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  1. #1
    Eater of Brains MagnustheJust's Avatar
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    Default Pewter vs. White Metal...

    One of the other miniature games I play is Heavy Gear Blitz, and the company responsible for making this game has started to switch over to using white metal, more commonly known as jeweler's metal, for some of their castings. I realized this when I went to assemble some figures I picked up at Temple Con were a lot shinier than some of the other figs I had not assembled yet. The full dawning of this was when I heard a distinct 'PING!' followed by a series of 'tink-tink-tink' as the sprue piece settled...

    There was a lit more detail present on the pieces, and fewer mold lines than with previous pewter versions.

    The only major down sides to the white metal are that it is heavier, so there would be slightly higher shipping charges. Also, as it is a more dense material, so drilling and pinning would take longer.


    So to both the gaming community here and the folks at Privateer, I ask you :

    Would you be opposed to seeing Warmachine and Hordes models in white metal as opposed to pewter?

    I for one, would not mind at all.
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  2. #2
    Destroyer of Worlds megatron0's Avatar
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    I would not mind!
    if it increases detail and lowers cost sign me up!
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  3. #3
    Destroyer of Worlds Vicomte Athos's Avatar
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    If it stabilizes the prices yet maintains the weight, feel and product turnaround times of pewter then yes. But the problem may come from production methods. Pewter mini's are spin cast, that may not be the case with white metal. So the overhead of switching may be cost prohibitive.

  4. #4
    Destroyer of Worlds The Glen's Avatar
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    Go back to lead, do it old school. Make the bits extra pointy so people won't be tempted to eat them.

  5. #5
    Destroyer of Worlds jandrese's Avatar
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    I remember those old Battletech minis. Lead pewter was great to work with, but apparently wargamers like to chew on their minis and managed to get banned in California or something.
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  6. #6
    Eater of Brains Alviaran's Avatar
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    Privateer is using white metal in the Battle Engines at least. So maybe it is a limited test or just a switch for those things that are being attached to resin.
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  7. #7
    Eater of Brains MagnustheJust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicomte Athos View Post
    If it stabilizes the prices yet maintains the weight, feel and product turnaround times of pewter then yes. But the problem may come from production methods. Pewter mini's are spin cast, that may not be the case with white metal. So the overhead of switching may be cost prohibitive.
    Fear not, intrepid forumite!! Indeed, white metal can be spin cast! I did a little bit of research on it, and it uses the same methods and mold types.

    It does increase the work place hazards just a notch though... White metal has a slightly higher melting point.
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  8. #8
    Destroyer of Worlds Darkness is Rising's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glen View Post
    Go back to lead, do it old school. Make the bits extra pointy so people won't be tempted to eat them.
    You do realize you can get lead poisoning just from touching it enough and eating without washing your hands, right? There's probably a reason PP uses pewter.

  9. #9
    Destroyer of Worlds jandrese's Avatar
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    I thought the lead poisoning was more about the people casting the minis than people who paint them? Lead poisoning isn't that easy to get and requires chronic exposure to really mess someone up. Simply touching a model ever now and again and then eating is not going to get you up to the danger zone.

    Probably the larger danger was to kitbashers who were drilling and cutting with power tools and creating lead dust.
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  10. #10
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    White metal is a broad term used to describe lightly-colored alloys based on some combination of tin, zinc, bismuth, lead, and/or antimony.

    Pewter is a subset of white metal alloys, being primarily tin-based. Most modern pewters do not use lead.

    Any given alloy has a very of characteristics to be taken into account, such as melting point, how quickly it crystallizes as it cools, how much bending it can take before it breaks, how prone it is to surface discoloration, and so forth. We cannot say what materials we are using (beyond being lead-free), but they have been carefully chosen to produce castings for our figure line to the high quality we strive for.

  11. #11
    Conqueror engine's Avatar
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    Both pewter and white metal can contain lead, but neither are required to. I hope that PP wouldn't consider adding lead to their formulas, as it would force me out of their product. I do a lot of conversion, and I clean my mold lines with files, both producing a fine metallic dust. I have young children, and leaded metal dust is not something I would ever have in my house. The lead content kept me away from Confrontation and Flames of War.

    All that said, I would be shocked if the white metal used in the battle engines contained lead.

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  12. #12
    The Sorcerer King Tamwulf's Avatar
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    I wonder if the switch to White Metal has anything to do with current metal prices? Most companies have "secret" ingredients when it comes to their own particular pewter, but what is not a secret is that it takes a lot of tin to make pewter. Tin prices have been going through the roof- in 2010, 320,000 tons of tin was used in the world. 147,000 tons by China alone. Here is a pretty interesting article about tin over the last couple years- http://www.resourceinvestor.com/News...g-Results.aspx

    I imagine that for the first time, White Metal has become equal to, or cheaper then, pewter to make.
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  13. #13
    Destroyer of Worlds Darkness is Rising's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandrese View Post
    I thought the lead poisoning was more about the people casting the minis than people who paint them? Lead poisoning isn't that easy to get and requires chronic exposure to really mess someone up. Simply touching a model ever now and again and then eating is not going to get you up to the danger zone.

    Probably the larger danger was to kitbashers who were drilling and cutting with power tools and creating lead dust.
    Not necessarily. If you touch it long enough, or especially if it touches your food, it can really do some damage over time. But yes, dust is much more dangerous because it acts so much quicker. I should know, my mother is a doctor, after all, and I learned a lot about health from her. She forced me to give up lead miniatures as a teenager for exactly that reason.

  14. #14
    Destroyer of Worlds The Glen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by engine View Post
    Both pewter and white metal can contain lead, but neither are required to. I hope that PP wouldn't consider adding lead to their formulas, as it would force me out of their product. I do a lot of conversion, and I clean my mold lines with files, both producing a fine metallic dust. I have young children, and leaded metal dust is not something I would ever have in my house. The lead content kept me away from Confrontation and Flames of War.

    All that said, I would be shocked if the white metal used in the battle engines contained lead.

    engine
    Almost all metal miniatures have lead, the model would be too brittle without it. They make it non-leechable so you can't get it through contact, and the amount in the model is minuscule enough you have to eat 100 of them to get any ill effects. Models have come a long way since the early Ral Partha stuff.

  15. #15
    Architect of The 3-Step Plan to Victory Mod_Faultie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PPS_Alex View Post
    Most modern pewters do not use lead. [...] We cannot say what materials we are using (beyond being lead-free)...
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glen View Post
    Almost all metal miniatures have lead, the model would be too brittle without it.
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  16. #16
    Destroyer of Worlds Crazy Uncle Doug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glen View Post
    Go back to lead, do it old school. Make the bits extra pointy so people won't be tempted to eat them.
    I remember back in the day when the switch away from lead was made. I recall an article how the industry spent time, money, and energy showing regulators that lead minis had never been a source of lead poisoning at any time. The effort was made because lead is a cheap, soft metal that makes it ideal for metal minis. However, though they won that battle, the various producers decided to switch anyways, as the cost of arguing that lead minis were safe was just not worth the effort. They'd won the battle, but could easily see that there would be more.

  17. #17
    Destroyer of Worlds Mad_Zerker's Avatar
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    I still have a good 15lbs of lead mini's (for D&D) and Im still not sick. Politics.

  18. #18
    The Sorcerer King Tamwulf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glen View Post
    Almost all metal miniatures have lead, the model would be too brittle without it. They make it non-leechable so you can't get it through contact, and the amount in the model is minuscule enough you have to eat 100 of them to get any ill effects. Models have come a long way since the early Ral Partha stuff.
    I strongly disagree here Glen. Most game companies have their own recipe for pewter based on a mix of 92% tin, 7.5% antimony, and 0.5% copper. The "White Metal" is just a variation on this basic alloy- 93% Sn, 5% Sb, and 2% Cu. Lead is not used in any of PP products. If their was any lead in any of the products, their would be large warnings posted all over the blister packs and boxes of PP minis. Don't believe me? Go to the local hardware store and ask for some tin solder. You'll have two choices- "Lead Free" and "Regular". The regular stuff can't be sold to children. Go to Radio Shack/Tandy/Do-It-Yourself Electronics store and ask about the Lead content in various electrical components. They'll hand you a large fact sheet about the dangers of Lead Poisoning in electrical components. Want more proof? Head over to a DIY store, ask for some lead-based house paint. More and more states are passing laws requiring products to carry warning labels if they contain any lead at all.

    I've been in the casting room of Privateer Press, and I've read the Material Safety Data Sheet posted (as required by Federal Law). PP does not use lead in their miniatures.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mod_Faultie View Post
    Who are we to believe?!
    Well, if you were to take a PP model and send it to a metallurgist for analysis, there may well be some incredibly tiny trace amount of lead present. Lead-free is an industry term meaning that lead is not included as part of the alloy, and any lead present is the result of trace impurities and below a federally defined level.

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