Warhammer 40K Paint Stripping Guide

I'm getting ready for 8th Edition, and I've booked an appointment with my local games Workshop to go and get my pre-order in for tomorrow (3rd June... get hype!).
This is a fantastic opportunity to get some projects going, and I've started off with stripping some of my earlier models. I followed an awful piece of advice and went with a graffiti artists acrylic spray as a primer. Whilst the colour was good, it went on thick and was water repellent. Paint balls up and washes... well just forget about it.
The advice after that was to put on another layer of matte varnish... losing more detail. My advice; grab some Dettol.

Paint Stripping Equipment

  • Dettol: Original brown liquid, with Chloroxylenol
  • Rubber gloves
  • Well ventilated room
  • Toothbrush
  • Hand soap
  • Access to warm water
The Dettol is fairly harmless to humans, and absolutely harmless to plastics. Make sure you get the brown liquid one, as Dettol have started making a lavender one without that Chloroxylenol. I don't know if that is the active ingredients that gets the paint moving off your mini, but it's either that or the isopropyl alcohol, pine oil, castor oil or caustic soda.

As a science teacher I feel like I should know which does what, as chloroxylenol doesn't sound like an acrylic solvent to me, but our chemistry department doesn't have any of the other chemicals for me to check it out with. If you want me to get the stuff myself, Patreon button is below! Your pennies will go to good use.

Step by step guide 

  • Put your models in a bucket
  • Pour on the Dettol
  • Wait about 12 hours, or as long as you have patience
  • Scrub the model with toothbrush
  • Rinse and scrub in soapy water
  • Leave to dry for about 24hours before painting
Imperial Guard standard issue helmet - A plastic bucket

Make sure you cover up the models. This is actually an old bit of Dettol I'm about to top up, as I wanted you to see what models were going in.

Wait for as long as you can. A fully painted model will take about 24 hours to soak, depending on the paints you used and how thick it was. Just undercoated can take about an hour.

After the soak, scrub the model with the toothbrush (wearing your gloves!). If you put the model in soapy water before scrubbing, your paint will turn to glue, and you'll need to re-soak. You may want to re-soak anyway after scrubbing, if you have any paint left in crevices.

As a quick safety tip, you may want to wear some safety goggles whilst scrubbing. It's not strictly necessary but can avoid an embarrassing trip to the doctors to get Dettol out of your eyes.

Rinse in the soapy water. This will get rid of the Dettol smell, and any white streaking left by drying paint.

Leaving the model to dry for a day will make sure there's no liquid left on your model which can mess up any of your paint schemes.

Aaand that's it.

Whilst it might be daunting to try this ("Because chemicals are bad, and you should be afraid of chemicals." - Non-scientist e.g. Religious Education Teacher), it's really not all that hard, and household cleaners are generally safe for handling with the right precautions. Any of the really dangerous chemicals tend to be gated behind licences anyway, and Dettol is not one of these dangerous chemicals.

That's not an invitation to drink it, lest we get a "Prevention of stupidity" law banning sale of Dettol.

Other than that, happy stripping!

I mean paint stripping.

I'm bailing out of this conversation now.

Until next time!

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