Corvus' Miniatures

Painted sf & fantasy miniatures by Gerrie Schenck

My Finecast story, part 1

First of all thanks to everyone who provided their feedback in the previous post and also on the Chest of Colors forum where we have a thread running on the subject.

I decided to buy my Finecast (Urien Rakarth of the Dark Eldar) in the official GW online store. Besides Games Day tickets I never bought anything there, but stories about the good customer service (vital when buying Finecast) made me do my purchase there. Since I live in Belgium, shipping is free for every order above 15 EUR. So I bought Urien Rakarth and a bottle of Liquid Green Stuff. I placed my order on a Thursday and the package already arrived on the next Monday!

Since I was out of the office (I always make packages ship there) last week I only had time to pick up the package on Friday. Unfortunately I had to leave immediately for work again so I only had the time to briefly study the figure while in the blister. At first glance it looked quite good. Crisp details, some mold lines but nothing more than on a metal miniature. There are a lot of "canals" attached to the parts, some of them quite big and in difficult places. For example the one attached to the fingers on the top left part. I also noticed some damage caused by air bubbles on the mechanical part on the bottom right.

After reading all the horror stories about Finecast on the internet I must admit it is difficult to remain unbiased. But there are reports on the web of perfectly cast figures, although they are rare (probably because people are more inclined to criticize GW than to praise them). I also found it hard to believe that a company that big keeps on selling a defunct product without making radical changes to the quality. Sending out replacements means a huge cost, right?

As a hobbyist I accept that some preparation work is needed: removing mold lines, filling gaps after attaching pieces. It's part of the hobby after all. But sometimes a figure has something that needs repairing. This means, large gaps, missing parts, in other words something which needs sculpting instead of simply filling with a single layer of milliput or green stuff.

So I the evening I took the model home, opened the package and studied the model. When viewed from the bottom I clearly noticed the air bubbles on the mechanical arm, but other parts were affected by this damage as well. For example the torso:

Seeing these bubbles, although small, was enough for me to think of this figure as unusable. The bubbles in the arms could be repaired, but the pointy bits on the belly area are another thing. Instead of ending in a point there was a hole created by a bubble. Also, the line running horizontally across the chest was also affected by a bubble, separating it in two. Nearly impossible to repair that in my opinion.

Then I took a closer look at the mechanical arm:

The bottom of the joint was affected by bubbles, on both sides, and the inside of the gripper also had damage. But the same part has the worst damage of the entire sprue: the elbow of the arm. A huge bubble was there, together with some smaller ones, also damaging the part where the tubes entered the arm, something really tough to repair.

Then the bottom area of the figure:

Lots of small bubbles here, the underside of the cloth, the toes, ... but most importantly the "worm" things on the base. These also have pointy bits along their shape, most of the ending in a bubble hole instead of a point.

And last but not least there something trapped in the sprue:

Not sure if it's a human hair or not, but things like this don't belong in a sprue.

I must admit my figure isn't as damaged as some of the things I've already seen on the web, but too many defects are in the "needs repairing" categoy, so I decided to contact GW Customer support. I did this last Friday, telling them the product didn't meet my quality expectations. The next day (a Saturday!) there was already a reply:

Hi Gerrie I am sorry to hear you are having problems with the Urien Rakarth model you purchased. At Games Workshop we strive to ensure that all of our products reach you in the best possible condition, unfortunately a few mis-packed products do slip through our tight quality control checks. We will be happy to offer either a replacement or a refund for the faulty model. If you reply to this email to let us know which you would prefer then we will action that for you. We would also very much appreciate it if you could send in some photo’s of the miscast model, as we can pass these onto our manufacturing team so that they can see the issues and implement steps to prevent this from happening again. We look forward to your response.

For the time being I am going to play the naive customer... maybe I was unlucky to have received one of these "mis-packed products". So I asked for a replacement.

There's one last thing I want to show you, proof that GW is really doing something to improve the quality of this product. Recently I found a picture of Urien Rakarth in Finecast on the web, in a blog post of a happy Finecast customer, claiming to have received a perfect cast. I doubt this because I think it has a bubble on the mechanical arm joint just like figure did, but that's a different story. When comparing the two sprues you'll notice that mine has a lot more "canals". The picture on the left is made by The Golden D6. You can read more about their experiences here.

Unfortunately this didn't help avoiding the bubbles. It also causes more work, and canals in more awkward places like the fingers. You'll also notice the had part on the bottom to have switched orientation.

To be continued very soon...

In the meantime I'm still curious in hearing your experiences with Finecast, either by posting a comment here, or taking part in the discussion on Chest of Colors.


Dave Clark said... @ November 20, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Like you I have heard the horror stories. I have two Finecast models, one being Yarrick the other a Inquistor Lord. On both there are a couple of air bubbles but nothing that can't be repaired.

I think the problem with GW finecast is that it just does not work on the small fine detailed models, such as Dark Eldar and othe models. The more larger models seem to have more sucess.

I did see some were else that Forge World have tried Finecast resin to try and help GW with there process. So that show's me that the company realise there is a problem and need's to be sorted. In my opinion I feel GW brought the product out to fast, and should have spent more time refining it and bring it out when it had no problems. But I hope this will be a mistake they will learn from.

Elmir said... @ November 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM

I'm not exactly convinced by finecast either. For gaming miniatures, they are quite good. They don't break too easily compared to regular resin, are lightweight, easy to convert,...

But the quality of the casts just plain isn't good enough to be considered good figs for display pieces. The airbubbles can be fixed, sure... and before finecast, metal miniatures also needed a lot of cleaning and preparing before primer. So you can't complain too much about the "new quality" compared to the first releases.

However, the product just plain doesn't match up to the advertised quality. 2/3 of my finecasts had to be returned to the store so far...

Anonymous said... @ November 20, 2011 at 5:50 PM

I've bought two finecast models, both had some airbubbles but could be fixed, no missing parts.
Though I'm not at all impressed with the quality of the plastic, it just seems very frail, makes me suspect that long spears and swords are easily broken off.

Adam said... @ November 21, 2011 at 12:53 AM

I think that I have got very lucky with the Finecast purchase. Admittedly, I did buy from my local GW, so I was able to closely examine the model before purchase.

Dave Garbe said... @ November 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Who was the company that shipped their stock of Finecast back after spot checking a bunch of them? Can't remember, but they too found some mystery hairs in the packages...

Stahly said... @ November 29, 2011 at 12:34 PM
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jay said... @ May 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM

I've had 2 finecast models so far both being returned to local GW store. My first was Kaldor Draigo the second being boss Zagstruk. Both had bubbles and even holes on the thinner parts. Imo at in it's current state its not worth the money they charge.

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