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Stripping paint from miniatures (plastic & metal)

The best thing I have found for stripping miniatures is Dettol. It dissolves both acrylics and primer but leaves plastic minis unharmed.
I have read about some other liquids that can be used, though I haven’t tried any of these myself:

  • Oven cleaner
  • Simple green
  • Dekorima färglösare (for Swedes)

Dettol is an antiseptic detergent I use in the tattoo studio so it’s quite handy :)
It doesn’t damage the regular GW plastic (I don’t know about resin though so no promises there) and it cleans up both paint and primer really nicely. It does kind of dissolve the Rackham pre-paint minis though, a friend of mine had a try at cleaning his and they felt a little soft and mushy afterwards.

I usually let the minis sit in a Dettol-bath for a few hours, then scrub them with a brush (holding them in the Dettol, holding them under the tap with running water will wash off the Dettol and makes the paint go all sticky), then I pour another bath of Dettol and repeat.
As the paint dissolves into the Dettol it gets sort of saturated with paint and muddy, which is why I change it to a fresh bath (I’ve got two bottles – 1 bath and 2 bath), I find that it lets me get more paint off the minis. I have been reusing my Dettol a few times, so you don’t need to buy a new bottle every time. Of course, one bath might be sufficient if there’s not a lot of paint on your mini.
After the baths I clean the mini again in soap and water.

It’s toxic for the environment (unfortunately) so don’t pour it out into the sink, and do use gloves (like dishwashing gloves, latex/nitrile and such one-use gloves aren’t made for detergents and will not hold out for very long), It’s quite strong so prolonged exposure to your hands isn’t all that good, it’ll dry out the skin. It has quite a strong smell too, you don’t want that clinging to your hands ;)
I’ve found the smell can cling to minis for a while as well, but airing them out will get rid of it.

Apparantly Dettol is very toxic to dogs(maybe other animals too?) so keep any beloved pets away from it.

~ by Ethelie on May 7, 2012 . Tagged: , , , , ,



2 Responses to “Stripping paint from miniatures (plastic & metal)”

  1.   gerrieschenck Says:

    I used oven cleaner… it works, but requires more time and work than Dettol. A bath of 48 hours is advisable, sometimes multiple baths are required. The paint doesn’t come off by itself so you need to scrub it off with a toothbrush, very dirty work.

    If you can get hold of Dettol, go for that. For metal miniatures you might also try Acetone.

    •   Ethelie Says:

      Sounds like a lot of work. Have you ever tried Dettol?

      Acetone is a lot of hassle to get rid of as well, as you have to hand it in at the recycling center (I guess you could just ignore that but I believe in being environmental-friendly :) ).

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