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Flow

Restoring Old Mini's with Bead Blasting

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I just think this is neat, and so had to share.

 

I recently picked up an awesome old set, Dragon's Lair, from Grenadier. This is from the early 80's. I had the set way back when, and never finished it. As a kid, I think I was just too daunted by its size and just didn't know how to approach it. Somehow it was lost over the years (no memory of how - just, it's gone!).

 

I was happy to nail this complete set recently on Ebay. It had some oxidation from the years. My father has a very nice work garage which includes a bead blasting machine - this thing takes tiny little glass beads and fires them under pressure at the target. It's really good at cleaning off old residue/paint/oxidation but does not appear to damage the metal of the minis itself.

 

Below are before and after pictures, including a photo of the mini in the bead blaster itself. The outcome is that the mini is darn near new - it does have some unfortunate gaps here or there from corrosion, but those should be patchable through gap filler.

 

I love this machine. :D

 

dragonslair_small.jpg

 

dragonslair_blast.jpg

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Um. Wow. That looks pretty clean. Is there a "before" image?

 

I wonder if there's a commercial bead blaster local to me...

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My best friend's older brother painted that and I think won a competition with it back when it came out. I ended up with one of the hatchlings for my elven mage/thief's pseudo dragon familiar.

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I had that set at one time myself. Never managed to assemble it properly. The wings kept crippling under their own weight. I'm somewhat amazed your bead blasting didn't completely vaporize that soft lead.

 

Come to think of it I might have the pieces bagged and stored in a box somewhere. I have too many other models to finish first before I go looking for that one, though.

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The first one is the "before" - I wish I had taken one of better quality. Take a close look at the skin on the wings before and after, as well as those eggs. There's an ashen covering of oxidation that was discoloring it. Now the thing is a lovely silver all over.

 

I did do the bead blasting with a pretty mild abrasive and with lower-ish air pressure. It really does seem to do a good job!

 

I am tempted to make a go with this thing for Reaper's end-of-year dragon contest. Assembly is likely to be rough. :ph34r:

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I'm really wishing I had taken better "before" pictures!

 

Here is a smallish one of its head before, and then a closeup of after. It's really shiny, now.

 

Before:

dragonslairhead_1.jpg

 

After:

 

dragonslairhead_2.jpg

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Just pin it really well, glue, wait til dry, greenstuff it. Then go for it. We may have to start a thread. See below your quote:

 

It scares me almost as much as it did when I was 12 - but I'll likely give it a shot. :bday:

 

I'm pretty scared right now by some old, OOP GW Chaos models I'm painting for my Warlord army. The pics of them painted on the web scare the hell out of me, but I'm trying to nut up and just do it.

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I'm not sure how the machine works, but I'm a little concerned for you- if the model is lead and you are essentially sending tiny particles of lead around, that could be bad!

Also the "oxidation" could be lead rot. Harmful if touched!

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I'm not sure how the machine works, but I'm a little concerned for you- if the model is lead and you are essentially sending tiny particles of lead around, that could be bad!

Also the "oxidation" could be lead rot. Harmful if touched!

 

This is a good point. It's "mostly" safe; you wouldn't want to breath the tiny glass beads either, and they are also whipped up into the air. The bead blaster though is in an enclosed chamber (note the puffed up gloves in the center photo). So, it is all contained.

 

As an extra precaution, when taking the model out I generally quickly take a breath and hold it before opening the chamber, so that I'm not breathing in dust. I want to keep my lungs functioning. :bday:

Edited by Flow

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