Saturday, April 17, 2010

How To: Stripping Models

After a bit of a hiatus from my painting desk, I'm finally getting back to action. I was cleaning up my painting desk storage areas and came upon a box full of old models. Some of them were primed poorly too. I had been looking for some test models to replace my existing one and this looked like a good opportunity for another tip entry. Today I'm going to go over in gory detail how to effectively strip models. I know there are many posts out there about how Simple Green is great for this, but I wanted to actually post a tutorial for those that would like to see proof.

  • This tip is geared towards stripping quality, not speed.
  • I've only really done this seriously for metal miniatures, and not plastics or resins, so reader beware.
  • Simple Green is the key to this tip. Not only does it do the job very effectively, but it's biodegradable and non-toxic.
  • Simple Green will dissolve glue bonds. Typically if a model is on a base, or has parts glued, it becomes easy to separate the parts after soaking for a week.

  • What you'll need:
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Simple Green cleaner
  • Old toothbrush
  • Rubber gloves (optional)

  • How To:
    Step one: Get a jar to toss all your models into. Preferably one that will provide a good water-tight seal, and is clear glass so that you can see what's going on. Then toss all the models into it!
    Next, get your bottle of Simple Green. The easiest place to find it is automotive stores. Whether you get the spray bottle or the big bottle of refills doesn't matter.
    Now fill up your jar! The important thing is to make sure that all parts of all models are covered up. You'll probably want some air in the jar just to make it more effective when you shake it. Once filled, leave it for several days. Every so often, gently shake the jar. This accomplishes a couple of things. First, it shakes loose pieces of primer and paint from the models to let the cleaner do more work. Second, it causes the models to rub against each other and help loosen more primer.
    In this photo I'd left my jar for 2 full weeks. Again, I'm more focused on quality and less on speed. I wanted to make sure every bit of old primer got removed. Remaining bits of primer will fill in model details and defeat the purpose of stripping.
    Next, take the jar to a sink partially filled with warm water. Bring an old toothbrush and start scrubbing. Sometimes you get lucky and a model comes out completely clean, like this one. You'll notice in this photo that I'm wearing rubber gloves. The Simple Green, although bio-friendly, is pretty rough on skin during prolonged contact, so I highly recommend wearing gloves.
    Sometimes, not so lucky, like this old Psyker model. In this case, take the toothbrush to it and scrub a bit, rinsing as necessary to make sure you get all the bits off. A few seconds of scrubbing and typically...
    ...all the primer comes off easily, like with this one.
    After scrubbing each model, rinse them off real well in the warm water and set them aside to dry thoroughly. And you're done! If you're willing to wait a couple weeks of soaking, you can literally be looking at a matter of minutes worth of work.


    Maxus said...

    Using Simple Green is safer and effective, but it does take time. I haven't used simple green on plastics. But do think about the age of the minis. Lead vs Pewter won't be too much of an issue. The older plastics vs the newer plastics can be. I personally use a commercial degreaser, and its rather effective, stripping a model within a day or two (depending on the paint/primer).

    Always wear gloves, very important!

    J.A.M. said...

    Will Simple Green work to remove paint from the new Warmachine plastic heavy jacks?

    @Maxus: Will the commercial degreaser work on the new Warmachine plastic heavy jacks?