Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stripping Miniatures with an Ultrasonic Cleaner

I've recently come across miniature painting pros on YouTube espouse the benefits of having an ultrasonic cleaner to strip minis.

These machines are used to clean jewelry, coins, glasses, etc. You immerse them in liquid such as soap and water, and the machine uses vibrations and cavitation to shake up whatever is being cleaned.

I find stripping minis a chore. First, you have to soak the minis for days and days sometimes, then use an old toothbrush to scrape the old paint away.. Ughh..

I usually strip minis because I made a mistake or I buy old sculpts off ebay that are usually badly painted. (As a side note, you ever notice the overuse of the phrase "pro painted" on ebay?)

Intrigued, I ordered an inexpensive one off ebay about 2 or 3 days ago and by some miracle, it arrived today. This must be an ebay record for me.

Anyways, I did a little experiment. I recently bought an old Mordheim warband off ebay cheaply, but the paint job is goddawful.. Just look at them.. Whomever painted these just vomited on the paint willy-nilly with no shading or highlights.

These are cheap sculpts from about 17 years ago, even by GW standards, so it's no big deal if I can't strip them.

I am not sure, even if I do strip them, I will repaint them. Whomever put these together did not know what he was doing. I mean, who holds a halberd like this, as if they were throwing a javelin at the Olympics or something..

Anyways, I put in a 1:1 ratio of water and Green cleaning liquid and let it run. The machine runs for 3 minutes and then stops, so I decided to do it 4 times, for 12 minutes and see what happens.

I took one out and scrubbed it with my old stripping toothbrush..

but it was not coming off.

I decided to empty the machine, and this time, use 100% of green cleaner and let it run 5 times, for a total of 15 minutes.

When I went to investigate the final time, the liquid was starting to get warm. I decided to stop as you don't want your plastic minis in a boiling cauldron.

I took one out and I was relieved to see it was coming off after applying my toothbrush lightly.

This is very promising as ordinarily, this would take days sometimes and lots of scrubbing.

I'll let it cool and give it another 3 minutes and scrub off the rest tomorrow.

For $30 US, this is a good investment for those who strip a lot.

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