Here’s a link to Part 1, where we discussed what might make wargamers froth at the mouth. Again, this two-part series is meant for newbies, yet is also supposed to spur discussion on what’s acceptable and unacceptable in wargaming.

The above picture features unpainted miniatures, counters instead of miniatures, bad proxies, the mixing of miniature brands, and so on. It’s a simulation of the kinds of shenanigans I’ve seen over the years.

We concluded that there is nothing inherently wrong with the wargame simulated above. A lot depends on the context. In the privacy of your own home, a game like this is perfectly fine–with one exception, as I’ll explain further below.


Yet sometimes, you just want to play, but maybe “real life” got in the way of finishing your forces. 

The English Civil War figures on the left are almost done, but not quite.


Maybe you want to field a large force of a specific unit time for a special game, but the miniatures just aren’t available, so you’ve got to proxy with what you’ve got.

A brigade of halfling infantry and cavalry, represented by RISK boardgame figures and counters from Battlesystem wargame.


Sometimes, you’ve got to play with what you’ve got on hand.



Okay. Maybe writing “Kaos Kannon” on an old toilet paper roll and calling it good pushes some boundries into the realm of absurdity.

And more dragon miniatures on the tabletop would be nice…


These guys game from cereal boxes, for crying out loud.

I actually have a plan for these guys…


Yet there is something wrong with the picture. Something no wargamer should ever do…

Hundred Years’ War figures from Front Rank and Black Tree Design.

Play with unpainted lead figures.

Painted them up. Get them done, or store them away.  Seeing actual unpainted lead on the tabletop has become more rare in the last 20 or so year, but sometimes I still see it.

Lead is poisonous to human health.

The average human has  (10 deciliters equals 1 liter–for those who still aren’t familiar with the metric system).

Do you know how small a gram is? It’s just a little big larger than a U.S. dime. Now divide that by 1000 and you get roughly a miligram. A very small amount. And a microgram is even small than that!

45 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood is considered unsafe–especially in children. But adults can get sick too. A deciliter of blood equals 100 grams.  10 Deciliters equals 1 lite, and the average human has 4.5 to 5.5 liters of blood or 1.2 to 1.5 gallons.

Thus it takes a small amount of lead to poison you!

“But the warnings say lead is only harmful if chewed or swallowed…” 

Note to self: don’t eat the miniatures.


Here’s how my white glove looked with just a few minutes handling those figures.  

How many micrograms of lead dust is that on my thumb and forefinger?

Maybe handling lead miniature barehanded isn’t harmful. Yet I want to stay away from whatever threshold qualifies as “lead poisoning.”

And I’ve seen wargamers move naked lead around on the tabletop with their bare hands while eating snack food. I also knew a roleplayer who carried around a bag of old lead Grenadier and Ral Partha miniatures to D&D games. He had no qualms with digging in and rummaging around without washing his hands afterwards.

I like working with lead. It’s far more malleable than most of the metallic miniatures sold today. I can file down mold-lines with ease and not as fragile as plastic.

Yet if you’re working with lead figure: either keep them in their packaging or paint them up.

This has been a wargame service announcement…