So I got a pot of Army Painter dip
I did the dip-and-rip method in this video:
My Grenadier hireling did okay - he's looking pretty good after the dip. He was a test run - I knew the mini was just primed, quickly base-coated and didn't have a lot of detail work to worry about. Plus he's lead and old, so I wanted him sealed tight and strong to stand up to table use.
My old AD&D Minis ogre - well, not so well. The base he was on cracked under the force of my third or fourth swing and broke off and slipped out of the pliers. He hit the ground, bounced, and ended up in a pile of dirt, fluff, fuzz, and bits of flower petals. Ugh.
I took it upstairs and washed it off as best I could, but the varnish set well enough that a little dirt clung to it, but not enough for a good, rich wash. Oh well. We'll see how it comes out when it dries. It's not a favorite mini (I'm not experimenting on my favorites) but I'd tell you to lock the pliers onto the integral base of a mini, not the glued-on base. Next time I'll spread a wide cloth, just in case.
I hope this works as advertised - if so, my next minis will be some Warhammer plastics and some old RAFM lead I'd like to have table-ready.