Stripping Models: Salvaging badly painted miniatures & mistakes

Right take your mind out the gutter… not THAT kind of stripping. So we’ve all made that mistake painting and ruined a favorite miniature. Or decided to change the colour scheme slightly – just look at my Iron Hands, I’ve stripped and repainted them 3 times now I believe. We’ve also written about buying from ebay (here and here), where you can pick up models for a fraction of their cost, especially if you can look past some shocking paint jobs.So whatever the reason, you have some models covered in paint. And you want this paint off… (like in that film…). How do you go about it? Well truth be told there are a number of ways, each with their own pros and cons.

Paint Stripper: Unsurprisingly DIY paint stripper is very good at… you guess it – stripping paint! All you need to do is stick the offending models in a glass jar (don’t use plastic!) and pour this stuff over – leave for 20 mins or so then remove and rince. Careful though – this stuff is pretty powerful and will cause some skin irritation if you leave it. This will absolutely remove all paint from a model, which is great… for metal models. For plastic models however, they won’t survive. Any plastic or resin you put in this stuff will turn to mush – this stuff melts through plastic, which is why it’s important to use a glass jar and NOT PLASTIC!

This stuff isn’t the cheapest, but if it’s a metal model nothing else will get this job done better. My preferred option is: Nitromor New All Purpose Paint & Varnish Remover 375ml NIT1390044

Brake Fluid: This is the option I tend to use most often. It works on everything, although on occasion I’ve had it turn Forge World resin ‘rubbery’ (incidentally this seemed to return to normal after some time – but best not to risk it). The other big plus for me is that you can reuse it. I keep a big old jam jar full of it and whenever I need something stripping I’ll just drop it in and leave it for a day or so. Once you remove the models run them under the tap and apply a bit encouragement with an old tooth brush and off comes the paint.

I’ve found this stuff can stain plastic the colour of whatever the paint used on it was, but the paint itself comes off. Happy days.

Slightly cheaper, especially because you can reuse it. I tend to use this brand – but I just pick up whatever is cheapest at the time. Carlube Brake Fluid 300ml Dot4, car accessories

Fairy Power Spray:  This is a new one on me, and it seems the best of the bunch. The only downside is that it’s one use unlike the break fluid. Otherwise, its the same drill as the Brake Fluid, in the pot for a bit and then toothbrush to perfection. This seems a little stronger than the Brake Fluid, and sometime a liberal spraying will work in place of completely submerging the model.

Slightly expensive but probably the cleanest – it is a cleaner after all:
Fairy Power Spray 375g



So there it is a brief round up of stripping in all its (miniature related) guises. If you have any tips of your own feel free to add it into the comments

Featured Image from – spikyspaintingblog


By day a mild mannered Web Designer from Swindon, by night a horder and shaper of bits in his mad kit bash laboratory.

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