Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Paint Stripping - removing the colours of war

One question I have seen come up a lot on my various travels round the wibbly wobbly web is the question of stripping and everyone seems to have an opinion or a theory and all seem to work or at least have a measure of success, so I thought its maybe time to share my experiences. my go to stripper was Kandi.... oh hang on wrong topic!

In the past my stripping experiences have being somewhat hit and miss, so I've decided to compile a list of my experiences and let you decide what suits your needs best!

As something to note, with the possible exception of Dettol and possibly Nitros Mors, everything in this list is easily available in every country and its one of the reasons I have made the list so people from every where can find something to help them out

NITROS MORS

back when most things were metal I used to use Nitro Mors, the stuff is somewhat slow compared to other methods, smells really bad and results in a bit of gunk over the model, it really needs to be used in a well ventilated area due to the fumes from it which are the only real down side, but I found it is a competent enough stripper but not something I would ever use now with a kid in the house just due to the fumes.


Pros:
strips well

Cons:
expensive
smells
gives off fumes
longer clean up time of model after stripping due to gunk

Safe for use on:
METALS ONLY

ACETONE/NAIL VARNISH REMOVER

This was a definite miss when I tried it, I listened to some early advice on the then burgeoning communities and tried acetone, on metal models it was brilliant, it even stripped enamel paint, however metal and resin models just melted. Great stripper and dirt cheap, to get the model ready for use all it needed was a quick rinse under the tap and done. To be fair was far from perfect, especially given the growth of resin and plastic in the hobby.

Pros:
strips well
little clean up
very very cheap

Cons:
smells
melts lots of stuff

Safe for use on:
METALS ONLY

DETTOL CLEANER

This was a definite miss when I tried it, I listened to people about using it and found whilst it worked ok on metals, and then was ok with most plastics it actually melted a number of Forgeworld resin items. This may have been a fluke but after loosing 2 turrets and a command squad to it I wasn't planning on using it again. Personally I can not recommend this, however some people do swear by it, however keep reading as there is a cheaper more suitable alternative coming up


Pros:
strips well
little clean up
very very cheap

Cons:
smells
don't get water in it goes gloopy
not convinced of its model safety

Safe for use on:
METALS ONLY - this is a personal recommendation and user experience might vary

BIOSTRIP 20

This is a newer addition to my arsenal and is one I am glad I added. I use this stripper sparingly and only really when the big guns are required. It strips pretty much every type of paint I have come across but doesn't seem to work 100% on primer (more in a mo on that). It is safe on everything I have tried it on but it does need to be applied in a very thick coat and can leave a mess but the models do clean up fairly well, and if not a second coat doesn't hurt. I found that when stripping models with an undercoat that on plastic models the undercoat is not stripped and goes slightly gunkier than normal and takes a lot of effort to strip. On metal and resin it goes gunky but strips the base coat well. This really is the one to use if you have something that someone has basically killed with paint, it will get everything off but is quite messy - however if you use this initially and finish my with my next method you can strip pretty much everything
Pros:
strips well
safe for everything

Cons:
smells
bit gunky
costly

Safe for use on:
EVERYTHING - I haven't found anything it isn't safe on yet


METHYLATED SPIRIT & SONIC/JEWELLERY CLEANER

This was a definite hit and is now my newest favourite method! For ages I was put off using Meths just because in my mind it was the same as acetone, boy am I glad I was wrong! Whilst the Meths smells at the time within an hour or two the smell goes and the models come up well. If using on its own Meths takes and hour or so to work but if you do as I did and link it with a Jewellery cleaner, also known as a sonic bath, the results take 2-3 mins. Quick note: make sure your cleaner either doesn't have a heater or the heater can be turned off, there are two reasons for this, first the meths is flammable, sure I don't need to explain why heating that is a bad idea, and second I have found heating whilst stripping can actually damage some older metal models and make some resin a bit too pliable.
Once done all you need to do is rinse the models under water and give a quick scrub with a tooth and hey presto, resin and metal come up brilliantly as does most plastic. I did however recently strip a tank (pics below to show the effects) and I found that it stripped the colours as expected but the undercoat didn't come off fully, it left a light coat over the model (the fw turret stripped at the same time came up brilliantly) but it was a nice smooth coat and personally makes it easier for me as I don't need to go get some undercoat.
 
The Dream Team!
Pros:
strips well
little clean up
very very cheap - meths

Cons:
smells a bit but soon goes

Safe for use on:
EVERYTHING - I haven't found anything it isn't safe on yet


Conclusions

All in all I can not recommend the Meths Method enough, teamed with the sonic cleaner (around £25gbp on eBay - make sure you get one with at least a 1 litre capacity to fit most leman russ/rhino sized chassis) you cant go far wrong.
Back that up with an emergency tub of Biostrip 20 and you'll never have to worry about buying badly painted models ever again.

Example

So there you have it, my experiences and thoughts on stripping, to give you an idea of how successful you can be here is the tank I picked up for sale the other week. this is a plastic Leman Russ hull with a Forgeworld Conqueror turret with some quite thick paint:

After 3-4 mins in methylated spirits and the sonic cleaner I took the model out, give it a quick scrub (over the grass so it didn't make the shed a mess) and then continued to scrub it under a running tap (one person I know doesn't scrub their metal models they just put them in the dishwasher but I could imagine my Mrs would kill me if I did that!) and after maybe 2 minutes of scrubbing I was left with this:
 
as you can see and mentioned previously, the resin almost came up like new, few spots where I didn't scrub properly but another 30seconds in the bath and they went. The tank has the primer left on but the Meths and the scrubbing give a nice finish and smooth coat so I have one less thing to primer.
 
Hope you found the article helpful and helps you get those old models ready for the table top again!

4 comments:

Greg Hess said...

Thanks for the effect photos as well. It's hard to see the effectiveness from just the text, having an example is crazy helpful!

Millest said...

glad to help, I always find it frustrating when people say try this or use this but don't show it actually works so thought I would try to help out :D

Scalene (Warfactory) said...

Nitro more isn't as good as it used to be. About 5 years ago they changed active ingredient. I use starchem, it's quite pricey - £28 for 5 litres but the paint comes off a metal model completely in under a minute. Fumes are awful, it eats plastic and gives you a chemical burn if it touches flesh, but that's the price of effectiveness.

Lee William Hughes said...

Dettol works a treat on everything if you don't mind waiting a few days. I've left plastics in it for weeks with no issue at all. Just keep the water away, wear gloves to handle it and alls well. I will definitly look into your Meth?bath method too, looks like a great method. :]

Related Posts with Thumbnails