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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 2K Painting at Home

Hi there,

I've come to depend on the time and advice you guys give to me - I really find it invaluable as a relative newbie!

So I'm about to start painting my Midge in BRG (1967, the dark BRG) and I was wondering if anyone had had any experience of painting with 2Pac before, especially in a relatively confined space (my fairly tight, inadequate garage!!).

Any tips regarding paint choice (e.g. ICI v duplicolour v cellulose, etc), number of coats of each layer, gloss paint v base and laquer, miscellaneous hints/tips, etc very, very welcome!!!

Cheers in advance,

Josh Spooner

As I'm sure you know, 2-pack is toxic and the painter is supposed to wear an air-fed face mask, although I know some body shop guys who just wear an ordinary painters mask. I wouldn't risk it, and if you are set on painting it yourself, stick to good old cellulose lacquer. I bought mine from Doing it in a domestic garage is very difficult. Mine is a double garage but even so I found it hard moving round the car. The finish I ended up with wasn't as good as I wanted, so I eventually had the top coats put on by a professional shop.
Mike Howlett

I've painted with 2K paints, just done the Sprite using it, used it for wheels, guitars, bicycle frames.

I do have a pretty big workshop, I use an air fed mask and the compressor is sited in another building. I also try to time things to paint in summer so the doors are open as I've no extraction system, also it flows better (cold air, cold paint and cold car results in a rubbish finish no matter how good you are), the top coat on my Sprite was done in a cold snap so it's horrible but I'd no choice and the mud covers it up. On a warm day I can just about achieve a decent finish but even that's taken a lot of practice

I use for supplies. For the Sprite I used solid colour 2k paint, the pros are tending to use base and lacquer in order to use water based base because of current regs I believe, they still have to use 2k lacquer. Metallics obviously require lacquer (as does repainting carbon fibre bikes).

I wouldn't go near the stuff without air fed mask, gloves, full overalls, it's horrible, I've used cellulose previously, it's not as tough, and I wouldn't personally spray that without the air fed mask either.

Paul (MkI


Thats not a workshop - that is a palace !

SOOO envious !


Car looks good too.
richard boobier

Just done mine over the summer in celly. I used a decent full face mask, suit and gloves but still couldn't bring myself to use 2K. Celly is ok but hard to get good results, especially this time of year. When I did mine it was about 25 degrees C and seems to be ok. Not a show finish but ok for my hillclimb car.

Here is a decent guide to painting:

and here is why I decided to stick with celly!

John Payne

Painting at home?

Unless you have the proper skills, equipment & will look like, well, you painted it at home!

I tend to save my money & let the profesionals do the jobs I want to look good...
Dave Rhine ('78 1500)

2K (the isocyanate in it) can give a hypersensitivity reaction. So it is independent of the dose. It is not only inhalation bus also the skin route that can give you a lethal reaction. Some people do react with hypersensitivity others don't. It takes at least 2 doses to get a hypersensitivity reaction. So if it will not happen the first time but it can happen by one of later applications.


Flip Brühl 948 frog 59

The other aspect of it is that it is a form of epoxy and inhaling it as a vapor will neatly seal those alveoli in your lungs permanently, reducing your effective lung capacity significantly. Not the sort of thing your body is well equipped to recover from and not the kind of mistake one should have to make in order to know better. I maintain that one of the signs of maturity is the ability to learn from the mistakes of others; life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself.

If you are going to paint it yourself in order to save money, chances are that you are not going to be able to justify the expense of doing it right with all the right equipment and safety gear. Do yourself a favour and either pay someone else to do it or do it with a more forgiving paint.
David "permanently immature" Lieb
David Lieb

You can now get cartridge face masks specifically for 2K spraying...

graeme jackson

I'll stick with the air fed, I wouldn't even risk the seal of a cartridge mask round the face being imperfect. With the air fed you smell absolutely nothing, when I remove it 20 feet from the workshop in open air I become aware of a faint whiff of solvent.
Paul MkIMkIV

from that link:-
'We have been supplying these masks for over 2 years to the trade and our eBay customers and have never had any returned.'
cynic says you cannot return the mask if you are dead !
I've done 2K at home, train yourself to not breathe for around 2.5 to 3 minutes, that's plenty long enough to spray a midget one panel at a time. Was probably me that gave Josh the idea in the first place, sorry.
PS how's the axle Josh?
David Smith

I sprayed mine this summer, using 2K in a big purpose built (though old) spray shop with underfloor extraction system. I used a 2K cartridge mask. With the mask properly fitted and tested, couldn't smell the paint fumes but even so I got a bit of a hypersenstive reaction around my lips and eyes and felt a bit unwell for a couple of hours after each spraying session. Not a job I would want to do daily! The professional who was working with me and teaching me said that he sprays very little Isocyanate 2K; he mostly uses the newer water based paints.

The previous time I sprayed this car I used cellulose and did it at home with good results. In fact I sprayed my car outside on the drive. I gave it 14 coats of paint with W&D flatting after every third coat, and finished off with 2 wet coats, mostly thinners to give it a good gloss. It needed almost no buffing and that job lasted 15 years of heavy use/mis-use.

Guy Oneandahalf Sprites

Josh, Not sure if you've already got a spraying outfit, but it may be worth having a word with a recommended local bodyshop. A lot of the cost is in the preparation, which you can do most of yourself. It'takes a lot of time to prepare for spraying, but very little to actually get the paint on.
Cheers John

A local bodyshop offered me the use of their spray booth for a small fee. Depends what you are doing though, my car was fully stripped down so moving it for painting would have been too difficult.
John Payne


Wow thanks so much for the advice! I'll definitely look into either trying to heat up the panels/air or possibly hiring a spray booth....Those links are superb as well! So thanks very, very much!

David, the axle is hopefully (!) going to be lovely - it felt nice and tight, didn't it?! it's been painted up and all of the copper brake lines rubbed down and lacquered :D. Looks awesome!

Does anyone have an opinion on the best way to heat up the panels in order to achieve a better finish (infrared, space heaters, etc) and also where the compromise comes between ventilation and keeping in the heat (we have a long, thin garage with doors at either end). it's probably around 9ft wide by about 25 feet long...


Josh 'Midget Mad' Spooner

Spraying when it is cold and damp is a total waste of time and money. The finish will be horrible. You need to get the temperature in the workshop up to at least 15 degrees C in my opinion, and you can't do that at the moment with the doors open!
Mike Howlett


That sounds sensible to me - however, I don't really have a choice about painting it now; We've stripped here down to what is basically a shell and have rubbed her down almost ready for paint! With that, and my rapidly declining budget in mind, I reckon some space heaters/convection heaters are going to be my only option considering I need her to be ready for February!

How important is ventilation if we've got all the masks and stuff?


Josh 'Midget Mad' Spooner

Josh. As you can see from all the advice given above, 2K paint is really only to be used in ideal conditions. It really is dangerous if used without the correct masks and ventilation. The ventilation shouldn't just be to atmosphere, but properly filtered so as to protect the general public.
If you've not already bought the paint, I would suggest that you do as Guy did several years ago and use cellulose, using the method he describes. Still use the masks and ventilate the workshop via an extractor fan. Cellulose is not too bad as the overspray is dry within a few seconds in the air and so not as dangerous as 2K which remains wet and sticks to anything it contacts, including the inside of lungs, as mentioned by David.
If you have already bought the paint, I would definitely investigate the hire of a booth or let a pro do it for you. As also mentioned above, if it's fully prepped, you've done all the real hard work already, so although it's nice to say "I did it all myself", just let someone with all the right gear finish it.
Hope this helps.

b higginson


If you close the place up and put in some space heaters, you may make a really big explosion when the heaters ignite the finely atomized paint solvents that are in the air. Paint booths are required to have explosion proof lighting and switches for this reason.

Your best bet for a quality job is to do all the prep work and take it to a shop to have the paint applied. If you have already bought the paint, they would probably be willing you use your paint. Go ask around and see what kind of cooperation and prices you can find.

I did once rent a booth at a body shop for $50 USD, though that was probably 12 or so years ago.

C R Huff

When I've sprayed in colder weather I used a 3kW fan heater to get the space warmed as much as possible prior to painting then turned it off prior to painting. I wouldn't use any sort of heater that burnt fuel and warmed the space unless the heating was indirect. The combustion products in a small space add lots of water vapour and have an associated CO risk.
David Billington

This thread was discussed between 28/11/2010 and 05/12/2010

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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