Paint Stripping With Alcohol

by Bob Ward

A while back I bought two used Fly Lola T70s on eBay.  The two bodies had multiple coats of paint on them that had to be at least a scale inch thick, so my first task in refurbishing them was to strip them back down to bare plastic, or as close to it as possible.  Paint stripping has been covered many times on various slot car web sites, but as long as I was going to do it anyway I decided to describe the process on the VLH site for the benefit of readers who may not have seen it elsewhere.


I went to the local home improvement bigbox and bought a can of denatured alcohol, which can be found in the paint department.  Then I went across the parking lot to Wal Mart and looked through the housewares department for a Tupperware-type container just big enough to hold a slot car body.  The container has a tight-fitting lid, which keeps alcohol fumes contained.  It cost about $2.00.  I placed a body in the container, poured in enough alcohol to cover it, and snapped the lid in place.  After 24 hours the paint was ready to peel off the body.  It all came off quite easily except for parts of the initial primer coat, which didn’t seem to be as strongly affected by the alcohol.  Another overnight soaking seemed not to make much difference so I washed the body off and wet-sanded away the rest of the primer with 400-grit sandpaper.  I repeated the procedure with the other body and the result is as seen below, two bodies ready for repainting.


The alcohol can be reused after filtering it through a piece of cloth placed in the funnel to remove any paint flakes when it is poured back into the can.  The alcohol is somewhat discolored by dissolved paint, but is still perfectly usable for more paint stripping.  It takes off the paint and does not harm either the body itself or the container.

Copyright 2014, Robert M. Ward.  All rights reserved.

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