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Lead Rot


Morgramen
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I have been prowling Ebay latley, gathering up the OOP WotC 3E minis, and in my last purchase, a couple came in with patches of brownish-off colour on them. I gasped in horror! LEAD ROT! I says to myself. But then, there isn't supposed to be much lead in the minis anymore (as far as I know anyway).

 

Is this tin rot? Dimply discoloration? If it is some sort of mini disease, will it continue after it is painted and sealed? Will it affect any colouring or otherwise mungle the paint up?

 

On a similar note, I snagged an old Drizzt from the FR Heroes box set, and the recesses on him were all stained black, appearing almost as if it had been washed once or twice. I've seen this effect on minis in the past, and am curious what it might be??

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No surface area loss. It just looks like discolouration. I am worried about the mini becoming "soft". Drizzt's scimitars for example, are much "softer" and bend by looking at them. My original Drizzt is still holding up well.

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It's possible that second Drizzt is a recast and that's why you're having trouble with it. Lower quality metal, maybe? *shrug*

 

/ali

That is what I was thinking.. the metal is just a poor quality it seems.. and definately sounds recast IMHO.

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Morgy I would take those minis and give them a good bath in a nice good detergent soap and warm water. If it is lead rot, you will know as the metal will probably not stand up well to a bath. A couple years ago I got some lead minis in a box. It was a candy box and the minis were OLD. (I had no idea what lead rot was at this point.) I noticed discoloration on the minis and gave them a bath thinking the stuff was just dirt of some kind and would come off. Well on one of the minis the entire weapon came right off in the water because it was lead rot from being stashed in a box that wasn't acid free. I know this now and watch for such things. Oddly the other minis seemed to fare out better than that one, so maybe they had a different metal alloy used in them.

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Maybe lead rot 'picks on' only one fig at a time, with all the acid being drawn to the one fig already rotting. A garage sale netted me some pre 80's minis. and only 2 were appreciably lead rotted.

 

20% however had white spray primer i could not get off with brake fluid OR acetone soaks.

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Hey! It's not funny, it's... um... "stylized!" Yeah!

 

The discoloration could be release agent, or it might be from oil leeching out of the rubber molds (a normal occurence, especially with fairly new molds.)

 

It shouldn't be a problem with painting it, though. Definitely give it a washing-down to make sure it isn't corrosion; it can't do anything but help, anyway.

 

Also, the reason that some minis (especially older ones) are "soft," and others (usually newer ones) are brittle is due to the metallurgical composition of the pewter.

 

Pewter=Lead+Tin+Flux Agent

 

If there is a higher lead content, the metal is softer (doesn't break as easily, but bends). If there is a higher tin content, the metal is stiffer (holds shape, but can break easier). The material used as flux can have various effects.

 

Minis with high lead content tend to patina (turn black) over time. It sounds like Drizzit #2 is a little high in the lead department, which could mean that it's an early casting or a copy.

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If it's just a brown discoloration, I wouldn't worry. I have that a lot, on many figures. And none of them have fallen apart yet.

 

Surface oxidation will happen on lead-free minis, but it's not been a problem for me at all.

 

I've seen figs with a yellow cast, some with a darker grey cast, and some that have spots that look like coffee stains. None have gone 'bad' on me.

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I don't know about these models, but as an aside, Reaper Uses Talc as a release agent, and if the molds overheat, the Talc can burn and absorb into the metal instead of sliding off, discoloring those minis somewhat.

 

Is this what causes coppery 'stains' on some of the figures I've bought?

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