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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After reading so many different threads on what product to use to strip paint of plastic models, I was getting a little confused. People's results even with the same chemicals seemed to vary wildly. The most common, Simple Green, is so rare in the UK as to not be an option and even with that peoples results varied.

I thought I'd run a little experiment. I'd just bought a load of marines from ebay, they were absolutely caked in paint and needed stripping. They were also old and cheap so if I melted a few I'd not be too bothered.

For my experiment I chose five different chemicals I could find around my house, well I went out an buy some ultra cheap multi surface cleaner as close as I could get to the one used by leighjt in his tutorial. Into a jar of each chemical I placed 2 or 3 miniatures, if possible something plastic and something metal

These were the results of the first attempt:


First off the brushes I used, an old toothbrush, a new stiff tooth brush and a wire brush




Vodka

Pilot00 suggested alcohol, he specifically said the type you get from the chemist, but I thought I'd try Vodka anyway. As you can see it did not work in any way. Lets just call this the control, an example of what 24 hours soaking in a non melty liquid and some vigorous scrubbing can do. I should have known vodka has no effect on a space marine, its right there in the fluff!



Foaming Oven Cleaner

Problem here seemed to be, after the foam died down the model was not actually soaking, so nothing much happened. Better than the vodka, but would still take many many attempts to get most of the paint off.



Cheap Multi Surface Cleaner

This result came after two soaks and some very vigorous scrubbing. Not bad though considering its by far the cheapest chemical here. Still bits in the cracks, which is unfrotunatly exactly where I was trying to remove it from, so a spray prime won't obscure the detai.



Expensive Multi Surface Cleaner

Again, these results are after 2, actually I think 3, soaks and scrubs. I even used the wire brush, but the results were not bad, still bits stuck in the recesses, and the bits I can't easily scrub are impossible to clean. Overall no better than the cheap cleaner really



Cream Cleaner

Right, I thought cream cleaner, that should do the trick. Adverts give the impression that the thicker a chemical is, the better it cleans, and this is the premier football player of cleaners, nice and thick! The results however were nothing to write home about, worse than the thin cheap cleaner anyway (and a darn sight smellier and itchier). Metal mini came up shiny though...



Then I remembered someing Lani Guy said:

TEMPERATURE affects the ability of SImple Green. At temperatures of 70F+ it works awesomely, I am now in cooler/winter temperatures of 30-45F and it does not work well at all.
So I thought I'd try the cheap cleaner again in the airing cupboard. Thats not much warmer, not like a radiator, but a couple of degrees. I wasn't expecting much, maybe one less scrub needed or something. I took it out early to have a look too. Now these reults are after less time and with only one light scrub and no redunks. I'm impressed.



I thought I'd give a close up of all the nurgle attack goodness



So my conclusions:

The chemical is no that important, as long as it is a surface cleaner. Don't stress if you can't get Simple Green, any dirt cheap cleaner will do

The more you can break up the miniature the better it will work, partly because scrubbing is easier

Surprisingly wire brushed don't damage plastic miniatures that much

Temperature is very important, we're not talking huge jumps here, just the difference between a window sill and an airing cupboard

You still need a needle or something to clean out the recesses

Leaving things overnight is always best

Space marines are always better if they smell of lemon


NOw time to see if I can scale this up and whether another dunk in warm cleaner will get the last bits of the final test models.
 

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Well done Matus. People will be flocking to you bearing flowers and gifts for providing them with a solid guide for stripping paint! The last time I tried stripping paint I used Methylated spirits, but that took ages.
 

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What i did mean to use is this: http://www.klim-paper.gr/images/DSC03703x.JPG

But what i said was that i havent used on plastic one,purely metalics..Also remember that vodka isnt 100% Alcohol.

Anyways it worked for me,what i get to understand from this is perhaps room conditions such as temperature might apply?If ill back into it ill post you one of my termies that i stripped recently.
 

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The most common Simple green, list so rare in the UK as to not be an option

Don't stress if you can't get Simple Green
That's because it isn't called simple green in the UK. Over here it's called Flash, and as I'm sure you already know (because they've been advertising it on TV for years), it's available just about everywhere.
 

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LO's Resident Time Lord
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Great guide, though it was a waste of booze :D

Interesting about the temperature, though. I'm tempted to leave the minis in cups of Simple Green somewhere in the basement next time I run the woodstove. Maybe I'll have better results than my first lengthy soak (they were there for weeks, maybe even a few months before I remembered they were there). Hmm... some serious food for thought there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
That's because it isn't called simple green in the UK. Over here it's called Flash, and as I'm sure you already know (because they've been advertising it on TV for years), it's available just about everywhere.
Wow, simple green is flash. Are you sure, one is made by Sunshine Makers and one Procter & Gamble I knew you could get simple green branded stuff form a couple of importers, but I didn't know flash was the same chemical. rofl

Certainly similar things, but I think any cleaner seems to work to an extent, and supermarket own brand is usually cheapest.

So let me get this straight:

It works much better if warm? How warm are we talking?

And are we taking the ambient temperature around the container being warm or the liquid itself being warm?
Ambient room temperature, I just put it in the airing cupboard on a floorboard with a hot water pipe running under it (not sure if its called something different outside the UK so heres the definition). I never heated the liquid, although it did get warm, purely because the floor it was sitting on was warm. I think anything a bit above normal room temperature should work, although I get the impression that hotter is better to a point, I just don't know what the point is. I assume at some point it may have an effect on the chemical. I think just by a radiator would work well(as apposed to my window sill which was quite cold)


Can i just reiterate leighjt wrote the original tutorial that Lani Guy pointed out the effect of temperature. If anyone has some going they deserve some serious rep.


This thread is just to show that almost any cleaner works so you may as well just buy what is cheapest as well as quite how dramatic just a little temperature boost is
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What i did mean to use is this: http://www.klim-paper.gr/images/DSC03703x.JPG

But what i said was that i havent used on plastic one,purely metalics..Also remember that vodka isnt 100% Alcohol.

Anyways it worked for me,what i get to understand from this is perhaps room conditions such as temperature might apply?If ill back into it ill post you one of my termies that i stripped recently.
I might have a look for this, anything to make stripping even metal models easier is good. Not sure whether I'd try heating neat alcohol though ;)
 

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So I went out and bought me some Flash.

I'll post up pics of some before and after shots, once I start doing some dudes.

However I have a question, I soaked one marine over night and then scrubbed him off this afternoon and while the regular paint came off fairly easily the primer doesn't seem to have budged, is this normal? I don't really mind because I'm just going to prime them anyways but will the primer be weakened now that it has been soaked?

Also I assume that you use the cleaner neat and don't dilute it with any water but figured I might as well double check, so yes?

Cheers
 

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I have tried a ton of different cleaners and solvents as of late. By far the best results time after time have come from using denatured alcohol. As it is alcohol based you want to keep it in a jar with a sealable lid. It works great on both plastic and metal and works much faster than anything else I have tried.
 

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I wanted to jump in here and share the results I had with my first paint stripping.

Failing to find many of the products people tend to mention in these threads, and being a bit wary of most ideas given my tiny, not well ventilated apartment, I took a gamble with something I found at the store, and it paid off.

The product used was Clorox Green Works, a supposedly all natural surface cleaner found at just about every grocery and big-box store in my area. I figured ... Simple Green ... Green Works. Sounds close enough.

The subjects were some OOP nurglings I got on ebay several months ago. Now, while I didn't get any decent 'before' pictures, it's safe to say these things were caked with paint. Orange, blue, purple, green, gold ... yeah, gold ... were slopped on all over the place. These nurglings are packed with detail, and pretty much everything interested was smoothed over with layer upon layer of random color.

One night of soaking, and some wire brush cleaning had these little guys nearly as good as new. I was quite impressed with how soft the paint became. And only a couple needed a second bath.

As for the Green Works, it certainly has a good cleaning smell, but it wasn't anything I felt worried about. It didn't irritate my skin at all, either. All around, it seems like a very safe, effective option for those that might not have access to better products.

Now, I haven't had the chance to see what it does with plastics (don't have anything that would need stripping), but I can't imagine it would do any harm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
So I went out and bought me some Flash.

I'll post up pics of some before and after shots, once I start doing some dudes.

However I have a question, I soaked one marine over night and then scrubbed him off this afternoon and while the regular paint came off fairly easily the primer doesn't seem to have budged, is this normal? I don't really mind because I'm just going to prime them anyways but will the primer be weakened now that it has been soaked?

Also I assume that you use the cleaner neat and don't dilute it with any water but figured I might as well double check, so yes?

Cheers
Oops, rather a late reply, but no I didn't dilute it, the supermarket own brand stuff was so cheap I didn't mind using lots. I didn't have any specific problem with primer, although in some cases where the paint was think it took one soak to get the top coat off, then one to get at the primer. How did the stripping go? Any pics?

I'm intrigued by this denatured alcohol. The holy grail of stripping is something that dissolves the paint, not just softening it. Could this be it.... [goes and wikis denatured alcohol]... Ah so thats just any alcohol made poisonous and undrinkable to avoid taxes. What did you use ZMB? Meths? Rubbing Alchohol?
 
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