Customs: Paint Removal solvents in detail

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by aurascope, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. aurascope

    aurascope Kitbash Resource Indexer

    Aug 1, 2005
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    I don't know where this came from originally,
    I'm copying and pasting it here as a public service.

    Here is something from the GW hobby tips forum

    *****Paint Stipping can involve some very nasty substances. Please be very careful if you're going to try any of this. Be sure to use gloves and full eye coverage. Also do this in a well ventilated area*******************

    I have compiled the following quick rundown of paint stripping methods from various model forums and my personal experience to make some fast comparisons available. Further details on a number of these products can be found at Doctor Faust's Painting Clinic. Preferences on materials can vary quite a bit, based on personal experiences and tastes, plus exactly what they want from a stripper, fast action, plastic safe, inexpensive or easily available. Availability of different products will vary with country of origin. Please follow all label safety directions and cautions. If you cut and paste this post, please credit the author and include all disclaimers. The following is not a definitive list.

    Most paint strippers work the same. Just put some in a jar with your minis, and leave it for a few minutes to a few days, depending on how strong it is. When you see the paint wrinkling, or you get tired of waiting, put some rubber gloves on and safety glasses, and go to a sink with an old toothbrush. Softer brushes will require more scrubbing, but harder brushes (like metal wire brushes) have a much better chance of scraping off detail on a plastic mini. Scrub the minis under running water. You may need to scratch the crevasses with a sharp knife or pin. If it doesn't all come off, put them back in the jar for another soak.

    Some folks have had better success by first soaking the models in water for several days, then soaking in thinner or whatever you're planning on using to actually strip the paint. Others have not seen any changes in results.

    Many of these materials are very nasty. Be sure to use gloves and wear eye protection. It's also a good idea to be in a well ventilated area.

    Many of the stronger materials will dissolve green stuff as well, be careful if you've got a great conversion you're trying to repaint.

    Acetone (nail polish remover), Removes most paints, works well on pewter, will quickly damage plastics. Use with gloves and in good ventilation away from flame.

    Acetone-free nail polish removers: Work quickly, many paints can be worked loose after about a minute. Apparently safe for plastics when used for a minute, but will soften plastics in 1 hour and destroy them after 12.

    Alcohols (Denatured, Isopropyl, “Methlyated Spirits”, Methanol), works reasonably well on acrylics, usually poorly on enamels and varnishes. Safe for plastics. “Medical spirits”, apparently an alcohol based product with castor oil, one report of success. T-röd, a Swedish product, a denatured alcohol product.

    Brake fluid:
    It is important to note that brake fluid is toxic. It's effectiveness and safety on plastic varies considerably between brands. Some work great and are safe on plastic. Some don't work well at all, and some will nurglify plastic quickly. The reason is brake fluid is designed to stop vehicles, the paint stripping properties is secondary. The time necessary will vary by brand, but can take a couple days.

    Castrol Super Clean, works very well on most paints, usually within a couple of hours. not reported to damage plastics. Scattered reports indicate that this may not be as effective, plus reported damage to glue on assembled models.

    Chameleon is biochemically degradable, fast working and long-lasting, works very well on a wide range of primers, paints, varnishes and decals. Once too much sludge builds up in a stripping vat, you can simply filter through a coffee filter and continue to use. In my experience, will work within 15-30 minutes for most paints, may require overnight soaking for old enamels. Primarily available at hobby shops. I very highly recommend this product.

    Easy Lift Off (ELO), another plastic model paint stripper produced by Polly S, claimed “safe for most plastics and metals” on the label, works fairly rapidly. Reported to actually damage plastics after extended soaking.

    Easy-Off oven cleaner, works very well on most paints, though it is caustic and should be used in good ventilation and with sturdy gloves. Normally works within one hour. Model should be thoroughly rinsed before handling with bare hands. May require a second application for thick paint accumulations.

    Gasoline, works fairly well on many paints, will destroy plastics, is very highly flammable and has a considerable toxic hazard. Not recommended.

    Methylated Spirts, see alcohol.

    Nitromors, a DIY-type paint stripper, very good for most paints on pewter, effective within an hour, use with gloves and good ventilation. UK availability.

    Orange Clean, works very well on most types of paint, usually within a couple of hours, little scrubbing required. Long-lasting, can be filtered to remove sludge for continues use. Very cost-effective. Some reports of damage to models.

    Pine-Sol, a little slow working, will do a good job of removing paint, but extended soaking will damage plastics.

    Polystripa (sp?), Canadian product, reported to work quickly on pewter models, will damage plastic, requires mask and gloves.

    Simply Green, biodegradable, low toxicity, works well, though some scrubbing is required, usually requires several hours of soaking. Not as effective on enamels. No reports of damage to plastics.

    Speedball, a professional janitorial produce, works on plastic and metal, reportedly in a couple days, priced about $10 per gallon. Reported very toxic/corrosive, wear good gloves. Availability outside the US uncertain.

    Strypeeze, a heavy duty paint stripper, is a gel that will remove almost any paint or varnish within 15-30 minutes, very caustic, requires good ventilation, gloves and thorough washing after use. Can damage plastics. Variations available in other countries, basically the heavy-duty gel paint strippers from DIY stores.

    Window cleaners, the clear blue variety, works well on acrylics, not very effective on enamels, inexpensive and readily available.

    Citri-Strip - You can use it indoors, cause it doesnt have any harse fumes (smells like oranges). Its enviromentally friendly, but gloves and goggles are still the best bet. The best part is that you can get it in a spraycan. this stuff is like a foam so it sticks really well. And it takes about 30 minutes to soften the paint enought that you can use a soft bristle toothbrush to take the paint off. I bought this Citri-Strip at Lowes' and I dont know if they have it at Home Depot or not. It costs about 7 dollars and you can strip a bunch with one can. You cant use it on plastic figs at all. You dont need to by the specail Citri-Strip cleaner/rinse stuff, just wash them in hot water or put them in the dishwasher to wash the stripper off. and while you rinse them off use a hard brissle toothbrush or a wooden tooth pick to get into the cracks.

    Other methods undoubtedly exist out there, feel free to post alternative methods or to expand upon
  2. Napjr

    Napjr <b><font color=gold>Mr. Internet</font><br><font c Veteran

    Jun 23, 2002
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    Amazing info! thanks!

    I did some test with brake fluid last week, so far no damage to pieces and removed most of the paint, & chrome, but some plastics were "bleached", TM Terrorsaur for example, i soaked one of the arms to remove the chrome and the purple cover ended with a lighter shade
  3. amd098

    amd098 En taro Artanis!

    Sep 14, 2004
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  4. kaotic504

    kaotic504 Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2009
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    thanks! great info!
  5. wgoodman

    wgoodman Big Bot

    Nov 2, 2007
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    What about Brasso? I have used it on a few things but never on toys. It works great for restoring iPods with minor scratches.

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