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"Should I wash my gaming miniatures before painting them?" Topic

36 Posts

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27 Aug 2015 4:17 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board
  • Crossposted to Pre-Paint Preparation board

2,973 hits since 9 Apr 2015
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 5:27 a.m. PST

1) Yes, with soap, to get any oils, release agent or residue off
2) Yes, quick rinse of water only
3) No, I've never had a problem
4) No, I only paint miniatures for display so they never get handled after completion
5) I don't paint miniatures

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 5:29 a.m. PST


Charlie 12 Inactive Member09 Apr 2015 5:38 a.m. PST


John Armatys09 Apr 2015 5:39 a.m. PST

1 (they get rinsed hot water with a squeeze of washing up liquid).

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 5:47 a.m. PST


JimDuncanUK09 Apr 2015 5:48 a.m. PST

Plastic yes, metal no!

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 5:51 a.m. PST

1 Not only is there mold release goop, but I've thoroughly doused them with oils from my hands in the line removal/cleanup process.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 5:57 a.m. PST

Resin yes, metal and plastic no.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 5:57 a.m. PST

I often have a wash myself before painting minis.

Wash the figures, not so much.

377CSG Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 6:00 a.m. PST


Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 6:01 a.m. PST


Personal logo Condotta Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 6:02 a.m. PST


Ah ,the question that prompts endless discussion. Like most beliefs, I believe washing makes a difference because I can see the difference. There is all kind of debris and oils deposited on the miniature after I scrape, file and burnish that brushing alone does not remove. The contaminants must be removed by washing.

Mick in Switzerland09 Apr 2015 6:11 a.m. PST

3. I do not wash metal or hard plastic miniatures and this appears to be OK. These get undercoated with spray paint (GW Chaos Black).

I do wash Reaper Bones as they are undercoated by brush with standard acrylic paints.

I also wash resin castings because I have had problems in the past..

Rich Bliss09 Apr 2015 6:16 a.m. PST

I wash plastic and resin with dish soap and water. I rarely wash metals and if I do, I use alcohol.

Bob the Temple Builder09 Apr 2015 6:34 a.m. PST

I always wash metal figures before undercoating/priming them … and wash my hands after handing unpainted castings (the lead in figures is toxic).

Because I have greasy skin, I also wash my hands before I paint figures just in case I touch them.

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 6:53 a.m. PST

Yes iwash them in soapy water.

TunnelRat Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 7:00 a.m. PST

1. Wash with soapy water, then rinse & dry.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 7:03 a.m. PST

3 for metal, but 2 for plastic

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 7:08 a.m. PST

It used to be you were advised to soak your metal figures in vinegar to slightly etch them to allow primer to get a good hold. I haven't seen that advice in many years(better primers?).

However, since I have been making figures since 1981 and know exactly how many times they are exposed to talc and oil(human and sometimes machine) in the manufacturing process, I always clean figures in hot water and soap with an old toothbrush before priming.

But then, my legs are gray and my hair is bent.


RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member09 Apr 2015 7:19 a.m. PST

Plastic yes, metal no!

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member09 Apr 2015 8:20 a.m. PST

While I'm sure I should, I never do.

I don't really do plastic much, but it does help there.

Personal logo sneakgun Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 9:06 a.m. PST

6. I rinse metal in rubbing alcohol, and wash resin.

Dynaman878909 Apr 2015 9:16 a.m. PST

3 – unless they are really dirty for some reason.

Brian Bronson Inactive Member09 Apr 2015 10:04 a.m. PST

1 – all figures (metal, plastic, whatever) get washed in water with a bit of dish soap.

Mute Bystander Inactive Member09 Apr 2015 10:16 a.m. PST

Originally 3, now 1 (when I remember.)

Edit: I usually have to wash myself after painting figures.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 10:20 a.m. PST

I often have a wash myself before painting minis.

Wash the figures, not so much.

Speaking for myself, of course.

1), but with alcohol wipes.

Mute Bystander Inactive Member09 Apr 2015 11:53 a.m. PST

A Willie Wonka quote!

Happy Day!

CeruLucifus09 Apr 2015 12:47 p.m. PST

1 I scrub all figures in warm soapy water with an old toothbrush then let air dry before priming.

For years I never heard of washing, and a few figures from that era have had trouble with paint adherence. Since then, it seems like none do.

Of course, I can say the same about priming, and about varnishing.

Somewhere in there is a technique that does the trick.

Great War Ace Inactive Member09 Apr 2015 12:56 p.m. PST

Oh, you mean "wash" as in really clean something. Not, "given 'em a wash", as with sepia ink or similar.

I use a quick painting method called "the Sand People" method: prime with white (heavily), paint skin, wood and metal (and a horsey color if cavalry), heavily "wash" with sepia ink, finish bases, done.

So, 6) Wash with ink after priming. :)

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2015 1:43 p.m. PST

Resin yes, metal no unless they are clearly covered in something.

14Bore09 Apr 2015 3:20 p.m. PST


redbanner414509 Apr 2015 7:10 p.m. PST


goragrad09 Apr 2015 8:33 p.m. PST


Soap, water, toothbrush. I got a lot of my minis off ebay and who knows where they were and who/what they came in contact with…

Actually with oily skin I wash up prior to painting sessions as a standard practice.

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member09 Apr 2015 10:21 p.m. PST


Midgetmanifesto09 Apr 2015 11:35 p.m. PST

1 with Resin. I've had resin (I didn't paint but own) have paint flake off. Not sure what prep was or wasn't done.

1 with Bones. I read many horror stories about paint/primer never drying and they are pretty bendy… I don't think the paint needs any more disadvantages than that to try and stay on.

Everything else 3.

zippyfusenet Inactive Member11 Apr 2015 6:07 a.m. PST

1. Soapy water and toothbrush.

What could it hurt?

It brightens them up, and there's always crud rolling around in the bottom of the dishpan afterwards.

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