Don't panic! I am not going to start discussing the merits of boob jobs, suspender belts or women who look like this...
I want to discuss the ways in which we 'leadheads' strip off the layers of ancient paint from miniatures before breathing new life into them with a new paint job. When I was younger I much preferred to buy metal models with my pocket money as they could easily be passed to my father would would remove the paint with some vile concoction of paint stripper he'd use on the car. I am sure I can remember little puffs of smoke escaping from the brown sludge as he'd drop my chaos warriors or undead champions in or perhaps that is just childhood fantasy? One thing is for sure, I was never allowed near the 'dreaded jam jar' with the battered brushes sticking out of it for fear of instant death.
In later years, I discovered my first method of cleaning up old miniatures. Good old Nitro Mors (recommended by my dad, who had moved on from the foul brown poison). Here it is for those of you who have not heard of this product...
The downside to Nitro is that it destroys plastics- utterly. Shields, bases, extra arms simply become puddles of grey goo. For many years this restricted my painting as plastic models once completed were impossible to
strip back. My dad (who knows far too much about paint and paint strippers for any sane person) suggested using brakefluid but I was always dissatisfied with the results as it damaged detail on plastics and left models with a slight fluffy texture. Restorations were impossible. It just wasn't worth buying that tortured box of Heroquest miniatures that had been attacked with enamels and superglue as you couldn't get the stuff off.
Then I found aid in the most unlikely of places.
Under the sink!
As every child knows, Dettol has a distinctive smell and an equally distinctive sting as your wounds are bathed by your mother after your umpteeth fall from your BMX. Little did I realise that this brown liquid was also a powerful paint stripper for acrylics and enamels but left plastics totally undamaged! At last, I could strip down my brutalised warhammer regiments models I painted in 1988 and clean them up as new. You have to be careful with Dettol though, as once removed from the liquid and immersed in water for cleaning the paint can become very, very sticky and clog brushes and adhere to any (I mean any) surface. However, there is a simple solution that creates a chemical reaction that prevents this- washing up liquid. Ooze this stuff on liberally and brush away and see you plastic, metal or combination model scrub up nice and shiny once more.
Sadly, Dettol will not shift glue. So glue damaged plastics are still (for me anyway) destined for the miniature grave at the bottle of my bitz box.
So what is the point of this post? Firstly, I thought I'd share some of my practice in the area of cleaning miniatures. But I hoped to generate a little debate and perhaps learn a thing or two... So readers! How do you strip your metal and plastic models?
Any tips, techniques or hidden/special products you can share with myself and other bloggers that will help us in that eternal battle against the fifth chaos god- the Dark Lord of Badly Applied 80s Paint!