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About me - I'm a Christian (Pentecostal), Married to Wendy, two step children Thomas and Natalie, dog and rose-crested cockateel(Beauty). I've been a miniature hobbyist for over twenty years; I occasionally wargame at my local club or at home with friends. I set up my commission painting service in 2014, so I spend a lot of time painting!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Step by Step Guide - Stripping Painted Miniatures with Dettol

At long last I have discovered a product/method that completely removes the paint from my miniatures; leaves the super/plastic glue in tact, doesn't corrode the miniature and is OK on the environment.

The amazing product is Dettol, that's right the brown stuff that goes white when pored in water just before it stings your grassed knee (those were the days, lol).  One important lesson I have learned during my research for this is that it has to be the original 'brown' Dettol as shown below.  For those of you overseas who don't have Dettol, you may be able to get your hands on a product called 'Simple Green' which works in the same way, using the method below.

The Amazing paint stripper AKA Dettol
Items needed:
Bottle of Dettol or Simple Green
Airtight container (as seen below)
An old toothbrush
Rubber gloves (when used neat Dettol will make your skin sore)
A sink with some hot water; to do the brushing/cleaning in, this can get messy.
A day in time; the soaking process takes about 24 hours.

  1. Take your miniatures and place them in the airtight container.
  2. Poor Dettol over the miniatures until they are completely covered.
  3. Leave the miniatures sealed in the container for 24 hours. I gave them a slight shake from time to time; you will notice (if your container is see through) that after a couple of hours the paint starts to fall off.
  4. 24 hours later, put your gloves on, head to the sink and give each of your miniatures a good scrub with the old toothbrush. You will notice that they come out of the pot a bit slimy and this will cover your gloves and the miniatures as you brush them.
  5. To completely remove all the slime, dip your brush in the Dettol and continue to brush until all the paint has gone. By this time all the paint will have almost disappeared and will not need too much brushing.
  6. Give your miniatures a good rinse in warm water and leave to dry; alternatively use a hairdryer to speed up the process (avoid using high temperature on the plastic miniatures, they melt).
  7. Lastly, give the sink a good clean; by now it will look like a frog has exploded in it. Then have fun repainting your new miniatures.
Airtight container 24 hours after start (notice the colour
change and bit of paint swimming in the mix).
Here is a picture of the first group of miniatures I tried this method on. They have been used as test models over the years and had accumulated several coats of paint. Some had up to two undercoats (Citadel spray) and up to six further layers of paint.  As you can see they look pretty good, with only the odd fleck of paint remaining. All the glue is intact, including stones that were super glued to the base.  All the parts are firmly glued (plastic glue or liquid poly).  The basing material, glued on with white glue has all been removed. I am extremely happy with the results.
I'm sure you will be seeing this guard unit painted on here
some time in the future.
Here is another picture of a group of Tau Fire Warriors that went in the same pot that was used for the above Guardsmen; some fresh Dettol was used to cover the miniatures completely. The results are OK, but the effectiveness was slightly reduced. I disposed of the contents of the pot following this session and wouldn't recommend re-using the Dettol too much.
Stripped Fire Warriors, soon to apear with a little more colour.
Lastly I would like to thank the numerous people who have previously documented this amazing product/method to me on YouTube, blogs, forums and the Internet in general.

Hope you liked this article, please comment and ask me questions.

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