Skip to toolbar

Stripping plastic minis

Home Forums Painting in Tabletop Gaming Stripping plastic minis

Supported by (Turn Off)

This topic contains 19 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  templar007 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
  • Author
  • #1802069


    My Bretonnians – many of them the plastics from the 5th edition boxed set – are looking rather dated and bug-eyed, which means a re-paint might be in order. I’ve had no success with isopropyl alcohol – the paint doesn’t even budge after days of soaking – and I don’t want to turn them into victims of Yog-Sothoth or Papa Nurgle by immersing them in acetone.

    How do you get paint off of plastics ?


    Cult of Games Member

    I’ve used classic detol for everything and never had issues.  I may have had an old gw base get a little soft.  Always test one piece before committing a whole box of toys.  Detol variants may create problems.  I think I’ve heard something about that.  Never add water to the detol.  It’ll make a black sludge of your paint.  I will run my detolled minis under the tap when they’re ready though.



    dettol is my go to. I’ve heard good things about biostrip, but I like dettol for reuse

    depending where you are in the world finding dettol may be harder. Pinesol is I think the American version



    Personally my advice is never use dettol. It contains all sorts of chemicals to colour and change the smell of the core elements. What you end up with is a horrible brown smelling sludge on the models and it makes then stink to high heaven.

    The active chemical in dettol is isopropyl alcohol which you can buy in the uk it is typically called Decorator Mineralised Methylated Spirit which will typically be purple due to the dye to stop people drinking it.

    Leave the product soaking in the solution for 20 minutes then take it out. Scrub it with an old toothbrush or get one from poundland. This will rough up the paint and allow for the product to get into the layers of paint. Then back in for another 20 minutes. Depending on the paint / model repeat the soak then brush to remove the paint.

    Typically you just need to remove enough to respray it you dont need to remove every single last bit.

    The only problem you might have is with oil based or certain type of enamel paints and sprays they are much harder to remove.

    If the above fails a few people have been saying good things about Paint Blitzer the hobby phase recently used it. A friend used it to strip plastic models and he said it was amazing. I guess the main issue is getting hold of it.

    Finally people please stop using dettol. Luke made this great video why you should not.


    Cult of Games Member

    What you end up with is a horrible brown smelling sludge on the models and it makes then stink to high heaven.

    I’ve only stripped a few models but in all cases I’ve used Dettol. Yeah I smells a bit but I’ve never had this sludge left on my models once I’ve given them a good scrub with a toothbrush. I’ve heard if you add water to the Dettol soaked paint it can go really sticky and difficult to remove but I only use water once all of the paint is removed.
    I have noticed that for the next few days the miniature smells of Dettol but really that’s not too surprising since it’s been soaking in the stuff for a day or so, but the smell doesn’t stay and soon fades to nothing,

    Like Gerry said the same Dettol can be reused several times to strip additional miniatures, and to me it’s pretty easy in the UK to find.

    Going to check out that video anyway because I’m always open to new information. I’m just saying that so far I’ve had no problems using it.



    Depends on the paint used really. Isopropyl alcohol in a sonic bath is my preferred option and should work with most. Just be careful about excessive vibration heating it 🙂

    Brake fluid works on metals but very nasty and smelly.



    I watched some TheirTube videos on the subject, the most helpful was from Goobertown Hobbies, and I’ve tracked down a bottle of LA’s Totally Awesome at the Dollar Twentyfive store. I’m thinking my first test subject might be a Mage Knight Orc, they are quite hideous, so no big loss if it turns into plastic soup. In the interest of health and safety, the procedure will take place outside.


    Cult of Games Member

    I recommend Biostrip 20 – it’s non-toxic and can be handled with bare skin, and as it’s more of a goo than a liquid it opens up options for how you use it. Just be wary that it can take a few dips to get multiple paint layers off, but I’ve had minis come out the otherside looking better than new. It’s also a viable stripper for metal, and with care can be used on resin.



    For isopropyl, I will use 90%, not 70%. May not take off *all* the paint, but you don’t have to strip down to bare plastic, especially when painting only for tabletop play. You can even try just painting over the current paintjob. I’m in the USA, so, after 90% isopropyl, I may use Purple Power, from O’Reilly auto parts or Walmart.



    Oops, this reminds me I put some minis in dettol about 2 years ago before THE EVENT, i must go see how they are now lol.


    Cult of Games Member

    “Smelling good” according to @avernos I’d guess



    I’ve had a bunch of plastic minis (GW) in tub of normal Dettol coming up 3 years now – no issues there.


    Cult of Games Member

    +1 for Biostrip 20, been using it for years now with great success



    Update: A very ugly Mage Knight Orc has now been soaking in LA’s Totally Awesome for 4 days and the paint is not budging. On the plus side, he’s still in one piece and hasn’t turned into sludge.

    Trying 91% Isopropyl  on an Empire gunner did the same: nothing. So I decided to just scrape off as much paint as possible while removing mold lines the previous owner did not remove and just primed over the remainder.



    The paint type does also play a role, or more specifically the primer. I tend to paint up and strip models quite regularly as samples for what schemes might look like. Normally I use Vallejo or Mig Ammo primer which comes off easily with any of the mentioned means. I have found that the Army Painter spray primers don’t budge though. They are doing their job perfectly of providing a robust undercoat, but to remove it only partly is very difficult.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Supported by (Turn Off)