In my ongoing experiments with stripping models I decided to try fairy power spray, a number of people have mentioned it in the past but I have yet to find a guide so thought I'd post the results up. If you have a different method that works for you, great! I prefer not to use carcinogenic products (like some brake fluids) and have no access to simple green.
As an aside, I would imagine similar unbranded versions might prove effective but have not tested any yet.
Ok so here goes!
You will need:
- Fairy Power Spray (most supermarkets in the UK sell it, I am sure it isn't restricted to the UK either). It isn't exactly cheap at something like 3 quid a bottle, but hopefully you/your mother/your partner will get some use out of it cleaning kitchen stains. Need an excuse to buy some? Burn something really, really badly in a pan or tray...
- Some hot water (not so hot you wouldn't hold your hand in it)
- Kitchen towel (for drying things and cleaning up spills)
- Some tongs or a means of grabbing the model from out of the bottom the jar to make life easier...
- Oh, and a few minutes here and there to do each stage...
Break the miniatures down as much as possible, without harming the models obviously. The paint will strip better if the arms and weapons, etc, are separate.
Place the model in the bottom of the jam jar and spray some Fairy Power Spray on to it (you don't need much, just a thin coating). Swill it about a bit if needed; make sure the whole model is coated in the spray. Screw the lid on the jam jar (it isn't bad smelling (unlike dettol) but it will evaporate quickly if you don't).
Leave for a few hours.
The fun bit
Take your jam jars to the kitchen/utility room sink (if you aren't messy the only evidence of your passing will be a faint smell of Fairy, hardly a bug bear for a house-proud spouse/parent
Part fill the bucket/sink with warm water (remember, not too hot) and fish the models and bits out of the jam jars; I used tongs made from an old coat hanger (the Fairy Power Spray can be re-used if you leave the lid on the jar; if not it will congeal and become less effective quickly). Put all the models and bits in to the warm water. This will help to loosen the paint a little and stop you smelling quite so...clean!
As you pick each model or bit out of the bucket/sink rub it between your fingers to remove the majority of the paint, and then use the toothbrush to work the loose paint out of the recesses of the models. If you have left the models in the Fairy Power Spray long enough, and/or the original paint wasn't too thick, most of the paint should just fall off in your fingers. If you meet any rock hard paint then leave it for round two.
A cocktail stick/toothpick (or a needle if you are careful) is good here if the paint is stubborn because it is cheap, it breaks before your model does, and even with plastic it shouldn't leave scratches (assuming you aren't too rough)
Ok, so if like me you have a few little bits of paint left on your models, then just pop them back in the jam jar and repeat the whole process.
As always, remember to thoroughly rinse your models before repainting!
The Fairy Power Spray mixture is re-usable, however not indefinitely. I leave the jar for next time then usually add a spray or two to make sure, the leftovers will just help cover the model as you do more batches.
- Safe! Fairy Power Spray will not damage you (the bottle says rinse it off skin, etc, but it is probably the safest paint stripping product)
- Does not leave a residue
- Works well with metal models
- Safe with plastic if you don't leave it in there more than necessary.
- Expensive compared to some other products if you don't already own the spray.
- This method has not worked with any plastics to date.
- Does not effect glue. Most other techniques weaken glue, this product does not so you may find it hard getting excess glue off.
- More effort than some techniques (though less harmful)
Although perhaps not as straight forward as brake fluid or other methods, the result is the same for metal models. My models had about 4-5 hours in the Fairy Power Spray and some needed another quick go afterwards to get the last fragments of paint, but then they were painted by a ham-fisted two year old with a 4 inch brush...(or so it appears
The benefits of this approach are the relative safety of Fairy Power Spray (the product is similar to washing up liquid) and the fact it is safe with plastic having been designed to clean kitchens (though not all that effective with plastic models, it won't eat your bases). I say totally safe... perhaps I should say it didn't even slightly discolour my plastic bits