Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Experimenting with new Strippers...uummm...Paint strippers that is!

As I have mentioned in the past I have been using Simple Green HD for the past couple of years to strip paint from minis that I buy on line for my collection or for resale.  This product does an adequate job though I found that I needed to soak figures for up to a week before I was able to easily remove most of the paint...and even then I often followed the Simple Green soak with a quick dip in Acetone to remove paint from the hard to clean areas.

So when I started to hear about a product called Dawn Power Dissolver, and how great it was for stripping old paint, I decided to hunt some down and give it a try.  Sadly it is apparently already OOP...sigh.  Luckily I was able to find a few bottles from an online seller who still had I ordered 4 bottles and decided to run some tests.  Below are the results.

For this test I decided to use a group of 10 Marauder and Citadel dwarfs that I won from an ebay auction as my test subjects.  Now... I was out of Simple Green HD so decided to compare the Power Dissolver against the much more prevalent "regular" Simple Green.

Here are our test subjects...5 dwarfs for each stripper.... that sounds terrible! 

...anyway...the pics

These are going into Simple Green
These are going into Dawn Power Dissolver
My plan was to put them into their respective stripping agent...remove one of each after 1 hour and examine results....then remove another after 24 hrs and assess the difference....and then another every 24 hrs after that until there was a clear winner.  To that end into the bath they went!

As I'm sure you guessed: Simple Green on the right, Dawn Dissolver on the left
So as planned I removed the first two dwarves after an hour and this is what they looked like.

You can see that the power dissolver really clings to the figure on the left...and the paint already looks "loose" and it was!  Here is what they both looked like after a bit of a scrub with a paint brush.

Insane!  the figure that was in the Dissolver is nearly clean after only 1 hour in the stripper! The one that was in simple green still has a lllllooonnnnggg way to go to reach the same level.

I nearly stopped the experiment right there...but decided to proceed and see how things looked after a day....but I already knew that a new champion in town!

Here is where the remainder of the figures looked after 24 hrs in the two baths...and a little scrubbing with a tooth brush

Power Dissolver victims on top...Simple Green on the bottom

As you can see the difference is quite stark....the ones that were in the Dawn product are perfectly clean and shiny...not so much with the Simple Green test victims...though it did better than it usually does after this short of a test period in my experience.

A close up to show just how clean the top row is!

At this point I saw no reason to continue with my test....the winner was clear...Dawn Power Dissolver is my new go to paint stripper!  I will be trying to track down a larger supply to stock pile.

I was so happy with the results that I went ahead a stripped a huge vat of figures that I had piled up...all of these were cleaned after just 6 hours in the soak!

I should mention that since this test I have learned that there is no need to soak the items in this product...I've had great success with just spraying it on and letting it sit for a few hours...this will greatly extend the life span of the limited supply that I have because it uses so little of the product

I should also mention that it does not loosen superglue bonds...Acetone is still needed for that can't do everything...but paint removal it does VERY well!

Cheers for now!



  1. On the last picture some are still very dark grey. Do you know what this is due too? I have the same problem with some minis I bought of ebay...even after weeks in acetone they still look like there is some kind of dark grey coat on them.
    For minis primed with Chaos Black spray and painted with acrylics a less toxic version is very high % alcohol, especially hand desinfection solution called 'Sterilium', works as quickly as the power cleaner, but again only on GW Chaos Black spray and similiar sprays (armypainter etc). I guess this isn't of too much you for oldhammer, as I guess many minis were coated with real varnish and stuff.

    But I decided to switch to that (mostly because I collect stuff from the 5th ed onwards and GW Lord of the Rings) but I find it a safer alternative to nail polish remover which stinks horribly and is generally quite agressive.

    Cheers, MarK

  2. I believe that dark grey color is simply due to the use of a different alloy in the casting process...I can promise that ther is no paint left on those figures.

  3. Replies
    1. I have limited experience with plastic...but it does not seem to harm it at all...and there was a guy on the FB page a few days ago that showed excellent results with this product on some plastic genestealers. So go for it!

  4. Amazing! I have some poor old gobos sitting in Simple Green right now and it is barely touching their paint job.

    Do let us know where you find more of the Dawn PD, particularly if it is currently available with a different name or some such.

  5. I there, your Power Dissolver is likely just to be caustic soda with some wetting agents. It's probably cheaper just to get yourself some Draino.

    1. I don't think Drano is the same. I've been scouring MSDS sheets of other products trying to find something similar and as best as I can tell Drano is completely different (and deadlier).
      As far as I can tell the magic ingredient we are looking for is monoethanolamine or something similar. But Im no chemical expert by any stretch and most of the chemicals named are meaningless to me.

  6. At some point recently (and by that I mean the last 12 months or so) they changed the formula for SG I think. My most recent bottle is next to useless.

    If only I could get my hands on some of your new stuff here in Aus! As Lasgunpacker said please let us know if you find more DPD or something that has replaced it...

  7. In the absence of Dawn P.D., I've been enjoying good success for metal minis with Winsor & Newton's Brush Cleaner & Restorer. And, of course, not only is it good at stripping minis, but it is great (when used in moderation) in keeping my brushes in tip-top shape. The only drawback - it is not cheap.
    I find it in an arts supply store.