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Flow

Restoring Old Mini's with Bead Blasting

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A long time buddy of mine dug up some 1980's miniatures he had buried in a back room. He hadn't touched these things in over twenty years, and so he gave them to me. I've a big bag of them - some of them are definitely 'keepers' (I'm looking at you, Umber Hulk!).

 

I tried out the bead blasting on a few of them and thought I'd share a before and after shot. Bead blasting all seven or so of these miniatures really only took 10-15 minutes or so. It is extremely quick.

 

The cockatrice isn't shown in the 'after' because I realized it had a broken wing and so didn't bother.

 

YE5e8P2.jpg

Edited by Flow
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What is bead blasting? Those afters look pretty new.

Media blasting (be it sand, bead, or walnut shell) is done in a machine that uses compressed air to shoot out bajillions (yes, it's a technical term) of tiny particles at high speeds. It strips paint and shines up metal...things (another technical term) really well. It also etches softer materials.

 

Honestly, if those minis are from the early 80s, I'm surprised they didn't get etched. What's the lead % in them?

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To clean and prep some parts and panels you'd need to be able to blast both "muck metal" and lead solder without displacing or scouring it, so I'm just assuming there are machines that handle that?

 

Lead dust, even from oxide, is not a threat to adults (usually!) but can be very bad for kids. Washing with a laundry detergent with phosphate in it chemically neutralises any tiny traces of the stuff.

 

I'm guessing from the shine that these are a lead-tin alloy of some sort.

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Huh, I also would have thought that the soft metal of the time those were made would have been more susceptible to losing detail in that process. I how well dry ice blasting would work (the least damaging form of media blasting).

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