Remove paint from miniatures

The Easy Way To Remove Paint From Miniatures

If you paint miniatures for any length of time, you'll inevitably come to a point where you need to remove the paint from the model. Perhaps it's an earlier paint job you're just not happy with, or you bought some second-hand minis and want to strip the prior owner's handiwork. I collect old miniatures from my youth (Ral Partha, Grenadier, Heartbreaker Hobbies, etc.), not to mention metal Oldhammer models. For me, paint removal is a necessary, and important part of the hobby.

Back in the old days, I used brake fluid to remove paint from miniatures. The process was miserable :( On top of that, I later found out that brake fluid is toxic. Thankfully, I found a safe and easy way to remove paint from miniatures.Remove paint from miniatures

How To Remove Paint From Miniatures

Stuff You'll Need

In order to remove paint from miniatures, you'll need a few things. Thankfully, nothing on the list is too expensive or hard to get:

  1. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. Make sure you get the concentrated formula. You can buy a 67 oz bottle of the stuff for $5.96 (just like in the picture below). If you have a lot of minis to strip, you can get a 1 gallon jug for only a few dollars more. The cool thing about Simple Green is that it's non-toxic and biodegradable (unlike brake fluid). For the sake of convenience, I buy mine at Walmart, but I've seen it for sale at Home Depot and Lowes as well. Note: Even though Simple Green is non-toxic and biodegradable, it's still a chemical used for cleaning everything from countertops, appliances, and laundry. Simple Green is recognized by the US EPA's Safer Choice Program as safer for people, pets and the environment, but caution must still be used when using the product. The manufacturer's instructions should be followed and personal protective equipment should be worn (safety glasses and disposable gloves -- more on that below). Removing paint from miniatures should be done by adults or under adult supervision in a well ventilated workspace.
    Remove paint from miniatures 2
  2. An old plastic container with lid. I repurposed a sliced deli meat container and wrote "Paint Remover" on the lid so it's easily identifiable and won't accidentally get thrown out.
  3. An old cookie sheet or newspapers. Removing paint from miniatures gets messy, using an old cookie sheet or newspapers on your work surface will keep cleanup to a minimum. Helpful Tip: An old cookie sheet can also double as a protective surface to prime miniatures on. I've been using the same cookie sheet for over 10 years now, and its proven to be an invaluable part of my miniature painting toolbox.
  4. An old toothbrush or nylon brush. Removing paint from miniatures is easy, but it does take elbow grease. Try to find an old toothbrush with firm bristles (a soft bristle brush doesn't work very well for removing paint -- trust me) or use a nylon hobby brush. You can find small hobby brushes at most hardware and home improvement stores. Helpful Tip: You can use a brass brush with soft bristles (like in the picture below) to remove paint, however make sure the bristles are soft and flexible. NEVER use a steel brush or a metal brush with firm bristles. Your minis will scratch and look like they lost a fight to a gang of sharp-clawed, angry cats. Hiss!
    Miniatures paint removal brushes
  5. Disposable gloves. When removing paint from your miniatures, your hands will get wet with Simple Green. Even though the cleaner is non-toxic it's not advisable to bathe your hands with the stuff. Disposable vinyl or nitrile gloves are your friend, and can be purchased just about anywhere (Walmart, Walgreens, etc.).
  6. Paper towels. Removing paint is easy, but as mentioned earlier, the process can get messy. Having a roll of paper towels on hand will make cleanup easier as you go.
  7. Safety glasses. Make sure you wear a pair that offers full coverage (direct and peripheral eye protection). Scrubbing to remove paint from your miniatures may flick bits of paint and Simple Green upwards, so it's important to protect your eyes.
  8. A cup of water. As you scrub your miniature, the Simple Green will foam up and it will be hard to see what your doing. I periodically dip my mini in water to rinse away the foam, then start scrubbing some more.

The Easy Steps

All right! That wasn't too bad. Once you have everything you need, it's time to get to work. Helpful tip: I do my paint removing projects in the garage. Personally, I don't mind the smell of Simple Green (to me, it smells like licorice), but my wife hates it. To keep her happy (and to give me space to make a mess), the garage works best for me. Regardless of where you work, just know that removing paint from miniatures can get messy and you should have good ventilation/air flow at all times (even if you don't mind the smell).

In Case You Missed It: Dragonborn Mage Headlines New Dark Sword Miniatures Release

Here's how to remove paint from miniatures:

  1. Put on your safety glasses and pour some Simple Green into your plastic container. You're basically creating a Simple Green bath to soak your minis.
  2. Carefully place your miniatures in the container. Make sure the minis are completely submerged in the Simple Green (no bits sticking out), then seal the lid.Remove Paint From Minis Simple Green
  3. Let your miniatures soak for at least 48 hours. Waiting is the hardest part, but you need to give the Simple Green time to work its magic, so plan accordingly. Note: 48 hours is the minimum. If the paint doesn't easily remove from your miniatures, you may need a longer soak time.
  4. After enough time has elapsed, put on your safety glasses and disposable gloves. Pluck a miniature from the Simple Green bath and gently scrub with your brush of choice. This is the cool part: the old paint will slough off like snake skin and you'll see the original mini underneath. Helpful tip: As mentioned earlier, the Simple Green will foam up as you scrub. Rinse the mini in water now and then so you can clearly see the miniature and check the progress of your work.
  5. Try to remove as much paint as possible. Old paint can be stubborn and hide in crevices and folds of cloaks, etc. so take your time and try to do the best job you can. It's all right if some paint still remains on the surface (it's rare to able to remove all the paint from a miniature). Just be sure that any remaining paint is not loose or it will cause problems when you prime the mini later. Helpful tip: Use a toothpick to pry or scratch away bits of paint stuck in crevices and folds. Again, you probably won't be able to remove all the paint, but you'll get most of it.
  6. When you're satisfied with the results, rinse your miniature in fresh water to remove the Simple Green. Let the mini air-dry, or place in front of a fan.
  7. That's it :) You've successfully removed the paint from your miniature and it's now ready for basing, priming, and painting.Strip paint from miniatures

Final Thoughts

So there you have it fellow travelers: the easy way to remove paint from miniatures. Collecting and painting minis is an amazing and rewarding hobby. If you have any tips and tricks on removing paint (or on the mini hobby in general), please leave a comment below.

Until next time, and as always, happy adventuring!

May 08, 2021 — Shane Scarbrough
Kraken D&D Miniatures

Release The Kraken! New D&D Miniatures Boxed Set

For whatever reason, I'm particularly drawn to D&D adventures featuring an oceangoing, seafaring theme. I really don't know why this is. In truth, I don't have any nautical experience to speak of and I've only seen the ocean once in my life. Perhaps it's the mystery of the water that draws me -- not knowing what lies beneath the waves and the untold possibilities of adventure that await.

Kraken D&D Miniature

One of my earliest D&D homebrew campaigns involved my players sailing the ocean, fighting pirates (Arrgh!) and a sea monster from the deep. I drew out the ship on a vinyl game mat and we had a blast. In those days, there weren't a lot of options (if any) when it came to oversized miniatures and I resorted to using a hard plastic dinosaur as a stand-in for a sea monster. It wasn't too difficult to suspend our disbelief, and we had an amazing time role-playing the adventure. Still, it would have been cool to have a sea monster mini.

Kraken D&D Miniature Boxed SetNeedless to say, I was pumped when WizKids added a monstrous Kraken to their excellent D&D miniature collection (to see the Kraken on our website click here). The Kraken is actually part of a boxed set that includes:

  • A huge Kraken body surfacing from the water
  • Six waving tentacles
  • A row boat with oars and a treasure chest

The pieces are secured nicely in the box, and like other WizKids minis the Kraken and all accessory pieces don't require assembly. In addition, the pieces come primed and ready-to-paint so gamers can get started painting right away with zero prep time.

Final Thoughts

Kraken D&D Miniature 2I've been collecting and painting miniatures since the 1980's, and I'm truly impressed with the attention to detail and the Kraken's overall size. The model is huge in relation to a standard 28mm miniature, and the separate tentacles can be positioned however you want to give the illusion of an even bigger menace. I can't wait to release this beast on my current players and see how the battle unfolds (cue maniacal laughter).

Until next time fellow travelers! If you like WizKid miniatures we have a lot to choose from on the site, as well as Reaper, Dark Sword, and Tomb Guardians. We try to stock minis that will inspire your imagination. Keep on role-playing and having fun!

August 25, 2019 — Shane Scarbrough
New Dark Sword Miniatures Release

New Dark Sword Miniatures October 2018

It's no secret that Dark Sword Miniatures produces some of the most brilliant tabletop miniatures this side of the Misty Mountains. This award winning company never ceases to amaze us with gorgeous new minis.

New Dark Sword Miniatures

Within the week, we'll be stocking the new Dark Sword Miniatures: three awesome models just released and ready for your greatest roleplaying game adventures.

The miniatures are:

New Dark Sword Miniatures Paladin

New Dark Sword Miniatures Sorceress

New Dark Sword Miniatures Elf Warrior

All three minis were sculpted by the legendary Tom Meier, and as you can see in the photos they look fantastic.

Final Thoughts

I've never met a miniature that I didn't like, but my favorite out of the three is the female paladin. Yes, I'm biased (paladins are my favorite character class to roleplay), but the full plate armor, winged helmet, and flowing cape really do it for me -- a perfect miniature for a player character or NPC (captain of the guard, king's champion, etc.).

Until next time fellow travelers! Dark Elf Dice is constantly adding new products to the store so be sure to check back often. Whether it's new Dark Sword Miniatures, dice, or toys you'll never know what you'll find next :)

October 06, 2018 — Shane Scarbrough
Kitsune and Tengu Miniatures

Kitsune And Tengu Miniatures Rock The House

At Dark Elf Dice we're always looking to add new miniatures to our site, because you can never have too many minis! This week we added two new collections: Kitsune and Tengu miniatures.

Kitsune And Tengu Miniatures

A growing number of D&D gamers like to think outside the boundaries of traditional fantasy. Certainly there's nothing wrong with the abundance of elves, dwarves, and halflings that populate our imaginary worlds, but sometimes it's fun to challenge perceptions and roleplay a rare and exotic race. Both the Kitsune and Tengu races help satisfy that desire (the Kitsune being a race of anthropomorphic "fox people" and the Tengu "crow people").

Kitsune Miniature

That said, it's been hard to find good Kitsune and Tengu miniatures for the game table. D&D is at heart a pen and paper game where imagination reigns supreme, but miniatures have always been a way to add a level of fun to a game. Often times players wanting to roleplay a Kitsune or Tengu have had to use substitution miniatures (humans, elves, etc.) to establish their characters.

Tengu Miniature

Thankfully, both Reaper and Dark Sword Miniatures carry a limited selection of Kitsune and Tengu Miniatures that we're now proud to carry on our site. The miniatures are exceptional, and are the same high quality gamers and collectors have come to expect. Many of the familiar classes are represented in these models: magic-users, fighters, rogues, etc. and gamers should no longer have to settle for substitution minis.

Final Thoughts

Though we're happy to add the new Kitsune and Tengu miniatures, there's always room for more! Both races are still underrepresented and hopefully Reaper and Dark Sword will continue adding new figures. When they do, we'll be sure to offer them on our site.

Until next time fellow travelers! Life is a precious gift so be sure to appreciate each and every day and make every moment count. Happy adventuring!

February 11, 2018 — Shane Scarbrough
Miniatures Game Table

Best Miniatures Game Table Ever

As most of you know, I'm really a big fan of game miniatures. Ever since I started playing D&D, I've been a mini collector and painter. Although most tabletop roleplaying games can be played with pen, paper, and an active imagination, I'm a firm believer that miniatures add a sense of epic excitement to a game.

Miniatures Game Table

Recently, one of the FaceBook pages I follow, Tabletop Tribe, shared a few photos of one of the best miniatures game tables that I've ever seen. This monster table was created by Rick Koeppen for a new dungeon crawl game that he created, Arrows & Blades (you can follow Rick's Facebook page here). The game table has covered sections to hide the main dungeon in order to avoid spoiling secrets for players. Rick's game table is not only inspiring, but it makes me want to up my game as well!

Best Miniatures Game Table 1

Best Miniatures Game Table 2

RPG Miniatures

Until next time fellow travelers! If you haven't had a chance to do so, be sure to check out our huge selection of game miniatures. While we unfortunately can't sell awesome tables like Rick's, we do offer affordable game mats to help Game Masters and players tell their exciting stories. Happy adventuring!

January 22, 2018 — Shane Scarbrough
new reaper miniatures

New Reaper Miniatures Feature The Red Raven

Over the holidays, new Reaper Miniatures were released, and boy are they awesome! Headlining the new minis is none other than the Red Raven, the vigilante hero from the Pathfinder mythos. This iconic character comes complete with dual-wield daggers and tattered cloak. This mini also works well as a master thief or assassin in the RPG of your choice (though this mini just begs to be painted red in my opinion).

The Red Raven 60203

Aravir the Elf Ranger comes next, a two-fisted fighter just begging for action and adventure. Check out his weather-beaten cloak and elvish armor expertly painted in this example picture. This new Reaper Miniature is sure to find a place on just about any gaming table.

Aravir, Elf Ranger 3763

new reaper miniatures elf ranger

Not to be outdone by her kinsman, Merrowyn Lightstar is here to save the day! This heavy armor wearing Elf Paladin is ready to take on the forces of evil with her imposing sword and board setup. Your paint choices are limitless, but I can't help but imagine Merrowyn wearing anything other than white armor gilded with gold highlights (yes, it'd be a pain to keep clean, but it'd be ultra cool -- especially for a lawful good champion of light).

Merrowyn Lightstar, Female Elf Paladin 3764

The Highlander Heroine finishes the new releases. She's warrior-born and wields a fierce, two-handed claymore. Her worn cloak and simple armor pieces are fringed with thick fur, and she wears her hair in a tribal braid. Like all the new Reaper Miniatures, she's a highly detailed mini ready for your greatest adventures.

Highlander Heroine 3765

If you're interested in more Reaper Miniatures, but sure to browse our Dark Elf Dice store. We currently have over 500 models to chose from.

Until next time fellow travelers! Live each and every day to the fullest, and make sure to have fun along the way.

January 10, 2017 — Shane Scarbrough
BattleHive II: Maxium Storage For Your Biggest Armies

BattleHive II: Maxium Storage For Your Biggest Armies

I fell in love with gaming miniatures not long after I first started playing Dungeons & Dragons. Back in those days, Ral Partha and Grenadier minis ruled the day. I can't recall how many driveways I had to shovel and how many lawns I had to cut, but within a few years I had amassed a respectable collection of miniatures: elves, dwarves, orcs and too many beasties to remember.

Miniatures Storage

Back then, there weren’t many options when it came to storing and transporting my miniatures. Grenadier sets came packaged in cardboard boxes with slotted foam (which was nice), but Ral Partha minis came in simple blister packs (just like Reaper Miniatures today). My only solution was to keep my collection in shoe boxes lined with tissue paper. Overall not a bad thing as long as the boxes were stored safely beneath my bed, but when it came time to transport my miniatures to my best friend’s house for a weekend of D&D, it truly became a nightmare. More than one paint job became chipped and damaged as my minis banged and crashed against each other on the car ride over.

BattleHive II

As far as miniatures storage goes, the good old days weren’t so good after all. Today’s gamers have a much wider variety of options available when it comes to safely protecting and transporting minis.


BattleHive II CaseOne of the more intriguing options is the BattleHive II manufactured by Crystal Caste. Yes, this storage solution isn’t for everyone, but if you have a big enough collection and the budget for such a large case, the BattleHive II is sweet.

We’ve been carrying the BattleHive II at Dark Elf Dice since we opened for business in 2005. The case is a specialty item to be sure, but we always try to keep a few in stock for the gamers that need one.

If you’re considering purchasing the BattleHive II, here are a few of the positives in my opinion:

  • If not the biggest, it’s definitely one of the biggest storage cases on today’s market. Great for large collections and entire armies.
  • Hard-shell case offering better overall protection than a soft-shell counterpart.
  • Has wheels and an attached tote handle for easier transportation.
  • Comes with 7 foam “pick and pluck” storage trays of different depths so gamers can customize different openings for specific miniatures.
  • Comes with an accessory tray for storing dice, tokens, pens, and whatnot.

Final Thoughts

The BattleHive II isn't inexpensive mind you, and the price has gone up over the years due to increased manufacturing costs. At the time of this article, the case is $124.95 + shipping. That said, you get a lot of bang for your buck with the BattleHive II, and depending on the size of your collection you may be able to fit all your miniatures in the case and save money by foregoing multiple, smaller cases (or shoe boxes).

That’s it for this week, fellow travelers! If you have any questions about the BattleHive II or any of the other miniatures storage cases we carry, be sure to ask. And as always, remember to make each and every day count. Live life to the fullest and game on.

BattleHive II Foam

BattleHive II Miniatures

December 10, 2016 — Shane Scarbrough
Thief Miniatures: 6 Awesome RPG Minis For Your Next Role Playing Game

Thief Miniatures: 6 Awesome RPG Minis For Your Next Role Playing Game

The thief is one of the most fun and challenging classes to play in Dungeons & Dragons and a host of other RPG games.

No matter what fantasy role playing game you play, the thief class is one of the stalwarts of the genre. Lots of players enjoy playing the thief. Whether roguishly charming or sneaky and stealthy, the thief relies on cunning and skill.

September 11, 2016 — Shane Scarbrough
Chronoscope Miniatures Are Out Of This World

Chronoscope Miniatures Are Out Of This World

Chronoscope miniatures offer something new for RPG gaming.

Back in the early days of table top role playing, RPGs were often referred to as "pen and paper" games. Game Master's would create fantasy worlds out of their imaginations, spinning epic tales and describing scenes in great detail. Players would share this vision, and chart the world their characters moved through on graph paper.

August 01, 2016 — Shane Scarbrough
Pathfinder Flip-Mats Are Flipping Awesome

Pathfinder Flip-Mats Are Flipping Awesome

Pathfinder Flip-Mats can add depth and richness to any fantasy RPG game.

When it comes to fantasy RPGs, there's been quite a few innovations over the years, and as a lifelong Game Master, I've always been interested in products that help suspend my players' disbelief. Fantasy role playing is all about the imagination after all, and anything that helps gamers visualize the world they adventure in is beneficial.

June 17, 2016 — Shane Scarbrough