Gremlins in the Garage!

Removing Paint
Frequently Asked Questions
by David Morris

How do I remove paint from my models?
Responses borrowed from the active members of Gremlins in the Garage!

Acrylics off Vinyl

"Use Lestoil! You can submerge the kit in it either full strength (gets expensive fast), or you can dilute it (takes longer to soften the paint). Let it soak overnight, or as long as you want, and then go at it with a stiff brush - no metal bristles. I used it on a Horizon Frankenstein I painted before I knew what I was doing and it worked great! It doesn't affect the vinyl at all and if your paint job is recent it will come off even faster. Remember to thoroughly wash the kit before repainting." - Jeff Ottaviano

"Lestoil is a cleaning solution, similar to Pine-sol, and should be available at any Wal-mart, Venture, Target, what have you. You may also wish to try Easy-off oven spray, or "Purple Stuff" from the automotive department of your local department store." - Andy Price

Paint off metal

"Has anyone tried Easy-Off Oven Cleaner for removing paint? I have had some success on metal figures with this. I don't know what it would do to vinyl or resins. Maybe it gives off too much heat?" - Penny Meyer

Oils/Lacquers off Plastic, Vinyl and Resin

"Finally, an ally on the 'Easy-Off' front! Yes, I've been using it for years. On plastic (styrene, plasticine, polystyrene), vinyl and resin. Mostly on oils and lacquers, so I'm not sure what effect it will have on acrylics. Leave on for about 1 hour a coat (includes primer coat). Rinse off with warm water and dish detergent scrubbed lightly with a toothbrush. Only problem I've encountered is with incompatible paints. e.g. If I've accidentally painted a lacquer over an oil (with Krylon primers this is easy to do), then the Easy-Off takes a little longer to take off the "curdle" of paint (maybe a second application)." - A. Dembek

Off Polystyrene, Squadron white putty and Model Master cement

"Go to Wal-Mart's Automotive section (or K-Mart) and look for 'Purple Stuff' (Castrol Super Clean). It removes paint quite well, and will most likely do the same for the primer. Allow the kit to soak in a bath of it mixed with water for a while, checking frequently. A toothbrush will help to clean it up as well. It does not harm polystyrene, Squadron white putty and Model Master cement. In addition, it is relatively innocuous and biodegradable. Probably would be endorsed by YOUR MOTHER." - Kirby (Andy Price)

Acrylic off Vinyl and Resin

"Pine-Sol WILL work, that is what I use! I usually let it soak in a bucket for about 3 days. After that the paint usually comes right off with just tap water. I have used this tactic on vinyl, resin and Aurora kits with success. If you are in a hurry to remove the paint use Easy Lift Off from Polly S (I believe), that will remove paint in a hurry, just brush it on and brush it off!" - Ed Bowkley

Acrylics off metal

"Tip of the day: On this subject, for those who don't know: When stripping acrylic from metal minis soak the model for a hour in a) Pine-Sol (for my American brethren), a pine-based disinfectant or, b) Dettol or similar for European, c) scrub with an (OLD) toothbrush. Use a dentist's tool to clean out grooves, etc. Remember to wear rubber gloves if you don't want to leave a layer of skin behind you 24 hours later." - Donal Buckley

Water-based paint
Enamels off vinyl
Paint off Polystyrene

"Surprisingly enough many water based paints will comes right off with alcohol. If you are stripping a vinyl kit and need to get off enamels you could just use lacquer thinner or acetone (though I suggest gloves and a respirator with these chemicals). You don't want to use harsh solvents on a polystyrene kit (your basic model car kit for example) and many people recommend Pine-Sol to take paint off this surface though I haven't tried it myself." - Jay


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