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Strip Paint From Athearn and Atlas Shells

Kent asks:

“I want to strip the paint from one Atlas and one much older blue-box Athearn. I read to use 91% isopropyl alcohol but wondered how safe the stuff is, do I just soak it in a container of some kind (for how long), and/or scrub it (using what)? I would do it right rather than guess. Thanks if you can help.”

To advise Kent please post your comments underneath.

5 Responses to Strip Paint From Athearn and Atlas Shells

  • Mark Lister says:

    I’m Canadian and have collected quite a few locomotives over the years from various manufacturers to strip down, custom paint and detail. I tried the isopropyl alcohol method of stripping paint but did not find that it removes paint as well and cleanly as I like. I have seen others use Brake Cleaning Fluid with some success. After quite a bit of trial, I settled on using a product called Super Clean. It is a degreaser/cleaner fluid that is primarily used in the automotive field for cleaning automotive parts and does not damage plastic. I have stripped locos down to the plastic that have up to 4 layers of paint plus a primer without any issues.
    For protection I wear rubber gloves and eyewear when using it. I fill a container with enough degreaser/cleaner to cover the loco shell, place the shell in the container, cover it and let it sit for a couple of days. When I come back to it, the paint is dissolved or peeled from the shell and it just takes a bit of brushing with a toothbrush to get residual paint from any crevices. Because it is a combination cleaner, after a rinse with water you are left with a very clean plastic shell. If you have access to this product I definitely recommend it but if not, I would suggest researching and trying your local brand of degreaser/cleaner fluid.

  • Robert Riddle says:

    I assume those are plastic, and how this works on plastic I have not tried but for disaster MEK IS THE BOMB. methethal. Ethel Keytone.
    This is a very useful solvent, thins resin, is the glue for ABS plastic, paint stripper, only takes a few minutes on disaster. You might try it on plastic diluted some with a water bath close by. The new MEK is the new environmental stuff making it a bit friendlier but it still seems to work for its intended uses. On Abs it acts like glue for pvc does not just stick it together. If I get. An answer on your original question I’ll let you know.

  • Frank B says:

     Model shops sell a special modeller’s paint stripper that will do the job you want, it will remove paint from polystyrene with damaging the plastic underneath. 
     Just in case you get the wrong idea from Bob’s post, MEK (often called “Liquid Poly”) is a polystyrene solvent that dissolves plastic. It is used for gluing model kits.  
     TOTALLY NOT SUITABLE for paint stripping ! 

  • Robert E Sier Jr says:

    I strip paint from models quiet often and the best and safest results came from using PURPLE POWER, it is a degreaser as well, fill a container full enough to cover your model and let sit for 1 to 3 days depending on the type of paint you are removing and brush it with a tooth brush, and to make it super clean I then rub the model with 0000 steel wool,

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