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Technique question: bending white metal back to shape


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I just got Frulla Krung (02622) and her axe is bent.  (I've seen her for sale in a shop years ago with the same condition so kind of expected it.) 

She's Reaper's white metal (which I know is mostly tin but I'm not sure if it's technically "lead-free pewter" or not), so is there any advice out there on how to bend this tin alloy back into shape while reducing the stress on the metal?  Like boiling it or rubbing it or using a hair dryer, or anything like that?  I want to reduce the chance of breaking as much as possible when I straighten it out.  I've bent a few pieces back into shape in the past with general applied force, but I'm always worried about breaking. 

 

I wasn't quite sure where to put this question.  It seemed general enough though, and seems like it would be a frequent question, but I didn't find a topic about it. 

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White metal is easily bent back in place with just using your fingers. No tools needed.

 

Just take the part & slowly move it so it's straighten out. You'll hear a slight cracking but that just normal. Just don't go back & forth with the piece or you'll make the area weak & you'll end up breaking the piece. Unlike plastic, metal stays where you put it, so no need for water baths or anything like that. Just check your progress to get it realigned & such. The shaft on that axe is a thick part so you shouldn't break it off doing this.

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All of the pewter Reaper uses now is lead-free, so no worries there (unless you find an older model from the P-65 line, but you'd only get that from a outside seller).

 

Heating up the metal isn't going to help you reposition it, unlike with the Bones plastic. The temperature you'd need to heat it up to is too high (much higher than boiling water) and because a miniature is so small, using any type of heat (which I'd never recommend) is going to disperse the heat across the entire mini instead of just the part you want to bend. So, that option isn't going to work, and if you did get it to a temperature that would work, you might burn yourself badly.

 

I'm not sure how the axe is bent for you, but for this model I would attempt this; get something like a popsicle stick and hold it at the position you want to bend the axe back to; this way, when you press on it, you have something to stop the axe from over-bending once you get it where you want it. From here, you can either slowly start gently pressing the axe at the area where it is least bent, and progressively press higher and higher up the warp until you get it into position. Or, you can gently press from the area of where it's most warped and slowly move it back until it hits your popsicle stick/position stopper. The second option, from my experience, is likely to help you pick up an additional warp in another direction, but sometimes it works out ok.

 

Just remember to go slow, and take your time. You push too hard or go too quickly, especially where it may be thin, and you'll likely snap it off. And you can always use another popsicle stick or something else to push with, you don't have to use your finger.

 

That's how I'd do it. Hope it helps.

 

-MvM

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2 minutes ago, haldir said:

White metal is easily bent back in place with just using your fingers. No tools needed.

 

Just take the part & slowly move it so it's straighten out. You'll hear a slight cracking but that just normal. Just don't go back & forth with the piece or you'll make the area weak & you'll end up breaking the piece. Unlike plastic, metal stays where you put it, so no need for water baths or anything like that. Just check your progress to get it realigned & such. The shaft on that axe is a thick part so you shouldn't break it off doing this.

Warming it up can make it easier to reposition, a lot of that depends upon the temp your work area is in. Sitting it in front of a heater or the like where you can handle the temp bare handed can help with getting it to move more easily, and if it's to cold the metal is more brittle and can break on you.

 

I tend to leave it sitting on the mesh I have over the heating/cooling vent for a bit before I work it or wash it in warm water first, getting everything done at the same time there.

 

While it's summer in a lot of areas, if it's cold, make sure the metal is at least to body temp before trying to bend it back.

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31 minutes ago, ManvsMini said:

All of the pewter Reaper uses now is lead-free, so no worries there (unless you find an older model from the P-65 line, but you'd only get that from a outside seller).

 

Heating up the metal isn't going to help you reposition it, unlike with the Bones plastic. The temperature you'd need to heat it up to is too high (much higher than boiling water) and because a miniature is so small, using any type of heat (which I'd never recommend) is going to disperse the heat across the entire mini instead of just the part you want to bend. So, that option isn't going to work, and if you did get it to a temperature that would work, you might burn yourself badly.

 

I'm not sure how the axe is bent for you, but for this model I would attempt this; get something like a popsicle stick and hold it at the position you want to bend the axe back to; this way, when you press on it, you have something to stop the axe from over-bending once you get it where you want it. From here, you can either slowly start gently pressing the axe at the area where it is least bent, and progressively press higher and higher up the warp until you get it into position. Or, you can gently press from the area of where it's most warped and slowly move it back until it hits your popsicle stick/position stopper. The second option, from my experience, is likely to help you pick up an additional warp in another direction, but sometimes it works out ok.

 

Just remember to go slow, and take your time. You push too hard or go too quickly, especially where it may be thin, and you'll likely snap it off. And you can always use another popsicle stick or something else to push with, you don't have to use your finger.

 

That's how I'd do it. Hope it helps.

 

-MvM


I wasn't suggesting that my Reaper miniatures have lead in them.  I know they're lead-free.  I was actually saying I wasn't sure if it was "lead-free pewter" because I don't know what exact metal composition qualifies as "lead-free pewter."  I know Reaper miniatures are a lead-free white metal alloy, but their product listings do not specify the alloy.  I was just being pedantic about the distinction of "lead-free pewter."  I do sometimes buy Reaper miniatures through retailers, as I did in this case, but they're not P-65.  🙂

Anyway, I bent the axe into proper shape relatively easily while I washed the miniature under hot water as part of the general miniature pre-prime cleaning, so I was like, "Well, I didn't need to ask on the forum after all." 

But then I tried to bend the legs of Bat Demon (#03747) so he wasn't leaning back so much, and I heard that crackling noise so I stopped.  If the crackling noise is normal, as @haldir said, I'll try again.  My Bat Demon leans back so much on his built-in base that he looks like he's surfing.  I'm planning on putting him on a round base anyway though, so if I get worried about breaking his legs while bending them, I'll just angle the base when I mount it so he's standing up-right instead.  I'll try bending Bat Demon again before I chicken-out though. 

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Update: I bent my Bat Demon's legs so he stands straighter.  They crackled twice while I was bending them, and it was very concerning.  I did not want to risk a third crackling as his ankles look pretty thin and I've had metal minis break at the ankle before.  But he's straight enough now that I don't plan to base him at an angle to off-set. 

Edited by Wolf Munroe
Word I typed was not as intended. (Typo.)
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Reaper and other companies use the moniker 'White Metal' because 'pewter' is often associated with Lead.

The fact is that Pewter isn't one specific alloy, it's a name used to describe many Tin alloys, even some without Lead in them. 

 

Lead in the mix will soften the metal(none of those crunchies when bending back parts) and also lower the melting temperature.   

Lower melting temperature means they can get away with narrower relief channels in the molds, and they also last longer.   

It's also cheaper than an 'unleaded' alloy.    

but Lead has... issues... and Reaper understandably doesn't want to be associated with those issues.    

 

 

 

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