So, you have bought some minis used online or from a friend, and they are already painted. This is usually a bonus, but sometimes you'll buy something that is painted for a particular army color scheme, and it is different from what you had in mind or what your army already looks like. Well this can easily be fixed with one magic solution.
"Spray Nine" works very well on both metal and plastic minis, and is good around the house too! For real, this shit claims to destroy the herpes virus, and it's soft and gentle on your hands. You can get it for six dollars at Sobeys or Canadian Tire. The "Marine" type of spray nine also works. It won't corrode, or warp plastic, I have left minis in this stuff overnight and they were fine. I should mention though, the longer you soak them in the cleaner the higher probability of the glue breaking down and you may have to re-assemble some models. Depending on the type of paint that was used to paint the mini, you should only have to soak the figure in the cleaner for half an hour. If you are still having a hard time removing the paint, all you have to do is soak it longer or follow these steps repeatedly till it's all gone. I know it can be time consuming, but you want cheap mini's don't ya?
Tupperware container- Same set up as when you wash the minis, warm water and dish soap.
Toothbrush- For scrubbing paint off the figures.
Deep Container- Ice cream container works well, you just don't want a shallow one cause you want the mini's covered with the cleaner and you wont have to use as much.
Pointy tool- The one here is from a craft knife set I picked up for two dollars from the Dollar Store. You could use a file, modeling knife, paper clip, tooth pick, nail, whatever you can find that you don't think will scratch the model all up.
Place the models to be stripped into the ice cream bucket and pour in the Spray Nine till it starts to cover your models. Tilt the ice cream container to create a pool at one side and top up the cleaner till it completely covers the minis. If your not worried about wasting the cleaner you can just pour in half the bottle and let the minis soak for awhile. Once they have soaked for half an hour to an hour, grab your tooth brush and scrub the entire mini in the same manner as when you washed them in the previous step.
In all the detailed areas like vents, joints, grills and recesses, there may still be some paint left over that the toothbrush couldn't reach. This is where your pointy tool comes in. Get in there and start digging it out as best you can, running the toothbrush over it from time to time to help break down the paint in those stubborn areas. There are times when you will buy models that are already assembled and may be hard to reach some areas. If you don't get these areas completely cleaned up it's alright. More often than not these areas are hidden from view when people are looking at the figures on the table, and once you go over it with primer and lay some paint down, you will barely notice it, if you do at all. Once all the paint is removed the best you can, place the mini in the Tupperware container with warm water. Clean the tooth brush well in the sink and scrub the minis in the dish soap one last time. This is to ensure any cleaner residue is gone before you start spraying primer all over it.
I'll try to get the assembly entry up in a few days or less, I had a few legs from the bonejacks snap off on me while I was stripping the paint off them, so I have to figure out how to go about pinning them back on, and may just do a tutorial on model repair first. Until then happy modeling!