Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Terminated Librarian: A comparison between Finecast and Metal

Like an eejit I took the metal Librarian out of its blister pack before I took the 'promo' shot... Look I never once said I was professional now did I?

I know I'm not the worlds fastest hobbyist but amongst my friends I am seen as something of a pinning wizard... I don't like to brag, but you know what? Give me a bit of brass rod and a pin vice and I turn into a highly skilled artisan... well maybe slightly above average bodger. I've been known to dabble as well with the old green stuff from time to time. So believe me when I say I fully intended to get this Librarian (and others) cleaned photographed and pinned by Sunday evening at the very latest. The fact that it took me until Monday evening to get close to having these resin and metal comparison articles 'go live' does NOT reflect on my modelling skills and it does reflect on the foul, fetid stinking product known as Finecast Games Workshop has foisted upon us, their consumers!!! I am not a happy panda right now.

Aero Librarian, for that is what I call him appears to have been made at the same confectionary factory that one of my favourite chocolate bars is made (mmmmm minty), but unlike the minty bubbly goodness of an Aero bar, the bubbles in Mr Librarian are far from pleasing. I'd taken some photo's of the various 'joins' of the model that show my miniature was probably 50% air bubbles, but my cack handed photography appears not to have worked... I'm no Lord Lichfield, that much is clear even if the I take pictures aren't. However I have managed to get some pictures of the surface bubbles, which you can see to the left of this text. Will the hobby shy teenagers and kids the Games Workshop seem to be targeting and cater for be happy green stuffing fine detail pieces on miniatures they've dumped a sizeable amount of their pocket money on? I'm not happy about it and I expected to have to do some work on them. Genuinely I think after the fake euphoria dies down people will start asking some difficult questions.

So far I'd say in terms of working with and putting together the metal version wins hands down no question, because the think resin pieces were warped to buggery and needed some effort to get back into shape. Sure once they were back in shape they glued together easier and didn't need pinning, but getting to that stage was a pain in the ass. However what about the issue of detail then. The thing that the Games Workshop seem so keen to highlight? And probably the PR machine keen to emphasise as a justifiable reason as to why 'Finecast' costs more than their white metal equivalents, even though resin is the cheaper substance. Reality is that for this particular miniature there is to my eye no real discernible difference especially after the white undercoat has gone on them both, I might be tempted to say the Finecast if pushed to make a decision, but you'd have to push pretty damn hard. Ironically asking an untrained passer by which one had the 'finer, sharper detail' they picked the metal mini, as did two other subjects. To me however the detailing is very similar and not really that much difference if any. So far the switch to resin looks like a cost control decision not a product improvement decision to me.

Clearly on the left we have the Finecast model in all its greyness. On the right there is the old fashioned white metal, the shiny surface doesn't really show the detail off in the picture at all. This is my main concern with comparisons I've seen.

Honestly with the white undercoat it becomes quite difficult to genuinely tell the difference. In fact sitting here in front of me as I type this, if I didn't actually know which one was which it'd be impossible to tell the difference between them without picking them up.

Durability is important for any gaming piece. Lets be honest here, neither model is likely to struggle with day to day gaming use, I mean after all they are both chuffing big, huge, chunky terminators. They're built like tanks!!! the staff is thick enough to not be a problem in either substances, even though in Finecast it flexes more than I'd like it to as a painter. I also didn't feel the need to insert any brass rod into the Librarians resin walking stick or his extremities either, like his arms and legs, its suitable for a gaming piece. I did however pin both models together for extra strength, the metal one because of the weight on the joins if dropped and the resin one because those air bubbles really concerned me that the joints weren't good enough to hold because of the reduced surface for contact points.

I'd also like to bring in the amount of cleaning up that had to be done on the resin miniature here as well. Maybe I was flukey and and unlucky at the same time because the white metal version hardly had any flash or mould lines on it at all. There was not warping or major rectification work to do on it, brilliant. The Finecast miniatures was shyte. The frames it came on were warped to buggery and so too was the miniature, it didn't fit together at all well and required warm water soaking a few times to put right... word of extreme caution here, this Finecast resin is really, really heat sensitive and started to go quite malleable after being submerged in a warm water bath that would have been fine with Forge World, Studio McVey, Kingdom Death product and well any other companies resin really. It started to feel slightly tacky really quickly and I was concerned about perhaps leaving finger prints on it... rectifying the warp was a long, slow and labourious process, including cold water and warm water, great fun. Given the water bath method caused so much problems I would not recommend the hair dryer method at all... period... don't do it... NEVER!!! You'll melt your mini's into resin spaghetti. I would also like to say that I know that the colour of the moulds the GW are using are pink, how do I know? Well I kept having to prize the fecking stuff off of all the miniatures surface:

Then there was the flash and mould lines... oh God the flash and mould lines. As I said I might just have got a particularly bad Terminator but honestly it looked better than the other ones in the store one of which had the worlds largest air bubble ever TM, that had obliterated the entire top of the Storm Bolter option. Trust me if I was trying to make Finecast look bad I'd have brought that dire piece, I didn't because for once I wanted to try and be positive about a Games Workshop decision, because I think in the long run they've made the right decision. However there is no question about it the resin figure took infinitely more time to put together than its metal counterpart, for no discernible benefit and it cost me more money for the privilege. I have to be honest here and say this model for me is actually a clear win for metal over resin. Primarily because of the shear amount of work the resin piece required was stupid. The poor quality of the casting AND the fact that they charged me more money for it leaves me feeling very angry about the switch right now!!! I feel like I've been mugged. Peace out!


  1. Nice reviews, very detailed. The returns on Finecast are a mixed bag so far, but it seems reasonable to expect the same quality as metal, if not better.

    I have an odd question for you about this post. The assembled and primed mini pics are opposite each other and embedded in the paragraph, at least that's how it looks. How did you do this? I constantly wrestle with Blogger to try and lay my posts out like I want, but often have to settle for what Blogger will allow. You seem to have gotten around some problems I've had though, so I'm curious how you went about it.

  2. TBH with you I just grabbed and dropped the images and they pretty much seem to end up where I want them to be. I'm sorry I can't be of more help than that, although I do find centering left or right first helps. Hope that helps.

    As for Finecast, I'm probably so pissed at it because the Dwarf Gyrocopter has let me down so far... although I am sticking at it. My friends are starting to report very mixed reviews of their Finecast miniatures right now, although I think its fair to say its a 60 - 30 split in favour of Finecast with the remaining 10 being undecided.

    In short I might just have been really, really unlucky.

  3. Having had the pleasure of leaving a finecast mini sitting on my desk for a period of weeks and watch it slowly crumble into dust...

    I hope the spin the GW staffers are putting on it being "early teething problems" is true for the company's sake. On the other hand, what kind of hamfisted unprofessional fly-by-night releases this kind of half-assed product? (Hint: Microsoft.)

    1. Ah yes... Finecast!!! Now there's a topic I wasn't so keen on revisiting. lol. I think you can get away with claiming something is early teething problems in the first few months of a product launch. When it's a year later and the company has released numerous products to help 'rectify' a products failings (liquid Green Stuff and all the tools) I think it is safe to say a few things:

      1) It's not early teething problems anymore
      2) That company has given up on fixing the teething problems
      3) If they're still claiming it's early teething problems they're not a trustworthy company because of the above points.

      That's where I stand on Finecast.

  4. Same problem I had putting a friends together.