Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ultrasonic - stripping miniatures with SOUNDWAVES! (Part the third)

For the Before and After test, I grabbed a selection of miniatures that fit all the ranges of what I might want to strip - primed white, primed black, and fully painted. Note that the Wyvern in the picture is in fact a dark red, and not primed black.
Lab rats

After the first cleaning and scrub, these are the results:
After the first pass

To the left, you'll notice the models that look like they are brand new - these were the white-primed models. In fact, I didn't have to do any scrubbing at all on them - they came out of the cleaner looking like that! Obviously though, the models on the right are more the average on the first run. most of the paint is off, but there is retention in the crevices and deeper pockets. The Wyvern was too large to be fully submerged, so that's why it looks the way it does. The paint on some of the Carrion and the Sphinx was extremely difficult to remove - I don't know if this was the paint used, the number of models in the unit, or the fact that my Simple Green was now completely filthy. At this point, everything with paint on it went back into the bath for round two.

After the second cycle and scrubbing, here is what I had:
And after the second pass
 Most of what you're seeing on the models is less of a paint and more like if you did a black wash on a model to bring out the contours. I would have no problems with priming them. The Wyvern cleaned up pretty well, though there is still paint in the recesses - I chalk that up to the model not being able to fit fully into the solution. Also, some of the Carrion have a little paint left in their wings - again, not sure if this is due to a different paint or weakened solution.

Conclusions: I'm completely satisfied with the ultrasonic cleaner. It is a huge timesaver and allowed me to get done in hours what would have taken days or even weeks (albeit with similar effort.) I was hoping that the ultrasonic action would break superglue bonds, but it doesn't seem to be the case - some bonds were broken, but others weren't. If I really need to break a bond, I'll probably have to soak the model for a few days.

Obviously, the cleaning solution has a finite lifespan, and for my Before and After test, it looks like mine had reached its limit. This is not a deal breaker by any means, as even a jar full of cleaner will only last so long.

Heat and size are also huge deals - I am convinced that the unit's heat capabilities really helped break down the paint. And I'm glad I got the larger unit, as it means I can clean more models in a shorter time as well as having the capability of being able to put larger models into the bath.

All in all, if you want to work quicker and can afford one, I highly recommend picking up an ultrasonic cleaner for stripping your miniatures. I'll have to try some resin models next, though I'm sure the results will be similar. I'm also thinking that this would be a great way to clean your miniatures for priming, instead of having to wash each individual part. Looks like there are going to be more tests...

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