Monthly archives "February 2016"

Lead Rot Cleaning Pt.2 – episode 4

Third Episode Here

This is one of the “bad cases” of lead rot:

The legs and part of the weapon are gone, nothing to save… However cleaning up the remains will permit to restore or use the body for a conversion.

After cleaning up one of the horns needs to be strengthened and restored with some epoxy putty because the rot chewed through it, near its base.

The weapon can be restored by adding a blade or the head of an hammer, while the legs need some sculpting or getting a part from some other miniature.

I’m offering a miniatures cleaning and restoration service, in case you’re interested.

Fifth Episode here


Lead Rot Cleaning Pt.2 – episode 3

Second Episode Here

Here’s another miniature cleaned from lead rot:

Here also the damage was superficial. After the cleaning few areas still showed a bit of damage:

-Some superficial crackles on the sword’s blade. This can be left here, for a “old and rusty” look, or filled with a thin layer of liquid putty.

-Other light crackles on the robe, figure’s left side. After painting they will give the robe a tattered look, or they can also be filled with liquid putty.

-The base frontal section, the pointed part, has a deeper crackle that weakens it, I poured an half drop of cyanoacrylate and that strengthened it back.

I’m offering a miniatures cleaning and restoration service, in case you’re interested.

Fourth Episode Here


Lead Rot Cleaning Pt.2 – episode 2

First Episode Here

Here’s another mini that underwent the process of lead rot removal:

The results are good, there were only minor areas covered by rot, so no loss of details, those were the parts affected and the outcome:

-The back of the greaves shows some jagged edges, it will give them a more “used” look.

-There’s damage on the left leg that can be easily fixed with some epoxy putty where the lead rot chewed in.

-Unfortunately the sword was kept together by the oxide and the blade detached, you can see it on the ground, below the figure. It will be reattached or a substitute will be used.

-The left foot shows a deep crackle after the process, it was previously hidden by the oxidation layer. The more effective way to deal with this is probably to just pour some fluid cyanoacrylate  in it and let consolidate.

-The sheath on the right hip will require another small bit of epoxy to fill another fissure and make it smoother.

I’m offering a miniatures cleaning and restoration service, in case you’re interested.

Third Episode Here

Dwarves size and proportions

This will show some different dwarfs (or dwarves 😉 ) side-by-side, just as a quick reference and to highlight differences in proportions.

Quick scale note: A miniatures range scale is commonly defined by the height of an average sized human figure, usually from ground to eyes level (it should be 1.61 m). This at least is the method commonly used for wargaming minis. The following are dwarves, keep in mind that a dwarf height, compared to a human, can vary between different lines and manufacturers. Maybe I’ll do a more precise human-sized only figures comparison in the future (with a lot more manufacturers, also!).

A group picture:

The Minis Museum - Dwarves Proportions 00

Producers from left: Ral Partha (80s), Games Workshop/Citadel* (80s), Asgard (80s), Grenadier (80s), Marauder (90s), Wizards of the Coast (2000s), Rackham (2000s)

-On the left there are 2 Ral Partha figures from the 80s, proportions are more realistic than other sculpts, as always for Ral Partha minis. Strictly 25mm scale.

-Then an Asgard figure also from the 80s, proportions are more exaggerated (or Citadel-esque style), but not too much. I would say also a 25mm, I don’t have a lot of human-sized figures for reference and comparison with other manufacturers.

-Grenadier by Nick Lund, (I really like it) also from  the 80s, Dwarf Fantasy Warriors Battleset, heroic but realistic proportions. Scale is 25-28mm, this figure is hunched, scale of Grenadier’s ranges varies a bit between the early models and the Fantasy Warriors range, going more or less from 25 to 25/28mm).

-Marauder Miniatures from the early 90s, basically the same very nice exaggerated proportions as Citadel minis. Scale is the same as late Citadel minis, commonly referred to as 25-28mm.

-Wizards of the Coast, Dnd 3.5 mini, Tordek the Fighter, proportions similar to Grenadier, slightly larger scale (around 28mm).

-Rackham Confrontation, a Tir-Na-Bor standard bearer with no standard (sorry), proportions of dwarves for Rackham are unique and peculiar, scale is more toward the 32mm heroic.

That’s all for now, one more thing: the plastic bases are used to keep more or less the same feet level for all the figures, I forgot to reverse the base on the Asgard minis, so its eyes level should be more in line with Ral Partha’s.

*Big thanks to Mark, for correctly identifying this little guy!

Lead Rot Cleaning Pt.2 – episode 1

Finally I’ve cleaned some other figures of lead rot…

the results of course depend a lot on the oxidation depth. (If you missed the first article, explaining the process, it’s here)

However in most cases the affected miniature can easily restored after the electrolytic reduction process.

I will show the result in a series of videos that I’ll publish in a few episodes, let’s get to the first:

A nice figure, characterized face… I would say a early gnoll or a goblin, with hide armor and a club, later I’ll do some research to identify it (him)

The damage done by the oxidation to the overall miniature surfaces is minimal, after treatment the metal is compact and without fissures or crackles.

Only one part will need further intervention: the right leg. It appears the oxidation attacked the base of the legs, specifically the right one, practically chewing through. Luckily the figure’s club sustains it, so the excessive stress put on the left leg (also slightly damaged) didn’t break it.

A small amount of green stuff will complete the restoration, the figure will then be ready for priming (and painting!).

I’m offering a miniatures cleaning and restoration service, in case you’re interested.

Second Episode


Old Base Removal and cleaning

Why would you want to remove old bases from your miniatures?

REPLACEMENT: In my case I find old miniatures basing, often handmade with cardboard or cheap plastic, quite ugly… I don’t like it, maybe because I prefer to see thicker, wooden bases with interesting profiles, like those on exhibition minis, or just something more “consistent”.

Common black plastic slotted bases are better than a thin layer with fragile corners, they’re also nicer when painted and completed with accessories. I think a good base has to show clean and sharp edges (or be round), and it’s better to have a clear distinction between the miniature’s feet level and the plane where the mini is placed. …Unless it’s possible to have the mini’s feet level the same as the surrounding “environment”, like in a diorama.

IDENTIFICATION: Sometimes, I just want to see under the original base or on the metal strip side if there’s some manufacturer/year indication, to help me identify the miniature. This is the case when the cleaning process described here will be most useful.

Anyway, here is an example of some (in my opinion) ugly bases:

MinisMuseum-Old Bases Removal-bad bases example

Bad bases example

Old miniatures (preslotta) are more easily affected by bad basing jobs, mainly because the original bases were kept as small as possible to limit metal costs. This, of course, doesn’t help the steadiness of said figures, desperately needing larger bases to keep a firm standing position.

I’ve found preslotta Citadel/GW, Grenadier, Alternative Armies, etc. etc. attached to plastic, cardboard, thin wood, papier-mâché and other similar materials.

The removal and cleaning process is easy and straightforward, those are some of the tools you can use, plus Acetone:

MinisMuseum-Old Bases Removal-overview

Tools and overview

-a Toothbrush: an old one you’re not using any more or a new one you will not use for your personal care. Any plastic brush will do the job, better if the bristles are short and rigid, to better scratch the surfaces to be cleaned. Materials other than plastic could also do the job, of course they have to be softer than the pewter or lead the minis are made of, not to damage them.

Cyanoacrylate Debonder: practically all bases I have removed are glued with cyanoacrylate, so the debonder is a must. I am talking about the commercially available specific debonders, not containing acetone or solvents. Should be mainly constituted bu gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and have a lot of different industrial and commercial uses (plus other, less healthy ones). They will transform the cyanoacrylate into a transparent/yellowish rubber-like substance, easy to remove.

This alone will make easy to remove slotta bases, it will also make those bases plastic soft and brittle.

The few bases I’ve found glued with polyvinyl acetate (aka PVA or white glue) were easy to detach, if you have problem you can try (in order): – Putting the mini in warm water for a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the base size/material (water should soften the glue). – Use acetic acid or vinegar. -Heat the base, at some point the white glue should become brittle. Use caution and an hairdryer before trying an heat gun or flames…

-some other Precision Tool: for lifting broken bases parts or (with caution) clean the individual manufacturer’s letters; it’s mainly used for removal of “converted” cyanoacrylate from difficult places.

Acetone: used for cleaning thin layers of hard cyanoacrylate  or large quantities already “converted” by the debonder.

-A rubber mat or something similar, like the bottom of some mouse pads, a piece of a tire’s air chamber, an eraser or just your finger. This will be used to rub off thick layers of converted cyanoacrylate.


The process is easy:

1. Remove the larger parts of the bases (normally by breaking it). For old cardboard or plastic it’s usually sufficient to lay the mini on a side and apply pressure under the mini’s original/metal base with your thumbs, while holding the unwanted base’s sides or corners. This will break the “bad” base and leave the original one. If the unwanted base is too hard you can use a pair of pliers or some other tool to help, just be careful not to damage the mini and the original base.

MinisMuseum-Old Bases Removal-example bases

Old bases removed

2. Under the miniature metal base there will be remains of cardboard, wood, plastic or whatever material the old base was made of. If these remains are very thick, or if the material isn’t porous (like plastic, for example), try to remove what you can by hand. It’s better if you’ll be able to see the cyanoacrylate layer, or the original base, at least in a small portion of the area to be cleaned. Place the mini upside down, with the bottom of the base as horizontal as possible. This can be done by using two boxes, old books, packaging material, or other small items of the right size. Keep in mind that they could be stained or damaged by the debonding agent if it will drip. Put a drop or two of debonding agent on top of the base to be clean and leave it there for a few minutes (the debonder will not dry up, so you’re not in a hurry).

MinisMuseum-Old Bases Removal-after a bit of work

…after a bit of work…

3. The “converted” cyanoacrylate should now have a rubbery consistency. Now it should be possible to remove almost all the old base’s material by hand or gently using your tool of choice. After that, rub the base with a rubber object (or the finger) to remove all the cyanoacrylate you can. If the cyanoacrylate is still too hard, repeat step 2.

4. Use the acetone and the tooth brush to remove what’s left of the cyanoacrylate and you should be able to completely clean the surface and read the original manufacturer’s name and/or other relevant info. Be careful with acetone, don’t inhale the vapors and use some gloves, if possible (many materials will not last long and your skin will get irritated).

MinisMuseum-Old Bases Removal-cleaning almost complete

…cleaning is almost complete!


To sum up, here there’s an image showing the different cleaning steps:

MinisMuseum-Old Bases Removal-cleaning progress

Three different cleaning stages

I hope this is useful, let me know if you want more info in the comments section!