Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ultrasonic paint removal

So if you have been in the gaming hobby for long, you probably have either wanted to remove paint from something you painted while learning how to paint, or you have bought miniatures on eBay with the description of "Pro Painted".  Then this post is for you.  I often see people posting questions on forums asking how to remove paint.  This is what has been working well for me.

Option 1, Straight Super Clean.
Super Clean, I buy at from Wal-Mart for around $8.00 a gallon its in the automotive section.

It eats paint, superglue, and softens green stuff.  I has been safe to use on Plastic, Metal, and Resin models.  It does not de-bond plastic cement.

Use it warm (around 100-100 degrees) for faster results.  Or you can let it set in a covered container and soak.  You will still need a toothbrush to scrub off the small bits and recessed areas.


  • It eats paint, like on cars and walls, it probably would damage some types of counter tops.
  • It eats thin medical gloves.
  • It breaks down the oils in you skin and will dry you out, so wear heavy duty chemical gloves.
  • It can be reused I have a couple of rigid reusable coffee filters that I strain out the bits out paint with every once in a while.

Option 2, Ultrasonic cleaner with Super Clean

If you can get one of these on the cheap you should. Speaking of eBay, I picked this sucker up on the cheap ($65vs $400 + retail) on the good ole eBay.  This is a Spaulding & Rogers ultrasonic cleaner made for the tattoo industry.  It heats up and removes paint from models, I have been using Super Clean in this unit and it works great. I have found other medical grade equipment like this at a reasonable price online/eBay.
This thing does most of the work for you and really cleans the paint out of the small detail areas very well.

For those that have asked or will ask, the specs on this unit are.


  1. I hope this doesn't apply to 'Museum Quality' paint jobs as well...

  2. Nah, I haven't seen any "Museum Quality" on eBay yet that I would automatically strip.

  3. LOL! Awesome! That "pro painted' description had me laughing! Just yesterday while scavenging through e-bay I found plenty of 'pro painted' examples I wouldn't say would even qualify as 'cake topper' grade! (I did find some true gems though, but they were indeed diamonds in the rough). BTW: for those in doubt, I have witnessed Warfrog's work with this stuff and it is indeed impressive! The best I've seen yet.

  4. Not the same product I had on my blog. It was "brake fluid" not a cleaner, just had the same name and was made by Castrol. I've checked my autostore and Castrol has dropped the "Super Clean" from their product. Its just now "advanced brake fluid". But it does the job. A good soak for about 24 hours and a little brushing the paint comes off. Does not attack the super glue, plastic glue, or the plastic itself. Plus, you don't have to worry about it damaging other things on your workspace (yes, I've had a couple of spills). Hope this helps. From Musings of Scenery Builder

  5. do you still have to scrub the models when they come out of that ultrasonic cleaner unit?

  6. Hey there warfrog, welcome back :) just wondering, what is the capacity on your ultrasonic cleaner
    there, as i am looking into buying one myself :)

    Many thanks for the awesome tutorials and keep up the great work :)