Monday, 2 January 2017

Conclave of Har Hobby Archive - STRIPPING METAL – FAIRY POWER SPRAY

(An old article, the formula for the Fairy Power Spray has been ruined much to the lament of hobbyists worldwide, still, the article is Archived here for posterity.. )

No preamble with this one, wow. Just wow. My stripping medium of choice has for many years been Nitro Mors paint stripper which is used on fences and the like. I also recently tried Zymul MEC-1 an industrial paint stripper which I found to be cleaner but still caustic to human skin. No more, it’s Fairy Power Spray from here on in.

There has been a lot of chatter online about how good Fairy Power Spray is for stripping miniatures particularly its effectiveness on plastic and resin. For this test I have only used metal to be safe but will try on other materials later to test its effectiveness.

First off if you are going to strip miniatures you need a suitable container to immerse the miniatures in the liquid, preferably glass or metal. I have used an old Dolmio jar that has been cleaned. For the actual stripping you will need a clear surface, I have used a large cutting mat though a table with some newspaper laid down will do. This can be picked up later and used to collect all the bits of paint that have been removed from the models and dispose them. You will also need some rags to wipe your hands and to place the models once they have been removed from the solution. Lastly some kind of tool to remove the paint from the models. Wiping them with the rags will remove some of the larger parts but to get to the paint in the crevices wire brushes are the best tools to use with a sculpting tool for the really hard to get bits.

Other types of stripper I have used have been highly caustic; meaning you cannot handle them with your bear hands requiring gloves or pliers to move them. Even then your skin can become irritated. They also give off fumes that you should not be inhaling. None of these issues were present with Fairy Power Spray. As a household cleaning product you can handle it with no fear, in fact I was able to pull the models out of the jar with my naked fingers rather than using pliers. It also has a fresh scent that is actually quite pleasant.

I used two metal miniatures I had purchased from eBay as test pieces. Neither had been primed nor painted by me but what paint was on was on thick. By the time I got round to them they had been in the solution for a couple of hours. When they came out of the solution the paint had not been dissolved and turned into thick slurry as would be the case with Nitro Mors but had instead been softened. Some of it came off on my fingers and just wiping it gently with the rag removed most of it. It did not take much work with the wire brushes and a sculpting tool get the stubborn pieces out of the deep crevices, a minute or two at most. Very impressive and a huge improvement over what I am used to.

The finished results above are the cleanest stripped miniatures I have ever produced. My hands are not raw, there is not sludge everywhere and they still smell nice. I highly recommend you try this for yourself if you have some metal miniatures that need stripping. It is also economical. The solution that I used for these was still pure enough that I have dunked a load of recently purchased 2E Tyranids in there and a couple of plastic components to see how they fare.


  1. I go with Dettol now. A tad caustic in the long term, and you need to leave the models to soak for at least a few days I find, but arguably the best thing I've found for metal, plastic and resins....

    1. Yeah, it's a real shame Johnson changed the formula, thankfully I have a few bottles of the old formula stashed away. Worth it's weight in gold! When i finally run out i may have to resort to Dettol.