Consequently, I recently undertook a bit of internet research to find a suitable solvent for stripping miniatures. The most commonly cited stripping agent is brake fluid, and the runner-ups are hardly less caustic. Seeing as how I didn't want to mess around with environmentally hazardous toxic materials, I continued my search. Eventually I found a recommendation on a discussion forum for the use of Dettol, a household disinfectant that can be purchased in any pharmacy.
Much to my surpise, Dettol works like a charm. Mix a 50:50 solution of Dettol to water and let your miniatures soak overnight. Acrylic miniature paint sloughs off easily and light scrubbing with an old toothbrush will get your miniature clean as a whistle.
|Citadel Legion of Hell Standard Bearer after an overnight soak in Dettol|
Unfortunately, a lot of my first miniatures were painted with Testors enamel paint that I had around the house from model-building. This is a lot harder to get off than acrylic, but Dettol will do the trick with a bit of patience. I found that I needed to let the enamel-coated miniatures soak in Dettol for several days. This will soften the paint, which can then be scraped off with a hobby knife. I used a dental pick to get into the recesses. I was never able to get all the paint off in one go, and after an initial scraping, I return the miniatures to the Dettol solution for a couple more days, then repeat the process. After doing this a few times, I found that even the most recalcitrant enamel can be softened enough that most of it can be removed.
|Citadel Vampyre FF 58|
Here's another Citadel miniature from the Fiend Factory line that was successfully stripped of enamel:
I'm in the process of stripping most of my old miniatures, but not all. This old Ral Partha miniature was my very first D&D character, an elf made using the Holmes Basic Set, and I'm going to keep it like it is for posterity, and as a reminder of what my old paint jobs used to look like.