After completing the build portion of Meng's T-72B3 (don't get me wrong the kit itself is nice, not as accurate as Trumpeters but slightly more buildable) alongside of Trumpeters T-72 mod.2016 I started painting, laid down a coat of Tamiya's LSP (Liquid Surface Primer) and headed for the colour coats.
When I bought Meng's T-72 I also purchased their Russian Modern Vehicles Camouflage Set Vol.1 (their suggested paints for use with the kit), while Meng branded they are made by AK Interactive. I elected to go with the Tank Biathlon reddish brown/white/black "camouflage". First issue- kit instructions and paint set call for a light grey (but then again so does Trumpeters) not the white that shows in most photos and videos of the events, not an issue maybe they are wanting to tone down the contrast a little and as I said only most show white, due to atmospheric conditions it also shows as light grey (as Meng suggest) or maybe it's actually light grey more often showing as white due to light conditions. Either way the paint set supplied "light grey" is way too dark to me so I add about fifty percent white and lay down the base colour. Next up the reddish brown, the colour in the bottle is a shade or two too light but I figure it should be right as AK and Ammo paints often dry to darker shade than they spray and if needed I can add a filter to darken it a little more. I mask off the white and spray away. To use some aussie slang, Yeah nahh, that's showing way lighter than it should. OK one last benefit of doubt here, lets see what adding the black does since they way we perceive colours can be influenced by the colour next to them I mask off the "orange", err reddish brown, airbrush the black then remove all the masking. Nope, nuh uh, no way.
Options? Respray a better colour over the top or strip and restart. Apparently chose the wrong option as something the Meng plastic bonded VERY well with the Tamiya and then Meng/AK paints. Depending on paint used usually determines my approach to stripping paint. Gunze and Tamiya "Acrylics" I usually use methylated spirits but it doesn't work as well on AK and Ammo acrylics or at all on enamels. Plastic safe paint remover and caustic oven clean (Sodium Hydroxide) usually works on lacquer, enamels and acrylics without damage to plastic detail). Since I didn't want to risk damage scrubbing and using methylated spirts I picked up some Deluxe Strip Magic, since their is a risk of plastic damage with prolonged exposure I figured it should make quick work of the Meng/AK paints. Initial trial on a paint mule (old Trumpeter kit) easily removed all paints so onto the T-72, 5min soak, no effect, 10 minutes slight effect on top layer but no penetration, after liberal coating I left it for 30 minutes and still no more effect than slight removal of top layer of paint i.e. the orange the black depending on where. Since Deluxe Strip Magic needs to me removed with alcohol, it also tested the methylated spirits option to no effect. I added some of the road wheels, a drive sprocket to a zip lock bag and left for an hour and no more effect removing down to primer (these parts only had a layer of primer and a single layer of paint). Next option oven cleaner. Given a very liberal coating, sealed in zip lock bags over night (about 8hours), nothing less effect than the Deluxe Strip Magic. Last option, I had 2/3 of a bottle of VMS Clean Start sitting there (I hadn't initially used it as I didn't think it would be enough), put the turret and 4 road wheels into a zip lock bag and emptied the bottle in and came back half an hour later. After a good scrub and another 15-20 min soak and another good scrub 90percent of the paint was off along with a few small parts I could reglue*. Ok, leave it there for now and try the hull, much bigger area. Add to bag remaining VMS and soak for an hour turning regularly to make sure it's kept well coated, heavy duty scrub, breaking the headlights off both side, removed about half of the paint, another long soak and more turning scrub again after breaking off both real oil barrel mounts and a third of the paint still to clean I have given up and donated Meng's T-72B3 to the paint mule brigade, to much damage, to much paint still to remove with too much time, money and effort to do required to do it without a guarantee of a decent outcome.
Meng use a different slightly softer plastic than most other manufacturers, this became apparent when I first built Meng and Takom's Leopards side by side and was confirmed when building both T-72's. I'm guessing Tamiya LSP bonds with it slightly differently than it does the polystyrene used my most others manufacturers giving a stronger bond, ordinarily I'd say that's a good thing, unless you need to strip the model of paint for some reason...
*Previous trials on an old Trumpeter kit painted 5 years earlier, VMS took only some light rubbing with a cotton bud dipped in the bottle nearly to instantly remove original paint and primer.
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