No sooner had I put the finishing touches on my Ultramarine did I dump him in the "bath" (i.e., a tupperware container filled with the cleaning fluid Simple Green) and strip him of all of his paint. I always knew I would be bored painting an entire army of Ultramarines, so after doing some research into the various Space Marine chapters, I settled on the Blood Ravens as the chapter I'd paint for 2 main reasons: 1) I haven't used red much in the models I've painted up til now, so I wanted to practice working with red, and 2) due to their inclusion in the Dawn of War RTS games, the Blood Ravens have a good amount of fluff and background information to work with.
The Simple Green bath worked like a charm. It's been my stripping technique of choice since I started this hobby. Simple Green is a non-toxic cleaner, so the dangers from fumes and exposure to skin are minimal. (I still wouldn't drink the stuff or inhale it in a non-ventilated room, though!) For metal models, I've kept them in the bath for 24-36 hours without any damage (aside from some darkening of the resin which can be easily scrubbed off with warm water and a toothbrush). The Ultramarine was my first attempt at stripping a plastic model with Simple Green, and I was a little worried that the cleaning agent would melt it so I only kept it in for about 4-6 hours. Well, I'm happy to report that there were no visible signs of plastic damage and the paint scrubbed off cleanly after such a short immersion.
As for the paintjob on the model itself, I'm pretty happy with it. Again, the neat basecoating, the shading with Citadel washes, the clean lines and sharp features are becoming more and more common place in my miniature figure painting. I'm slowly building enough confidence in my abilities to start experimenting with the more advanced techniques. At this point, I think I'm consistently putting out table-top quality paintjobs, and considering I've only been painting seriously for less than half a year, I think my progress has been acceptable.
One more thing - I'm still debating whether to use a water-slide transfer to apply the chapter symbol onto this Blood Raven's left shoulder pad or to attempt free-handing the symbol.
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