Friday, June 24, 2011

Bitz Yard: Finecast Boss Zagstrukk

Welcome back, where've you been? What do you mean it's me who hasn't posted anything in forever? In that case, right to business. Just because everyone else has already talked about it doesn't mean I'm late. I just like having the final word. If the title hasn't given it away already, I will be looking at the relatively new Finecast. Not so much a review or instruction manual, but observations.

   I've given it time and let everyone else have their say, but now it is my turn to speak my piece on Finecast. Initial reactions are always emotional, especially something so momentous as this for Games Workshop. It really feels as though it's an end of an era, the coming of a whole new time for miniatures, at least, for Citadel it is.

   People really like their pewter. There's a certain quality about it that makes it attractive to gamers and modellers. The weight of it feels reassuring; it's solidity and durability, all appealing traits. However, I can assure you the time has come at last to be rid of it. The new Citadel Finecast range is the superior material from what I have seen. Allow me to explain.

   Warren and Darrel from the Beasts of War discussed that there isn't much difference between the metal originals and their Finecast successors. I mostly agree with their observation, the cast is only slightly finer. The difference is so minor, that the majority of modellers won't even notice. For me though, the difference is apparent. The detail of metal miniatures has slightly more bulge to it than the Finecast, no doubt to compensate for the heavier material. On some of the Finecast, this is a big difference, on others not so much. I haven't been able to examine every single miniature, but of those I've seen, the later the sculpt is, the smaller the difference of improvement is. The miniatures remain excellent no matter the material.

   However, there's where the good news ends for metal. I am more than pleased that pewter is being pushed out for Finecast. For example, just look at the pose of Zagstrukk there. Were he metal, he would be extremely top heavy. Even with the 40mm base, I would be worried about him falling over, chipping paint and breaking apart. The pewter assault Chaplain, Necron Wraiths, Astorath the Grim, Lemartes Guardian of the Lost, all suffer this problem. High flying heavy metal miniatures with small contact points that make it difficult to glue together and keep standing. Certainly, I worry that the single leg on Zagstrukk is of a softer material, but since the model is so light now the leg doesn't need the rigid strength metal once provided.

   I honestly wish the Finecast miniatures came out sooner. I am tired of having to constantly repaint the chips from my assault Chaplain. This was my primary concern when I started testing the new Finecast. Forge World resin is notorious for not holding paint; it simply flakes off with effortless ease if not properly cleaned, sprayed with autobody primer and then sprayed with whatever base colour you wish to use. This Finecast resin does not suffer that problem. After spraying Zagstrukk, I allowed the paint to dry for about an hour before trying to scratch it off, either by rubbing edges where paint usually comes off, or by picking it off with a finger nail. Anything short of actually trying to remove the paint will not take the paint off the Finecast model. At least, from what I've seen so far. This is what I am most pleased about.  

   Easier conversion possibilities and better assembly are obvious improvements with Finecast, I don't need to go over that. The material is also reasonably flexible, but I don't suggest testing this too vigorously. That said, it is quite sensitive to heat. Just like Forge World resin models, don't leave them in direct sunlight, and definitely don't leave these in your car. One of my readers knows about this all too well. I don't mind fixing it, but please, less work for me to do is always appreciated. The good thing about this though, just by taking a cup of boiled water I was able to dip the rokkit pack power cable and bend it into the correct shape to fit the model. This will work on pretty much any Finecast model and makes potential conversions even easier.

   Now let's talk about the common problems all models suffer from. I will admit, my Zagstrukk model had small bubbles on it. Very few were actually on a part of the model that's easily seen and they were all quite tiny. The worst was the tip of the thumb missing on the blade hand. All of these are easily filled with greystuff or glue. I only hope these issues will eventually be worked out.
  • Flash - This is common on all models. It comes from the injection points where the material is forced into the mold to make the model. There's almost no way of escaping this. For metal, it's harder to spot, but easily removed though harder on your tools. Finecast is soft and easy on the tools, makes flash easier to spot, but there's a lot more of it as you can see. It's easier to trim to correct any leftover flash marks. In some cases, I find it easier to simply cut the sprue apart to get access to certain injection points.

  • Mold Lines - Sometimes the mold isn't entirely secure and some of the material leaks out from where the two halves meet. On metal models using a sharp knife to scrape this away is all that's required. The same would go for the new Finecast as well.

  • Mold Shift - When the two halves of the mold slip, the result is one half of the model is not aligned with the other half. This is a nightmare to correct on metal models. Much outright cutting and filing must be done to correct it. The Zagstrukk model I bought had some minor shift, mainly on the head. Mold shift is extremely difficult to perfectly fix, but the softer material that Finecast models are made of makes the task simpler to complete.
   Now that I've covered common problems and the challenge level of correcting them, I shall continue on with actually finishing the model. I prefer to leave some parts unattached to paint before the final assembly. This is true of pewter, resin, plaster or Finecast. I strongly recommend having a wad of Blu-tack around to temporarily attach parts when working on poses. Even in the following image a couple parts are Blu-tacked on. Just so I may continue the derision of metal, it is significantly easier to tack on Finecast parts while test fitting.

  This isn't to say that Finecast is absolutely superior to their metal predecessors, this is really a matter of personal preference. There are some people that absolutely swear by pewter, that it's the best material for models and wish Finecast gone. I am definitely not one of those people. I have simply stated here the problems of pewter and the benefits of Finecast. As a model builder and painter, Finecast solves the problems I had with pewter. I am more than happy to see it gone. Now if only GW would get through its teething phase and work on their quality control. One can only hope! Until next time folks.

Signing off,


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...