Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Product Review: Simple Green

I do quite a bit of commission work.  One of my regular customers has been in the hobby for about as long as I have been alive.  It is nuts!  That said, he has a ton of old models who look like they have been beaten nearly to death by the ugly paint stick.  This is only partly his fault.  He admits that he isn't a good painter, but he also used what was available at the time and craft store paint just doesn't cut it.

My magic bullet for stripping models is Simple Green.  It isn't perfect, but it works pretty decently.  It really shines on metal models.  First understand that you need to use the concentrated all purpose formula.  With it paint melts off of metal models.  Then it is simply a matter of using a toothbrush and perhaps a hobby knife to scrape away the bits. 

Simple Green doesn't work as well on plastic models.  I am still looking for a cheap, safe way to strip plastic models that doesn't harm the model or me.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to post them.

Simple Green How-to:
This is really like the label says, "Simple".

1) Place models in a container, preferably a sealable one like tupperware.  The aroma of Simple Green can be rather pungent.

2) Pour on the Simple Green and seal the container. Let it set at least over-night.  I sometimes let the models sit for days depending on how fast I can get to them. Not to worry.  Simple Green doesn't harm models.  I have even left plastic models inside a container of simple green for a up to a week with no visible damage. 

3) Remove models and use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean away the paint.  It usually raises from the model and sloughs away in sheets.  You may need a toothpick, sculpting tool, or hobby knife to clean out crevasses and high detail areas.

4) Rinse the model well.  I usually do my stripping under running water (get your mind out of the gutter!).  This gets rid of any residue from the Simple Green and also washes away loose pieces of paint.

5) Dry your model thoroughly. 

6) Prime and paint!

It really is an easy process and take next to no time to do. 

Ultimately, I give Simple Green a B+.  Against metal, it works like a charm, but it struggles to clean off plastic models.  It is cheap coming in at around $4.99 US for a 32 oz bottle that can be used and reused for job after job.  You can find it at most large hardware stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot here in the US.
If you have any ideas for stripping plastic models, please comment and let me know what you have.

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