Stripping old primer off metal models

John did a test a while ago on how to strip off paint on old models, both metal and plastic. A link to that article is here. His conclusion was that using Simple Green and letting the models sit, submerged, for 48 hours would get good results.
This week I received a purchase from Ebay: the old set of Commissar Gaunt and his cronies, a really cool set from the nineties. Anyway they came partially painted and completely primered; here they are:

Using the Simple Green did not prove to work with these models. I am not sure if it had to do with the kind of primer that was used or what, but I had it sit for two days and still had hardly any luck. So I went to Kragen's and got a can of carburetor cleaner for 3 bucks.

It is highly nasty and toxic and you want to use it with all kinds of precautions: rubber gloves, well ventilated OUTSIDE area (this time really do it) and maybe a little face mask. It is NOT RECOMMENDED for kids, ADULTS ONLY on this one, I should say. Anyway, getting back to the story. All that effort paid off handsomely for me: I sprayed into an old glass cup until it was half full and then had these models sit in their bath of carb cleaner for 30 minutes. I soaked them in water and brushed off all the paint without the slightest effort.

(Of course, I would not use this on plastic figures)

So when in need, you have to sometimes go for the big gunz and get the job done right (and quick).


  1. Thanks for the tip, metal vs. plastic and going with the 'big boys' when needed.

  2. I've had great results from brake fluid when stripping metal minis in the past. I'll have to give the carb cleaner a try too!

  3. Likely the primer was an enamel base rather than an acrylic. I've noticed that brake fluid doesn't work on it either, you have to go for the really caustic stuff. Another way of doing this is to scrub the minis with a brass BBQ brush. It's a little more work but doesn't require harsh chemicals.

  4. I am always buying figures from here and there.. and i have a suggestion for you guys!..
    For plastic figures, remove any metal bits.. then fill a container with standard old brake fluid.. soak for about 2 days and then over a sink take a old toothbrush and just work that over the figure.. it works wonders. On all metal figures/bits.. go to walmart and get 100% acetone nail polish remover.. now fill a "GLASS JAR" with this and drop the figures and bits in that.. soak for a couple days.. and again.. use the toothbrush.. remember to wash out the toothbrush at the end or the acetone will cause the brissels to fuse together.. but that will definitely take off any old primer and paint..
    Good luck guys and enjoy

  5. Thanks for the tips. Anything to NOT have to go toxic....
    mike at SCW

  6. I will have to try that sometime to see how well it works for me! I have been using White or Purple Spirit, and allowing the models to sit for about 6 hours before scrubbing them with an old tooth brush and it seems to get the exact same affect as in the above pics. Great tip mate

  7. I've had very good results with oven cleaner. It works for both metal and plastic mini's. It won't damage the plastic and has an added benefit of turning superglue into goo that can be cleaned off. Granted, it takes a few months for that to happen but my RTB01 marines now look like they just came out of the box ready for a modern paint job.


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