My models

Back from the Dead – Pz.IV Ausf.H

Pz4HIMG_8711_res

Just to avoid any misunderstanding at the beginning – the title of this post is not to be connected with the lack of the posts on this page over the last days. It’s just that April is somehow quite busy month (just finished doing my last year’s taxes tonight…) and I have been working on a lot of things. Too many projects at the same time, I tried few new things and in general just spent a lot of time in my modeling den.

One of those kits I have played with was this Panzer IV. I built it almost 3 years ago during summer vacation at a cottage. It was built, primed, painted and lightly weathered. But the more I looked at it, the more I didn’t like what I saw (unlike my friends, who praised the camouflage paintjob). The paint job itself was quite laborious. I wanted to build it as a vehicle from the Normandy fighting in a standard german 3 done camouflage. This was hand painted with airbrush and it took me few attempts to do it as I did not like the look of it at first.

But after all this work, I concluded that it is not good enough. I did not like the tone of the dark yellow, it was too brownish. After I had painted the green and brown camouflage layers, I have tried to blend them with the dark yellow with a light overspray of the base colour but I have overdone it, so the result was very low contrast in the paint finish and a dull look. I was hoping the weathering could fix it somehow, but nope… (lesson learned)

Given the number of paint coats (black preshading and multiple base and camouflage coats) and the fact that I have already applied decals, I considered the model to be beyond salvation. Until this week.

Working on one other project I was facing the same need to remove the paint. Because I was at the beginning of the painting phase, I have decided to try one method that I have read about – using Windex cleaning solution. I was bit sceptical about it, afraid that the removal process will be difficult and still leave traces of the old paint on the model.

BUT, it worked. And perfectly. The acrylic paint was removed down to a primer. I basically bathed the model in Windex (luckily we have large bottle at home and as my wife said, at least there is someone using it…), helped to remove the paint with a brush – and rather soft one, no stiff old brush, just regular flat brush. There was no trace of the paint left and the model was almost as good as new with a primer ready for new paint.

Then I got an idea that there might be hope for my Pz.IV which was sitting on the shelf. First I have removed side skirts, which have been originally mounted, as well as all road wheels, idler wheels and tracks. Surprisingly this went rather easily. Then I repeated the bath in the Windex and voila, suddenly  almost all the troubles were gone. Except for one – decals. These were not affected by Windex and the paint layers underneath them were still there. So I have decided to use something bit heavier – Tamiya Airbrush Cleaner. I applied it with a brush and successfully removed some of the decals, but this solution is bit too strong, so it melted some of the surface underneath and around the decals (again, lesson learned). So I tested just the Tamiya’s Lacquer thinner and this worked perfectly. Just gently applied with a brush and the decal was off. You can see on the pictures below the result for yourself.

4 replies »

  1. Hi Vlad
    Sorry you had a tough time on the PZ4. It’s late now, but consider Easy Off oven cleaner. Do it outside of course. I have used it many occasions and great success removing all the paint. It does remove some small parts that you can re-glue back later. Just one word of caution that this stuff clouds clear plastic. As for your thoughts about dark yellow I agree with you it is totally boring as a colour. Tamiya flat yellow mixed with some buff adds a better tone. Hope you try these thoughts on an old scrap kit. Best wishes and success towards your model subjects.

    • Hi Ying,
      Actually it went quite well. I like Windex, just because it’s non-toxic, can be used inside, doesn’t smell, doesn’t attack plastic… As far as the dark yellow is concnerned, it was just that particular shade that I have used that I had problem, will try different mix…
      Cheers

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