The things they don’t tell you about paint stripping
You’ve read various forums on how to strip paint off old models. There’s tonnes of them, from dunking in braking fluid to Green Stuff. But since I don’t have ready access to either I decided to do it with Dettol. Yep, Dettol works great when it comes to stripping paint, it even strips old superglue bonds as well. But here’s the thing, they didn’t tell you everything. Oh no. I’m going to share my experiences from stripping paint with Dettol, as well as a few eye opening warnings.
#1: Paint stripping ain’t fast: This is pretty much a given. All articles said to leave it in the solution of your choice for at about 48 hours. The truth is: leave it longer than that. You’ll have less stuff to clean later.
#2: Paint stripping kills plastic: I’m not sure about mini plastic, but the plastic bases that I dunked in with my minis turned kinda jelly like and leave a rubbery, sticky, black mess on your fingers. It’s not pretty. Those things will disintegrate. My advice: take off the bases so you can use them again. Otherwise you’re stuck like me and have to buy new ones.
#3: You can’t strip Star Wars or DnD minis. It’s horrific. Don’t try it. I warned you.
#4: Paint stripping REQUIRES gloves. It is not optional!: You’d have thought that buying disposable rubber gloves are for wussies. Do it anyway. The paint that’s left in the solution will be messy. It’s like glue, except it’ll be mostly black. Cleaning them with your bare hands will cause your hands to blacken. The gluey ex-paint substance is not easy to get rid off. In fact, it involves some really painful scrubbing and lots of soap or other release agent to get it off.
#5: Paint stripping will mess up your sink: Remember point #4? Well, it’ll do the same mess with your sink when you clean them with your toothbrush or whatever. Toilet cleaners will be very handy here, don’t strip your models without them.
#6: You’ll need one toothbrush for every dirty model that you clean: No joke. After cleaning 1 model my old toothbrush was so full of gunk that it was impossible to clean the next one without leaving some trace of the old paint on it. In short, there’s a high chance that you might dirty your next model instead of cleaning it. Happened to me right enough.
#7: Bad, thick paint jobs will make your cleaning endeavour more difficult: More gluey gunk for you to handle. Whoopee!
So yeah, there you go. Paint stripping. It’s not pretty, but it’ll save you a few bucks for buying poorly painted models at second hand prices. You can’t get rid of 100% of the old paint, but enough of it will be cleaned for you to repaint them without losing much of the detail.
If you’re still undeterred by this, then by all means have fun. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.