This post is also open for comments so please let me know what you think of the first wave of Citadel Finecast miniatures.
I went to Games Workshop today, as did many people, and had a good look at the new Finecast range. A lot of people seem to have been worried that the pictures made it look like everything now comes in boxes but thankfully everything that used to be in blisters is now in new clam packs so you can still see the miniature through the back. In general, they look like they are nicely moulded but a few things gave me cause for concern. I looked at all five Queek Headtakers in the shop and every one had a bent gouger (the weapon in his right hand). Bent resin can be softened and subsequently straightened by heating it up with hot water or a hair dryer but they were very contorted and so might take a bit of work to straighten and as all of them were bent in the same way, it suggests a fault in the mould which, had the moulding process been tested properly for that miniature, should have been looked at and rectified. Not only that, to compare it to the metal castings, any bent part of a metal figure is a lot less effort to straighten. I happen to have a metal Queek knocking around half finished on my painting table and I didn’t see that there was that great an improvement between the two versions as Games Workshop’s recent metals have, on the whole, been pretty good. However, we’re told that resin opens up possibilities for future sculpts so we’ll have to wait and see.
My next worry comes from a Dwarf Lord with Hammer & Shield. I was slightly annoyed to see a broken horn which looked like it had been caused by an air bubble. I’ve seen this on metals occasionally too and you can either leave it and make the broken part a feature, re-sculpt it yourself or take it back and get a replacement (or not buy it in the first place if you look at what you’re buying, although some of the Finecast range are in boxes if they are too large or too numerous to fit into the blisters). Games Workshop admitted on their blog yesterday, using Skulltaker as a case study, that air bubbles were common (despite their resin apparently flowing better than molten metal) and then suggesting that you fill them with super glue (please don’t do this; buy an appropriate filler like Milliput or Vallejo Plastic Putty), I also looked at a couple of Skulltakers and they had the same air bubbles in the same place suggesting another design flaw in their moulds.
The model I eventually bought, as I have a metal in a blister already, is an Emperor’s Champion with which I shall produce an article this week (building work permitting and as soon as I clean all the dust off of my equipment) comparing the old and new castings and also exploring sky and earth non-metallic metal. I shall paint the two figures as identically as possible throughout the article and then auction them both.
To sum up for now; I think that there is some improvement in the casting, but we all knew there would be as that was the whole point, however, I have some reservations as I’m not yet sure that, for me at least, this will outweigh the extra hassle of correcting misshapen components. The only other thing I haven’t yet touched on is the price, and this seems to be most people’s biggest concern but that is something personal to each customer. Some people will be able to afford a lot of resin figures and some only one or two but it is a concern that the price for a character has gone up by another £1.30. When I started, a metal Eldar Avatar cost around £10 (I can’t remember precisely but some people probably remember it being even cheaper!) but yesterday it cost £18.50. The new resin casting is £22.50. It’s the same sculpt.
I was also told by the staff that they are discontinuing the metal figures as they are replaced. This suggests Games Workshop aren’t interested in letting their customers vote with their wallets and are deciding for us that resin is the way forward. If this is their decision then I think they still need to put some effort into improving their production methods and quality control.
Despite having my own reservations, I am perfectly happy to accept commissions for Finecast miniatures and I shall relish the experience.
One last thought, as I also purchased my Games Day ticket today and received my Games Day miniature (which I’m not that impressed with compared to previous figures); why didn’t Games Workshop either bring out Finecast earlier in the year so that the Games Day figure would be resin or alternatively make it resin as a sneak preview of Finecast for White Dwarf subscribers, which might have made people want to subscribe to have a look sooner? I wonder if Finecast has been a hasty decision due to the increase in the price of metal and the current financial situation.