Brent: Project Sororitas Pt. I – Stripping Sisters & More

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I’ve mentioned several times here on the Bell front page that I’m working on a Sisters of Battle Adepta Sororitas army but thus far it’s all been talk.

After giving it a good think, I realized if the goal was to complete the army before writing about it,  then I’d finally get around to it somewhere in 2015.  With that in mind, I’m going to begin a series of articles on the subject of developing a new army.  (My way, anyway.)  Hopefully you fine folks will give share your tips, tricks, and ideas along the way.

To begin with is something special…

…the every glamorous job of stripping and cleaning models!

A Spam Interlude

I wanted something special for the new tournament season.  Here’s hoping there are some of you out there who can appreciate just how much I love my Spam lunchbox, filled as it is with Psychic Power Cards, measuring tapes, dice, an Empty Digital Headache dice mug, and – of course – a Spam tin for counters.

In a very real way, I’ve already won.

End Spam Interlude

So, how much do you love the tedious work of prepping models?

I detest it.  I’ve gotten to the point in my hobby where paying someone to clean and put together models for me is money well spent.  My entire Dark Eldar army is an exercise in laziness; I purchased the bulk from a friend who was selling out, and he’d already put together the vehicles.  I paid a local to put together the plastic models of the range, including all the drivers, gunners, and general hangers-on.  Suffice it to say, I treasure that army.

After all, there are no bad memories associated with it!

The same can’t be said with the Adepta Sororitas.  The range is metal and has been out for a long time.  Up until recently you could buy them from Games Workshop (they got rid of all their metals, yes?) but the price was stupid-expensive.  The only real cost effective way of obtaining a collection is 2nd hand.

In the case of the Sisters, I happen to know most of the models in my collection were 3rd, 4th, and 5th hand.  Meaning there was no shortcuts – the only real way to reach my goal of a well-painted Adepta Sororitas army was to put in the elbow grease and individually strip, scrub, file, and prep each model to prepare it for spray paint.

The basics of stripping paint is pretty simple.  I use glass jars and Purple Power.  The other product that’s well known is Simple Green, which I’ve never tested.  Fill up your jar, top off with Purple Power, drain, clean, repeat as necessary.

I’m sure most of you have your systems; please feel free to fill in the blanks.  I have some nifty tools and it still seems like pulling teeth to take on this chore!

I have a friend that will let the jar sit overnight, but I usually try to wait at least a few days in the hope that the mixture is doing the hard work for me.  I have an old, junky metal colander that I use to filter the mess, usually right into the toilet!  Depending on the condition of the models, you’ll have various metal or plastic bits covered in dissolving paint and swimming in a cleaning agent that hopefully is flecked with paint.  If you’ve waited too long to change the solution, you may have a sludgy mess at the bottom.

Generally speaking, I’ll usually filter once, rinse the models in hot water in the sink – but again, through a colander! – before finally putting them in a solution again.  The picture you see above has models that have been through the process twice, so at this point there isn’t much residue to clog up the sink.

If the paint is stripping well, you can scrub the model down with an old toothbrush, though you see above I’ve graduated to a Power Scrub to do the work for me.  If the models were properly primed and painted, they’ll strip fairly easily, such as the picture below.

If they don’t, back in the dip!

The ones I cleaned today had gone through the Purple Power Process of Stripping +2… er, they hung out in the cleaning solution and were rinsed twice.  At this point, you get to see what happens if the model wasn’t primed and painted properly the first time!

The one on the left is a chalky white blob.  In my experience, this is usually from using a white gloss spray, or maybe using a priming spray over an old paint job.  The model on the right is tougher – I think it was originally sprayed with an enamel.

Either way, I’ve already used the Power Scrubber twice and they haven’t noticeably improved.  I put them back in the bottle for a 3rd rinse.  Next time, I’ll use a tooth brush.  The Power Scrubber tool is nice but doesn’t replace elbow grease and an old toothbrush for really tough to clean models.

Unfortunately, many times a toothbrush isn’t the last tool you’ll use.  Models may still have a residue of super glue in the joints, not to mention paint still sticking in the crevasses of a model.  A good file works great for metal models.  My favorite tool for glue is a razor with the edge snapped off – which happens to them all, eventually.  It can be used to scrape out the glue lingering in arm joins or backpacks which, after being in the dip, is kind of a crusty mess.

My absolute favorite hobby tool of all time, with the possible exception of a brush, is a battery powered rotary tool!  I have a file in mine which can scrape mold lines or dig paint out of old metal models.  The rotations per minute are high enough to be effective but low enough that it won’t ruin a model, be it metal or plastic.

I don’t work in that other material, which shall remain nameless.

The picture above is the solution after a bit of settling.  I filled up the jar a few inches above the models.  I screwed the lid on tight, and every so often I’ll turn the jar on its side and rotate it back and forth, letting the metal-on-metal break up some of the paint.  That’s handy and all, but the real reason I use a good jar is I’m careful.  I don’t want a powerful cleaning agent leaking or mixing with other chemicals.  Maybe it sounds paranoid, but better that than a problem.

With that in mind, don’t mix chemicals unless you know what you’re doing.  If there’s a question about it, it means you don’t know what you’re doing so don’t mix chemicals!

A few other things to mention.

1)  Even after you clean it a model may be discolored, or it may have paint that just isn’t displacing.  That’s not a big deal.  It doesn’t have to be perfect; a primer, applied properly, is very forgiving.

2)  I did this project myself rather than try to farm it off to my sub-contractor.  He does a great job cleaning new models, but stripping models for reuse is another animal entirely.  We all know that we’re willing to work harder for ourselves than we are for others, so this is a chore I couldn’t pass off.

3)  If I received a 2nd hand model that’s primed and cleaned, I’ll go ahead and set it aside to prime over again.  I will, however, give it a good scrubbing with a brush, just to remove any rough particles, dust, or debris that may be on it.

4)  Lastly, take the time to file off mold lines and clip off those irritating bits of metal!  If you’re going to the trouble to give yourself the best possible product, the last thing you want is mold lines showing through your paint.

* * * 

This isn’t germane to the article, but I’m currently building to a ‘Core 1250’ that includes:

Jacobus
Priest
Priest
Priest
Min Sisters Melta and Multi-Melta in an Immolator w TL Melta
Min Sisters Flamer and Hvy Flamer in a Rhino
Min Sisters Flamer and Hvy Flamer in a Rhino
Min Sisters Flamer and Hvy Flamer in a Rhino
Min Dominion w 4 Meltas in an Immolator w TL Hvy Flamer
Min Dominion w 4 Meltas in an Immolator w TL Hvy Flamer
Exorcist
Exorcist

I believe this is a solid, balanced core.  The priests can be separated throughout the units to provide Fearless and a solid melee support unit or grouped together with a Sisters Squad in a Rhino to form a solid rock or tar pit, depending on the enemy.  One Hymn of Battle is useful, but when the Barbershop Quartet gets to hummin’ bad things happen!

I’m keen to try out a maxed out unit of Sisters with Flamer, Heavy Flamer, and a Superior with a Combi-Flamer with Jacobus for support.

Not to mention, I have several nasty ideas for Inquisitorial Allies when it is finally time to take the girls to a competitive tournament event!  But that’s for the future.

* * * 

So that’s it for today’s Terrible Tuesday article; the floor is yours!

As always, thoughts?  Comments?  Any Sisters of Battle Adepta Sororitas hugs and gropings?

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