Saturday, 27 August 2011

Restoring Old Models

I've recently been doing what must be my 3rd batch of restoring my old models. Prior to this I stripped some of the 3rd Ed Grey Knight models and some marines for my Blood Angels. But in the past month I've looked to strip my RT Grey Knights, my RT/2nd Ed Terminators, and some MK1 Rhinos.

I think knowing how to do this, and giving it a go is a really handy tool to have in the hobby chest. It really is just a case of a google search, but I figured why search when I can just give everyone the heads up!

There's a lot of suggestions going around, the most common I find is an American brand that is suggested, which obviously we don't have available in the UK. Back in the day we used to use nail polish remover, but that is toxic as hell. Car Battery Acid is something I think people use, again not a brilliant route. I've been using one for a little while now - Dettol - that nice household disinfectant! Better yet, I tested it last week on plastic and it did work! 

By far the safest, and now most versatile route I've found has been Dettol.

The beauty is that its not a toxic/irritant. I do suggest wearing gloves, just for the sake of it makes everything stink to high heaven.

But you can see the results above. All those GK and the Inquisitor have been restored via a good detol bath.

I think you'll agree, while they are clearly not new, they certainly aren't in bad shape at all. These models have the deepest recess's (that's what she said) I've ever seen on a model, so in today's model range you won't get so much paint left in inaccessible places.

  • Bottle of Dettol (~£2.50 in most places like Sainsburys/Tesco etc...)
  • Cheap Tooth Brushes (cheaper the better, as they have stiffer bristles)
  • Latex Gloves - this is very important. Should be available near the Detol
  • A couple of containers - I just use cheap tupperware 
  • Fill up one container with dettol. Place models in there - no real limit, as long as they are submerged. 
  • Leave them for at least a couple of days. Some where you dont mind getting smelly - a shed that wont have anything you use (I.E you family don't hang clothes in there or garden furniture, it will make it smell!) 
  • Check back, see if the paint is falling off. If its not, shake it up a bit and leave it for a couple more days. I've left models in for 10 days and not had any damage to them, just makes the paint easier to get rid of.
  • Once your happy the paint is loose, empty the dettol out (dettol can go down a drain, but prob best to empty it in a part of the garden etc..) and rinse the models with soapy water a bit. 
  • Latex yourself up and go to town with the brushes. The paint will be VERY oily/tar like, so you'll only get about 4 or 5 "coated" models done per brush (I find). The latex will get coated in the oil residue as well so be ready to swap out. I usually do this in a container full of soapy water, as this allows you to rinse the paint as you go. 
This is not necessarily as quick as say battery acid or varnish remover, but its ALOT safer. I am not sure how much people realise but a lot of what we use with the hobby is quite damaging - especially GW provided items - primers and airbrushes (its not condensed air in those cans ...). The chance to restore models is too good to give up, it gives you a second chance, especially those awesome RT or 2nd Ed models, but I prefer to take the safer route.

This process all in all will take a few days. The best thing to do is plan ahead. Come home on a Tuesday or Wednesday and bosh it in the bath. By the weekend when you want the items to paint they will be ready to sort out!


  1. Venerable Brother's hangover headache27 August 2011 at 18:38

    Nitromors Process:
    Buy from Homebase..pour in jar...submerge metal models...swirl..swirl..rinse...done.
    - Mega swift
    - Mega effective
    - It will fucking eat you.
    - See above point...' alot quicker..

  2. It's a quick process with Fairy Power Spray but not sure with plastics.

  3. Yeah trying to suggest "safe options" ven lol.

    I actually had a bit more on health. So much of what we use in GW is fucked up already lol.

    I forgot to add paint/varnish remover to the list of "toxic will kill you".

    I've actually used it. Its fucking brutal (the fumes off it are terrible, and mixed with the paint ....)

    I still have tons of it in my shed that I'll never use lol

  4. Remember folks, don't be pouring that down the drain without checking the back of the product! You don't want that to be going into the drinking water supply, nor do you want it getting into the water table!

    Make sure to figure out a disposal vector before you try!

  5. I've done a huge batch of rt era marines and Nids (go go Zoats!) in the dettol bath. The instructions I had was submerge them in a closed container for 24 horus then take them out use an old tooth brush and some running water and scrub off any excess paint, then soak in warm soapy water for 24 more hours to get rid of any soapy residue that will affect the paint adhering to the models.

    Also, plastics can't be left in for more then the 24 hours, if they get left for longer they start to become damaged in as far as they become malleable and indeed can melt if left long enough. You can do a few drops in, but it's not reccommended to abuse it.