I have had the most success in stripping the factory applied paint from models by using Easy-Off oven cleaner.
I always ensure that I apply it in a well ventilated area and use a rubber glove to protect my hand that holds the model. Very simply, I apply the Easy-Off as per instructions (meaning I shake the bottle well) and apply it very liberally. In the picture above, we see the plastic container where the well-soaked body shell (a Stewart model) rests. I leave it like this for about 3/4 of an hour. Then, with my glove on because this stuff isn’t that pleasant to get on one’s fingers, I scrub the paint with a toothbrush while running under warm water. The picture below shows the result.
I would say about 90% of the paint was removed. I then applied the Easy-Off again for another 3/4 of a hour; the picture below shows that practically all of the paint is removed.
There is some paint in places, but nothing much to worry about. I always scuff any smooth surfaces on the model with 600 grit paper in prep for painting anyway. This gives a surface that allows the airbrush-applied paint to bite into. When I am satisfied with the effect of the paint removal, I then wash the models with dish wash soap (also scrubbing with the toothbrush). The black bodies in the lead photo were originally in Great Northern Empire Builder scheme.
What the….are those FT’s???? But Fillmore is set in June of 1942! Doesn’t he know that the New York Central System did not get their FT’s (Class DFA-1a & DFB-1a) until exactly two years later?