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.
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.
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.
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.