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  • How to Easily Strip Paint From Metal Minis Using Pine Sol.

    Greetings one and all. Recently while visiting my grandparents, I discovered a treasure trove of old painted minis. These minis were painted way back in high school and were not of the best quality. I decided that I wanted to strip these minis and repaint them and I figured what better time than now to present my first article to WAMP. Without further ado, I would like to present to you my article on stripping paint off metal minis using Pine Sol.

    Please note, that this is the method I use for stripping paint off of metal minis, this is by no means the ONLY way to accomplish this, nor possible the best way, I just wanted to document this process in case it could benefit someone wanting to repaint an old mini, because lets face it, it is a fairly foolproof and easy process to follow.

    First things first, please note that this process is only for METAL miniatures. Pine Sol is made using pine oil as its active ingredient, and it ruthlessly attacks paint, which makes it great for stripping, but unfortunately if used on plastic miniatures or bases it can cause the plastic to go soft or even eat away at it removing the all important detail of the miniatures.

    With that out of the way lets get down to the process. First off you can use any kind of Pine Sol for this, I believe there are three kinds, the pine scented original, the lemon scented type (which I use, to avoid the awful smell of the original), and a blue kind that I have yet to use. As far as using generic pine cleaners, I have not ever used these so I can not report to their effectiveness.

    Step 1: Get a bottle of Pine Sol brand cleaner and a tupperware container, big enough to hold the miniatures and enough Pine Sol to cover them completely. Keeping the container somewhat small is important as it will save money in the long run as you will use less cleaner overall. Fill the container with Pine Sol, again just enough to cover the miniatures you intend to strip.

    Step 2: Add the miniatures.

    For this tutorial I will be using these two miniatures, old Denniz Mize sculpts from Reapers DHL line of minis. As you can see the paint is horrible, was not thinned down and otherwise just glopped on. After adding the miniatures to the container, ensure they are covered and then put the lid on and let them sit for 24 hours.

    Step 3: Let the minis sit for 24 hours at the very least. The Pine Sol goes to work, eating away at the paint. After 24 hours the paint will be soft and ready to come off!

    Step 4: Remove the minis from the Pine Sol.

    Note! If you have sensitive skin or hands, you might want to wear rubber gloves for this portion, since Pine Sol can dry out your hands pretty badly.

    Now, when you remove the miniatures, the paint will still be attached. Very rarely does the paint actually come off while immersed in the Pine Sol, what does happen is the paint will be soft and ready to be scraped away from the minis.

    Step 5: Using an old toothbrush gently scrub the paint off the miniatures. This is a pretty easy process since the Pine Sol does much of the work for you. There will be some areas though, that will need a harder scrub than others. Keep scrubbing until most of the paint is gone. At this point any paint left will be mostly in the deeper crevaces and athe point where clothing meets skin, or cloth folds are located. To get at this paint I use a tootpick, or the pointed end of my scultping tool to gently scrape it away.

    As you can see from the pics almost all of the paint is gone. there is a little bit that needs to be scraped away with a toothpick, but it is a negligable amount in the grand scheme of things.

    I hope you enjoyed this article, now go and breath new life into those old miniatures!
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Ulfgrimr's Avatar
      Ulfgrimr -
      Nice, useful tutorial mercius. I use Dettol for plastic and metal but it struggles with some paint types so Pinesol may help, many thanks.
    1. snowdog's Avatar
      snowdog -
      excellent advice mercius. I have my own own hoard of the poorly finished. I'll give it a try.
    1. Halestorm's Avatar
      Halestorm -
      Lovely Tut matey, for those in the UK that cannot Source Pine-Sol get hold of some Fairy Power Spray, couple of squirts 10 minutes later and the jobs a good un :)

    1. RogerB's Avatar
      RogerB -
      Having been over in the US recently I got to see pine-sol at work...for once it wasn't me stripping a mini.
    1. cookjimjr's Avatar
      cookjimjr -
      Nice, tutorial Merc. I would have never thought to use that. I will have to try it out. Right now I have been using "Simple Green" for both Metal and Plastic, but on some paints it takes a little enamels. Same process though. I like the old Minis too, Ahh the simpler days when we were younger.

    1. mercius's Avatar
      mercius -
      Thanks all, glad the tutorial was useful...I will have to post more in the future.
    1. Dr. Willett's Workshop's Avatar
      Dr. Willett's Workshop -
      I need to strip a 12cm tall miniature with lots of details and pieces sticking out. Not too sure how I'm going to do that: a bath of Pine sol (now that's more gonna be like a swimming pool size wise) or would spraying it be enough?
    1. Sol Akwara's Avatar
      Sol Akwara -
      In the UK we can use the original, brown, pine smelling Dettol. Apparently any strong detergent that is Pine Oil based will work like this Pine-Sol, Dettol, anything similar... something to do with chemicals in pine oil reacting with the paint.

      This Dettol technique also works with plastics but you have to let it soak for a bit longer, ideally 48-72 hours (I scrubbed a bucket of 20 Tau Fire Warriors like this and the paint sluffed off without much asking!)

      A little bit of caution though, removing paint from plastics like this will also generally remove the polystyrene glue as well, so you'll need to re-glue them afterwards. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a bit extra work.