After a couple of month of thinking about cleaning my “man cave” (actually a closet with all of my hobby stuff) I finally took the bull by the horns and did it yesterday. Amongst other surprises I found a jar full of soap and babbitt miniatures. Though I haven’t been painting in ages I was curious to see how well did this kind of soaking effect the paints.
I have to admit I have done this before and with various different methods but this was by far the most successful. Anyone who has been painting miniatures is most likely familiar with the need of stripping the paint away at some point. At the latest it becomes an issue when buying used minis from eBay or similar sites for Oldhammer or just to get more variated minis.
Being a cheap and broke gamer I have bought my fair share of second-hand miniatures and searched the internet forums for methods of cleaning them. I have experienced everything from Fairy Powerspray (click here for a YouTube video showing how to use it) to fuel for kerosene stove (Sinol). Someone even hinted that battery acid would be good for getting the paint off…
I mentioned both the Fairy Powerspray and Sinol because they work. But they are not perfect. Both require a lot of scrubbing and the smell of Sinol is just awful and it is not that good for plastic. Or for environment for that matter.
But what does work like a charm is Finnish Mäntysuopa.
It is a soft soap made from pine oil. It is friendly (or at least friendlier) for environment, has a good smell (at least of Finnish noses) and just does it. Take any miniature(s), dump it into a jar and fill it with Mäntysuopa.
Most likely you will want to take the minis out sooner than I did and I have had successful striping done on a couple of days. But according to my try-outs the more time they spend in the soap the easier it is to peel of the paint.
When you take the minis out from the soap jar you only need to wash them with hot water (a scrub brush does not hurt) and most of the paint just peels of. Sure, there might be some paint stuck in the deepest crevasses but even those annoying leftovers are much rarer than with any other method I have used.
To be honest I’m not sure if you can buy this product online or not. Or can it be send to any country. It shouldn’t be too difficult as it does not include any hazardous material but you never know. But if you can get your hands on some Mäntysuopa you really need to try it out.
And if it doesn’t work for your minis (it does) at least you can clean up your sauna with it!