Ok everyone take your minds out of the gutter and wash them off – I’m taking about paint strippers of course. There has been quite some debate amongst the ‘Garage Gamers’ with respect to this topic based around 3 camps. I, coming from a chemistry background, have always advocated strong solvents such as acetone or brake pad cleaner which rips the paint off in a few minutes. Stu has favoured meths since it is not too toxic and is reasonably quick and Aaron and Dustan swear by Simple Green.
Being an inquisitive sort I put aside my favorite paint strippers and tried the other two methods – and I was pleasantly surprised.
I found meths to be the least effective of the three methods having a great deal of difficulty removing the spray primer that I use. While it was fairly quick and removed the acrylic (GW paints) without too much difficulty, I like my stripped figures to be pristine metal (or as near as possible).
All of the various solvents I have used are only suitable for metal figures, reducing plastics to amorphous blobs (good if you play a Chaos army but otherwise bleh). While they remove the paint with ease, primer included, the paint bubbles and it is important to remove every last vestige of it or you end up with some interesting effects when you re-prime. It is also a pain in the rear to wear the necessary protective gear and to work outside on cold winter’s days.
When I started using the Simple Green I was initially sceptical – it’s a household cleaning product after all. However after an hour or so soaking in the green I noticed that small portions of paint were lifting from the metal. A soak overnight and a good scrub and most of the paint has gone. I noticed that the paint does not bubble as much with Simple Green either and ‘sheets’ of paint lift off. It removes the primer with the acrylics too.
On the whole I must say I am impressed with how efficiently Simple Green removes paint. While it takes longer than the other products I have tried it is just as good if not better at removing the paint. While protective eyewear is advised (especially if you are as enthusiastic with your scrubbing as I am – luckily I wear glasses 🙂 ), Simple Green has the advantage of being non-toxic so you don’t need to huddle outdoors in the freezing air.
Aaron, Dustan – you have converted me.