Monday, 8 August 2011

Painting Tips #6 - Stripping Paint

In twenty plus years of painting figures I’ve seldom had call to strip painted figures.  However I recently needed to strip some 15 mm metal horses as buying replacements or over painting weren’t viable options.

I’d read on the internet that Dettol was an effective paint stripper for acrylic paints and this seemed really straightforward so I thought I’d have a go but being a little loath to use a high quality, branded product like Dettol I tried a different approach:



This stuff is a lot cheaper than Dettol: in fact it’s less than a tenth of the price!  A 1 litre bottle currently costs £0.32 compared to a 0.75l bottle of Dettol at £3.00 (£4.00 a litre!).

Despite the low price it worked well stripping of the first layers of paint in 2-3 hours; the layers just fell away when I scrubbed lightly with a toothbrush. As with all stripping, the paint in the creases took longer (24-48 hours) and a little work with a scalpel.

It seems this product isn’t doing much more than softening the paint and weakening the bond between the paint and the metal; hence the scrubbing part is vital.  It certainly doesn’t dissolve the paint and I think this is why it doesn’t turn into a “gloopy” mess during use.  This product also seems to tolerate small amounts of water from a damp toothbrush.

For safety’s sake I wore safety glasses whilst scrubbing the figures and so should you.  I found I didn’t need gloves but I recommend you wear them as a precaution.

I suspect that the figures I stripped hadn’t been varnished with anything other than an acrylic varnish and hadn’t been primed either; just black undercoated. So I can’t say how this product will perform against a decent primer and spirit varnished figures but I’ll update this post when I find out.

Let me know if you too find this product useful.

2 comments :

  1. Quick update - I found that some paint is slow to soften and stays on the figure. I think this is due to a varnish but I'm not 100% sure. However patience is a virtue. Paint still softens and brushes off but it's a couple of weeks not hours.

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