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

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Old Soak - and a bit of a shock

Final soak in the Simple Green, Matron
Today I rescued some old French cavalry from the Clean Spirit soak - this was their second stage soak - they'd already had a preliminary rub down with the toothbrush about a week ago, after the first soak. They came out very nicely. I also had a few getting a heavy-duty second soak in Simple Green, since the first soak in Clean Spirit hardly damaged the shine - this is usually a sign of polyurethane varnish, though it might sometimes be a sign of Plastidip, which is very bad news in Strip Town.

The Simple Green has worked OK, so a good scrub and those few are back in for a final "therapy"  soak - should be a couple of days.

Next load - you can even re-use the Clean Spirit; here's a bunch of assorted Bavarians
I put in to soak this afternoon - I'll have a look at them in 10 days or so
All this probably sounds like routine, but the mere fact that stripping has become something of a routine is still a source of considerable satisfaction for me!

After this morning's blog post (on the subject of the manufacture of resin buildings) I had a further think about the chap I knew who had a resin scenery business, but had to close down because the chemicals damaged his lungs. Now I also remembered that for a while his business partner in this venture was another chap I used to know, one-time owner of the only decent model shop this side of Edinburgh. He was quite a character - he did some Napoleonic figure painting for me, and he was well known locally because he used to run Saturday morning workshops at his model shop for kids - to teach them about Warhammer gaming and figure painting.

It occurred to me that I hadn't seen him or heard from him for quite a while, and that he might have some ideas or contacts, so I did some searching online to see if he is still in business. Well, in fact it turns out he isn't. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015 for stabbing someone to death in an argument.


This is absolutely true, by the way. I'm more than a little shaken by this belated discovery, and I am very relieved to be able to say that I never fell out with the fellow at any time, even though I wasn't thrilled with his painting. Good grief.

Anyway, I now have a number of units in the cupboard - some British dragoons, some skirmishers of the 5/60th and a load of French cannons, which were painted by a convicted murderer. It's not as good as figures painted by Peter Gilder, but it is a potential conversation piece.


  1. Response to your post in two parts:
    1) Good advice there, as there are some figures I need to repaint and replace the dodgy paintjob they received in the 80s.
    2) Holy s**t!

    1. M le Duc - Clean Spirit will normally do the job - you need a coffee jar with a stopper or screw top. Bartoline "Clean Spirit" from local DIY store - don't get white spirit, which they'll try to sell you instead. Fill the jar about ⅔ with the soldiers and cover them with Clean Spirit. Put them on a shaded shelf and leave them as long as you like. 3 weeks is good. Fish them out carefully, scrub down with water and old toothbrush (no, not the Duchess' toothbrush), and loosen any stubborn bits with penknife. Put back in Clean Spirit soak for another 2 weeks or so - quick toothbrush scrub and they should be like new. The Clean Spirit is non-toxic, can be re-used, doesn't smell, is safe in your drains - it's absolutely no use for washing out paintbrushes (not harsh enough!), but it's great stuff. I'm now a convert. It's also cheap as anything.

      Recommendation came to me from DC of Unfashionably Shiny, who is now short-listed for a Max Foy Etoile d'Honneur, and possible canonisation.

      Ref the ex figure painter. Agreed. My exact words.

  2. Unless you've still got any figures from me you're unlikely to come up against Plastidip I should think

    1. Once experienced, never forgotten - the last lot I did were MF s-range SN1s Spanish infantry - I well recall that I had to use Nitromors (hand remover), and the Plastidip coatings were still loose in the Nitromors, like grape skins, after the paint had vanished. Extremely scary.

  3. Wild, wild stuff! And who says adults playing with toy soldiers is dull?

    Best Regards,


    1. Quite so, Stokes. Also seems like an ideal guy to run a kids' play workshop on Saturday mornings, to keep them out of trouble.

      In fact (whisper it), I always found him to be a very mild, affable type. He was not the brightest guy around - he's the one who painted a dragoon regiment for me with the wrong facing and lace colours, because he decided that KGL must be an abbreviation for King's Dragoon Guards. It was OK - I just re-did the facings myself, so I didn't get to upset him, I am pleased to recall.

      You don't suppose he could do some painting in the pokey, do you?

      No, of course not.

  4. I always thought those Warhammer types were a bit dodgy!

    1. This guy seems to have been dodgier than most. Being sensitive to the need to be carefully PC on what is obviously an extremely tragic and serious matter, and to avoid all tastelessness and controversy, I have fought hard to stop myself wondering about whether dice were rolled during the fight. My mind is carefully blank on the whole topic.

  5. Or was the incident a result of a disagreement over a dice roll.

    I am not sure I have your patience to wait 5 weeks to strip figures. I use bleach and leave for about 8 hours.

    1. Think of it more as my having started 5 weeks earlier than you. I have numerous jars, all labelled and dated, all maturing nicely - the liquid is non-toxic, the whole process is relaxed. Very like maturing ginger beer or pickling onions - the 8 hour version of pickled onions would be a bit of a spasm.

      Still, whatever rocks your boat, whatever strips the coat. Personally I have given up on bleach - I gave it more chances than Harry Kane - I find it is unpleasant and it doesn't actually work very well. Great for drains though.

      We use it all the time on our drains.