Quick Hint #38

Stripping Paint from Acrylic & Resin

One of the big hits amongst gamers in the last few years has been the advent of acrylic and resin figures and scenery. The days of heavy metal (luckily not the music) is slowly being replaced and armies can now be carried without dislocating your shoulder.

This raises some interesting challenged when it comes to stripping paint. It’s something most of us have to do occasionally. Either you change your mind about a colour scheme half way through, you are just painting on an off day and it looks awful or you buy a pre-painted figure on the internet and want to strip it for a repaint. Whatever the reason stripping paint is not straightforward anymore.

The big challenge is removing the paint without dissolving the figure (incredibly easy to do if you get it wrong) and just about every resin will react differently to solvents. A quick Google will find a host of solutions to this problem ranging from kitchen cleaners, to car degreasers and medical disinfectants. As if that wasn’t bad enough some manufacturers will even change the type of resin they use for reasons of cost, quality, setting time etc… which can mean that you need different solvents.

So here are a few tips for resolving this problem:

  • Contact the figure manufacturer. They should have details of the resin used and will probably be able to tell you which is the safest way to remove unwanted paint.
  • Test on scrap. If your figure came with pieces of sprue or other bits that needed to be trimmed use these to test your solvent.
  • Do a spot test. Find a part of the model that won’t be seen, such as under a foot and do a very small test there using some of the solvent on the end of a toothpick or similar. If it starts to do any damage you can usually stop the reaction by rinsing the model under water before permanent damage is done.
  • Apply a test to a flat area. If all else fails test the solvent on a flat, featureless part of the model. That way if all goes wrong you can easily repair any damage with filler.

At the end of the day resin is always going to be a nightmare to strip paint from but with some care the risk of totally dissolving your model can be kept to a minimum.

About Jarec

Long term Wargamer and dice hugger. My preferences tend towards Fantasy and Sci-Fi but I have a strong interest in the WWII and Vietnam gaming eras.
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