From reading varies online forums and social network accounts, I can see that Dettol is becoming an increasingly popular method with which to strip the paint from wargames miniatures. Part of this is probably due to the novelty of something so familiar and trivial being so good for removing unwanted paint, and part due to the ease of purchase, if you live in the UK anyway, and its relatively cheap cost. Gone, for me anyway, are the days of soaking plastics in breakfluid in the hope to strip away the twenty year old paint job that covers over ninety-percent of the model's detail. This loss of detail was caused as the breakfluid, if soaked too long, would turn 1980s plastic into a slightly soft, flaky material. Re-treatments increased the probability of damage to the miniatures you were trying to clean. Restoring plastic models on any large scale was largely , in my experience anyway, an impossible dream.
Things were not so difficult when dealing with metal models. I am sure that many of you will have memories of dealing with industrial paint strippers like Nitro-Mors. Yes, the heady fumes and slow jelly like pouring as you coat your batch in the vile stuff. Keep that pot away from the wife and kids, better still, keep it in the garage up the back with all those tins of paint that you just have to keep in case of a scratched wall! Its vicious stuff. Also, Nitro-Mors wasn't very friendly to hands or sinks. The powerful stripping chemicals could permanently stain, or even destroy, kitchen surfaces and plastics, getting you into hot water with the wife upon her return, as stripping paint from models was one of the jobs reserved for when 'she was out the house!'
Dettol changed all this. After all, Dettol itself is an antiseptic, and anything it touches is arguably cleaner than before. My childhood memories of the stuff were purely medicinal in this regard. Sitting, injured in knee or elbow, on the kitchen table as my mother bent to retrieve the dreaded brown bottle from under the sink. The distinctive smell as a little was dribbled on to a cotton wool ball or square of folded tissue, followed by the indescribable stinging sensation. Then it was back out to play, faintly whiffing of the stuff all afternoon.
Its seems in recent weeks, I have be involved in discussions in several places with sticky paint covered panicking grognards who see before them a kitchen smeared with brown, stinky residue and befouled miniatures that look far worse than before they started! But they had heard that Dettol was some kid of wonder chemical that could bring your 1989 Imperial Guard plastics back from the dead when you'd thought they bought the farm. After explaining how to use the stuff and getting the fellow wargamer out of very hot water with the spouse I always thought to myself, I must do an article about how to use the stuff properly so anyone searching for advice or who was in a fix could easily get themselves out with out the need to install a new kitchen or initiate divorce proceedings.
So here it is. My guide to using Dettol to strip miniatures cleanly and effectively. If you have any further tips to add, please do so below. One can never stop actually learning, and who knows, perhaps we will one day discover another product with even better stripping qualities (Fairy Power Spray? I have always wanted to use this one, but have yet to find it stocked in a supermarket when I am shopping!)
|Stage 3: Add your miniatures. Simply plop in your model and wait, say 4-6 hours before removing it and commencing the scrubbing. For best results though, I would leave the model over night in a safe place.
|Stage 5: Add the washing up liquid. Lubricate the model with the washing up liquid. I use a good, healthy blob of the stuff.
|Stage 7: Rinsing. Now you are ready t clean off your model in water. This stage is really about cleaning off the washing up liquid really, rather than the paint, but you should now have a really clean looking model ready for painting.
So there you have it. I am hoping that this article is useful for those of you trying to use Dettol to strip back those Old School minis that you haven't looked at for twenty years but now quite like the idea of painting. Of course, this is my method and I am sure that there are many others out there that you could try. If you happen to have one, why not share it here for others to try out.
Cheers and happy stripping!
Cheers and happy stripping!