View Full Version : Best way to remove paint from a model

08-22-2009, 12:38 PM
I have some tau fire warriors I built a few years ago and sense then my painting ability has improved. I want to repaint them but I'm worried about losing some of the smaller details on the models. Is there an effective method for removing old paint with out destroying the model?

08-22-2009, 01:47 PM
Brake Fluid is what works best for me and plastic minis.... just don't try it on resin.


08-22-2009, 03:07 PM
Cool. I'll have to give it a try.

08-22-2009, 03:30 PM
I heard Nail Polish remover works good

The Girl
08-22-2009, 03:36 PM
If you want to strip the entire model, soak it in Simple Green (http://www.simplegreen.com/).

08-22-2009, 04:08 PM
If you want to strip the entire model, soak it in Simple Green (http://www.simplegreen.com/).

This is what i use, i have done brake fluid in the past but the smell and clean up isn't worth it in my mind... and i hate the feeling it leaves on my skin...

08-22-2009, 04:12 PM
If you want to strip the entire model, soak it in Simple Green.

Which Simple Green?

Over here in the land of Oz one of our hardware chains sells so many different cleaners with the Simple Green logo.

08-22-2009, 06:34 PM
the regular simple green works well and makes your models smell great!

08-22-2009, 07:27 PM
So far in my quest for a paint scheme, I have painted the same cadian squad around 8 times? Ive actually lost count... Anyway, each time I decide I cannot make up my mind I use Simple Green to de-paint my mini's. And after 8 or so times through the green bath of death there is absolutely no loss of detail. Let your model sit in an undiluted bath of the stuff overnight, in the morning run the container under a stream of hot water from your sink/tub (the motion of the water does 90% of the work for you) then follow up with a very soft toothbrush to remove any stubborn paint from recessed areas.

In conclusion....
Simple Green....its like a reset button for models.

08-22-2009, 07:39 PM
If you want to strip the entire model, soak it in Simple Green (http://www.simplegreen.com/).


its cheap and works extremely well.

08-22-2009, 11:35 PM
This is totally the best way to remove paint, even layers upon layers of the stuff.
get yourself some simple green, buy it from a janitor warehouse, buy a fish pond pump for circulation and a bucket.

dump your minis in the bucket full of green stuff, hook the pump on the inside of the bucket and plug it in for a couple of days.

the water pump will circulate the greenstuff constantly peeling away the paint in never ending tides of cleanliness.

I used this to clean up some ebay'd orks, about 30 of them in 3 days, spotless.

I'm not lazy just energy conservative :)

Prof. Tesseract
08-23-2009, 01:05 AM
Pardon redundancy, i thought id share my specific method. If you follow these steps, your model will look like it came out of the box every time.

What I use:
-Simple Green Max (sold at Automotive store, billed as a car cleaning product, it is a higher concentration than standard issue SG)
-A sonic jewelry cleaner (its a little box that has a reservoir for holding fluid and jewelry(models); you plug it in and it vibrates. You can get them at wal-mart or the like for around/under 20 bucks)
-A vibrating toothbrush (the kind with a battery in it-ive done it with regular toothbrush as well, but this cuts down on finger cramps from brushing)
-Dental floss Pick (the little white ones with the floss attached on one end and a sharp point on the other end. A bag of these is around 2-3 bucks at any drugstore, right near the toothbrush previously listed).

What I do:
-Pour the simple green max into the little cup that goes inside the jewelry cleaning machine. Leave room for models, because youre putting them in now too. Plug it in in an out of the way location.
-Allow it to sit for 48 to 72 hours (about 12 to 24 to loosen paint, the longer you let it sit the less work you will need to do later. After 3 days the difference becomes nominal).
-After the long soak in the sonic jewelry cleaner, remove the models and place them in a bowl of warm tap water (you can save the simple green and reuse the same batch later. It will darken after use but it will be good forever. Ive never changed out the simple green in my cleaner once). Leave the models in the warm water for about 30 minutes.
-Take the models out, and use the toothbrush to gently scrub away the paint. If youve followed instructions, the paint will come off easily without having to scrub too hard (which you want to avoid doing anyhow).
-You will inevitably get some stubborn paint stuck in some of the finer crevices of the model. Use a dental pick to remove these bits (both the pointy end and the floss portion are useful depending on the situation).
-When complete, place the models on a cloth or papertowel and let them air dry before painting/gluing again.

What to keep in mind:
-Be very gentle when scrubbing the models. While still wet, the models will feel a bit softer than usual, this will go away once they dry.
-Anything that eats paint will also eat glue. Dont be alarmed if you need to reglue an arm or bit here and there.
-When rinsing, use a sink that has a drain catch in it (like in the kitchen). If any bits do come loose during rinse/scrub, you will most likely lose them down the drain otherwise.
-Simple Green is non-toxic (unlike brake fluid or oven cleaner). While you dont need gloves per-se, it will make your fingers slippery. I use gloves. Also, since its non-toxic, Simple green is legal and safe to pour down your drain (again, unlike brake fluid).

Like i mentioned before, this method leaves my previously painted models looking like the day they came off the sprue, and works equally well for both plastic and metal miniatures. If my process seems like it takes a little longer, its because its worth it. Thanks for reading and have fun painting (again). ;)

08-23-2009, 08:35 AM
oh snap, you took it to an whole new level....nice job, but how much is a sonic cleaner, and what's a toothbrush?

Súil Dubh
08-23-2009, 05:55 PM
I heard Nail Polish remover works good

A couple of years ago, in desperation, I tried nail polish remover. It worked well with metal miniatures, although I still had to do a lot of scrubbing. Unfortunately it didn't work so well on plastic. It removed the paint, but it also melted the figures.

Since then I've used PineSol on plastic. A four to five hour soak is usually enough. I'd like to try Simple Green but they don't sell it where I live.

I've also used Mr. Paint Remover (http://www.mr-hobby.com/itemlist/pg27.html) from the Mr. Hobby line of modelling products. Mr. Paint Remover works like a charm, and doesn't hurt plastic, but it only comes in small 40ml bottles, so you can't really soak a figure in it - you have to brush it on instead.

Recently I was running out of PineSol, so I decided to soak my last bunch of figures in a 50/50 PineSol and water mix. I left them in overnight, hoping that more time would make up for the diluted strength. This time, the paint and plastic seemed to melt together - everything turned into a horrible sticky residue that was impossible to get off the figures, the toothbrush I was using, and my fingers. Four noble Astartes lost their corporeal forms in that tragic incident.

08-23-2009, 06:09 PM
I wrote a feature for Brushthralls about this: http://blog.brushthralls.com/?page_id=4093


08-26-2009, 09:39 AM
If you live in england an excellent alternative to Brake Fluid is Fairy Power Spray, its really effective, comes in a convenient spray bottle and immolates paint, doesnt do any damage to models :)

For metals, i throw em in Cellulose Thinners (Xylene) - Normally strips a model in an hour flat.