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.

Finecast stories

I'm still awaiting my first Finecast figure (I ordered Urien Rakarth last week and should be picking him up tomorrow), but as you all know there are plenty of (horror) stories around the web concerning Finecast.

I started this thread on the Chest of Colors forums to point out some highs and lows.

If you own a Finecast miniature and would like to share your experiences with it then I'd like to hear from you (by commenting).

Anyhow you will get an update from me this weekend concerning my first Finecast purchase!

Chaos Sorcerer WIP 2

Skintone is done. Really enjoyed doing the tentacle bit. It's actually the first time I painted a color transition like this, and I think it turned out great!

Tutorial: Bregan's base

EDIT: the plinths mentioned in this article are no longer manufactured by VoodooWorx but are now sold by Secret Weapon Miniatures.

In this tutorial I will explain in detail how the base of my latest finished miniature, Bregan, Apostle of Darkness, was made. It's actually the first real step-by-step tutorial I have done for this blog. It was time-consuming but fun to do, so I might think about making another one soon. If you have any ideas for a particular tutorial you want to see here, please write it down in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

The plinth itself is from VoodooWorx (you can buy the item here), but as you will see some extra details were added. One important thing to notice before you start working with a resin plinth (just like any resin, plastic or metal part) is to wash it thoroughly (preferably in lukewarm water with dish-washing soap and a toothbrush).

First thing to do is drill a hole in the base to be able to pin the model on to it when everything is done. I positioned the unpainted figure on the base first to get a good idea where his foot which was going to be pinned would be. When the hole and pin were in place I also did a dry fit to check one last time.

The plinth already looks great, but I wanted to add some extra details, so I went to check my basing materials for something. I thought these Fenryll resin skulls would fit nicely.

Here's a quick tip if you want to firmly attach a small detail on a base. Lay down a flat piece of sanding paper and move the object over it a few times, in the position you want to glue it down. This creates a flat surface on the bottom which allows more room for the glue.

Next detail: some fine plant roots.

I cut off some small pieces and fit them on the base, cutting them more to fit on the base. Then I drenched them in diluted wood glue and put them into place with the help of some small drops of superglue. At the same time I glued some sand in place, around the plant roots and the skulls.

I primed the base black. I must admit this was done a bit too sparsely, but my spray can of back primer was almost empty :) The fact that not all crevices are well covered isn't really a problem. When painting showcase models it's better to have too little primer on than too much.

All the stone areas were basecoated using two layers of Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Basalt Grey, thinned to a 3:1 ratio (3 parts paint, one part water) and applied with a #3 brush.

After that I created a 3:1:4 mix of Vallejo Acrylic Wash (VAW) Black, VAW Sepia and water. This mix was liberally painted onto the entire base. I did this two times. When that was dry I painted one some pure VAW Black, with a touch of VAW Sepia, in the recesses between the stones, around the sand, etc.

At this point I returned with the basecoat color, but created a much thinner mix, about 1:1 VMC Basalt Grey and water. I painted most of the stones with this color, careful not to have it run into the in between. I'm still using a #3 brush here, not really paying attention to the smoothness of the paint. This way the stone recieves a hint of texture. I highlighted the edges by adding white to the mix, I did this in three stages.
For the few stones which were not painted in VMC Basalt Grey, I created the same basecoat mix, but added points of VMC Mahogany Sand and VMC German Black Brown. These colors are used on the figure's armor as well, so it will really tie well to the base. It's painted on and highlighted the same way as the other tiles.

Next up are the sand areas. These are basecoated with a mix of black with a point of VMC Mahogany Sand. In a few steps, by adding more Mahogany Sand VMC Deck Tan, the sand was highlighted, in a drybrush fashion of painting. The last highlight was pure Deck Tan. The result looks a bit harsh, but the last step of painting the base will be to cover the entire thing with pigments, and this will smooth out a lot of the rude highlights of the sand.
For the roots I used similar colors: the basecoat was black with some VMC Germany Camo Black Brown. For the next layer I used pure VMC Germany Camo Black Brown, then started adding VMC Deck Tan.

Now the work on the final detail can begin: the skulls. What I did first was to paint the skulls entirely with somem slightly dilluted black paint. The purpose of this is to make sure areas like the eye sockets and inside the mouth are shaded, the black primer also didn't reach there.
The basecoat was done using VMC Basal Grey with a touch of VMC Deck Tan, making sure the paint didn't get in the areas mentioned previously. Shading was done by adding a bit of VMC Germany Camo Black Brown and black. Highlight was done with white.

As a final step I dry-painted on some pigments. I always use Vallejo Earth & Oxide pigments. I mixed up some Carbon Black and Brown Iron Oxide. Just to keep things clear: I'm not adding any water, just the dry product! Then I started to apply the mix around the sandy areas, and in the corners of the stairs. Careful not to get too much of the stuff on the skulls.

All that's left now is to carefully remove the masking tape from the sides and paint them black. I always add one or two layers of varnish to the sides of the base, to avoid the black paint to rub off when handling the miniature. And then comes the spectacular moment of bringing the miniature and the base together!

That's it for this tutorial, I hope it was useful. Please consider leaving feedback if you thought this was helpful. If you want to stay up to date please subscribe to my blog, easiest way to do this is to click one of the square (social) media icons in the top right. Thank you!

The finished miniature:


Best of October 2011

Good thing last month some winners from the UK Games Day decided to put their own pictures of their figures online, because GW's pictures didn't give a realistic view on the competition entries as usual. Another noteworthy competition was Hussar in Poland, and of course DUZI, of which you can read a report on this very blog.

Here are the interesting links for October 2011:

Space Girl by CoolMiniOrNot, limited edition goodness.

Red Box Games' zombies, awesome sculpts for a very fair price.

Sometimes you are doubtful about a new product, but then you come along a good, clear review to take away the doubts. Looks like GW's liquid green stuff is quite useful in some areas.

Steve Buddle's entry for the UK GD, that sculpted zombie cow should be made into a real model.

Banshee by automaton, crazy checkerboard pattern!

Domaru (Infinity) by Avicenna.

Faerie Wears Boots by Tooshy.

Overview of all 2011 Slayer Sword winners. France is my favorite, which one is yours?

Painting video by Andrea, amazing how a video like this can make our hobby look so easy :)

Luicien Sforza, new Infnity miniature painted by Angel Giraldez, one of his best works in my opinion.

Hussar 2011 painting competition report, very serious competition painting going on in Poland.

Speaking of Hussar 2011, here are some extra shots of the gold winner of the diorama category.



Corvus' Miniatures on Facebook