How to Strip With Simple Green: WarOne Style!
Most of the models in my gallery are formerly painted models that I have stripped and repainted.
Keep in mind my standards of painting are different from others, but I do my damnest to make sure that my miniatures get a good scrubbing before I get to work.
But I have stripped entire armies of Termagants, Orks, IG, Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, and Necrons in my quest for saving a buck off of buying models.
Simple Green. Alternatives to Simple Green exist, such as L.A. Totally Awesome (which is cheaper). Simply replace the Simply Green with a like product.
Plastic Container to hold miniatures. Any reasonably sized container would do. I prefer those with no leak lids that seal in moisture.
Kitchen Gloves (if you don't want to get dirty).
Tool set of bristle brushes for stripping (you can find a cheap set in the paint department of Home Depot)- one plastic, one copper, one stainless steel.
Regular scrub brush from kitchen.
Newspaper for catching flakes of paint, globs of paint, specks of paint.
Access to faucet.
Take Simple Green, place a generous amount in container; enough so when you put in your models it won't overflow when you put them in and/or put your hand it to get them.
Place in miniatures. Now I strip in massive quantities. I've had over 50 models in a big mixing bowl with a large hard covered book keeping in the moisture. If you only need to strip a few at a time, place them in only a couple at a time. If you need to strip a lot, put in a fistful.
Now for timespans, a day is usually a good time period to soak a model. Metal takes quicker times as their surface is less accepting than plastic for paint.
Also, your general level of acceptance of what the model will look like at the end will also determine what you do next. The following will describe the entire process for a miniature that you really want sparkly clean (as close as you can get) and for a plastic miniature, which is the hardest to clean of all modeling surfaces.
Another note- vehicle stripping is by far the hardest. The best you can do is strip off any excess paint, sand down with fine sandpaper, and clean off surface while applying a new coat of primer. This tutorial will focus more on infantry and monster models than vehicles.
Final word on timespans in Simple Green- I've found that the longer the model sits in Simple Green, the looser the paint gets. Any non-primer paint may dissolve utterly in the green soup after a long enough period, leaving just primer and tougher paints. But if your impatient, a day is all that is really needed.
When you finally get to stripping, take out only a few models at a time. Place models on newsprint. Keep paper towels handy. If Simple Green dries off the models, it may become harder for you to strip the paint. So do it while it is wet.
Also, if you fear getting dirty hands, wear gloves. You'll get black fingers and palms before you know it.
Start by using one of the metal bristle brushes. Stainless steel is best, but abraisive. If you rub hard enough, a stainless steel bristle brush can leave marks on large, smooth surfaces. It's best to use for aggressive cleaning of a model with fine details and bits of stubborn paint in little crevaces the bristles can reach.
With the brush, go over with moderate force over painted areas. This will not remove the majority of the paint for plastic. For metal, the paint will come right off in globs. For plastic models, what this does is help loosen the paint for the plastic bristle brush you will use next.
Next, take the plastic bristle brush and apply more force than the prior brush. Scrub in various motions back and forth as if you are brushing your teeth. Circles, back in forth. Try different directions, turning the model around so that you can reach different areas. Worst case scenario, you have to remove the model's arms, legs, or base to reach areas the brush is too big to get to.
If there are bits of paint in hard to reach areas, carefully extract with a hobby knife, flicking it and using the dull edge so as not to ruin the model.
Once done, place model aside and let dry a bit.
Alternatively, you can rinse the models while stripping them with brushes. Rinsing the models in the sink may dislodge very loose paint particles (acting as a light brush), and help to remove the grime from paint left over from the brushes as the brushes get dirty. Of course, dry the models after rinsing.
Note on stripping and bits- model parts will fall off. Rarely, something will snap off rather than at a glued joint. If it happens, continue to strip and set bits aside with models. Reglue when everything is dried and clean.
You can do this several times before the following happens:
Your brushes will tint a bit of color and models that you do strip will start turning a bit of a color from the last model you stripped.
You will need to run the bristle brushes under a faucet and clean them. This can get tedious if you have multiple models to clean and the paint/simple green on the bristle brushes tints your models.
Paper towel drying can remove the thin film of paint and simple green on the model. You can also run the model under a faucet and clean it. afterwards with paper towels.
Once dry, take the kitchen brush and stiffly but not strongly brush the models the clear away any remnants of paint left on the model. Clean up afterwards. Depending on frugality, you can empty some of the Simple Green back in a contain to reuse later. The bits of flecking on bases, paint chips and such should be disposed of in a proper manner.
Note that many models may still have primer or hard to reach gunk on a model if there is lots of detail work and/or the primer used is very resilient. You can repeat the steps above for a second stab at the model's cleaning, but good is good enough if the paint is scrubbed down to it's almost bare minimum and priming over it will hide the prior paint job. The hobby knife is your friend if you prefer precision detail as the sharp end can help scour away flecks and bits of primer and paint that the thicker bristle brushes cannot reach.
Long Term Note On Metal Bristle Brushes And Safety
Because of the abuse my brushes have gone through, they can no longer be used for precision work. The bristles bend and twist in different directions now. It's good because they can now reach in different directions and help scrape off paint by coming in at a different angle even if I use the same stroking motions with my hand.
Further, metal bristles are thin and pointy. When scrubbing, be very careful as the bristles can stab you and leave a pinprick of blood behind at worst if it penetrates deep enough. Hold models either with gloves or very delicately (using a thumb and index finger only works).
If your models are resin, alway wear protective headgear. Similarly, any paint chips created should be cleaned up. Health hazards abound if you leave any paint chips behind or fail to wear protective masks when working with resin.