Monday, May 28, 2012

Paint stripping pains

Once in a while our miniature painting hobby requires us to the unimaginable:

Take an old model, strip the paint, and paint it all over again.

I won't get into all the reasons as to why this is necessary, but once it comes to it, there are probably 300 different ways to do it, and every hobbyist will tell you that their way to strip paint is the best, and in the end unless you try it for yourself, you wont have a clue what really works and what doesn't.

In my case all the nice products people keep using to strip their miniatures are just not available. There is no simple green in Israel, no purple cleaning stuff, no pine-sol, or other fancy liquids people use to strip paint. All i have available is acetone (pure hardware store kind of acetone) and various household cleaning products.

In the past I used to stick my metal models in acetone, let them soak for a while, vigorously brush them, clean all nooks and crannies with a needle, and call the job done. I would often have little spots of paint left over, but I would just prime over it and ignore the fact that what I started with wasn't pristine clean (I know I have a problem, don't laugh :)

Just before I left on vacation 10 days ago, i stuck a unit of Cygnar long gunner in the acetone bath (as usual) and left them to soak. Now, these models are not something I painted in the past. They were primed by a friend of mine, and there was a little paint on them (cloaks and boots mostly), and I have no idea what kind of primer was used on them.

After a 10 day soak in acetone, the paint was barely touched, and even after vigorous scrubbing with an old toothbrush, there was just too much paint left on the models.

That is when I remembered that a friend of mine, who is a model airplane builder, mentioned that he uses a simple oven cleaner to strip his models.

All that was left to do was open the cupboard, take our oven cleaner, spray it all over the miniatures, and give them another soak. Imagine the surprise on my face two hours after i left the models to soak, when I saw all the paint just coming away from the models in strips. I took them all out, gave them a rinse, and they were 100% pristine clean.

Then I decided it's time to test the same oven cleaner on other miniatures. I have two Infinity models that a friend gave me a while back that were basecoated with automotive lacquer, and the acetone just wouldnt touch the paint. They were soaking in acetone for 3 months, and here is how they looked after that:

The two models were just full of paint that wouldn't come off.

I also decided to test the oven cleaner on some old plastic models to see what happens If i soak them in it for some time, and whether the plastic will be affected. The three plastic orcs in this picture soaked in engine degreaser for over 4 months. Only effect was that all glue bonds were destroyed, but the black primer was untouched:

Jar on the left and on the right have the same liquid. Left one got a red tint after some miniatures soaked in it. The jar on the right is the oven cleaner with the plastic models inside.

As soon as these two jars are tested for effects I will make sure to post an update.

For now here is a photo of the 6 long gunners that got the oven cleaner treatment:

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