Friday 7 January 2011

January Poll : Lead, Resin or Plastic?

This months Poll is as response to my recent self realisation that a large portion of my 'Lead Mountain' is actually not lead. I tend to buy miniatures from a practical or aesthetic point of view and what it is made of comes way down my list of purchasing criteria. Having said that I definitely prefer to paint metal miniatures. I like the weight of a metal miniature in my hand, the surface seems easier to clean and I think metal takes paint much better than plastic or resin. I may be wrong about all this of course, it could just be that having grown up with lead mini's I'm just a little bit biased towards them.

I have found that resin models are more likely to be coated with residues of mold parting agents, silicon or wax based products when bought. I wash all my miniatures in warm water with a small amount of washing up liquid before painting but especially so with Resin or Plastic mini's. Some resin pieces however are extremely smooth with a glass like surface which doesn't take water based (brush on) primer very well. I usually spray prime these instead. I've never experienced this problem with metal miniatures once they are washed.

Similar problems can also exist with plastic miniatures and one suggestion I have read about is to coat the min in watered down PVA glue then prime. The Glue gives the paint something to key onto the surface. I've not tried this myself but in theory it would work.

So do you have a preference? If you were faced with three identical miniatures, one in Lead, another in Plastic and the last in Resin, which would you choose to paint? The Poll will run till the end of the month but as always I'd like to hear about your preferences or experiences so feel free to leave comments below.


  1. When I started wargaming all those years (and years!) ago I started with Airfix as I suspect a whole load of us did - for me lead figures were aspirational, they were what I saved up for... they still are, and I'd never go back to plastic now I can afford metal armies...

  2. Is there a difference between the "old-fashioned" soft plastic and the new hard plastic in terms of taking paint?
    (Of course, your metal miniatures probably aren't lead either...)

  3. I use the term 'Lead' to refer to any white-metal miniature. It's a bit of a misnomer these days with many manufacturers moving towards cheaper (lead free) alloys years ago. But for the purposes of this poll 'lead' basically means any metal miniature.

  4. Happy with all three (or four of you separate hard and soft plastic).

  5. Plastic over resin, resin over metal...but I grew up with Airfix stuff so my painting preference has nearly always been plastic. It feels more "user friendly" when I paint it.

  6. I don't care either way, as long as the model looks good, will fit together ok and I wouldn't have to remotgage the house for it!

  7. I'd have to say hard plastic as a first choice - as I recently posted, I didn't have the greatest of experiences trying to assemble a metal kit. If they're well-made, fine. Unfortunately they often don't fit together as well as plastic. Resin is more forgiving and malleable which makes them preferable to metal I think but quality plastic will always win hands down for me. The reason is simple - to make a high pressure extrusion mold you need great precision with tolerances down to the thousands of an inch. This means (mostly) whatever you're making is generally more precise and accurate - it literally fits together better. But it can be dictated by the quality of the plastic used - softer stuff for models is rubbish. There, that's my two bob's worth!

    Happy New Year to you Big Lee!


  8. When I played GW games I would rather have Plastic minis over metal ones. Paint seem to be less likely to chip off, conversion was easier, construction was easier, transportation was easier as they didn't require the protection metal miniatures needed.
    Now I buy only FOW toys exclusively and I really prefer the Plastic Tracks and wheels over the metal ones...less flash...basically more reliable for fit on the hulls as well.

  9. The Poll has now closed and here are the results.

    Votes Cast: 94
    Lead 52 (55%)
    Resin 15 (15%)
    Plastic 27 (28%)

    Not surprisingly the majority of readers prefer lead miniatures to Resin or Plastic. I suspect many of us are a bit old school (or maybe just old fart) and lead miniatures just feel right. Having said that nearly half of the votes cast expressed a preference for non lead miniatures. So maybe these new fangled materials have a future after all!


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