Custom Toys and Action Figures by Blayne

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How to: Strip paint from miniatures / custom figures

While rummaging around in a box of 1/2 done projects from a few years back, I came across one that needed paint stripping. It was an early example of why you paint lacquer paint first and acrylic paint *after*: the finish looked horrible.

I came across a recommendation I'll check out this week: Castrol 'Super Clean': a biodegradable cleaner that works better than 'Green Cleaner' at removing paint from old miniatures (either plastic or metal). 

I'll track some down this week, and give this tutorial a test using a semi-customized DC Universe figure. I'm curious to see if it removes only the paint, or also attacks the superglue/sculpting compound as well.

Update: This product works great for stripping acrylic (Vallejo/Citadel) paint. At least in Canada, it can be found at Canadian Tire in the automotive/tire area. It's since dropped the "Castrol" brand, but the automotive parts desk directed me to the product quickly. It was a bit confusing, as it wasn't shelved alongside floor/household cleaners.

I bought a small rubbermaid bin for the purposes of soaking figures in, and left an old project of mine in it for a day. All acrylic, non-factory paint was loosened after a day left soaking in SuperClean, and was easily removed with an old toothbrush under warm water. I tested it and left the (cleaned) version in the same tub soaking for an additional 8 hours. However, no further paint (factory paint) was loosened.

It's useful to note that paint that was sealed underneath old superglue remained, as this product doesn't dissolve cyanoacrylic glues, or Aves Apoxie Sculpt. While I haven't tested it against Kneadite/ Citadel's "Green stuff" sculpting compound, I've read online that it will detach/dissolve this compound along with acrylic paint.