Wednesday 30 January 2013

The Long Soak

I saw this excellent Blog post yesterday (on Wargaming with Barks) about a neglected box of fantasy football goblins that he left soaking in Dettol for two years! Admittedly this was unintentional but the results looked pretty good after a little scrub and wash with some turpentine. I recently had a go at stripping old paint from some 6mm Italian Tanks and also used Dettol as my stripper of choice, and the results were OK if not spectacular. I probably could have soaked the models a little longer than I did, but I don't think I have the patience to plan my painting projects two years in advance! 

I now have another batch of models soaking in a tub of liquid oven cleaner. I tried it on some models last week and it worked OK, but no better than the Dettol (although without the smell). With this latest batch I'll soak them for at least a couple of days as I'm working on something else at the moment. I'm not sure if this cheap pound store oven cleaner is the best at cleaning models (I don't know if it contains the Sodium Hydroxide active ingredient) but I'll give it another go before buying something else to try out. The major advantage of this product is that it doesn't stink the house out, and therefore makes it wife friendly!

Another useful pound store acquisition was a set of 2 small watertight snap lock Tupperware boxes. These are ideal for soaking my 6mm models in as I know no smells or chemicals will spill from them. I can just toss in the models, top up with the stripping liquid of my choice and let them soak the long soak safe in the knowledge that no noxious smells will seep out. As my workspace is in the family room such considerations are important if I want to stay on the good side of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

While these 'marinate' I'm painting up some other 6mm British Tanks and Armoured Cars to round off my Heavy Armoured Squadron. Then I really need to switch my focus back to the Germans and some panzer IV F1's I recently bought from Skytrex. Its good to be busy! 


  1. Not sure if you have tried it but Fairy Power Spray always worked wonders for when it came to stripping metal and plastics. Not so good on FW resin though.

  2. Hi Lee, the Dettol works well on metal, but I know from personal experience that it has the inconvenient effect of melting plastic figures that are left in it, for too long, like the bases in the other post. For this reason I always use a glass jar... your wife might not thank you if...

    :-) Simon

  3. I have no problem with the Dettol nor the smell, An old jam jar small amount of Dettol with an equal amount of water soak for 24hrs and sorted.

  4. Great tip Lee - I hadn't heard of the Dettol solution before. A damn sight less toxic than brake fluid (my previous stripper of choice) and diluted works on plastics too? Not to mention germ free AND wife-friendly (although if you've ever been trapped in a room with nail polish remover they really shouldn't complain about the smell!) Re the melting plastics problem - it can vary quite a bit depending on the grade of HD plastic used. High quality (i.e. harder) plastics like those used by Perrys in their plastics being a lot less susceptible than softer compounds such as HaT or even Victrix plastic figures. Resin models are different altogether as the more porous nature of it binds the paint to the surface and makes it a bugger to remove in any case. The use of airtight Tupperware containers is brilliant - one of those 'so obvious why didn't I think of it before?' things!


    1. Dettol is the stripper of choice for the rejects, but given its smell (and my success with alternatives), I'll be trying out different variations on the oven cleaner option. I've never had need to strip plastic miniatures so my experience in this field is zero.

  5. You know I've heard and tried quite a few different things over the past two years for stripping miniatures. I actually haven't heard of using oven cleaner prior to this post. I was stripping a lot of miniatures because I was purchasing older castings of 40K units to repaint and use in my army. I even do this with old D&D miniatures too. I have a couple of go to options that haven't failed me with no more than a week in the soak and little elbow grease. I was lucky enough to find out about Dettol from a fellow YouTuber back in 2011 and though its hard to get my hands on here in the states at times I was fortunate enough to find an online seller that would ship to me. I purchases two bottles and still have one unopened for future use. I may have to try the oven cleaner option though since that should be fairly readily available.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Aaaaaaahhhhhh nooooo! Dont mix dettol with water... keep water away from it at all costs!
    If you soak your minis in detol snd scrub them in dettol the paint comes off clean... the chemical bonds are still broken. Add water, by rinsing under a tap for example and the paint starts adhering to itself... the result is gunge. Sticky, horrible gunge that makes the process hell. The original post used turpentine to clean off the gunge he created when running under a tap.
    No need. After cleaning, I bathe the figures in a mikd solution of hot water and Jif (Cif). This removes the smell, any tackiness and neutralises any acids on the surface.

  7. Or, just scrub with "acetone free" nail polish remover. no smell, no messy goo, just clean plastic mini's.

  8. I'll have to take a look when I'm over later Mr L, it's about time a couple of my figures were given a clean up.

    BTW, keep watching those pound stores, you never know what you'll find. The mesh I use for the lead windows was in their baking section, and wall filler used on many of the builds also comes from there.

  9. Good luck, and be more pro-active than I was!


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