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Stripping painted plastic

RELATED TOPICS: PLASTIC | PAINT
Q: Through nobody's fault but my own, I really messed up a paint job on one of my models. It has drips, runs, and errors everywhere, because I keep holding the spray can too close. The first time it happened, I could sand it out, but now I'm starting to lose fine details.

I know there's a way to strip painted plastic, but I can't remember the tricks. Thanks for your help.

- James McGarry
Missoula, Montana

Ken: Don't beat yourself up, James. Bad paint happens to all of us at some point, and stripping it is a quick fix.

Soak the body in Castrol Super Clean (or spray it with Easy-Off Oven Cleaner) and let it sit until the paint loosens. Finish the job with an old toothbrush, wash the body in soapy water, rinse, and air-dry. Then you'll be set to go.

The bigger issue here is patience, which is the main reason we chose to answer your letter in the column.

Good paint takes time. Don't hurry. Pull back a few inches and haze on multiple coats of paint instead of applying one thick coat.

You already know the source of the problem, but I'll offer this little piece of advice for some additional positive reinforcement:

Don't hold the spray can so close.

Your modeling will be better for it!

Thanks for the question, James, and good luck.


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