Confronting Taboo: Stripping Minatures

So, here you are. You’re a good person, you know it and I know it. You support your local stores and manufacturers as much as you can by buying models at retail. You didnt mean to take part in this spiral of sin but things just got out of control. Your uncle dug up some relics of your favorite table top game or you stumbled into a second hand lot for cheap on the internet somewhere and you just couldn’t help yourself. Or better yet you’ve just evolved as a painter and now that you’ve charted all your progress across the years its time to go back and touch up some of your earliest work.

You think you can love these models just like your own but then the color scheme isn’t right or that is what you say to be polite at least.

So, whats this article about? Well, stripping miniatures or whats otherwise known as removing paint is often something people approach as taboo. Either its too time consuming, its daunting to mess with the chemicals or you tried some tips before and your poor plastic models melted in their chemical filled nightmare. Im here today to give you some confidence that stripping paint off your models isn’t something outrageously difficult nor is it time consuming or dangerous.

So lets take look below. From the left we have our Druid Gone Wilder, a plastic Gorax and two Wold Guardians. Each of them is fully loaded with paint, basing material, marked arcs and who knows whats underneath.

These Models are ready to shed some layers

These Models are ready to shed some layers

Im going to show you my set up and talk about the process I use for both metal and plastic models. We will lead of with the star of the show first: Super Clean. You can buy this on Amazon and most Automotive shops. This stuff is amazing at dealing with both types of models. Next you want a plastic cup of some sort or just any container that you know wont be used by other members of your household. Grab a pair of gloves and please use them! Keeping your hands free of irritants is well worth it. Finally, you want and old tooth brush and in some cases a stainless steel brush can be helpful. Now I know what you’re saying. “ This freak wants me to scratch my model up with steel bristles!?”. Yeah, you have to toughen up and remember your models are very durable. They are soaking in strong chemicals and as long as you dont dig into them with the steel brush as hard as you can they will be fine.

The final tool in my arsenal is an Ultra Sonic Cleaner. This part of the process I view optional but I do find it saves me time and energy when it comes to taking paint of models. You can also use it to clean your jewelry and all sorts of other things.

The tools of the trade. Seriously, wear some gloves and keep the skin on your hands.

The tools of the trade. Seriously, wear some gloves and keep the skin on your hands.

So, lets begin with the a formula. I like to use anywhere from 50-75% Super Clean and 25-50% water. Put the models in your cup and make sure there is enough room to fill it and fully submerge the models inside. You want to let the models soak for at least 24 hours. Metal models are far easier to remove paint off than plastic ones while at the same time they are also able to soak in this chemical for as long as you want. I personally find 24 hours to be enough for metal miniatures and 48 hours to be my going time for plastic.

After the requisite time has passed its time to put on some gloves and safely remove your models from the mixture. If you bought yourself an ultra sonic, I like to use the screen insert it comes with to strain the models out of the liquid. I do so by putting a cup underneath the strainer and pour the minaitures and liquid through it. This lets me reuse the mixture for another batch of models but do note that I find diminishing returns from doing this over and over.

You can get your tooth brush and go straight to work now or you can utilize the Ultra Sonic to significantly decrease the bond the primer and paint have to the model you are scrubbing. Seriously, in some cases with metal miniatures I didn’t have to use my tooth brush at all.

For the Ultra Sonic put in a drop of dish soap, your models and with water to submerge as much of the model as you can.

Run this bad boy twice on this setting and watch your models shed some skin.

Run this bad boy twice on this setting and watch your models shed some skin.


“Im Meltinggggg…..Meltingggggg!……”

“Im Meltinggggg…..Meltingggggg!……”

Alright, youve gone on to live your life while the models soaked and you made yourself some breakfast waiting for the Ultra Sonic to complete its cycles. Still think stripping paint off models is difficult?

Get your gloves back on and brush off the paint which should come off with ease or occasionally if it was applied real thick will become of film you can just peel off. Lets take a look at our beauties below:

Okay, so youll notice the metal miniatures look brand spanking new. The plastic Gorax isnt perfect, we arent blind!

Okay, so youll notice the metal miniatures look brand spanking new. The plastic Gorax isnt perfect, we arent blind!

Here are two Warpwolves I stripped at the same time. Looks like the battlebox plastic wants to hold onto the primer in some areas.

Here are two Warpwolves I stripped at the same time. Looks like the battlebox plastic wants to hold onto the primer in some areas.

So, what do you think? The perfectionist is me is bothered that the plastic models barring my Stalker arent perfectly free of their old owners coat of primer. Well, I want to show you that it doesnt matter. What matters is the paint is gone and you got off everything you could. Get rid of any old glue that you can, especially on the metal models, clean up whatever mold lines might need tending and get some primer. Its time to really give these models some new life!

After a quick zenithal priming session this is the same Feral Warpwolf from above.

After a quick zenithal priming session this is the same Feral Warpwolf from above.

Thanks for the reading what is my first article on Line of Sight! I hope that after this you’ll entertain your inner gambler and restore some used lots off the internet, spruce up some paint jobs you may now be embarrassed of or just save yourself a some hard earned money while trying to keep up with your purchases. These hobbies are expensive and often hard to start. Whether you’re a new player thinking about getting into a game with a good deal on someones old army or a veteran bolstering your forces I hope that this article helps you attain those goals. I personally love the feeling of restoring a beautifully sculpted model and panting it to perfection.

Here is a Bronzeback that I stripped and painted to my liking. Can you even tell?

Here is a Bronzeback that I stripped and painted to my liking. Can you even tell?