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Rust or discoloration??????


72moonglum
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Hi all,

so I was moving around some unpainted miniatures, shifting around things because our kid just moved so we were putting some things in his room instead of having way too much in a single room. I moved my painting table over into his room with a lamp and two chairs and while I was rummaging i was looking at one of my favorite boxes of miniatures, an unpainted set of Ral Partha Menzoberranzan that I've had for a few years but haven't had time to paint. As I opened them up, I got a pretty nasty surprise. They were pretty well discolored in some parts. So what I'm wondering is this actually just discoloration or is it actually rust, and in either case is there anything that I can do to stave off their imminent destruction? Would painting help or at least putting a coat of primer over them? Would that actually do anything or just hide the rust as it continued to get worse?

 

Also, while I was taking the picture to show this sorry situation, I also went over to some very old Citadel models I have and was wondering if anybody could tell me what was up with the white chalky stuff.

 

I'd really appreciate it!

 

Thanks,

Mark

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Aha! Partha Rot!

 

Remember when they switched out to Ralidium during the Lead Scare? Whatever mix of pewter they used, that is a telltale sign of the time. It's extremely common. In fact I use it when I'm hunting loose ones on eBay to help determine if they're genuine or recasts.

 

My Takhisis I recently got had a bad case of it. If you want to get rid of it, polishing with some Brasso or Silvo ought to do it. However, you can prime and paint right over it. It shouldn't actually impact the figure at all, it's just discoloration (the "rot" nickname aside).

 

Brasso and Silvo might not get rid of all of it, but it should at least scrub the surface so you don't have to worry about it affecting paint and primer. I didn't bother to polish Takky, I just primed right over it.

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That's a load off my miniature-obsessed mind! So it's not actually anything other than discoloration, at least for the Partha stuff? I can probably now go to bed and sleep with a clear conscience. Any idea about the Citadel stuff? Is that actually initial rot? I'm not as connected to those figures, just curious, but the Menzoberranzan stuff had me worried. Those are the worse cases of discoloring in the box, but all of them have it to some degree or another.

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So that was pretty depressing reading. At least though I've got a handle on the Citadel models and I hope it's not too late to save them, but sadly must still find the time to get them painted to prevent lead rot on them.

 

Here's the description:

 

The first step is to try to understand what Rot looks like. Some painters describe powdery discolouration ranging from green through brown and grey. However the most common description is of in a whitish grey surface ‘bloom’. In severe cases the surface of a miniature can actually be pitted and rough to the touch.

 

and the solution:

 

So what can you do to prevent the ‘rot’ setting in? Get painting! Once a model has been sealed properly with an undercoat (don’t forget the underside of the base) then no CO² can get to the surface and the chemical process cannot begin.

 

Thanks for the article!

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To be clear what they mean by priming, should/may also:

  • Avoid storing the minis in boxes with wood pulp (to include cardboard) as this accelerates the reaction
  • Clean the mini as prescribed
  • Prime OR Seal the mini (Sealer may technically be used as a primer, and has just a good a chance to avoid rot).

 

Regards,

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"Avoid storing the minis in boxes with wood pulp (to include cardboard) as this accelerates the reaction"

 

Would this include for example the old boxes that Grenadier miniatures used to come in? I've got a bunch of those just sitting in their boxes, and the Menzoberranzan set was in one of those boxes.

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Once again fully depressing. I've actually got my boxes stored in plastic bins so now I'll have to remove them from the boxes and separate them out in the bins. But will happily do so if that means keeping them from rusting and falling apart into dust, falling victim to the ravages of time.

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Is Reaper's alloy vulnerable to lead rot? Or is the lead content too low?

 

So far as I know, it's not. The P-65, maybe, but that's because of the lead carbonation. The only high-tin alloy I've seen get weird is the early Ralidium stuff. Say . . . 1993-1995. I don't see much of it in releases after that.

 

I've never seen tarnish on a Reaper mini, even some that have been stored in horrifically bad conditions for years. The exception is if you leave it in Simple Green to soak too long and it turns black.

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The Rallidium discoloration has been covered in depth, but I wrote some comments about lead rot in this thread you may find helpful:

http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/41632-prepping-lead-mini-questions/

 

BTW, it's acetic acid (vinegar) out-gassing from the wood or other material around the minis that starts the rot. Unfinished wood is the worst, then it depends on the type (softwoods more so than hardwoods.) So yes, paper boxes are bad...

 

BUT, not all lead rots. It depends on the metallurgy of the lead mixture. If you see rot starting (like the GW minis you posted) it's best to treat it if possible (see the thread I posted) and prime it all over to seal it completely (including the base.)

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I bought a set of dragons at GenCon. Old Ral Partha from 1986. I should have opened them there but as it was in the original box and shrinkwrap, I thought nothing of it. When I opened them at home they had pretty bad blooms all over. I washed with a scouring soap and a toothbrus, then I gently scrubbed with steel wool. Turned out fairly decent, though I did loose a little detail, just the sharpeness in some scales. They are primed and awaiting painting.

 

But now that I've read this thread, it got me to thinking about some of my old Grenadiers that I dug up last year that had been sitting in their original boxes for thirty or so years. I actually thought the white stuff on them was old primer, and since it was still on I painted over it. Oh well, it wasn't a display quality paint job, just nostalgia for some old really lame figures.

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I'd purchased a set of Star Frontiers space ships - sealed original package a couple of months back. One of the figures had a bad case of lead rot. Still, I cleaned it, primed it, then painted it as a derelict. It came out pretty well :)

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