Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ultrasonic - stripping miniatures with SOUNDWAVES! (Part two - Electric Boogaloo)

Previously on Direct Fire...
As I alluded to in my previous post, my rationale for getting an ultrasonic cleaner to strip models was that I had recently come into the possession of a metric ton of Warmaster models. I didn't like the paint job, so I needed a quick way to strip them and get them ready for priming. I could dump a handful of them in a jar of Super Clean, wait a few days, scrub them, put in a new batch, wait a few days, etc., but I wanted to get the job over with.

The first victims to visit the bath were some Warmaster Undead that had been soaking in Super Clean for a couple of days. Before I had decided on purchasing the ultrasonic cleaner, I had tossed these guys into a jar and left them to soak. I took them out of the jar, and along with a couple of additional unsoaked models, dropped them into the cleaner. I set the timer to the recommended 280 seconds and stepped back. Apart from a high-pitched buzz-whine (probably can't be heard if you're an old person - you know, like that mosquito ringtone?) I didn't see much going on. At any rate, once the cycle was done, I pulled out the tray and rushed the models to the sink to start scrubbing. And not a whole lot happened... Well, that was disappointing. So I rethought my strategy - longer cycle using heat. Would it work? I didn't know, but I did know I had my receipt for the cleaner in my pocket...

After what seemed like 8 minutes, but was, in fact, only 480 seconds, I carefully pulled the tray out of the hot Simple Green. I sat down at the sink and started scrubbing. And the paint was coming off! Success! I put the next batch of models into the cleaner as I worked on the first batch. Just like the week-long soakings, I still had to scrub, but I didn't seem to be scrubbing as hard. Not all of the paint was coming off (especially in the deep crevices,) but I decided to toss them in the cleaner again for another ride. Sure enough, the second time through was enough to loosen up the paint in the hard to reach areas. Before I knew it, I had cleaned the paint off of over 80 models in about an hour!
Not too shabby

After I was done, I figured I'd toss my next batch of models into the soak for a few days and give the ultrasonic cleaner another go on the weekend. Then a thought struck me - why wait? Give it a shot with un-prepped models - fully painted, never soaked. So I started strippin' Warmaster Orcs.

The models I have were from two different sources - one used a black basecoat and one a green basecoat. The black-basecoated models cleaned up very easily the first run through the cleaner. The green-basecoated models were a bit more of a pain and required two runs, but they still cleaned up well. I had just gone from a 4-7 day soak, scrubbing, then a possible resoak, to 20 minutes in the cleaner and a scrub. Again, in a little over an hour, I had done the majority of another army ready for priming!

Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion! Part Three, Before and After!

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