Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Gandalf the fragile: A comparison between Finecast and metal

This time I remembered to leave both of them in their original packaging. I might not be professional BUT you know what I'm a real quick learner!!!

Health warning: Firstly I'd like to make it clear that the two models I'm comparing are not the exact same figure, the white metal version is galloping forward while the Finecast version is rearing back on its hind legs. But in terms of detailing and level of hobby complexity I felt it'd be as close a comparison as i could get!!! SORRY.

Now, many moons ago when I worked for the Games Workshop store in Birmingham I was told by a then head office staffer that the metal casts of the Lord of the Rings miniatures did not do the original sculpts anywhere near enough justice, so with that in mind I decided I was always going to get a Finecast LotR figure to compare because surely if any miniature range would show the advantages of Finecast off it would be the LotR's. I chose Gandalf mainly because I like Gandalf, I mean who doesn't, but also because those dainty little thin legs on Shadowfax would be a great opportunity to see just how suitable Fincast is for gaming purposes. Things did not start well...

Now I knew removing resin pieces off of resin spru's can be an utter bitch at the best of times; I have however worked with resin figures for nearly 15 years now so I'm experienced with the substance and its foibles. Hell in my guide to working with Finecast I made a point about buying new clippers to do this very job... I did and still clipping Shadowfax from the spru resulted in a snapped leg... FECK!!! To say I was unhappy yet again is an understatement, I was a furious panda. I had taken care to remove the figure as carefully as possible and it just snapped like a twig. The only positive thing is that it was a fairly clean break (despite the air bubble) that could be easily pinned and would be virtually unnoticeable after an undercoat and paint job. Still we were not off to a good start at all... and those tiny little air bubbles had struck again!!!

What this break did show though was that unlike my Aero Librarian this mini was at least comprised mostly of resin as opposed to air. Although the break was through a bubble it was small and not mammoth sized like the Librarian ones were. Now I know that should be as standard but it did make me happy as it showed that my aerated Space Marine was hopefully a one off aberration... we can but hope! I think its also fair to say that there were far less mould lines and 'flash' on the resin Gandalf than the Librarian, but importantly not less than its metal compatriot. Again the metal mini had less cleaning up to be done than the resin figure, although on the resin figure much of it was easier to clean. There was also more pinning required as well because those fine resin legs needed brass rods to strengthen them because there was no way in hell they were strong and durable enough for a gaming piece, as the model swayed wildly from side to side when moved. Not you understand that many people play either LotR games. The state of those hind legs though does raise interesting concerns for some of their other miniatures with such thin limbs, like the Vampire Count Blood Knights at a whopping £61.50, as well as other previously all white metal cavalry.

Detailing though was a better story here for Finecast. Whereas I called the previous comparison a draw (although my unscientific test group felt the metal looked better) here I think resin did actually win out... just. The face and hair on Gandalf in particular just seem slightly sharper as did the detailing on top of the staff and although I think I'd have to conceede the possibility that this difference is actually down to the different sculpts I have to say hand on heart I think it might actually be down to the resin this time. So yay for Finecsast, all those millions up on millions of people who play LotR's games should be... oh yeah right, sorry nobody play it!!!

So this one is a bit of a mixed bag for me. The resin actually appears to have picked out more detail or resulted in sharper detailing being retained during the moulding process, even though I have to conceede that Gandalf isn't exactly a chain mail clad warrior that would show off resin at its best. However sadly the piece is not as suitable for gaming, not even in the slightest is it suitable for gaming in my opinion. Its just too delicate and brittle a substance for all the thin detail parts you get with the LotR's range. However for those painters and collectors out there the finer detail is a welcome boon, because who wouldn't want some cool LotR figures in their display case? The resin version was at least crisp. Depending therefore on what you want your LotR figures for I'd suggest resin is either a good thing or a very bad thing... also the Games Workshop should never do a resin version of the galloping Shadowfax Gandalf because those hind legs would be even worse, just the thought of it makes me shudder. Peace out!

No comments:

Post a Comment