Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Stripping models

We all have that model hidden somewhere that we can't look at. Either we were too young to understand what we were doing properly, too drunk to notice or just not happy with the end result of new technique you tried.

Well never fear here are two ways to get that model stripped and back on display where it belongs.


Method one

This method is only ever to be used on metal models as the chemicals involved will destroy plastic. I've warned you now so don't get upset if things go wrong.

Because GW paint is a water based acrylic paint the best way to get it off metal surfaces is to use acetone. This is an industrial chemical used for cleaning metal etc. It is also the major ingredient in nail varnish remover.

If you can get your hands on the industrial strength stuff use it but for the rest of us nail varnish remover works fine. 

All you need is a stiff brush and a bowl  to put the acetone into.

Fill the bowl and drop the model you want to strip into it, if you are using industrial strength acetone you can get to scrubbing the paint of straight away, if you are using nail varnish remover you are going have to wait for between 10 and 30 minutes depending on how long the paint has been on the model.

All you then have to do is scrub the model until you get all of the paint off the model.

Method two

Now for stripping plastic there are two different chemicals you can use, Brake fluid or Dettol. Both work in exactly the same way and both give similar results, the only real difference is with brake fluid you need to be a lot more careful.

For me Dettol is the better option as it is safer when compared to brake fluid, and it also has tthe bonus of giving your wife/girlfriend/mother the impression you have spent your time cleaning the bathroom/kitchen, never a bad thing for scoring more brownie points for new models. Only use original Dettol as the scented variety doesn't work, don't ask me why it just doesn't.

Again you will need a container with a lid and a stiff brush. Do not use a tooth brush when using Dettol as it will clog within seconds as the paint becomes quite sticky. Put your models in the container and then fill it with either Dettol or brake fluid so that the models are completely submerged. Cover the container and leave it for at least 48 hours, the longer you leave it the easier it will be to get the paint off.

Once you are ready to start scrubbing take the models out out of the container and scrub until all the paint comes off.

The only downside to using Dettol over brake fluid is that your hands and the stripped models will smell of it for a while after you have finished.

I hope this helps anybody who is having trouble with problem paint jobs or wants to change armies without purchasing new models.


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  2. Fairy power spray. Not used it myself yet but I have it on good authority that you leave it on for five mins and then get it off with an old (or someone else's) toothbrush.

  3. I know up here in Canada, we have a cleaning supply called Simple Green, undiluted this stuff will eat away the GW and similar paints from plastic and metal models. Its environmentally friendly and best of all you can leave plastic in it for months and never damage the model.

  4. Great article. This is something I have been pondering for awhile. Just a quick question though. In Australia, Dettol is a mild antiseptic solution used for disinfectinfg playground cuts and grazes. Is this the same Dettol you are refering to? Just asking because I have never known anyone to clean their bathroom with it before, so am not sure if it a different product, a cultural thing, or simply my general ignorance...

  5. Think it's a cultural thing.

    Sounds like the same thing we have here, if you use it in a high enough dose it can be used to clean hard surfaces.

    But it should work as well as the UK stuff, just soak your models in it till the paint bubbles away from the model.

  6. Awesome - thanks man, that is a big help... I'd rather not have to resort to brake fluid...

    On a side note - it's actually more likely to be my general ignorance... :D