Saturday, 18 January 2014

Stripping For The Internet

So, I make a lot of eBay purchases.  Since I got back into 40K I have bought a few pots of paint and a brush out of a GW store.... and literally nothing else.  Almost all my figures are second hand purchases or gifts, and that often means they've already been painted.  Sometimes this is a problem because it doesn't match my scheme; sometimes this is a problem because they're painted poorly; and even when the above two aren't true, I'd rather try and paint it myself since that's half the hobby right there.
Several models, most decidedly un-Emperors Children.
Take this bundle of figures, all from various eBay purchases sitting in my to-do box.  A squad of Chaos Space Marine Havocs, packing one of each of the four heavy weapons I can have but painted somewhat Word Bearers-y; a Forge World Emperor's Children Dreadnought, with twin-linked Lascannons and Missile Launcher; and a undercoated metal Chaos Lord from the Box of Delights.  All these items were picked up for a chunk under RRP but they're not necessarily much use to me in those paint schemes.

But have no fear!   There's plenty of guides online to stirpping paint, and with the aid of those guides I can turn these bad boys from bright red and pink into..... slightly less red and pink!

Initially I was using acetone-free nail polish remover to strip figures.  Fill up a jam-jar, leave them in overnight then wash and scrub the paint off.  This worked great on metal figures and it did a trick of dissolving glue, but it seemed even acetone free nail polish remover was attacking the plastic.  Thin slottabases became cracked and warped - fine detail like skulls on shoulder pads started to flatten out; and small vulnerable joints like plumes on helmets were likely to break. 

Thankfully, there's a safer option the internet has brought to my attention, and after some supermarket trawling I picked some up.

Never have I been so excited to be in the cleaning products aisle of Morrisons.
Fairy Power Spray is supposed to be an oven cleaning sort of product.  Skoosh on your stained hob, leave it 20 minutes or so, wipe off.  What it is also good at, though, is stripping paint off figures.

I place the figures into some sort of container to prevent mess - usually some sort of plastic food container, it won't be damaged by the spray. I give the figures several blasts of Fairy Power spray to cover them all evenly, giving them a shake in the container to make sure it hits ever spot.  I've also given my pallet a blast as it's got a variety of Fulgrim based hues still on it.

After thirty minutes left alone, a wash and a very light scrub on the tile I use a pallete gets me this result:

I think some of those stains have been there since Tony Blair was prime minister.
Not perfect, but substantially better. and a second blast would probably get rid of some more.

The figures, on the other hand, are not really ready yet, as you can see...

A wash and a scrub with an old toothbrush, but he ain't budging.

This wasn't uncommon even with nail polish remover.  It's hard to predict how long this process will take because everyone paints their figures differently.  Different types of paint, layers of paint, thicknesses of paint, varnishes over and even the material you're stripping seem to affect the process wildly.  Sometimes figures just pop out functionally clean; other times I can scrub and scrub but nothing will get them totally right.  My friend Aaron gave me some figures and I will always respect him for the fact that his old Dark Angels just slid out of their former dark green coating with no effort, which made my life substantially easier.

So, I left the figures a few more hours under a table while I ate my dinner and watched some telly.  After that I attacked them with an old toothbrush and scrubbed them underwater.

The end result of a few hours of power spray exposure.
 As you can see, the metal figures have cleaned up pretty well while the plastic figures haven't done so good.  It's almost as if the undercoat spray in some way permanently changes the plastic - plenty of figures I've stripped never quite get rid of their black undercoat. 

Unfortunately, it seems that commander just isn't for budging and remains solid black - he'll need a second blast.  The others aren't perfect but for my paint skill will do OK - a second wee shot of power spray another day might be enough to clear up some dregs.

I think the next thing I'll paint up is the heavy weapon guys I've just stripped, plus some other figures, as part of my Chaos Space Marines/Horus Heresy conversion plan - more on that next time.  Instead, I'll part on another object I assembled yesterday as part of my future modelling plans.  May seem bad taste to say it these days, but: Can you tell what it is yet?

A clue: it's less for the Chaos Space Marines, more for the Squats and Chaos Dwarfs.

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