What spurred my recent search to find a new and better paint stripper for plastics other than Simple Green was twofold. The first was trying to strip this figure after a disastrous paint test:
I knew that Simple Green works great on metals (but will start to corrode the metal if you leave it in too long, like... days on end) but not only is it awful at getting paint off of green stuff, the green stuff starts to expand and deform in a few hours. I'd leave it in for 45-60 minutes and would give it a moderate scrubbing for fear that going as hard as I normally would might remove some of the more delicate green stuff parts. After 3 cycles of this, here was the result.
The paint in the folds of the cloth felt like it hadn't even been soaking in some kind of paint stripper and I couldn't even scrape it out with a metal sculpting tool.
The second thing that prompted the search was winning some old school FW Type I Wave Serpents on eBay, and this is how they arrived:
After approx 33 hours soaking in Simple Green, I tried to scrub the paint and the only thing that happened was some of the green camo lines started to come up. It didn't even touch the grey or anything else. So I did some searching online and found several references to an amazing plastic paint stripper that I'd never heard of before.
I found in the automotive section of my local Wal-Mart and got that gallon jug for about $9 USD. There are warnings on the label that it can cause burns to skin with extended exposure, especially at the undiluted full strength, and that the vapors can be harmful.
*EDIT* I forgot to mention in the original post that it is not available outside of North America.
For a test - which I forgot to take pictures of - I used an Eldar Falcon upper body section that I'd done some hairspray chipping tests on when I was working on my Macharius tank and let it soak for about an hour. When I took it out to scrub it, I could immediately tell this was stuff was living up to the reviews I read on online because just picking that Falcon body up was rubbing the paint off down to the bare plastic, through an airbrush layer of grey acrylic paint and the black rattle-can primer coat.
Satisfied, I threw both the Wave Serpents in as well as another test model in the form of an AOBR dread that I had once airbrushed in Salamanders green and after weeks of sitting in Simple Green with daily scrubbing, this is as good as it got:
Now for the tutorial part, or how to use this stuff to strip painted models without making a huge mess or hurting yourself.
1) Containment! Make sure you have a container that has a lid that can seal good enough to keep the vapors from escaping; they're not as bad as, say, acetone or lacquer thinner, but I found a good sized container with a locking lid at Wal-Mart for $1.99. Also, do the well-ventilated area thing like it says on the warning label.
2) Get some of those cheap latex dishwashing gloves because on my original test with the Falcon body, after just a few minutes of having my hands exposed to the stuff, I could start to feel the tingle of chemical burns on the thin skin around my fingernails. ALSO, IT CAN STRIP COLOR OUT OF FABRIC SO BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET IT ON YOUR CLOTHES, CARPET, ETC.
It's a couple dollars for some store brand gloves that you can use over and over. Chemical burns suck. Spend the money.
2) Have you ever used a brush of some kind to scrub a model fresh out of the paint stripping fluid and sent paint-colored water and soggy paint flying everywhere? Yeah, me too. It's not pretty and it can be a pain to clean up. Try this instead if you have a sink deep enough to completely cover the models you're going to be scrubbing.
The kitchen sink in the house is pretty deep so I had no problems getting enough room to scrub the Wave Serpents underwater and keep all that nasty stuff from flying everywhere.
3) Tools and More Safety!
These are my usual implements of cleaning stripped figures, and the safety glasses are the most important thing in that picture. You do NOT want to get a corrosive degreasing agent in your eyes. Brushes of different sizes and stiffness of bristles, including a brass wire brush for metal figures and metal sculpting tool for getting into the little nooks and crannies a brush may not get to.
And now some results!
These are the Wave Serpents after soaking overnight:
I NEVER got results like that with Simple Green. I also noticed with these Serpents that Super Clean loosens super glue far better than Simple Green in much less time. After the overnight soak, I was able to pull these guys apart with gentle pressure from my bare hands instead of having to use an X-Acto to cut into glue seams and then use metal sculpting tools to pry the pieces apart.
There's still a bit of paint in the deepest cloth folds, but I have no idea how this stuff reacts with green stuff and didn't want to leave him in too long... about 25-30 mins.
The AOBR dread:
Give it a try and see how you like it, but do keep in mind that it's more corrosive than Simple Green and take the precautions to keep yourself safe.
Edited by Brother Chaplain Kage, 26 July 2017 - 05:21 PM.