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My new paint stripper puts Simple Green to shame.


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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:

 

http://i.imgur.com/o06oSMo.png

 

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. 

 

http://i.imgur.com/MzKcxkS.png

 

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:

 

http://i.imgur.com/gvKM833.png

 

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. 

 

http://i.imgur.com/USevEcm.jpg

 

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:

 

http://i.imgur.com/giDNKQt.png

 

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. 

 

http://i.imgur.com/vfomlIh.png

 

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. 

 

http://i.imgur.com/0aHh5XF.png

 

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!

 

http://i.imgur.com/hWIKjum.png

 

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:

 

http://i.imgur.com/6gG9a3w.png

 

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. 

 

The Farseer:

 

http://i.imgur.com/0ubbtRe.png

 

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:

 

http://i.imgur.com/OYpb62j.png

 

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
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Super Clean is my #1 paint stripper at the moment. It's much more effective than acetone and doesn't have the smell of death on it, and what's more, I can start stripping models within 5 minutes of them soaking. And for an underwhelming painter like me, being able to strip and repaint quickly is very nice.
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I'll add to this and say that the stuff is very good and will also warn against using it bare handed.

 

I haven't tried the stuff on resin though, does anyone know if it's safe for FW and other resin stuff?

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No worries, I've been guilty of doing the same thing. And on the topic of not going barehanded with this stuff, I did it again a few days ago and the next day the top layer of skin on my hand was peeling off like a sunburn. It didn't hurt but I'm definitely gloving up every time now or using my long forceps to pull stuff out of the tub.
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I try to have a jug or two of this stuff stashed under the sink at any given time - it's incredible. Gets paint off like crazy, but never harms plastic. I once left a bunch of Chaos models in a sealed bowl of this stuff for at least a month, and they came out fine.

 

My favorite Dumb Fact about Super Clean/Purple Power is that you can apparently dilute it down in a 1/16 mix with plain water and use it as laundry detergent.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What about DOT-3 brake fluid? It works much better and you usually don't even have to use brush to get rid of paint leftovers. 

Neither particularly safe to handle, nor any straightforward to dispose of. Not at all. 

 

One of my mates uses oven cleaners and swears it strips stuff down to the bare pewter in no time. Oven cleaners are basically degreasers as well, so might be equivalent to the product in the OP. I don't know. - I got a cheap ultrasonic bath and can strip most stuff easy and well, with somewhat mixed results at times, but generally good to work with it. 

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What about DOT-3 brake fluid? It works much better and you usually don't even have to use brush to get rid of paint leftovers. 

Neither particularly safe to handle, nor any straightforward to dispose of. Not at all. 

 

One of my mates uses oven cleaners and swears it strips stuff down to the bare pewter in no time. Oven cleaners are basically degreasers as well, so might be equivalent to the product in the OP. I don't know. - I got a cheap ultrasonic bath and can strip most stuff easy and well, with somewhat mixed results at times, but generally good to work with it. 

 

Ive used oven cleaner in the past for metals but I wouldnt do it again, its incredibly caustic and toxic.

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Oven cleaner was the first thing I used waaaaaaaay back when I first got into the hobby and it's awful. The fumes are really bad, it attacks the paint unevenly, and I seem to recall the figures being very slimy and requiring a lot of scrubbing to remove that residue. 

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I've used Castrol Super Clean since I was a wee little brat, but something it has always failed to strip is white primer.  At least the previous white primer.  I dunno about the new stuff.  But I like it for its gentle touch on plastic.  I actually have a banner in a little pot of Super Clean I use which has been there for...at least 6 months, give or take.  I can go get it out right now and it will still be perfectly fine. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

BCK- Thank you for the heads up about this product as a paint stripper.  I have been using Simple Green, and have been less than enthused about the end result when stripping thicker paint.  Super clean on the other hand? Oh wow, does it ever live up to  its name sake.  Soaked some vehicles in it for 2 hours and about 80% of the paint came off with some simple toothbrushing.

 

I can't wait to get some cheap ebay models to supplement my armies; this super clean will save me so much money in the long run! 

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  • 11 months later...

Manufacturers of products like this have to publish product safety data, which name the active ingredients. Almost all of these will be readily available anywhere in the world

 

I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying a bunch of raw ingredients and tossing them in a bucket, unless you really know what you’re doing. Even with properly formulated solutions containing concentrations <5%, they typically advise using them in a well-ventilated location. Miscalculate or mix the wrong stuff, and you could end up with a lungful of chlorine gas, or worse.

 

But when you know what you're looking for on the label, you can probably find plenty of equivalent or similar products under a different brand, whatever country you’re in.

 

In the case of SuperClean, it appears to be sodium hydroxide (caustic soda/lye) plus detergent. A similar UK product would be Janitol Rapide, or any number of liquid drain unblockers.

 

Always test them first. Just because they contain the same stuff, doesn't mean they don't also have other chemicals in there that will react badly with plastic, pewter or resin.

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