Painting [Stripping Paints]

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Painting [Stripping Paints]

Post#1 » Nov 24 2007 01:04

Stripping Paints
Compiled by Shas'El Tael

The following information was gathered from members of Advanced Tau Tactica. We do not condone any particular method, suffice to say we recommend the technique you feel the safest with and as in any hobby, due care and caution when dealing with any chemicals.

That said, enjoy the unique methods our members use in removing ill-fated paintwork.


Member Name: Perkin

Product name: Potassiumhydroxid/Isopropanol bath

can be reused almost indefinitely
can (with enough time) also remove the basecoat spray
minimal dangerous fumes
does not harm either plastic or metal miniatures

strong corrosive can harm your skin and especially your eyes
--> protective gear (gloves, pincers, glasses, etc needed)

Where to Buy:
best via a chemical supply store


Member Name: counterwavetothefuture

Product name: All-Purpose Mr. Clean:
Cheap and easily accessible. Just soak the minature(s) for 3-4 days and peel the paint off with tweezers. You'll know the paint is ready to come off when it takes on a slimy appearance.

Here is the link, though I'm not so sure if it's necessary. Most people are familiar with Mr. Clean.

Can be purchased at any local grocery/convenience store.


Member Name: Mnemonic

Product Names and comments:

Alcohol (Ethanol) is a decent paint stripper that can be used on both plastic and metal miniatures. It doesn't damage the plastic used in making GW figures - I've personally left a squad of terminators in a jar of organic ethanol for over a year, and observed no degradation at all in the quality of the model. Most acrylic paint can be removed through alcohol and scrubbing with a toothbrush or other stiff-bristled brush, although reformed plastic toothbrushes will degrade from exposure to alcohol. Some colours - particularly red and blue - will often leave a stain on the plastic models, but this is not thick enough to be felt with a fingernail, to obscure detail or to be visible through a new spray undercoat. Ethanol does have trouble removing paint from polystyrene cement.

Gloves should be worn when using ethanol or any other paint stripping agent, and it's best to work in a well-ventilated area. You should make sure that the only ethanol exposed to the air is the small quantity you're working with, as it is flammable - do not leave a jar of ethanol open for any length of time, and do not expose to sparks/flames. Given that people have a particular tendency to be stupid where "alcohol" is concerned, it's very important that nobody is stupid enough to try drinking it. The LD50 for ethanol is a lot lower than most people suspect. As with any industrial solvent, anyone using it for paint stripping needs to make sure that they read up on the hazards involved with using and storing ethanol and make sure that they observe them.

Ethanol is commonly available commercially in four forms:

Industrial Denaturated Alcohol. This is 95% ethanol and 5% methanol (naptha), available at various concentrations. If the solution is less than 100%, the ethanol/methanol mix is being mixed with diluted water. It is available to the general public in the UK; you are allowed a maximum of 20 litres per year for use in any specialised hobby or pastime. You do need a licence to use IDA in the UK, which can be obtained free from HMC&E. In this case, it would be covered by Section 17, Number 8.

HMC&E website on denaturated alcohols:

Organic Ethanol: This is not available for supply to the general public.

Absolute Ethanol. This is available to the general public. You are required to pay HM Customs and Excise Duty, which is currently £19.56 per litre plus VAT, or it is available with a licence from HMC&E to receive Duty Free Ethanol.

Completely Denatured Alchol (CDA): formerly known as mineralised methylated spirits. This is the most heavily denaturated alcohol, and the standard formulation in the UK is 90% ethanol, 9.5% wood naptha and 0.5% pyridine. I believe you are free to purchase and use as much of this as you want without a licence.

Metal Miniatures only

There are any number of paint strippers available in shops that'll strip metal miniatures in a flash. Personally, I prefer to use lab quality acetone - unlike a lot of commercial paint strippers, there's no risk of chemical burns to yourself, and it can be safely disposed of by washing down the sink with plenty of water. It will strip acrylic paint off pewter figures very quickly and with the minimum of scrubbing - but it will also dissolve a range of expanded plastics, so it's worth picking up something like a shoe-polishing brush fashioned from wood and natural fibre to scrub the figures with. One of the big advantages to using acetone is that it's available from chemical supply companies at a significantly cheaper price than most paintstrippers, litre for litre.

Where to Buy

Mistral Pure chemicals ( ) sell various solvents online for reasonable prices and in reasonable quantities. They also trade on eBay.

Joseph Mills (Denaturants) Limited ( ) will supply IDA and absolute ethanol, but the minimum order quantity is 20 litres. Believe me when I say that's a lot!


Member Name: ellesar04

First off, I've been reading this board forever but have only registered today. In response to all the incredible paint jobs I've seen on this site I have completely stripped the paint off my models and have begun painting over again.

Product name: Simple Green Extreme Clean. It was purchased at Sam's Club for a whopping $8.88 a gallon. ... tem=329288

It is heavily concentrated so could be diluted with water if someone saw fit. I put my models in a narrow bucket with a full dose (no water) and set the bucket outside in the sun (passive reactions like this work best when heat comes into play). This warm bath made it possible to remove all the paint and primer with a few swipes of a firm bristled toothbrush. For the grooves in items such as Hammerheads and legplates on my crisis suits, I simply ran the pointed end of one of those plastic toothpick/floss sticks and it gooped right out. So other than the 24 hour bath in the Simple Green, we are talking about 2 minutes with a toothbrush and toothpick to get a brand new Hammerhead.

If you post this, make sure to mention a warm bath of the solvent works best. I tried it on my Devilfish after a cold front moved through and it was much more work as 50 degree water doesn't lend much aid in gumming up the paint.


Member Name: O'Suam ( Typo Demon)

Product name: Fantastik! sold in Canada soak minis 2 days and scrub, resists agressive primers.

you can purchase it in any walmart, zerhs and any place that carries general cleaning supplies.


If you feel you have an alternative solution or local product you think is great, message me (Shas'El Tael) and I will add it too the list.

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