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Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Stripping Paint From Minis.

With the forthcoming launch of the new Judge Dredd miniatures game from Warlord, I became all misty eyed and felt compelled to dig out all my old Citadel 2000AD miniatures.

I’d bought these in the mid-1980’s to go with the JD Role-playing came from GW and at the time I’d given them my best possible attention with their paint-job.

Oh dear! When I look at them today, my painting techniques have changed so very much, I don’t think I could live with how they looked anymore.

My three stage process; - Paint Stripper, rinse, ultra-sonic bath with Methylated Spirit
All those years ago, acrylics were a new thing. Most of my available palette was made up of muted, combat coloured enamel paints. To top it all, the figures had been satin varnished to protect them.
Something needed to be done.

Citadel Judge
For a while now, I’d been looking into how I might strip paint from minis to enable them to be re-finished. I have a heap of 6mm moderns that need this treatment as well as other bits and bobs.
On line there’s lots of advice about using anything from Dettol to neat alcohol and anything in between. One thing that particularly interested me was the proposed use of ultra-sonic baths to speed up this process.

Citadel Rogue Trooper
My wife restores old sewing machines and she had a requirement for something to clean up old parts, perhaps one of these baths could work for both of us?

We bit the bullet and bought a generic, un-branded item from eBay for £40. It came from somewhere in the EU within a couple of days and looks to be of good build quality. Of good build quality.
So far, however, my efforts have met with mixed results.

Remember to remove the slotta bases first! I think the process would have dissolved them!

I must firstly stress that I don’t believe this in anyway to be the fault of the bath. What I hadn’t taken into account was that everything I’d read on line was about stripping modern acrylics from minis, not enamels!

  • I first tried the figures in Dettol (Clear)…..nothing happened.
  • Next I tried the figures in White Spirit (Clear) …..nothing happened.
  • Then I tried Methylated Spirt (Purple)….again, nothing happened.
Bases back on the stripped figures and textured with Vallejo Grey Pumice to hide the gaps.
So, I bought some paint stripper from Wilkos (a strong caustic solution) and left the figures to soak in this jelly like substance overnight. The next day I rinsed this off and then placed the figures back in a bath of Methylated Spirit for 1 hour with the ultra-sonic on max.

Spray primed ready for Contrast painting.
This finally did the job. A quick brush up with a toothbrush sized wire brush and the figures were ready for priming.

Not as quick as I’d hoped, and far more labour intensive. I guess there must be a better way, but I’ve yet to find it. I will be interested to try this on acrylics to see how much easier the process is….but that’s for another day.

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