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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ~ Edmund Burke

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Sprue Review - Citadel Finecast Ork Tankbusters

As promised I am writing a review of the new citadel finecast range in both a general and a specific sense (i.e. the quality of the resin and it's molding process as well as do models look any better in this new material versus their original metal counterparts.) I'll be using my typical sprue review format and if I get the time I'll include a few photographs.

I recognise that I typically start with a first glance of the sprue but I felt that the new 'clamshell' packaging has some points to be said about it. From a structural stability standpoint everything is very neat and tidy and is pretty sturdy meaning that your new model is far from likely to be damaged by transportation at least so that's a plus, also much like the old blisters you retain the ability to take a good look at what you're getting before you buy which trust me is something you definitely want to do (I'll say why later). Another positive improvement is the small graphic on the blister giving you some indication of what your model should look like once constructed (it might stifle the creativity of some in terms of paint schemes but for myself having a bit of guidance as to what is flash or not is always handy). Finally my only negative is that unless your store owner has a pair of scissors around these blisters are a pain in the ass to get open and the plastic is sharp enough to cut you if you aren't careful.

Sprue First Glance
The Ork Tankbusters originally being metal wouldn't have had a sprue which is both good and bad and I'm going to tell you why. Although metal models pretty much always have vent trails left on them they are typically very small and easy to remove unlike plastic kits which when removed from the sprue typically end up with difficult to clean rough patches or burr's as they are sometimes called. More modern plastic kits attempt to ensure that burr's can only form in places that will be covered up or are easy to clean but the new citadel finecast kits have yet to benefit from the experience of plastic model mold makers yet and as such they typically end up with burrs in the worst possible places. However on the plus side though having the model on the sprue means that they are kept perfectly static in transit and unlike metal models they don't rub against each other causing sharp edges to dull off or break.

In comparison to the originals the models look exactly the same. literally zero improvement. I can't say that's a bad thing but is does feel a bit like we've paid more to get less as of course resin is cheaper and the models appear to have benefited little from the process. Of course that doesn't mean to say that applies to all of the models (far from it) as some of the other models I bought look much better. I'd say that if a model is more than say 2-3 years old you're better off getting it in it's original metal as the increased price is not worth it for something so old, however more recent models (Goblin Sneaky Stabbaz for instance) show vast improvement.

Production Quality
I'm not going to lie to you, it stinks. Although for this review I've ensured that the models are pretty clean the original box of Tankbusters I got were so awful I'd have to resculpt their hands, crotch and chins to make them even usable. At that rate I might as well have sculpted them from scratch. Thankfully as always Games Workshop allowed me to exchange the models straight away as well as keep the busted ones (heck I might be able to do something with them). My opinion is that should you be fortunate to get a set of models that are good then they will be fantastic but these models lack consistency and that worries me, I'd like to think I could pick any box of the shelf and it be of a high standard and not be a total crap shoot.

For models of this style and size they aren't any easier to build than the metal one's were but to be fair you couldn't get any easier anyway. Cleaning them on the other hand...even with fancy tools and equipment some parts of the model were literally impossible to clean making all the fine detail on the model irrelevant as I ended up ruining it scraping great big sheets of flash from them. Things like Straps, buckles, stitches and fingers suffered greatly but again I can't say the metal one's were devoid of the problem merely that it was nowhere near as severe.One thing I will say though is that the mildly porous nature of the resin means that parts stick together more securely with less glue so that's positive.

Conversion and Customisation Opportunities
Oddly enough this new resin material is more resilient than metal in some ways but not others e.g. dropping it from a table typically doesn't make it explode apart like metal models used too but on the other hand when it does break it breaks very badly as in comparison to metal models it doesn't break at the glued join but at weak points in the resin itself. The good thing is that it is soft and pliable enough to be cut, filed and generally reshaped to be repaired as well as allow for new weapons and heads or a completely different stance if you are willing to take the time. Specifically speaking though Tankbusters (although fantastic as they are) aren't easily modified, which is not to say it's impossible but creativity will be required. One suggestion would be to make them into Ork Kommando's (if you can't wait for those to be made in resin also) by attaching suitably vicious looking hands holding knives and suitably sleek looking Ork Slugga's. The addition of a jaw plate and a stealthy paint job will work wonders.

Overall Conclusions
So they aren't the best thing since sliced bread (sliced bread is pretty awesome, I'm eating a salami sandwich as I type this). But they are capable of being a positive and beneficial investment for Games Workshop providing they work on their product quality control and make sure that you and your friend recieve models of similar if not exactly the same standard every time. If I had to give the new range a score it'd be 6.5/ 10 as for these Tankbusters (the box that wasn't miscast anyway) 8/10.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Citadel 'Fine Cast' Early Opinions

Typically I'm a person who reserves judgement of a new product until I can feel it in my hands but this current announcement has got me riled up enough to get my views on the situation out in the open earlier than usual.

 I can't really describe how angry I am without it coming off as nerd rage but  I am a devoted fan of classic metal models and this seems to be a method for GW to increase their profit margins under the guise of progress without taking into account the true joy of having a heavy chunk of metal in your hands whilst thinking of the many possibilities that await.

Now don't get me wrong, their are some models that I agree would benefit from the process purely from a financial standpoint but this is where it buggers up. Nearly all of the models on the leaked list are special character models, big monsters or elite infantry units (things like Flamers of Tzeentch and that sort of jazz). With that in mind the R.R.P increase seems absurd, people avoid buying those models currently because they are expensive not because they are metal, making them out of a new material won't help anything especially if they are going to cost more to pay for the costs associated with 'inventing' this new process.

For example, people have been wanting Chaos Space Marine Raptors and Chaos Plague Marines in plastic for ages but not for aesthetic or convenience reasons but purely because they are extremely expensive. Most if not all of the fans of these models like them exactly as they are, they are just frustrated that they can't afford them (myself included and I don't even play chaos). GW finally get the opportunity to reduce the costs of the models (as I'm guessing this plastic resin hybrid material weighs substantially less and therefore is cheaper to transport, so that's some small saving atleast) but instead they intend to put people off buying these models even further by taking away their gravitas and feeling of importance. A model being made out of metal for me always ment that it was something special, I bought plastic kits to screw around and have a laugh with but I got metal kits as birthday or christmas presents and because of that I'd labour over them to get them perfect.

In conclusion, I will purchase these models in order to write an appropriate (hopefully unbiased and fair) review but for the time being I will make it clear, I don't want my special models to feel disposable and tatty compared to older metal miniatures when (if you consider the rediculously escalating prices of the damn things) they are anything but.

Tl;Dr When I hit a guy in the back of the head with my casket of souls or my tomb spyder I want that son of a bitch to stay down damn it, if my model comes off worse than rule breakers than I'll demand a refund!