For those of us who have been building plastic model aircraft for a long time, the obvious question is, “What do I do with the older models I built in the past before I reached by current skill level?” The usual answer is, “Throw them out or maybe give them to the kids”.
One major factor is the condition of the kit. In years past, we didn’t have the excellent glues and solvents that we have today, so kits were relatively easy to break apart. If we had used Tenax or Microweld then, it would be virtually impossible to break a kit apart without doing some very serious damage. But with the old tube glues, breakdown is relatively simple.
Another factor is the paint. I’ve always used enamels, and enamels, even when airbrushed on, can be removed provided the proper method is used. Fortunately, years ago, I heard from some local IPMS’ers that standard automotive brake fluid was an excellent emulsifier, and that it would remove paint from styrene plastic without hurting the plastic itself. I tried it with mixed results, and the idea languished for a long time. A few weeks ago, however, I decided to try it again, and see what I could do. I had an old bottle of brake fluid in my workshop that I had bought at a yard sale for fifty cents, so I figured that I would see how the system worked. I don’t know how this would work on lacquers or acrylics, as I’ve never used these.