Mold Used: Classics Bumblebee Character: Nightflame OK, so the last one of these threads I started never got past the concept stage. So I waited to post another one until I actually started the work. And since I do things so screwy compared to most Transformers customizers, I decided I'm going to go all out and detail my methods up front just so people can call me out on what a lunatic I am right off the bat. So, ready? Good. (Let me get this out of the way: I have no idea why my username here is Night Flame instead of Nightflame as I've come to think of it. No clue why I broke those up way back when I created the concept and no idea why I started writing it together later. Whatever.) As a person who takes great joy in painting, I also am a person who's anal retentive to the max when it comes to what I'm painting and how. My father taught me well. He's rebuilt several older vehicles over the years, and always taught me that good paint jobs start with good materials, good practices, and huge doses of patience. With that in mind, and my history of painting only items that I purchase not yet built, let's start my first Transformer repaint to not involve the dye treatement. The first step is breaking it all down into components. I spent a good couple hours pulling pins and removing screws to get a Classics Bumblebee stripped down to raw parts. That gave me something sort of resembling this: Yep. The only parts I couldn't separate were the window assembly and the rear of the car body. Those pins would not budge no matter how hot I got them with the soldering iron. And I wasn't interested in melting Bee down for scrap, so I gave up. In the picture above you'll see I have on rubber gloves. The reason for that is the big purple jug behind my tupperware container. Castrol Super Clean. The friend to resin modelers the world over. The thing I love about it is it removes any paint that isn't chemically bonded with whats under it. And it doesn't eat plastic. Basically, it cleans debris, including loose paint, off any part made of metal or plastic. Now the cleaning process begins. Here's the numbers. 1. Pour in the Super Clean. WEAR RUBBER GLOVES TO HANDLE ANY PARTS IN THE SUPER CLEAN. Seriously. And be careful to not get it on any exposed skin. It eats skin. Yeah. Not cool. At all. Make sure every part is covered and not hiding any air bubbles. Seal up the container and put it somewhere for twenty-four hours. 2. Get a sink full of dish-soapy water. This'll be used to clean off the Super Clean that's left on the parts. DO NOT POUR THE SUPER CLEAN IN THE SINK. Instead, I use a hard-bristle toothbrush to scrub each part in the Super Clean, then place items in the sink full of sudsy water. Small items could use one of those wonderful little claspy strainer thingies. You'll see it in a minute. 3. Scrub parts thoroughly with the thoothbrush again in the soapy water to remove all remaining trace of the Super Clean. Then rinse thoroughly with clean water. 4. Dry parts as best you can, then put them somewhere clean in between layers of towels or paper towels. Put them up for another twenty four to forty eight hours. This allows plenty of time for trapped water in the parts to either find its way out, or evaporate away. Why so thorough with the cleaning? Something my dad and grandpa taught me about paint. It hates dirt. Of any kind. The Super Clean removes any chemical and/or paint that isn't fully chemically bonded with the plastic. Scrubbing with the toothbrush removes any lose particles remaining. Then soapy water and a clear water rinse to remove the Super Clean to prevent that from causing paint to break down. Then drying. What you end up with is a pristine surface that will take paint and not scratch easily. Overboard? You betchya. Wait until you see what I do with the painting process. The leftover Super Clean can be poured back into the original jug with a funnel. It's reusable many, MANY times when it does a job this simple. It's made to cut engine grease, so mold release agents and small amounts of paint are no big deal to it. Any paint remaining on the parts at this point is not going to cause a problem. If Super Clean and a hard bristle brush don't pull it off, it's not going to cause anything you put over it to come off either. This picture shows my "drying rack" with the funnel, my trusty hard-bristle toothbrush, and the strainer I use to hold the small parts during the cleaning process. Trust me, it sucks to lose some little tiny part down the sink and not realize it until you go to put something all together. Note the lid on the tupperware container is not closed. It's left open, to allow some air to make its way in there. Sealing it up would prevent evaporation of any water that happens to be left in the parts. Next up will be puttying any deformities on the vehicle outsides and sanding anything that needs it. I plan on detailing every step and photographing what I can. The pictures will be bigger when there are good details to show. Hopefully someone can take something away from this when it's all done. The next update should either be tomorrow night, or sometime over the weekend. Let the cries of "lunatic" begin.