I find that even if you gloss varnish and then matt varnish (this is a recommended approach) that the paint will still gets knocked off of the exposed edges (weapons, hats and horses tails seem to take the punishment) of figures that are regularly used for gaming. It is very difficult to avoid handling figures even when you use large bases. The storage baxes help but they are not 100%.
to get paint off, I am told Mr Muscle oven cleaner. Use a plastic bag, put the mini, plus the oven cleaner in the bag. leave overnight, then wash out in the sink, using an old toothbrush to get the stubbourn stuff off; inverting the bag to hold the mini, and not get the rather nasty oven cleaner on you. I haven't tried this method myself, but Steve Welch reckons it to have good results. As for protecting your paint job. Make sure you primed the mini well, and after painting give a good coat of varnish. Remember that even with this, severe knocks could still chip the paint, so store in a suitable container, like army boxes from Figures in Comfort, or KM. Cranfield has a good selection, from squad size to full on battle hive! Dave
Made a beginners mistake, that I can laugh at now. Wanted to strip the paint on my LOTOW Hero, Joshua Hex, because I wasn't happy with the way he turned out. What slipped my mind was that I had a plastic base and dipped him into a nail polish remover with acetone, duuuuh. The paint still sticks but the base has melted kind of instead! Tried solution no. 2, oven cleaner which worked better, but now I have to rebase him on a 2p coin instead. Well, I try to learn from my mistakes.
"Who knows what Evil lurks in the hearts of men? Only The Shadow knows. Ha ha ha ha!!"
Scrub and rinse the minis in Dettol to remove the paint though. Don't be tempted to rinse the brush or mini with water until you are happy with the level of paint removal. Water will cause any paint left on the mini to begin to harden up again.
Dettol is safe and gentle on plastics, I stripped a large plastic warjack using Dettol with no issues.
However, just be sure you don't leave anything pushing into the plastic mini/base while it is soaking in the Dettol as that will mark it up a little. I had piled a load of minis higgledy-piggledy into a jar full of Dettol and the bases of the minis sustained some slight marks where the edges of metal minis had sat on them overnight.
Tabletop wargames: Age of Sigmar, WH40k, Force on Force, Malifaux, Infinity RPGs: D&D 5e, Pathfinder (1e & 2e)
Hmmm - I've always wondered about getting paint off plastics - as long as people are 100% assured that the plastic would be ok I might give dettol a go. However for metals nothing works as well as Nitromors. Evil stuff but very effective. Tip: you will have to wear gloves and make sure that you don't get it on your hands as it reacts exothermically to water when you rinse it off. Ooh I was in agony!