After trawling the web I decided to try using Dettol to strip the paint off my (large) collection of badly painted plastic miniatures. The process for its use is pretty simple but, as I found out, it is very important that you follow the steps.
1. Use Brown Dettol - there is some other stuff apparently (green I think) that doesn't work
2. Soak figures overnight
3. Scrub with Toothbrush soaked in Dettol - important here that you keep rinsing the brush and the figure in Dettol the whole time
4. Resoak and scrub again
5. Rinse and clean once all paint is off in "SOAPY" water - have to emphasise the soapy part. Rinsing in hot water only (and cold) will result in the paint hardening on the model in clumps. This will require you to resoak it and scrub it again. The rinse phase is important as any residual Dettol/paint left on the figure will disrupt the undercoat you apply later.
The results were pretty good if somewhat mixed in terms of the quality of my scrubbing abilities. Couple of recommendations:
- While Dettol is nice and clean and non-toxic it makes a hell of a mess and stains things so scrub etc somewhere sensible, not in the kitchen like I did (or at least not while your wife is home).
- Wear rubber gloves. Dettol dries out your skin quite rapidly and I found that after 10-15minutes my hands were shriveled up and surprisingly sensitive after soaking in Dettol for that length of time.
Let the figures dry overnight again and if you have to re-soak them and scrub them again in Dettol to remove any last traces of paint.
I am also not quite sure if I used the Dettol in the most efficient way possible. To strip 30 figures I used an entire 350ml bottle of the stuff. Next time I might try diluting it a little to see what happens.