Stripping paint

PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
23,882
620
Tamworth, Staffs.
Pretty sure this will have been covered, but not finding an 'Anglicised' product listing:

Want to strip paint from some models. Some plastics, some metal.
I assume things like Nitromors (a commercial paint stripper) would probably soften/dissolve plastics?

I have heard of IPA being used for plastic models. Of course, the Internet forgets nothing, and I can find many postings saying it does not work?

A number of ?household? cleaning products are mentioned, but most seem to have a US origin, so difficult to know of a British equivalent.
Purple Power seems to be a popular one?


For metal, 'lacquer thinners' is mentioned. - Now to me (showing age) I think of car-paint, and cellulose thinners. I do not think I would use on plastics, but metal should survive OK?
Brake fluid is mentioned? - I don't think brake fluid is what it used to be (formulation-wise) but I am aware it used to strip paint off your car!


Wanting to strip 'large-scale' items, means I do not really want to be buying branded model-stripping products, especially if enough is needed to cover/soak a model for some-time.

Sold by the litre (or more?) would, I think, be more economical?

SO.......................
Generic chemical-base's (if known) or list's of ingredients, please. Brand's (domestic products), hints and wrinkles, but please remember I am in the UK.

Thanks all,
PhilP.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
25,597
702
North West Norfolk
Brake fluid is OK on plastics - but you may need to find some original stuff, as you say, I've noticed on some motor programmes like Wheeler Dealers that the name appears to have changed.

I can't remember having tried Nitromors on plastics - try a bit on the inside of the body to see what happens - if it makes a hole, you'll have to have an additional vent grille :devil: :devil:
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

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If you go easy with cellulose thinners it works great on metal, just don't soak plastic in it, small amount on a rag to dampen the paint and wipe off, the paint will soften (before the plastic) and will come off with some gentle rubbing. However (there is always a however) there are lots of different plastics, and there constituent parts vary, so as mentioned in all good advice try on a test patch first.
 
ebay mike

ebay mike

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6 Dec 2011
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I used brake fluid on all my Lima N Gauge projects without any problems. I seem to remember one or two coach bodies needed a good three day soak and a light scrub with a toothbrush to reveal all the moulded detail. Just washed in a Fairy Liquid solution afterwards with a quick rinse in cold water.
 
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

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30 Sep 2017
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I've tried just about everything, last was 90/10 alcohol with piss poor results went back to purple power and worked great, not sure but the purple power I have is probably 5 years old and have been told by others that went out and purchased some that it didn't work so not sure if their formula has changed or not, I use out of a 1gal jug and ones that complained were using the spray.
 
The mechanic

The mechanic

Registered
24 Nov 2016
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Had very good results on brass, wood and polystyrene with "Wilkinsons" general purpose paint stripper.
It's only a couple of quid for a decent size bottle (half price of nitromores) it will take stain out of wood if left for up to an hour. It will take original Accucraft enamel off their loco bodies, but needs overnight soak. On plastic, I have tried 1/2 hour "dip and wash off" with good results and no noticeable degradation of the substrate. For what it costs, it has to be a contender - have a go!

Oh and no, I don't work for, or am in any way associated with Wilkinsons - just a satisfied customer.

Dave
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
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Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
What works best is very much dependent on the type of paint/varnish you are trying to remove and the type of substrate material it has been applied to.

Caustic strippers like Nitromors work well on wood and metals and will remove just about any finish - however they are a pain to use where any fine detail is involved and to get out of nooks and crannies. Cellulose thinners work best in those applications but on metal alone, it will soak into wood. Never let any of the two mentioned so far anywhere near plastics of any type used in models, e.g. Styrene & ABS. However, quick cure resins can resist celulose alone if used with care and will remove most 1 pack auto paint finishes and enamels. One that has not been mentioned so far - "Modelstrip". Its active ingredient is sodium hydroxide. This product and its derivatives are ideal for use on plastics, especially when removing enamel (oil based|) paints. Brake fluid can be used on plastics, with care, but avoid use on quick cure resins. It is very poor at removing enamel paints. IPA is ok to remove modeling acrylic paints like Tamiya's, it's the same stuff they brand for thinners. Polyurethane varnishes are a PITA to remove. So that is my brain dump on the subject. Max
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
23,882
620
Tamworth, Staffs.
So that is my brain dump on the subject. Max
Thanks Max..
I would not risk 'commercial' decorating strippers on a plastics model..
I had wondered what the active ingredient in Modelstrip was.. Excellent information.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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yeah, this thread, and if you look up the ingredients of the stuff we use in the US I'm sure you can find similar products.


Greg
 
J

Jack Hess

Registered
28 Sep 2019
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I use IPA 91-99% and it works great on plastics, but you have to know how to use it. Put the body in a container with a sealable lid. If the lid doesn't create a seal, use plastic sandwich wrap over the container and then place the lid. Fill the container up over the body. Cover this. IPA has to be contained so it won't evaporate. Depending on the type of paint, you may need to weight up to 24 hours to get results. This is not a dip and wipe operation. Use a stiff bristle cleaning brush or stiff tooth brush to scrub the paint off. It doesn't just fall off. I have done HO Athearn boxcars and get the body cleaned in several hours and an MTH O scale overton passager car that took between 24 and 48 hours. Once the paint has been removed wash the body with dishsoap and warm water and scrub more with the brush. Let it dry and use a modeling knife to clean up the deep cracks where the paint is still hanging on.

I tried the IPA on a diecast MTH loco cab with bad results. I then soaked it in lacquer thinner, covered the top, and the paint jumped off the metal within an hour.
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,645
192
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
I use IPA 91-99% and it works great on plastics, but you have to know how to use it. Put the body in a container with a sealable lid. If the lid doesn't create a seal, use plastic sandwich wrap over the container and then place the lid. Fill the container up over the body. Cover this. IPA has to be contained so it won't evaporate. Depending on the type of paint, you may need to weight up to 24 hours to get results. This is not a dip and wipe operation. Use a stiff bristle cleaning brush or stiff tooth brush to scrub the paint off. It doesn't just fall off. I have done HO Athearn boxcars and get the body cleaned in several hours and an MTH O scale overton passager car that took between 24 and 48 hours. Once the paint has been removed wash the body with dishsoap and warm water and scrub more with the brush. Let it dry and use a modeling knife to clean up the deep cracks where the paint is still hanging on.

I tried the IPA on a diecast MTH loco cab with bad results. I then soaked it in lacquer thinner, covered the top, and the paint jumped off the metal within an hour.
What I was saying about what type of finish you are trying to remove and what material it was applied to. Lacquer/Cellulose thinners on metal with most types of paint is about the best in my experience. You see the paint "jumping off" a lot of diecast stuff using these thinners. Very basic painting processes.

The only problem with a lot of the methods we have been discussing so far is that they benefit most in their application when the piece to be stripped is immersed and then brushed/wiped to remove the finish. That's great when you are dealing with products made in the smaller scales and small parts that are to be stripped. With garden rail equipment we can be dealing with quite large items and the issue then is to have a suitably large container and sufficient quantity of the medium we are using for stripping so we can allow it to get to work. That's why the gel like "Nitromors" is so suited to the household decorating and refinishing world..

For larger items I always used to favour some of the oven cleaning products that used sodium hydroxide as their base. As with their original application purpose they could be sprayed on and left to work as they would adhere to the subject, you would cover with cling film (just like closing an oven door ;)) to stop them drying out and becoming ineffective, as you would also with the purpose made "Modelstrip" paste product. Problem now is that it seems the mainstream cleaner manufacturers here in the UK have mostly removed sodium hydroxide from their formulations :banghead:

One thing about cleaning a piece before (re)painting - Avoid using normal hand cleansing or dish washing soaps - they contain lanolin that will act as a barrier to any paint finish used and stop it "keying" properly to the surface to be painted and may affect the ability of the paint to adhere properly both long and short term. Use washing soda (not caustic soda) crystals when cleaning and then rise with normal tap water. Not to be confused with "fish eyes" that is a phenomena associated with releasing agents not being removed properly from a piece prior to painting. max
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
25,597
702
North West Norfolk
I use IPA 91-99% and it works great on plastics, but you have to know how to use it. Put the body in a container with a sealable lid. If the lid doesn't create a seal, use plastic sandwich wrap over the container and then place the lid. Fill the container up over the body. Cover this. IPA has to be contained so it won't evaporate. Depending on the type of paint, you may need to weight up to 24 hours to get results. This is not a dip and wipe operation. Use a stiff bristle cleaning brush or stiff tooth brush to scrub the paint off. It doesn't just fall off. I have done HO Athearn boxcars and get the body cleaned in several hours and an MTH O scale overton passager car that took between 24 and 48 hours. Once the paint has been removed wash the body with dishsoap and warm water and scrub more with the brush. Let it dry and use a modeling knife to clean up the deep cracks where the paint is still hanging on.

I tried the IPA on a diecast MTH loco cab with bad results. I then soaked it in lacquer thinner, covered the top, and the paint jumped off the metal within an hour.
Mm - over this side of the pond, IPA stands for India Pale Ale - a light beer, but not like lager :cool:

As to likening it to paint stripper, well, that's a matter of taste :D:D:D
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

Phase 1 complete, roll on Phase 2
23 Feb 2018
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Weston-super-Mare
IPA - Isopropyl Alcohol, 99.9% - £25.00 for 5 litres, so not cheap to use in a stripping bath!!
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
25,597
702
North West Norfolk
IPA - Isopropyl Alcohol, 99.9% - £25.00 for 5 litres, so not cheap to use in a stripping bath!!
I think we might have been there before, now you come to mention it.

I'm not sure that I'd drink either :emo::emo:
 
Northsider

Northsider

Registered
3 May 2012
605
12
Just make sure to clear your internet history after serching for 'model stripping'! :eek:

DOT 4 brake fluid is the stuff you want -mineral based, not DOT 5 or synthetic. Took the paint striaght off the bulkhead of my classic car when the mechanic spilt it at the local garage :mad:. The DOT stands for Department of Transport. How very Mr Chumleigh-Warner!