Stripping Paint with 99% IPA

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog and it’s mainly because I haven’t done much hobbying. I’ve started to do volunteer work just to keep myself sane as I continue my job search and studying SQL on the side. Wish me luck!

Not Quite The Devil’s Milk

In my boredom I’ve turned to alcohol. No, not drinking but rather using the 99% Isopropyl variety to strip miniatures! I’ve used nail polish remover in the past to clean up Infinity miniatures but that’s not really applicable for plastics or resins. I’ve grown tired of my Imperial Fists Cataphractii and decided they’re much better off painted as a pocket force of Dark Angels for the Thramas hype.

I came across this guide by Fauxhammer on using 99% Isopropyl Alcohol and it looked safe enough. A bonus as the stuff’s readily available now due to the pandemic disinfection bonanza. Here’s my quick thoughts on using the stuff to strip paint.

Safety First

As per the guide, I got an old plastic tub, an old brush, and some nitrile gloves. I threw in the models into the tub and poured the 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. Oh boy that’s a strong smell! Despite it smelling like alcohol (duh) it’s far stronger than anything I’ve smelled before. The good thing is that it smells like alcohol and not like other caustic chemicals as I was able to tolerate it more. I’ve tried using cleaning supplies before and those felt like brain poison!

After 40 minutes, I decided to check on my terminators and was disappointed that they were still fully painted. I reread the guide and had a doh moment: paint wasn’t going to clump off like acetone. So I slapped on some nitrile gloves and grabbed the toothbrush and began scrubbing.

Just the Strip

Ah so scrubbing liquified the paint and turned it into black soup! I had a hard time trying to get into the nooks and crannies of the models, mainly because I was scared what the Isopropyl Alcohol was going to do to my hands should I tear my gloves. Anyway the paint came off in swathes and also removed some of the super glue BUT kept my putty work. This is great as I didn’t want to fill gaps again! I had to soak some models and bits again just to removed the gunk.

Since I got these models secondhand I didn’t go mad in trying to get them back to bare plastic all the way. As long as I got them clean enough, I was good to go.

Now I did poke my gloves or at least some of the alcohol seeped in. My nail bed felt a bit itchy after but nothing to write home about. But if you do have sensitive skin, make sure you’re extra careful handling the stuff. I think I also should have worn some goggles just to be extra safe.

Stripped and Sterilised

99% Isopropyl Alcohol did the work but it’s still not my favourite stripper. That honor goes to Paint Be Gone, an organic paint stripped engineered for miniature models. Shame I couldn’t get the stuff shipped here in Vancouver as I know the miniatures community would love to test it out. wasn’t able to take a picture of the terminators but here’s some post-strip pictures of my Forgeworld Mhara Gal. The alcohol took off 2 layers of primer and 2 paint jobs. I couldn’t clean out the runes due to a lack of tools but I’ll give it another try using blue tac to pull the flakes from the crevices.

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