Having read around this site and a few others about various techniques for stripping miniatures, I thought I would have a go, since I had a load of old space wolves to strip.
I decided to try using dettol (Although I have no definitive list, it is available in a number of countries other than the UK) it has been mentioned a few times as safe with plastic, but no where had a guide so I experimented!
As an aside, I did a test using cheap un-branded disinfectant and it was useless.
Ok so here goes!
You will need:
- Dettol The brown bottle (A small bottle will do as it has to be diluted, it costs a couple of quid max, though most adults over the age of 30 odd will own a bottle as it was the disinfectant/sore throat gargle juice of choice a few decades ago)
- Cocktail sticks (toothpicks in the US?)
- Some hot water (not so hot you wouldn't hold your hand in it)
- Washing up liquid (fairy, etc)
- Kitchen towel (for drying things and cleaning up spills)
- A small sieve (or some tongs) to make life easier...
- Oh, and a few minutes here and there to do each stage...
Break the miniatures down as much as possible, without harming the models obviously. The paint will strip better if the arms and weapons, etc, are separate.
Mix some dettol and water in a jam jar, enough to completely cover whatever models and bits you are putting in to it, (I used roughly 4:1/5:1 water to dettol). The dettol mixture will look exactly like milk. DON'T DRINK IT
It tastes horrid!
The reason I diluted it is that is how it is supposed to be used, as with most disinfectants, and I didn't fancy the risk of burning the plastic bits, plus it uses less dettol. Apparantly it is safe with metal and plastic undiluted, however this obviously uses more Dettol.
Put the models and bits in to the dettol, without splashing too much preferably, and screw the lid on the jam jar/s, (dettol will make your room smell like a hospital if you don't use lids).
The fun bit
Take your jam jars to the kitchen/utility room sink (if you aren't messy the only evidence of your passing will be a faint smell of disinfectant, hardly a bug bear for a house-proud spouse/parent
Part fill the bucket with hot water (remember, not too hot) and add a little washing up liquid (I could tell you why scientifically, but all you need to know is it stops the paint being so sticky).
Fish the models and bits out of the jam jars; I used the sieve and poured the dettol and models through it over another jam jar (the dettol can be re-used
). Put all the models and bits in to the soapy water. This will help to loosen the paint a little, reduce the stickiness and stop you smelling quite so...clean!
As you pick each model or bit out of the bucket rub it between your fingers to remove the majority of the paint, and then use the cocktail stick to work the loose paint out of the recesses of the models. If you have left the models in the dettol long enough, and/or the original paint wasn't too thick, most of the paint should just fall off in your fingers. The paint that has been loosened by the dettol will be sticky and pliable, if you meet any rock hard paint then leave it for round two.
the cocktail stick is good because it is cheap, it breaks before your model does, and even with plastic it shouldn't leave scratches (assuming you aren't too rough)
Ok, so if like me you have a few little bits of paint left on your models, then just pop them back in the dettol and repeat the whole process.
Remember to thoroughly rinse your models before repainting!
The dettol mixture is re-usable, however not indefinitely. After 3 goes mine lost its opaque, milkiness and went a translucent brown. Time for a new batch me thinks! This wont damage your models, just means the active ingredient isn't quite so active any more!
Although perhaps not as straight forward as brake fluid or other methods, the result is the same. My models had about 24 hours in the dettol and needed another quick go afterwards to get the last fragments of paint, but then they were painted by a ham-fisted two year old with a 4 inch brush...(or so it appears
The benefits of this approach are the relative safety of dettol (you can gargle with it
), and the fact it is totally safe with plastic having been designed to clean kitchens and people. I say totally safe... perhaps I should say it didn't even slightly discolour my plastic bits
This guide was originally posted here
, and a number of members added extra info, the two most useful points are below.
Many thanks to Humakt
for discovering that the above technique is safe with resin models, and Drachaos
for adding that it is safe to use undiluted with plastic and metal. Personally I prefer diluted as I am in no rush and have limited Dettol