A comprehensive guide to safely stripping miniatures.
A tale as old as time.
People have been trying to strip the paint off their miniatures since this hobby started. For good reason too ha ha. There weren’t so many guides floating around back when people were trying anything toxic under the kitchen sink and in the garage to get that thick candle wax looking paint job off their new miniatures. A lot of the time, it would result in completely ruining the details on their miniature or just turning into a deformed spawn of Nurgle all together. With this guide though, I hope to bring a little bit of hope your way if you may not be so happy with some paint jobs on your minis.
Things to stay away from.
Surprisingly enough, I have seen some people use some pretty crazy things to strip paint off of their delicate and expensive miniatures. Before we get to talking about what to use, let’s take a look at a couple of things that are probably a pretty good idea not to use.
So I’ll try to keep this short as most of you want to know what to use, but I feel like it’s worth mentioning just in case any readers happen upon a moment where a friend of theirs is contemplating using one of these methods.
So for the sake of it being short, you really want to try and stay away from using things like brake cleaner or acetone. These chemicals are corrosive and toxic. And while sure, they may strip off the paint, they won’t always stop there. Stripping anything not metal with these toxic methods will ensure a botched job. Even the metal minis can suffer from damages. Besides how much more difficult will it be trying to responsibly dispose of the toxic material. And pouring it down your drain is not exactly responsible lol. So if you are like me and you want to take as little chances as possible and still want to achieve the goal then it will be best to skip anything that is toxic and corrosive.
So what do I use then?
Liquid gold, that’s what. Well… not literally but Simple Green might as well be! Not only is it non-toxic, but it’s biodegradable too! This matters a lot for me because anytime I am not using my airbrush it is disassembled in a sealed Tupperware container filled with Simple Green. Why is that? For the same purpose of this article! To get all that paint out from the nooks and cranny’s. So if you think about how effective that is for a second, it will make perfect sense as to why this is my go-to for stripping paint!
So how do we do it?
For this I am going to take you through a step by step process to efficiently strip your minis!
1. This step will depends on exactly how many miniatures you are wanting to strip. I would recommend finding the widest container you can for your project. So let’s say you had 20 Orks that you wanted to strip. You want to find a container that is wide enough that you could set all 20 Orks at the bottom of the container without having to stack any on top of each other or have any bases lapsing over one another.
2. Get a hold of some Simple Green concentrate, if you can’t find it in a local store or don’t live in a country where it is sold at all, then you should easily be able purchase some online, and it is very cheap. Normal Simple Green will work, but not as fast.
3. Pour about a 1:20 (water:Simple Green) mixture into the container only stopping when the liquid rises about an inch above the miniatures that are now submerged in the Simple Green.
4. Ideally you should let this sit for two days, but dependent upon how much paint is on them you could potentially just leave them over night and be able to move on to the next step after you wake up or return home from work. However, I would still recommend letting them sit for a good while before you begin just to be safe. (but that’s just my preference)
5. Okay so this step can be or may need to be done multiple times (though not usually) throughout the process. Again this really comes down to how thick the paint is on the miniature, also if there is a varnish, that will definitely increase the soak time necessary to obtain the stripped miniature. I digress though, you want to take an old (cleaned) toothbrush and start taking the miniatures one at a time in your hand and just mildly scrub them. You are going to get a good idea of where you are at in the first few seconds of scrubbing as the paint will generally fall off even from the motion of taking it out of the Simple Green. If it isn’t all coming off yet, that’s okay! This is a game of patience, and an impatient person will probably just sell their minis for super cheap on Ebay and go buy some new ones.(Which is a huge loss of money invested.) So just keep with this process until the majority is off.
6. So for this step if you still have some paint stuck in details and harder to reach areas then I would recommend dumping your water and Simple Green mixture and filling it back up in the same way you did originally. Sometimes during this step if the paint is clogged in your details really bad still, you can just go straight Simple Green concentrate and let them soak for another day before brushing them down again. Also note that you can keep using the same Simple Green for a long time but it will lose its effectiveness the more paint that it becomes saturated with
Some people will just use a giant pickle jar and cram their miniatures down in there. However being that I am running a business, I want to make sure that as much care as possible is being used throughout any part of any process I do with any miniatures. And the good news about Simple Green as mentioned previously is that you can dump it down your sink drain no problem. Just make sure to rinse out any paint residue as that may just decide to stay there if left alone.
Thanks for checking out the guide, and we hope this has helped in your paint stripping endeavors! If you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact us!