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Article updated: 2016.08.02

Sometimes you wish to change the paint scheme of the miniature or just get rid of the previous layers of paint. There are several ways to strip paint from your miniatures.

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Before you start to stripping paint from your whole army, always test the method on a part of sprue or a single miniature, to see if there are side-effects on the miniature itself, especially if you intend to strip plastic minis.

The same stripping agent might affect different paints differently. If your usual method doesn't work on a painted miniature, try other methods until you find one that works. If you know what kind of paint that was, take a note what method worked for you and use that next time.

Stripping minis is usually done by putting the miniature into some kind of stripping fluid, then after a while brushing the paint away with a toothbrush (or any other brush with plastic bristles). If it still gets on you, wash the affected area with water, and considering the seriousness of the situation you might also need medical attention.

While working with the miniature, use protective gloves (chemical resistant gloves) to avoid damage to your hands. When you brush the miniature, use safety googles as the stripping fluid sprays easily around.

Stripping fluids

There are several agents that can be used for removing paint from your miniatures.

Acetone: It dissolves plastic. Good to remove paint from metal miniatures.

Degreasing agent: A very strong base. Always use chemical resistant gloves.

  • Tesco Cold Degreaser

Brake fluid: It contains toxic glycols, so don't consume it.

Nail polish remover: Take care of the contents. Those that contain acetone could damage plastic minis.

Nail polish remover with acetone: It is used to remove nail polish from natural nails. It's not suited for plastic, but ideal for metal miniatures.

Nail polish remover with lanolin: It is used to remove polish from artificial nails. It's good for plastic miniatures.

  • Florin Nail Polish Remover
  • Floren Nail Polish Remover
  • Coop Acetone-free Nail Polish Remover: It's probably acetone-free.

Denatured alcohol: It's an alcohol with poisonous additives. It can contain isopropyl alcohol or acetone to help remove the paint. Check the product info to see how effective will it be on paints.

Isopropyl alcohol: It is skin irritant, so use protective gloves. Flammable, so keep aways from heat and fire.

Nitro thinner: It's good for stripping metal or resin miniatures.

Alkaline based drain cleaner: They are strong bases. Most containt sodium hydroxide (NaOH). It can dissolve even human hair, so always use protective gloves and googles. The fumes are also irritants.

  • Szi-ti drain cleaner

Cleaning agents

  • Dettol Antiseptic Liquid
  • Simple Green
  • LA's Totally Awesome Cleaner
  • Purple Power
  • Super Clean

Nail polish removerimage © Super Nail

Nail polish remover

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Isopropyl alcoholimage © Swan

Isopropyl alcohol

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Dettol-Antiseptic Liquidimage © Dettol

Cleaning agent
Dettol Antiseptic Liquid, Simple Green, LA's Totally Awesome Cleaner, Purple Power, Super Clean

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I didn't try most of the methods yet, I just collected others' recommendations, so take care while trying to strip your models using these ideas.

Material: Metal

  • Use acetone or acetone-based nail-polish remover. You can bath the miniature in acetone as long as you want.
  • Use nitro thinner. You can bath the miniature in acetone as long as you want.

Material: GW hard plastic

  • Bath the mini in isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes, then scrub it.

Material: Forge World resin

  • Bath the mini in Dettol for 20 minutes, then scrub it, and then wash it. If paint remains, repeat this.
  • Bath the mini in isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes, then scrub it. If you leave it for longer than 5 minutes, thin parts may become bendy.

Stripping fluid: Simple Green

  • It takes a while (even days) to remove paint, but it doesn't damage any miniature.
  • It doesn't solve glue.

Stripping fluid: LA's Totally Awesome Cleaner

  • It can help remove superglue from models.

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Stripping parts of a miniature

Use a paintbrush / q-tip / cotton bud, dip it into the stripping fluid, and gently brush the area you wish to clean. After a few minutes, use a toothpick to get the paint off. Repeat until it comes off.

You can use masking tape or plastic wrap (cling film) to protect those parts of the miniature you don't want to strip.

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Ultrasonic Cleaner

An ultrasonic cleaner gets the job done faster.

Atom Smasher (from Tabletop Minions): What's an Ultrasonic Cleaner Good For?: Overview video explaining the use of ultrasonic cleaners for stripping miniatures and cleaning airbrush.

Ultrasonic cleanerimage © Magnasonic

Ultrasonic cleaner

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Buy hobby supplies from Element Games (UK)
Buy hobby supplies from Firestorm Games (UK)

 

* * *

Stripping paint - Resources

Stripping off acrylic paint from plastic minis

Stripping off acrylic paint with Dettol from plastic and metal minis

 

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Do you know further methods for stripping paint from miniatures? Tell us in the comments!

 

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