Frozen acrylics

I recently received an order of acrylics and oils from across the pond via sea. I strongly suspect the paints froze while in transit.

The acrylics came with a ball bearing but I’ve added two BB’s to try and shake the paint up quicker and more thouroughly. There is still pigments in the “corners”. Maybe the obvious is I need to shake for much longer!

My question, will this affect the pigments or any other molecular process having been frozen? Has anyone used mini electric paint shakers, or are they a waste of money?

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Only one way to find out: Paint something and check what happens.

Corners: Unless the balls are very small they will not get into the corners.
You will need a pointy stick (sharpen a section of sprue) to get the last
pigments out of the corners.

Across the pond: Are you 100% certain it wasn’t air freight?
A container out in the open on a ships deck this time of year would freeze unless it was temperature controlled (heated) which I suspect they didn’t do. Usually when it is temperature controlled it gets interpreted as ‘refrigerated’.

Some internet shops will not ship acrylics during the cold half of the year …


I have read that Mission Models paint additive can stop working after freezing, but I have no idea about other brands.

As for the shaker, I have a cheap aliexpress vortex one that does a good job. Recently a fellow modeller tried this one and said it’s the best he has used. And I completely trust his opinion.

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In my personal experience, when acrylics freeze, they die.
I ordered a large amount of Vallejo paints one January. When i picked them up off my front doorstep, they were frozen. When they reached room temperature, they were very hard to mix and looked a little lumpy. When I tried to use them, the pigment and the carrier (water) seperated, almost like the paint “shattered” on application. All of the paints were ruined due to freezing.
I also think it has to do with the type of acrylic. If you order true water based acrylic such as Vallejo or Lifecolor, you’re screwed. If it’s alcohol based acrylic like Tamiya or Gunze, they might be okay.
In any case, I switched from acrylics to lacquers, and I keep a good stock. I don’t order paint in the winter.


Yes, I contacted the company (in Poland) and it took two months delivery. I was hoping for air freight :frowning_face:

Paints by AMMO. 99% of Canadian model companies won’t ship paint via snail mail in the winter due to freezing.

I have not painted a model since 1983-4 so I don’t know anything about paints these days.

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Thanks for the info I’m going to look into it.

If it goes in the cargo hold (lower deck) it could get real cold …
It depends on where it gets stored in the cargo hold and if they have something else in there that needs to be kept warm (not freezing).

From the link posted by @paska
“and anything below 45 F (7.2 Celsius) is certainly not recommended.”
Cargo holds in aircraft are kept at +7 to + 15 Centigrade so with some bad luck the paint gets located close the the outer skin of the aircraft in a 7 centigrade hold and suffers this temperature for a couple of hours …,would%20be%20comfortable%20living%20in.


Vallejo are really and if they freeze as stated above.

I would be surprised if tamiya even froze. They smell very chemical heavy and many chemicals in paint (alcohols and the like) don’t freeze at normal temperature

If it took 2 months from Poland and it was air freight there’s still a lot of time either side of the 8-hr flight when your paint could be sitting in a very cold room or outdoor storage container in countries noted for freezing winters - sorry.

There is zero chance this was air freight. I tracked it from day one. It may have sat in a seacan in the port of Montreal for a day/ month prior to customs? Too many unknown factors.

I am going to contact AMMO and see what they say about their paints going through freeze/ thaw cycles. If AMMO comes back and say it’s worthless then I will contact the company I bought from and go from there. It will be a sad day if it’s worthless as I was hoping to start spraying in the next week.

I may just have to source a different brand locally; Vallejo, AK, Tamiya, etc…

Can anyone chime in on differences: AMMO vs AK?

Thanks everyone for the info and help,

My question to AMMO: “ I recently purchased AMMO acrylic paints from a hobby store in Poland and shipped to Canada. The paint was shipped via a sea container and was quite possibly exposed to freezing temperatures for approximately two months. Will AMMO paints withstand multiple freeze/ thaw cycles?”

I received a reply from AMMO: “ Regarding your question, It should not cause any problems. In any case, it is not usual for paints to be subjected to extreme temperatures for such a long time. Please check how they are and, if you have any problems, write to us again.”

In the meantime I’ve shaken the bottles and stirred up any pigments with a makeshift stir stick. The only test is to paint and see, kinda like wait and see :crazy_face:

  • Should acrylic paints be stored upright so the pigments go to the bottom?
  • How long does it take for pigments to separate after shaken (acrylics)?

I ask these ridiculous questions because I’ve never used acrylics before.

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