Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Project Reaver: Paint Stripping Resin

The Armorcast Reaver Titan stands at just over 13.5 inches of Mike Biasi sculpting goodness from just over 18 years ago, originally cast in 1993. This particular Reaver came to me almost a year ago and has been patiently waiting on my hobby table while other projects came and went. But with summer weather in full swing I have decided to get the paint off, fix up 18 years of use and wear on the model and get her back into fighting shape. First order of business is the removal of the Warp Runners paint scheme.

I spent some time researching what would work best for removing the paint without damaging the resin. After all we are dealing with a model that regularly goes for over $500 on eBay with a complete set of weapons as this one has. After a lot of searching I came up with Simple Green as a solution, I have seen some horror stories of all sorts of fluids actually breaking down resin and ending up with a ‘bag of goo’ as a result, but didn’t see any with Simple Green. Also its non-toxic, I still wouldn’t drink the stuff, and relatively easy to handle indoors or out.

I picked the two weapons I could live without, in case of complete disaster i.e. melted resin goop, the Chain Fist and the Flamer. I poured Simple Green into a one gallon zip loc bag and added the two weapons. I made sure that the simple green would cover the weapons completely in fluid. After 24 hours I brought the bag of parts and cleaner out to the back porch, to prevent the house from smelling like Simple Green all day.

I very carefully pulled the parts from the bag and laid them on a paper towel to prevent any fluids from pooling as they dripped on the plastic tray I was using to contain the project. If you have ever stripped paint before you will know that the paint will glob off and stick to everything, so it’s best to have something under it to contain the paint once its removed.

Here you can see the parts and the ‘bubbling’ of the paint is readily apparent. The paint is loose almost like a blister on skin and comes off very easily.

At first you will be able to slowly remove the paint in large sections, do this as long as possible as it will give you the cleanest results while removing the paint. This will also make for the easiest clean up of the surrounding area once you are done.

As paint is removed from the more intricate details it will form ‘paint balls’ that will stick to anything, be careful not to get too aggressive with paint removal as these paint globs will get inadvertently flung off onto other surfaces. For this portion I generally use an old tooth brush. These paint globs can be difficult to remove later once they find their way to walls and tables.

After scrubbing with a toothbrush and sponge here are the parts after their first cleaning.

By being very careful not to agitate the parts and cleaning solution while in the bags you are left with a cleaning solution that remains free of particles and can be reused multiple times, as you can see in this photo.

After their first rinse the parts went back into the bag for another soaking so I can remove the rest of the paint stuck down in the cracks. I will be checking the bag in another 12 hours and then 24 hours to determine a regular schedule to get the rest of the parts cleaned and ready for any necessary repairs prior to priming.

I hope this offers a few ideas for those not brave enough to set out on a rather dramatic project like stripping paint from old models quite yet.

still practicing_



  1. Nice one - Simple Green really is the best thing out there, a day or three in the dip and no paint stands a chance! I used the same basic technique stripping the Mk.1 Land Raider recently, and it worked like a charm. Looking forward to seeing that Reaver get some fresh paint on it!

  2. I had to do research on this one, I wanst going to dip a 22 year old (the first parts are marked '89) resin model worth over 400 bucks into uncle bob's paint stripper!

    The armorcast Reaver is a love hate thing, either peopel love the model or they hate it. I happen to love it. I think the clunky 1980's robot goodness is too much to pass up!

  3. Do you know if this method will work on current resin models? Meaning stuff Forgeworld currently puts out?

  4. I am sure it will. If you are worried about the resin holding up just do what I did, test on a small piece first. I used the flame cannon and it worked great, so I went on to the other pieces.

    But I can't imagine that resin has changed consistency a whole lot, all my armorcast stuff was just fine.

  5. That is what I thought, I want to redo my Elysians, but would hate to ruin them. Thanks.