Tutorial - How to strip a miniature from colour

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong


Sometimes it is necessary to overthink a project. Sometimes when an idea lost its track on the road it is good to restart it. Sometimes, not very often, but sometimes. Therefore it is great to have some ideas how to get the colour off from your miniature. I would suppose not to do this too often as it is some kind of erasing your experience, like in a sketch book. Learn from mistakes and from finished miniatures, but sometimes you should strip them off again, when you are completly stuck...

I had been stranded at the Arky from Pegaso. Visions for him changed, he stood around too long without me having the kiss of the muse. To restart this project i go start him again by stripping him from colour. At the beginning of this "painting article" I'll show you how i usually do it with a metal miniature. In the end of this article i'll try to list other useful materials for different miniature casting materials.

Stripping a metal miniature

Have the miniature ready you want to strip off, in my case this is the Arkvenger and some other stuff i will throw in the acid bath. To create such a pool of aggressive colour eating liquid i mostly use a simple brush cleaner you can buy in a do-it-yourself store. I sometimes use aceton too. The brush cleaner i did buy is highly flamable and not healthy, always take care about your health and don't bring it in contact with your eyes or skin. I guess there are differences in the products which are availabe, i was really impressed by this great stuff a  friend of mine told me about, so i had to try it. It is from Renovo and is simply called "brush cleaner".

I took an old glass of cucumbers to fill it up with the brush cleaner and wihtout listening to the screams of the Arkvenger i dropped him into the bath, completly, every part, i also did put in some other miniatures i wanted to strip off.

Next step has been a moment of waiting. I did put the glass out on the balcony and gave it 2 days. It might have worked faster but i was lazy and i like waiting sometimes, it makes life less hectic ;)

Now shake it baby... show me what you got in this cucumber glass, the colours strip off from only shaking it a bid:

After the bath was succesful completed take an old toothbrush. Wait, first you have to get your miniatures out of the glass by using something like chinese food sticks or an old cravis, maybe a tweezer or something like this for this task. Always make sure you put the miniature out and up to an old fabric or one you are allowed to make it old. There is still some old ugly colour blurb at your miniature. Use the toothbrush to clean it up under floating warm water.

Baphomet says via comment:
"1) Don´t (really don´t!) use warm or hot water to clean the mini after using aceton, brush-cleaner or "abbeizer" (what this in English?). The hot steam in connection with the chemicals is not very healthy (I have done it some times ago, and believe me, you don´t want to smell or breath this stuff..)"

I had not occoured any of these described problems above while washing it under warm water, but i guess it depends on the stuff you use for cleaning, so please be careful and patient and read the instructions carefully.

It now will be shiny again:

I guess this is nothing new to most of you. So let's step over to some other products which are good:

Other products which are good

First, always read the manuals at your product about how to work with it and about security instructions.

- Aceton:
Works well on metal models, kills your plastic models.

- Revell Airbrush Cleaner:
Great to use on every material, resin and metal for sure. Take care about plastic miniatures, we are not sure about that.

Great to use for metal and plastic miniatures.


- David says via a comment:
"In North America, one of the best products for stripping paint is known as "simple green". It is less toxic than this brush cleaner you describe, safe to use on plastic, and very effective at stripping paint."

- Phill says via comment:
"North America also has a product called "Dawn Power Dissolver," available for about $2.00 in most Walmarts. The only downside is that it tends to dry the hands out, so gloves are recommended, but after dunking metal and plastic miniatures in the stuff, paint comes right off - and it doesn't seem to affect superglue at all. It's what I swear by now."

- Baphomet says via a comment:
"2) Please use gloves with special anti-acid attributes. Your skin will dry out, when it´s getting in contact with the cleaners (except the PVC-Stuff). It´s not very funny to get this strange feeling in your hands away."

- Graf says this via comment:
"I'm not a Pro-Painter like you, but with striping off colours I've got quite some experience... I'm not a chemistry pro, so nearly all my experience came with practical testing substances. Don't know how many different gases I already breathed in, but I'm still standing ;)

Especially difficult was finding something not so harmful like brush cleaner or aceton. I know - the best painted miniatures are always metal ones, but it's a matter of fact: the linecard of plastic, resin and similar material advances more and more. Using brush cleaner and plastic is something everyone do just once... You listed PVC-Cleaner which is quite good 'cause it doesn't evaporate quick and metal-miniatures come out clean. But there will be problems with the priming on plastic ones... Especially the white prime is hard to get off. Dont't ask me why black primer is easier to remove, better ask a GW-chemist.
The answer is germicide used for desinfection of your hands. Go the the next drug-store (in Germany it costs about 9€) or ask a friend working at a hospital ;).
Metal get really shiny out of this stuff and even plastic will be clean up to 99%!
It's not made for drinking or sniffing but you can't get muzzy or even ill as easily as with stuff containing aceton... It's no joke! I know some guy who got intoxicated from this stuff and after 2-3 hours he barfed his soul out...
I'm shure your are carefull enough, but this is a public website and maybe not everyone is judicious like you."

- Anonymous says this via comment:
"In England - Sainsburys value cleaner works well for plastic and metal and is just 26p for a litre."

- Phil says via comment:
"In Southern California at least there is another good one called LA's Totally Awesome, which is safe on metal, resin, and plastic. I personally use it to strip paint and clean off mold release when too thick. The one minor drawback is it tends to grey metals and plastic, which shouldn't be a problem as it will get covered by primer and paint."

- Juan says via comment:
"In France we use Glanzer ( green bottle with red cap : picture here !).
It works fine with plastic, resin and metal.
It also dissolves the super glue and white or black primer."

Might be added with some more suggestion by our fellow readers :)
Hope you like this short article!

Keep on happy painting not stripping them off!


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