The Best Product to Strip Warhammer Paint for Superior Results


The Best Product to Strip Warhammer Paint for Superior Results

As a veteran Warhammer hobbyist with over 20 years of experience, I have stripped paint off countless miniatures. After extensive testing of various methods and products, one solution stands above the rest for performance, availability, safety, and cost – isopropyl alcohol (IPA). In this comprehensive guide from the Warhammer Universe team, I will cover everything you need to know to successfully strip acrylic, enamel, and primer paints from metal, plastic, resin, and finecast miniatures.

Why Strip Paint Off Miniatures?

There are a few key reasons you may want to strip paint off your miniatures:

  • You have improved as a painter and want to redo old, low-quality paint jobs
  • You purchased pre-owned models with thick globs of paint
  • You want to experiment with new paint schemes or army color changes
  • Paint layers have become excessively thick, hiding detail

No matter the reason, stripping paint allows you to take models back to a blank canvas state for a fresh start.


Stripping Process Overview

The basic process for stripping miniature paint includes:

  1. Select an appropriate chemical solvent or cleaner
  2. Submerge models to soak and penetrate paint
  3. After sufficient soaking time, scrub with toothbrushes or pipe cleaners
  4. Rinse models under water to remove solvent and dried paint
  5. Allow to fully dry before repriming and painting

I will now explain this process in detail, beginning with the best all-purpose option – isopropyl alcohol.

Isopropyl Alcohol – The Superior Paint Stripper

Also known as IPA, isopropanol or rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol is found in medical disinfectants and cleaners. It is an extremely effective solvent for breaking down and removing acrylic hobby paints.

Key Benefits:

  • Fast acting – Loosens paint after 20-40 minutes soaking
  • Evaporates quickly without residue
  • Safe for plastic, resin, metal and finecast
  • Available worldwide at low cost

I have used many other paint stripping products over the years but none match the performance and availability of isopropyl alcohol. It may go by different commercial brand names globally but the active ingredient works the same everywhere.

Let’s examine the step-by-step process of using IPA to strip Warhammer miniatures.

Space Marine


Required Materials

To strip paint with IPA, you will need:

  • Pure 99% Isopropyl alcohol (5 liters is a good start)
  • Small plastic containers with lids for soaking
  • Toothbrushes – ideally hard bristle
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Gloves – nitrile or latex
  • Protective mask if stripping for prolonged periods
  • Adequate ventilation area

Optional helpful items: paper towels, old cloth or towel, small parts containers, an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, and marigold gloves.

Having an assortment of container sizes allows more flexibility for submerging different model types. Reusing plastic takeout containers works perfectly.

Safety First

When working with any chemical solvents, proper safety precautions are crucial:

  • Use gloves and mask to minimize skin and lung contact
  • Work in a well-ventilated area away from open flames
  • Take regular breaks to minimize exposure periods
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets
  • Check container disposal requirements in your region

Isopropyl alcohol can be hazardous if mishandled. While striving for the best paint removal results, exercise caution and care for your personal safety first! Consider doing initial test strips outdoors or in a garage if possible.


Step-By-Step Paint Stripping Process

With your supplies gathered, workspace prepped, and safety gear on, follow these steps:

  1. Submerge Models: Fill a plastic container with enough 99% isopropyl alcohol to completely cover the miniature and soak for 20-40 minutes. Use separate containers for easier model differentiation. Metal handles temperature changes better than resin or plastic.
  2. Scrub Off Paint: Remove models after sufficient soak time and scrub with an IPA-soaked toothbrush over paper towels, removing loose paint. Target recesses and details with pipe cleaners. Wearing marigolds over nitrile gloves provides an extra layer of protection.
  3. Second Soak: For models with stubborn paint, submerge again for another soak and scrub cycle. Multiple cycles may be needed for thick primer coats. Gently handle resin or finecast pieces to avoid detail loss with repeated scrubbing.
  4. Rinse & Dry: Once paint is removed, rinse models under water and set aside on a clean cloth or paper towels to fully air dry. Double check for any overlooked paint remnants.
  5. Clean Up: Wipe down workspace. Store remainder IPA safely for future use. Soak brushes in IPA followed by thorough water rinse and drying. Properly dispose of contaminated IPA if necessary based on regional regulations.

It’s okay if faint paint traces remain since repriming will cover this. Focus scrubbing efforts on thick paint buildup areas. Pay special attention when cleaning intricacies like face details and armor cracks on higher quality models.

An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner can supplement IPA soaking and scrubbing for more stubborn paint spots. After testing on expendable miniatures, leave resin or finecast pieces soaking no longer than 5-10 minutes at a time.

Results Showcase

To demonstrate results across various miniature materials using this IPA stripping process, the Warhammer Universe team stripped the following test models:

  • Plastic Deathwing Terminator (Vallejo primed)
  • Metal Scyrak the Slaughterer (Chaos Black primed – 20 years old)
  • Resin Abaddon the Despoiler Finecast (rusted metal paint scheme)
  • Plastic Khorne Bloodreaver (Vallejo primed and dropped)

The paint came off extremely easily from the smooth plastic terminator and bloodreaver models. Scyrak took more scrubbing to remove thicker primer layers but the underlying model emerged unharmed with original engraved detail visible.

Abaddon’s hair and spikes required delicate handling during brushing but smaller resin details like the backpack trim were no trouble to strip cleanly. Take extra care around fragile resin elements prone to chipping or warping when scrubbing repeatedly.

Photos showing before, during, and after model states are available on along with more stripping guides covering additional techniques.



Usage and Storage

To get the most value from your IPA supply:

  • Soak toothbrushes, pipe cleaners and other tools in IPA bins between uses
  • Funnel used IPA through a sieve when pouring back into the storage bottle
  • Label container clearly and store sealed in a cool, dark place away from sparks or flames
  • Over time, IPA may become saturated with paint sediment. Strain before disposal.

Isopropyl alcohol lasts for many strip sessions but loses effectiveness once totally saturated with pigments.

Additional Applications

Beyond stripping miniatures, keep a bottle of IPA handy for:

  • Cleaning hobby tools, containers, and work areas
  • Restoring dried out brushes
  • Making thinners and retarders
  • General paint or adhesive removal

Due to fast evaporation without residue, applications are almost endless for this versatile solvent around the hobby workspace!



Isopropyl alcohol is simply the best all-around product choice for stripping acrylic, enamel, and primer paints from Warhammer miniatures of any material type while being safe for the environment.

With proper usage cautions, it effectively removes even thick layers of paint quickly without harming underlying plastic, resin or metal. Plus IPA pulls double duty for keeping brushes and tools in top condition. No hardcore Warhammer hobbyist should be without this essential chemical!

Have any other questions on the best paint stripping practices? Ask our team in the comments section below or on the Warhammer Universe YouTube channel for more miniature maintenance tips.

The Emperor Protects!


Want more? Check out these articles!

When attempting to construct animated scenery from scratch, we’ve created an extensive walkthrough for strategically designing and building otherworldly dioramas certain to enhance your playing experience.

If struggling to unravel the extensive lore and history, our experts have compiled a definitive roadmap for efficiently navigating the rich backstory to fully appreciate this vast universe.

Should you feel perplexed by the ancient metallic legions, we will elucidate everything you need to know about the Necrons’ powers and motives for defeating these persistent foes.

When uncertain how to effectively manage Imperial Guard troops, we have created an indispensable manual for bolstering Imperial Guard combat prowess vital for achieving victory.

If facing obstacles acquiring models and miniatures, allow us to guide you through reviews of numerous top-rated 3D printer options certain to radically accelerate force building.

Should you feel overwhelmed with understanding where to commence your Warhammer 40k journey, permit us to ease your transition by outlining actionable onboarding steps and tips to streamline the process.

Related Article