Can You Tell Finecast from Ordinary Citadel?*

I decided to buy the Emperor’s Champion to make a comparison and review the differences between the old metal and the new Finecast resin Citadel miniatures. I chose this miniature partly because I’ve always liked it and wouldn’t mind the chance to paint it again and partly because I already had a metal one waiting for me to explore sky and earth non-metallic metal, which will be the follow up to this article. To give Finecast the best chance possible, I chose the only one of the three Emperor’s Champions in the shop which wasn’t surrounded by a halo of flash and which had the straightest looking sword.

New Finecast and metal blistersThe first difference, we can clearly see, is the price. This has been everyone’s biggest concern (expecially in Australia!) but for someone like me who mostly paints rather than needing hundreds of miniatures to play with, I’m not overly worried as long as the extra money is going somewhere. However, if you collect an army which was, until recently, mostly metal, I can see that any price increase is going to put you off.

The next point to notice is that our new figure comes on a sprue comparable to hard polystyrene miniatures and like the metal figure, it still comes with a polystyrene backpack. I don’t see why either of these things should bother anyone and the Finecast comes off of the sprue very easily, in fact some of the body had either broken away by itself or someone had already clipped it. From this photo the Finecast’s detail seems far superior and in fact the detail is crisper on the resin casting but not as much as it appears, it’s just the reflections on the metal which make it look so much better. It is also worth noting that the feeder points on the metal and the resin moulds are the same but the resin appears to need bigger ones. This is pure supposition but it suggests to me that the Finecast doesn’t flow as well as they’ve said. Not only that but the new enemy of the miniaturist suggests the same thing…

… Air bubbles!

Air bubblesThis miniature had large air bubbles on the inside of the left elbow, the bottom of the cloth on the back, the outside of the right foot and smaller ones on the top of the helmet and the bottom of the front cloth.  These are definitely too large to fill with super glue and even small ones should be filled with a filler which can be smoothed as super glue will leave a rough edge which will show through the paint. The large bubbles I filled with Duro and the small ones I painted with watered down Vallejo Plastic Putty (an alternative would be watered down Milliput). You will also notice three striations on the back cloth. These cause me even deeper concern as they are not mould lines and it’s not obvious where they came from. Speaking of mould lines, the mould lines were a lot worse on the resin miniature but generally easier to clean. Games workshop have advised not to use files or papers on Finecast resin but I had to in some of the hard to reach areas like the folds of the cloth and I had no problems with burring. The striations were also filed off.

Wobbly swordMoving on to the sword, one of the quillons was slightly bent but a little heat from a lamp bulb allowed me to straighten this relatively easily. However, the blade of the sword itself was wobbly on one side (the left side in this photo) and straight on the other, there was nothing I could do about this but the metal one was perfectly straight on both sides. To be fair though, I have seen similar things on metal castings in the past but I fear that this is going to be a lot more common with resin. This is only just visible in the photo but it is noticeable and due to the writing sculpted onto the sword blade, it cannot be filed or sanded flat or built up with putty.

Another worrying thing was that I found a piece of light beige material in the resin figure’s armpit. This, I can only assume, must be part of the mould and adds weight to the idea that the resin moulds wear out faster. I can only hope for other people buying figures cast after this one that this mould was retired after this casting, otherwise people are going to be getting some odd lumps in their armpits (Emporer’s Champions with bubonic plague?)

CleanedThe joints of the metal figure required more filling than the resin figure and I used a little Duro with my trusty home made needle brush and Colour Shapers to do this. With all the holes filled, and the parts assembled (and yes, I did pin the arms on both miniatures) I then got on with the next problem. Both the metal and the resin figures had a bit of roughness to the armour which I wanted to smooth out so I painted most of the armour with the watered down Plastic Putty and then, when dry, rubbed them lightly with a fine glass paper.

I mixed some Milliput with the left over Duro and inserted some small pieces of cork and slate to make some bases. I imprinted the putty mix with some bigger pieces of cork bark to give it a rough texture. I then cooked these under a lamp to speed up the curing.

Bases

Lastly, I pinned them to their bases and primed them making sure to let each thin coat of primer dry before applying the next to keep a slightly grainy texture which will stop my thinned layers of paint from flowing everywhere. It’s worth noting that, like polystyrene, less primer is required to cover the resin than the metal, However, once primed I have to look very hard to see the difference. Games Workshop clearly don’t think there’s much difference either as they are still using the same photos to advertise the new miniatures.

Finished

To summarise, Finecast’s detail is slightly sharper and I have seen a few models with bare heads where this is certainly noticeable but it’s a lot more work to repair all the casting problems and I’m not sure that’s fair when we’re paying more for the miniature too. Saying that, it is easier to cut and I was able to improve the cast by cutting away the forearm where it merged with the sword hilt (I was able to do this a bit on the metal but not as easily) and I could easily cut away the section which filled the gap between the head and left shoulder pad which I wasn’t able to do on the metal figure at all so conversions will definitely be easier.

*The one on the left is Finecast.

12 Comments

    • Thanks for the link Ömer. I agree with some of what he’s said but I think Games Workshop have ended up in an unfortunate position. They have their own online store and they’re competing with other online stores who’re managing to sell their stuff a lot cheaper. A lot of manufacturing companies have a similar issue but don’t bother too much about it and rely on the traders rather than their own sales but Games Workshop sprang up as an importer for TSR (the orginal publishers of Dungeons & Dragons) and then opened their own shops and then started Citadel Miniatures so it’s ironic that it’s small companies mirroring Games Workshop’s own beginnings who are causing them all these problems and who have the ear of the people and it’s the internet that’s the biggest problem because it gives everyone access to the world and gives every little winger a voice (me included). My articles on Finecast were written for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to provide balanced information for potential clients and secondly, I knew people were going to be searching for information and reviews on Finecast so might find my site. I think that the video message is good publicity for MiniWarGaming but Games Workshop don’t have to listen, won’t listen and I don’t really see why they should listen. If they do, it will be no bad thing for them and their online retailers but I think, as with a lot of companies everywhere, they can see their accounts and are trying to make the best decisions to protect their company in these trying financial conditions so it’s really up to them to survive in the best way they see fit and MiniWarGaming, and all of the rest of us, are freeloading and wouldn’t be here without Games Workshop so I think they should be grateful for that. However, I do agree that MiniWarGaming’s sales, and other retailer’s sales, are good for Games Workshop and that if they’re not careful, Privateer Press will have a good go at usurping them, even though Games Workshop helped them out at the start with some manufacturing setup and pretty much created the market, because they can learn from Games Workshop’s mistakes.

      I don’t really know that much about the embargo but I think ‘Tenzing’ makes a good point that a lot of people, if they still want Games Workshop products, will just make a private deal with someone in Europe on a forum to buy the stuff and then send it out to them, however, they’ll still have to pay import duty on it, which, I am told, is why the prices are higher in Australia. Personally, I’m not a voice for the community so I’m not too bothered by what doesn’t affect me. I will paint miniatures from whichever manufacturer people are buying from or paying me to paint and, for myself, I will buy any miniature I like the look of. I have my eye on a few Scibor Dwarves and some miniatures from Reaper, Dark Sword, Romeo Models, Andrea and Figone when I get time to paint them, which will probably be after Golden Demon now, but I also have a lot of Games Workshop miniatures which I’d like to paint to complete my ‘nostalgia collection’. As for Finecast, I think it was a good idea but they’ve clearly rushed it and not communicated very well with their customers (once again). If they sort the problems out with it then it will be a good thing but right now, there are better polyurethane resin castings out their which are also harder (though probably more brittle as well). Most people are going to buy Finecast though because Warhammer 40k is currently the most popular wargame and, as Matt in the video said, people want someone to play.

      I did see the video the same guy posted on the Finecast release day and he swore blind that out of all the miniatures he’d received, only one or two had miscasts and bubbles but when I looked through the miniatures in the Games Workshop in Swansea, nearly every miniature I looked at had something wrong with it and there were a lot of consistent problems within each mould which suggests to me, as a Materials Science and Engineering graduate, that there is a problem with their processes and their mould designs rather than the bubbles cropping up randomly so offering replacements isn’t really any help and most importantly, there may be weaknesses inside the miniature that you won’t know about until you’ve bought it, painted it, dropped it and the miniature breaks. I suspect that they need to look at more vents to let the air escape from those points or change the orientation of the moulds or the point at which the resin enters but as I’ve said previously, Finecast looks like it was a rushed decision and they didn’t allow time for testing (or painting new studio miniatures!) which would also explain why it happened at the same time as the price increases. It’s important to note that even though he says the price increase would have happened anyway, the increase from £8.20 to £9.50 has not been applied to miniatures which are still metal. I also think that the quality on existing casts won’t improve as they are no doubt busy preparing the next releases but maybe those might have less problems if they have learnt from the first lot. We shall have to wait and see.

  1. hey richard,

    i got this model yesterday, and i was very excited (except it was missing the sword) but other then that it was really good…

    i dont know if you go to forums like dakkadakka or heresy-online, but if you dont, or didnt put this on there, would you mind if i do?

    i think its a really good review and i think it should be shared with the community…

    if you would allow me to post it, i will use your pics, your exact text, and ill open with a link to your blog ofc.

    if you want to post it yourself that would be totally cool aswell.

    again, great review, there should be more of these online :)

    regards,

    koen

      • It was a direct order so I’m waiting on the replacement to arrive in the mail. *knocks on wood* The other sprue’s from the same box weren’t as bad as that one but they weren’t perfect either. One sprue was a much lighter grey than the others and had almost no problems.

        • That’s interesting because I have a theory that the new resin is a composite material or at least a mixture and if you have some miniatures which are different colours then that would seem to support that. Maybe they need to work on the composition a bit more.

  2. Hi Rich,

    Came across this, felt good to see i could spot finecast so easily ^^. Just in case you haven’t stumbled upon this yet: if you soften the resin is warm/hot water (tap hot, maybe hotter) for a while, then bend into shape and douse with cold water (tap) then the new finecast will hold the shape you give it.

    That should fix up your bendy sword issue neatly!

    Hope it works for you as it did me,

    Richard.

    nice name btw

    • Thank you Richard. I am aware that the resin is a thermoplastic and, if you recall, I heated the sword under a lamp to straighten the bent quillon. However, the blade is straight on one side and wobbly on the other so if I heat it and get the bent side straight, then the hitherto straight side will become bent.

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