There was a post at Handverker a couple of weeks ago featuring a metal casting kit that you used to be able to buy back when I was a youngster. He made a few sage comments about things then and now but the point here is that not only did we use to do this, but I've still got the molds for pouring lead soldiers. I believe the kit was a Christmas present my older brother received one year (Be happy to ship them back if you read this). The handles and the clip that holds the molds together have been lost over the years. I have a ladle around here somewhere, though.
It's funny that you used to be able to buy a kit to pour lead items in your house and a couple of years ago the high school was throwing books out because the ink in them might have had some lead in it and you couldn't buy a motorcycle because there was lead in the valve stems. While running a lead foundry in your kitchen or basement might not have been a great idea, federal overreach has never been a great idea either.
I don't play with army men any more but it's cool from a historical perspective to see what we once played with. After pouring them, you would cut the flashing and risers off, requiring a kid to use a sharp knife, and then you could paint them up. Probably with a lead based paint as well. So yeah, might not have been the smartest toy to play with but it was a lot of fun. I haven't offered to make any up with the grandsons. At Handverker they cast some parts out of silver. Silver army men would be cool. Lead? Not so much.