Removing Candle wax from miniatures

A brief note here for future reference. Having had an accident at the weekend were a bunch of models (unpainted) got knocked into a puddle of spilled candle wax. The result was a bunch of miniatures seemingly ruined.

What to do?
- DO NOT do this for PVC miniatures (eg most boardgame minis)

  1. Get the miniatures out of the wax as soon as possible.
  2. Remove as much wax as you safely can (without damaging the paint etc)
  3. Put the models on kitchen towel and fold towel over top (help soak wax and prevent minis from flying all over the place). Use a hairdryer to gentle heat the model to remove any further excess wax. Be mindful of how powerful the hairdryer is!)
    1. You can be more aggressive with heating metal minis.
    2. Polystyrene has a Heat Distortion Temperature (HDT) of 95oC - at this temperature you need to be mindful the plastic will warp so go slowly!
    3. Paraffin Wax (the wax in most candles) has a melting point of 37-82oC depending on additives. Soy and Beeswax are similar. 
    4. PVC has an HDT of 57oC which is the reason to not do this for PVC miniatures.
  4. Let the miniatures slowly cool back to room temp. If you try and rush this it could worsen any warping and cause paint to lift off.
  5. At this point the miniatures should 'look' clean (albeit possibly a little shiny). If the minis are painted already I suggest leaving it here.
  6. If the models are not painted or are in the progress of being painted (you may want to reconsider painting your minis by candlelight for this and many other reasons - Carrots can only do so much to save your eyesight) you should move to the next step to try and remove the last bits of residue. If you don't do this the paint you apply after will likely not adhere to the surface.
  7. Vigorously stir the models into a pot of boiling water - this will help lift more wax off of the models. For Polystyrene models - leave only for a minute at most. 
  8. Remove the minis from water and leave to cool.
  9. With a tooth brush scrub the models in hot, soapy water to remove the last of the residue - you may need to do this several times to get rid of all the residue - especially with scented candles that have a lot of additives.
  10. Rinse thoroughly - again scrubbing with a toothbrush.
    1. Note that these last two stages are likely to take paint off of WIP minis - this is unfortunately a necessary evil as without it you will be painting onto a layer of wax that will cause excessive beading of paint and cause the paint to easily rub off.

One last piece of advice - use rattlecan primer. It has solvents in it that will help the paint adhere even if there is some residual trace residue.

- Raggy, signing out