As far as I can remember the activator didn't had any strong smell. It was almost odourless.
The tracks didn't had any coating on them.
After the whole procedure they look fine. They have a dark greyish look and a rough surface.

One other thing, whilst the tracks were fizzing away and I tried to agitate them by moving them around in the liquid to get rid of any bubbles, I noticed that my latex gloves got like a metal coating/staining on them. So I definitely think that the reaction was with the metal itself.
Scarred
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Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2020 - 04:58 AM UTC
Most likely so. It shouldn't dissolve your tracks, just turn them a darker color. Staining your gloves shows it's eating the metal.

I hoped you rinsed them with plenty of water afterward.
Robbd01
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Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2020 - 06:08 AM UTC
Interesting post. Just so happens I have been in the hunt for some burnishing option(s). I checked out their (VMS) website and in the product description - at the bottom of course, I found the following:

"IMPORTANT: Tracks need to be decontaminated with VMS Styrene Cements standard type, or equivalent prior to using the actual blackening bundle - please view our video tutorial to learn about this step! Tested and compatible with Friulmodel®, Masterclub® tracks. Not tested with other brands - compatibility with other brands is not guaranteed. CLICK TO SEE FULL PRESENTATION"

https://www.vms-supplies.com/product-page/vms-black-track-pro-set

Maybe needed to do that 'decontaminated' part first but it does mention about compatibility with other brands not guaranteed.

I am curious - what is the brand of the tracks you got from China? I have ordered metal tracks from China aka ebay and maybe try to avoid that brand if I decide to burnish them.

Cheers


Jedite
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Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2020 - 09:06 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Interesting post. Just so happens I have been in the hunt for some burnishing option(s). I checked out their (VMS) website and in the product description - at the bottom of course, I found the following:

"IMPORTANT: Tracks need to be decontaminated with VMS Styrene Cements standard type, or equivalent prior to using the actual blackening bundle - please view our video tutorial to learn about this step! Tested and compatible with Friulmodel®, Masterclub® tracks. Not tested with other brands - compatibility with other brands is not guaranteed. CLICK TO SEE FULL PRESENTATION"

https://www.vms-supplies.com/product-page/vms-black-track-pro-set

Maybe needed to do that 'decontaminated' part first but it does mention about compatibility with other brands not guaranteed.

I am curious - what is the brand of the tracks you got from China? I have ordered metal tracks from China aka ebay and maybe try to avoid that brand if I decide to burnish them.

Cheers





Yes, I found that as well, but even if the tracks had something on them, it wouldn't have been fizzing like crazy, or at least for a shorter amount of time as it dissolves whatever it was on there. Also the metal stain on my gloves did tell me that something was very wrong.
And this is my problem with them. Just writing 'compatibility with other brands is not guaranteed' is very misleading. For me that says that it wont blacken the metal, not that it will release toxic fumes that could kill you.
They really need to do proper testing and have a list of metals and alloys of what to avoid. Of course this is not a 100% solution as track manufacturers might not tell you what metals they used.
Or at least tell people to pre-test one track link with the liquids to see if there are any strong reactions.

I think overall you are pretty much safe to buy any brand of tracks, just do a quick test with them. Also, the blackening liquid was OK. That behaved as it should. The activator one was the dodgy one.

I bought the tracks from San Xin Model. Probably just a popup brand packaging the same tracks as the others.
The overall look and feel of the tracks was really nice, and the pins are a great addition and they didn't even need any gluing.

Jedite
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Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2020 - 09:18 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Most likely so. It shouldn't dissolve your tracks, just turn them a darker color. Staining your gloves shows it's eating the metal.

I hoped you rinsed them with plenty of water afterward.



Yeah, did rinsed and dried them. After the activator and also after the blackening liquid.
Robbd01
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Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 09:50 AM UTC
Late reply. Waiting for Kitmaker Photo section to finally let me in and not tell me it is too busy. Anyways this is the brand of metal tracks I got from China via ebay.



Be curious if they too will fizz...

Cheers

Jedite
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Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 06:32 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Late reply. Waiting for Kitmaker Photo section to finally let me in and not tell me it is too busy. Anyways this is the brand of metal tracks I got from China via ebay.



Be curious if they too will fizz...

Cheers




I am interested as well. Let me know the outcome.
Robbd01
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Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 08:17 AM UTC
I plan on using Ammo by Mig's Burnishing Fluid if ever Sprue Brothers get some in stock.

Cheers
Jedite
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Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 11:19 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I plan on using Ammo by Mig's Burnishing Fluid if ever Sprue Brothers get some in stock.

Cheers



Probably you're not going to have any problem with that. The burnishing fluid of the VMS set was OK. That did what it supposed to do.