"Things You Wouldn't Know If We Didn't Blog Intermittently."
Molten lead is a hoot - though it's best done outdoors to avoid breathing it in too much. You can do loads of fun things casting it - I've done it with the kids from time to time making small items they've wanted.Then there's the Northern European thing of pouring molten lead into water and divining the future from the shapes it makes. Now relegated to a New Year treat, as far as I know.
A friend of mine had one of these when I was a kid and it was indeed a most wonderful toy. Casting the soldiers was only one part of the fun. There was also the painting and, eventually, posing of them in great battle scenes in his basement. I don't know who made the kit though I suspect it may have been British because his family was from Scotland and the soldiers were all painted as either Redcoats or Blue (French, I think).
Oh, yes. I have pix of my battle scenes, with soldiers behind rolled-up towels and hiding under sofa skirts. Unfortunately, those images are not digitized.
My father used to make bullets for his muzzle loaders in the basement. Pouring the lead was fun, but what we really liked playing with was the black powder. A word of advice though. Every cartoon you see of the slow burning trail of powder is a lie - my brother damn near took his leg off!
Throughout their childhood, my mother's father and his three brothers routinely haunted building sites, salvaging lead left by plumbers. They would melt this down and cast one pound pigs of it ("ONE POUND" cast right into the top) and sell it back to the plumbers. For many years I had one of those pigs...BTW, three of them grew up to be acclaimed academics and administrators. Great uncle Charlie was his town's most successful banker.
I missed that one. Missed the atomic energy lab too!
As a latch key child, my 3 mile walk home provided many opportunities for collecting objects on or near the road. Lead weights for balancing tires were collected almost every day. I began melting them together in a pot and it weighed over 14 pounds until the last time when I had the bad idea of washing the mud off first...Cold wet metal and molten metal are a bad mix - A giant POP was heard and in an instant my mother's kitchen had lead spattered 'everywhere'. The lead on the stove and floor peeled up in sheets but the cabinets and ceiling had little dots that required a fingernail.Mom never new...
This one is for WWI soldiers, or at least pre-1939 ones (notice the horse and the 'tin' hats). I've got a WWI soldier from another mold(he's at 'charge bayonet'). I also still have a WWII mold that I used back in the 50s and early 60s. That was before I graduated to casting minies (or Miníes). A.C. Gilbert was a great toy company.
It is never too late, actually even better. Not that your nervous system is fully developed the danger of lead poisoning is greatly reduced. Also this page has more detailed info on the kits.
Oops. That second link was supposed to go to http://www.girdersandgears.com/kaster.html.