Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I Was a Heavy Metal Stripper

One of the things I did over my Summer break was strip down all of my old lead alloy figures from the 1980s. They’d be about thirty years old now, are mostly Grenadier sculpts around 25mm scale, and bringing them back to life after years of dust and knocking about with variable plasterings of enamel paint became something of an addiction for me.
Skeletons, Tolkien, adventurers, orcs - a selection.
And I have to say, they turned out pretty well! It started with my previous forays into using Simple Green to strip my Mirkwood Elves. That was a worthwhile exercise, too, but required a lot of fiddly and sometimes messy follow-up as green stuff needed to be reapplied and repairs to be made after a gentle but rigid regime of bathing and brushing.
The old lead figures, on the other hand, proved pretty amenable to a Simple Green bath, with only a few exceptions, some notable:
1.       It seems my oldest figures needed more second or even third and fourth baths to remove the most stubborn primer coat. Possibly because of their age, or the thickness I may have been laying the paint on. No biggie, really.

2.       I did have two casualties – a Fantasy Lords warrior balanced on one foot, and a goblin posed similarly. Their snapped ankles probably speak more of years of wonky storage and more than a little enthusiasm in the toothbrush scrubbing (I was bveing careful, honest! But I’m occasionally a little klutzy)
3.       Some of the minis were stained, probably by the Simple Green. This caused them to go dark once stripped, and in some cases a tad grainy to the touch. These were in the minority and were largely older figures again. I did fret for a while that they might have had early signs of lead rot – fingers crossed they don’t, but hopefully some thorough sealing and painting will make them look presentable again.
It’s been a blast to do these, and extremely satisfying to look at the figures unpainted and still marvel at some of the sculpts – rendered without 3D printers or any of the modern paraphernalia. It seems a shame to even paint them again, but I will. And I’m really going to enjoy doing them!


  1. I have all but 2 of those figures! (most of them painted with a fairly typical 14 year old's skill). Maybe I should partake of a bath for them. With them. Whatever.

  2. Yep, thought you might be interested! :)