plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Tin Pest in Toy Soldiers
September 3, 2010
Does anyone know how to prevent tin pest especially as it relates to toy soldiers made of tin?Robert Wintermeier
Toy Soldier Dealer - Croton on Hudson
You cannot prevent tin pest. It is caused by a crystal transformation that takes place at 13.2 C, when it goes from tetragonal to cubic structures; the lower the temperature the faster it goes into cubic. However, this temperature is only relevant for pure tin. I have never seen tin transform at this high temperature and it normally needs significantly sub-zero temperatures to make it turn. To avoid getting tinpest, I would recommend you use impure tin - this reduces the transformation temperature even more and helps prevent the formation of the (bad) cubic structure. Alternatively, make sure you keep your tin soldiers at above 13.2 C.
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK
If you are really sure that it is tin pest you must remove all powdery tin and then immerse objects in melted parafin wax (115-120 °C, 4-6 hours!). Keep cleaned objects at room temperature 18-20 C(never below 13,2 C!). ope it helps and good luck!
- Cerovski vrh Croatia
September 7, 2010
I believe that both "tin" and "lead" soldiers are usually made of pewter or britannia metal. Both melt at a lower temperature than the pure metals and have the great advantage that they expand slightly when solidifying. This makes it possible to reproduce much finer detail from the mould. Neither suffer from tin pest.