Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dettol - the hobbyists paint stripper

Let me introduce what I think is a damn fine paint stripper for wargamers, it's called dettol and it's an all purpose disinfectant. Now I've heard a lot about simple green but I'm damned if I can find any of it, I've also heard that fairy power spray is good for stripping models. To be honest, I couldn't tell you how good either of them are, and I'm probably not going to be able to tell you about them in the future because I'm sticking with Dettol from here on in.

It's really simply to use, just drop your models (metal or plastic - don't ask me about finecast, I don't buy that stuff!) into a suitable container like a drinks beaker and then pour in enough Dettol to cover them. Give them a swirl with an old tooth brush.

I left those metal snipers I got from eBay in for about two hours and after a quick scrub with an old toothbrush and then rinse it in water. 99% of the thickly applied paint came off in a matter of a minute's scrubbing and it's ready to be primed again.

A quick word of warning, I'm not going to say that Dettol doesn't damage plastic because it does. I put some SDE Kobold warriors in to strip after my wife had tried painting them and then I completely forgot about them. A week later, I pulled them out to find that the paint had stripped and the hard plastic model was perfectly fine but the model base which was made from softer plastic had melted as you can see in the pic.

So obviously over time Dettol does damage plastic but considering they'd been in a week and they only needed to be in for an hour, personally I don't see this as a problem, just something to watch out for.

Finally, another quick word of warning, Dettol seems to make the paint like a sticky tar substance which cleans off easily with Dettol but not soap and water. So make sure you wear gloves when handling them models and do it on a surface that's easy to clean gents!

Anyway, I'm off to strip some more models now I know how to!


EDIT - From the comments. Here's a list of other blog posts that cover different paint stripping fluids ...

If you've got a good relevant post, let me know in the comments and I'll get it added guys.


Jeff said...

Good to know! If you're curious the results of a similar investigation into the damn near magical properties of Power Spray can be found here:

Renovating old miniatures

seems they are roughly akin.

Buffer said...

Mate I use it all the time and totally agree, it is absolutely brilliant at removing paint!

I wrote a similar tutorial here including how to remove superglue.

Can I suggest if you leave metal models in for a longer period, ie. the week you accidentally left the plastic in, all the paint (except any mixed/covered by superglue) will simply fall off, just use some kitchen towel to remove it. A 5 second scrub to ensure it's all gone and your done. It's far less hassle and can never hurt the metal model.

I'd also suggest a good rinse and then soaking in some fresh water to ensure all the dettol is removed as sometimes it can leave an undetectable layer that can hamper priming.

HuronBH said...

Cool, thank you for the information. Another product to try in Dawn Power Dissolver. I watched a friend spray some minis with it and then 2 hours later literally wash the paint right of the minis (no scrubbing).

I also use Castrol Super Clean (an asphalt degreaser) to strip models with. It takes a bit longer and you have to scrub, but it does not harm metal, plastic, or Resin. I had some models sitting in some for over a year once, with no damage.

Thanks again for the info.

Colonel Scipio said...

I tried nail varnish remover and it worked really well - once. For some reason, every time I've tried it since it didn't seem to work so well. So this tip has been duly noted for next time!

(Haha, I have a mini the Mrs tried painting a few years back! She's very sensitive about it, and demands to see it every now and then to check I've not got rid of it. So I don't think I can ever strip it unfortunately)

Zzzzzz said...

Good for everything except nurgle aligned miniatures; who are greviously wounded by disinfectant.

Muskie said...

I've always stripped minis with PineSol even plastic ones. You can dilute it some with water. This can be wise for plastic minis, but PineSol has worked for me as I too have never seen this Simple Green stuff in any store.

Some people used to swear by brake fluid too.

Col. Corbane said...

Wow, that was a response guys. As an idea, if we've all done blogs on various products or could do, how about we share links? We all add each others links to our posts and it becomes a circle of paint stripping techniques.

I'll add the ones I've got so far and if you've got any other suggestions or do a post in the future, drop it in the comments.

You guys up for that?

@TPV - Cool mate, I've added it to my post!

@BUFF - Nice one mate, I've added you're as well.

@HBH - Fancy doing a quick post on it mate and sending over the link.

@CS - Give it another go and blog it mate, even if it doesn't work, it's still good to see the results.

@ZZZ - Ironically, normal plastic marines turn nurglish if left in disinfectant to long - who knew ;o)

@MUS - Blog it mate, I've heard brake fluid as well but it's the toxicity of it that put me off it.

Tony said...

Been using it for years.

I prefer to soak my minis for a couple of days in a plastic container (with a lid).

Then scrub off the paint and rinse with water before undercoating.


The Man said...

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but Dettol damages green stuff if you have it on your models. I have cleaned a few of my old minis and the green stuff just falls away.

Cannonfodder said...

I am also using desinfectant- seems to be the alcohol in it, that does the stripping.


Blogger said...

I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.

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