repaint miniatures and models

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Re-painting used model is an inexpensive way to improve your painting skills and expand your miniature or model kit collection. 

If you’re asking whether you can repaint your painted miniatures and models, the simple answer is yes. You can either repaint over the existing paint or, strip the model or the miniature and then repaint it.

Should you repaint painted miniatures and models?

Why not?

If you’re a beginner painter, you will want to practice your painting skills. Models and miniature kits can be expensive, and you may don’t want to spend much just to practice and not get good results. 

Repainting painted minis and models will help you save money by buying fewer kits. 

You can repaint over existing paint, but you may lose some details

It’s okay to repaint painted models. 

The only issue with repainting painted miniatures and models is that multiple layers of paint will start to clog and cover up details on your kit.

If you manage to lay some thin layers, you still won’t be sure of getting precise details on the kit. The best way to preserve the details of your kit is to strip the paint before repainting.  

What if I want to paint over the existing paint, will I need a primer?

Priming is an essential step that ensures paint adheres well to your kit’s surface. 

Still, if the current paint has a smooth and clean surface, you probably won’t need a primer. 

A primer will only come in handy if the painted miniature has bare areas that need painting to get a showroom display

On the other hand, if the paint you which to apply matches the old paint, you won’t need to prime over the existing paint. 

I always prefer to strip paint from minis or models

Stripping old paint gives the model a nice, clean slate to start painting on. 

However, whether or not you strip the model will depend on the type of paint used, the condition of your kit, and the desired effect.  

Notwithstanding these factors, it is usually best to strip old paint off your kit before repainting it. This ensures that the new paint will adhere properly and will create a smooth, even finish

Stripping Paint Off Your Miniature Wont Be That Easy! (But Not Much Harder)

What to use to strip paint off miniatures and models

You can use a variety of methods to strip paint. However, the most common is chemical solvents, ultrasonic cleaners, and ethanol. 

Chemical solvent 

While the word chemical might seem hazardous, chemical solvents are toxic-free cleaning agents. A good example of a chemical solvent is cleaning detergents like Simple Green. 

They help you strip old paint by emulsifying or dissolving the paint. 

All you need do is suspend the kit water so the paint comes off easily. However, this process might take a while. 

Ultrasonic cleaner

If you don’t want to spend hours removing old paint from your minis, an ultrasonic cleaner helps you strip the paint faster. 

However, this stripping gear might pose safety risks since the chemical used in producing the cleaners are toxic. So, when used, some chemicals will vaporize and cause harm when inhaled. Ensure you have proper ventilation before using this solvent. 

Ethanol (Alcohol)

You can also use ethanol to strip paints. However, make sure you use them in heat free environment. 

Ethanols are flammable when used in a hot place and in high concentrations. 

Easily strip paint from painted minis and models 

What You Need:

  • A used kit with some old paint 
  • Bowl
  • An old toothbrush for scrubbing
  • Toothpicks to help you reach hard-to-reach corners
  • Towels 
  • Gloves
  • Stripping solvent
  • fine-grit sandpaper (optional)

The Process:

  • Soak the model in the chemical solvent for 3-8 hours or a full day. For acetone or an ultrasonic cleaner, you don’t want to leave them for more than five hours. Chemical solvents won’t harm the miniature no matter how long you leave them in it, but acetone and ultrasonic cleaners will. 
  • Then, scrub the paint off the model with an old toothbrush to loosen the paint.
  • Rinse your kit under and allow it to air dry.
  • Repeat the process until you get most of the paint out. 
  • Use sandpaper to smoothen the miniature surface, rinse and leave to dry before painting the model.

Most model and miniature acrylics will remove easily

Whether the old paint on the model is from Citadel, Vallejo, Tamiya, or Testors brand, getting the paint off is necessary. 

You can easily remove Vallejo, Testors, and Citadel paint on plastic models, whether you own a plastic, resin, or metal mini. 

Meanwhile, Tamiya paints might be tricky to remove, especially if the old paints are alcohol-based acrylics. 

You’ll need to ensure that the bowl used to soak kits is tightly fitted, especially when using ultrasonic cleaner or acetone. This way, they don’t dry easily. On the other hand, used for long hours, these solvents may wrap your kit, especially if they are plastic models. 

Don’t strip a resin miniature! repaint over the existing paint

Pretty much all miniatures and models are made from plastic, resin, and metal materials. So, it doesn’t matter what material your kit is made from. You can repaint them. 

However, in the case of repainting resin models, you should paint over the old paint job to avoid damaging the miniature’s surface.  

Resin miniatures have a rough surface texture that makes stripping paints off difficult, especially when the old paint is acrylic. Even strong chemical solvents will have trouble removing old paint from resin without damaging the material. 

Pro Advice: Don’t paint your first-ever mini. Keep it as a reminder of your progress and improvement over time

While it’s possible to repaint your old and used kits, you should keep your very first model. 

When you feel your skills are undeveloped, it will be cool to look back to your first and see the improvement.

 Keeping your first-ever mini helps you better appreciate your resilience so you know how far you’ve gone and gain a sense of satisfaction. 

A Step-By-Step Guide For Stripping Paint Off Miniatures To Repaint Them

You can repaint Warhammer models

You can repaint your Warhammer model, whether a Black Templars Castellan or Venerable Dreadnought, but you may need to strip the old paint first. 

Warhammer models are small figures. So, repainting them means the little details will get more and more obscured.

You can repaint DnD models

As long as the paint on your DnD model is not thick so that details aren’t lost, you can repaint them, especially if the model you own is made from metal. 

In fact, you won’t have any real issues repainting them. But, you might have to strip old paints if the kit is painted in thick layers. 

You can repaint 3D-printed models

3D-printed models are made from plastic materials. 

You can repaint them, but you’ll need to strip the old paint to preserve their details. 

Can you repaint diecast models?

If you have an old 1/18 Maisto Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder in your collection and want to repaint it, you can. 

Diecast models have a metal frame so stripping the paint isn’t really necessary. Repainting the model won’t cover up details on metal kits. 

Conclusion 

If you’re trying to expand your tabletop and scale model collection but want to save money, buying used kits is a great way to learn more about the model. 

The issue with used models is that most used models come painted and won’t always look nice on display, especially since paints on used models often come in a state of disrepair. 

You’re probably pondering whether you can repaint your used models and minis. You’ll be surprised.