A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Friday, 14 July 2017

This and That, and Some of the Other

Odds and ends, really.

Topic 1: The Figure Stripping Trials

Getting a breather from the Clean Spirit
Following previous laments about this, and plentiful advice, I have now had the set of Qualiticast French Napoleonic staff figures steeping in a sealed jar of Bartoline Clean Spirit for two weeks, so I decided it was time to see how they are getting on. I fished one of them out, scrubbed down with water and a (rather soft) toothbrush, and did a little exploratory picking with a penknife point. Not bad at all. What I have done now is I put him back in the Clean Spirit with his pals, and we'll see how they are doing in another two weeks. As mentioned by Doug, the big advantages of this stuff are:

(1) - it is unbelievably cheap - a bottle about the size of a wine bottle is about £2-something out of Homebase.

(2) - it is non-toxic - hardly smells of anything - you can soak figures in it forever without damaging the metal - it would do plastic too, it's safe to handle, and you can flush it down the kitchen drain without wrecking your pipes or the environment.

(3) - it seems to work - pretty well, if you like slow and steady rather than quick and life-threatening. I'm interested to see how the residual fragments of paint get on over another two weeks, and - of course - see how easily the paint comes off figures which have been in the bath for a month. Good so far.

I also ordered a bottle of Simple Green, which was much more expensive, and has just arrived - it took a fortnight to get here (posted from Germany, I see, though I ordered it from a UK firm).

If I can find a suitable figure or two, I'll start another trial jar of Simple Green.

Good this - almost scientific, in a pathetic sort of way. I'll report back. They won't be sneering when I get my Nobel Prize...

Topic 2: A Delayed Make-Over

Pontes Bellonae
After I saw some recent photos of my old Bellona bridges, I suddenly realised that they are very crudely presented - I slapped some paint on them about 45 years ago, and that's how they've stayed. They get a fair amount of use, but every time I see them I think, "Oh, there's the old Bellona bridges", and completely fail to register that they are a bit scruffy. This is very odd - if I'd paid a lot of money for some piece of imported resin exotica I would be carefully drybrushing the life out of it before I let anyone see it.

I decided it would be a simple matter to smarten up the Bellona chaps a bit - so I did it last night. Dark brown undercoat, drybrush with two shades of stone. Not a brilliant job, but surely an improvement. Why did it take so long? No idea - low prestige project? - other things to do? - kept forgetting? - some other reason?

Doesn't matter. Done.

Topic 3: This One under Wraps for a While

Drop me a line
What's this then, Foy?

Well, it's fishing line - pretty strong fishing line. It is my latest outside-the-envelope idea for solving what has become something of a bugbear problem in the figure preparing and painting department. There will be some experiments, and if I have any success I'll come out of the cupboard and bore everyone silly. If it doesn't work, I'll just never mention it again.

How can we lose?


  1. Fishing line? I'm intrigued? The Rejects use Dettol to strip figures, that works and its cheap!

    1. Hi Ray - thanks for this - I have had many recommendations along the lines of "just use Dettol", but I've had no success with the stuff, and in any case there is a problem about exactly what "the stuff" is - Dettol make a wide range of products - we use many of them in my household, but none of them appears to be labelled as suitable for stripping paint off toy soldiers! If someone would very kindly send me an exact description of which Dettol product they use (actually use - not have heard that someone else may or may not use...) then I shall be deeply grateful. There's too much urban legend about all this!

      At the moment I'm favourably impressed by the Bartoline product, and am optimistic about forthcoming trials with the Simple Green.

  2. I know, you're going to tie it around their little feet so you can easily retrieve them from the stripper jar!

    1. Interesting guess. I could also hang myself with the line when the stripper fails to work after 6 weeks.

  3. For one moment there I thought that was flock on the Bellona bridges. Fishing line - looks quite heavy duty, my first thought was that you could use it as a kind of 'floss' for getting in between those tight little bits of flash between body and weapon etc, safer than a scalpel.

    Intrigued of Dymchurch.

    1. Hi Lee - another interesting idea. I've had some good suggestions, including one from a Prof De Vries, who suggests that it could be used for catching large fish.

      I hope to start some experiments next week. By the following week I may well be doing some fishing.