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      Training Ground   02/14/2018

      There’s a new section in the guild ball area designed to help rookies, but it needs others to help out - why not write a post for it? Anything that’s good for people to know, whatever faction they’re starting out with!
Mako

Assessing the new plastics

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I’ve gone on a bit of a journey since the announcement of the new guilds, so I thought I’d offer my thoughts now I’ve had chance to prep/paint/play with the metals, resins and plastics.

Full disclosure – I’m primarily a painter, but I do sometimes play as well. Being a picky display painter, I heard the phrase “pre-assembled plastic” with a sinking dread. I’ve worked on Super Dungeon Explore stuff, and PP’s restic, and the thought of that amount of work disassembling or cleaning respectively, was not a happy one.

Since I was at Gencon though, I wanted to get a look at the blacksmiths to assess them properly, buying them if I liked them. I never trust photos, too many models photograph badly and look nice in real life. Plastics reflect light very oddly when fresh from the mould, so I like to rely on good old-fashioned eyeballs.

These scores out of ten are my personal opinions having tried all three materials, and thinking about them in the context of various types of use. They're a bit of a blunt tool, but you get the picture.

 

Poses – Resins 7, Metals 7, Plastics 6 – some static, some more active (looking at you, ferrite). For the most part, not bad although I don’t think we’ve seen the best it can get so far. And no tiny contact points, even when I cut the little furnace off Ferrite’s knee when I change the base.

Casting Quality – Resins 9, Metals 8, Plastics 6 – It’s a little softer on the sharp edges, but the plastic hasn’t lost the detail of the originals. Just the crispness a little.

Prep – Resins 7, Metals 5, Plastics 6 – Having to get into the mould lines under assembled parts costs plastic here, though it’s much easier to carve and file into shape than the metal. Resin of course can snap while scraping, which plastic won’t.

Assembly – Resins 7, Metals 6, Plastics 10 – Plastic of course is stupidly easy to assemble, it’s already done. Not so much difference between the others, but resin takes glue better so it leads by a point.

Converting – Resins 8, Metals 6, Plastics 7 – The pre-assembly makes extensive conversions trickier, but a lot of more minor recutting, posing etc is not actually difficult. Metals take too much work to cut and reassemble to come close, although nice soft unassembled resin is still the best option.

Painting – Resins 8, Metals 8, Plastics 8 – Metals tend to rub and chip more, as the paint doesn’t bind quite so well and the weight makes any little impact more damaging. It would cost it half a point, but I didn’t want to use halves so it’s a three way tie.

Basing – Resins 7, Metals 7, Plastics 6 – not much in it really, but I did need to strip the bases off the models (which is really quite easy) so it lost a point there.

Weight – Resins 9, Metals 6, Plastics 9 – I personally don’t like heavy models, and don’t instinctively equate weight to quality. They’re harder to balance on interesting bases, they like to topple when sitting on a pin vice during painting, and so on.

Survivability – Resins 6, Metals 8, Plastics 9 – The thinner resin parts can be a pain, and once they snap there’s no getting them to hold back together again. The metals stand up to minor knocks better, but If they get dropped they’re done for. The plastics I dropped, poked, even bent the thin parts a bit and they settled back into shape happily.

 

Display painted pieces (Casting, Prep, Conversion, Painting, Basing):

              Resin 39/50, Metals 34/50, Plastics 33/50

              Resin is always the choice for display pieces, but second place is really a choice of the slightly higher cast quality or the much easier prep and conversion work. Depends on the specific project, I’d say, but typically Metal would win out here. Assembly isn’t included as I’m assuming anyone painting for display is able to glue models together ;) 

 

Best Painted Team at events (Casting, Prep, Painting, Basing, Survivability):

              Resin 37/50, Metals 36/50, Plastics 35/50

              The need to move them to the occasional event skews things towards metal and plastic more, so at this point it’s really about the exact circumstances – if you’re flying, weight can become a factor. If it’s a long bus ride, survivability is more useful. Given how close it is, I’m not bothering picking a winner here. It really depends on personal circumstances.

 

Regular gaming teams (Assembly, Painting, Basing, Weight, Survivability):

              Resin 37/50, Metals 35/50, Plastics 42/50)

              The convenience, lightness and toughness of the plastics puts them ahead. As an extra bonus, I played a game with them the day I bought them - not so easy with the other two materials. Granted, I prefer to play with painted teams, but I could buy a new guild at a convention and have it on the table immediately without needing tools, glue or any time and effort. Made things more fun.

 

Summary – The models lose a little crispness of detail in plastic, but gain some advantages in convenience and survivability. I don’t think they’re going to result in a poorly cast, low grade model range as I’ve had worse casts in metal from many companies (my Ghast needed several belt buckles slicing off and resculpting thanks to pitting from the cooling process). Given the resin’s issues in terms of breakage, hidden air bubbles and strange reaction to paint stripping, that’s not without its problems either. All in all, the plastics are great for gamers, and only a minor change for painters. Later today or tomorrow I'll have some painted plastic on my thread in the Display Cabinet, and there's some nicely painted Farmers already kicking about in there :) 

 

A little guide to working with the plastics:

Cleanup is best done with an old knife blade and some needle files, scraping/slicing the majority of the mould lines away and finishing up with a sharp edge or round file as needed. A damp toothbrush is useful for scrubbing the dust/flakes away and giving you a good look at what you’ve done. Give the model another scrub in soapy cold water and rinse it off to make sure any mould release and cleanup residue is gone.

Any bent parts (Furnace’s sword seems to be regularly guilty of this) respond well to hot (not quite boiling) water for 5-15 seconds, followed by holding it in place until it cools again.

Green stuff goes on as normal, no problems getting it to stick to the plastic.

Primer is standard, I airbrush on Stynylrez primer and it holds beautifully.

Painting as normal didn’t seem to bother the plastics, I did exactly the same style as I have with my morticians and the results were pretty much identical.

Basing is already done for you, but if like me you want your own custom bases, removal is easy. Clip the underside lugs, give it a quick prod with a knife down the sides of the foot lugs if there’s any visible glue, then gently pry it loose:

Z3PpwRD.jpg

Given the way primer and paint went on, I’m not anticipating any issues sealing the paintwork with varnish.

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4 hours ago, Mako said:

Basing is already done for you, but if like me you want your own custom bases, removal is easy. Clip the underside lugs, give it a quick prod with a knife down the sides of the foot lugs if there’s any visible glue, then gently pry it loose:

Z3PpwRD.jpg

Given the way primer and paint went on, I’m not anticipating any issues sealing the paintwork with varnish.

Oooooh, you clip those lugs off? I should've known that, or at least tried it. I de-based my Kick Off Masons this weekend, and it was a big mess to be honest. I'll try this w/ the Farmers and Blacksmiths.

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Good review Mako. 

GB is the only tabletop game I play and I feel plastic is the way forward in terms of robustness for transportation and quick prep work for painting. 

The only plastic set I have is the Kick Off set which I looking to convert the Masons into more dynamic pose.

From experience with metal, they have not really traveled well, enough they are well padded. 

What I will do is add more weight to the base so they don't get easily knocked when playing.

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Thanks guys, glad to see it's useful to people!

I admit, I was kind of dreading coming on to review the plastics when I first headed up to look at the Blacksmiths. Pleasantly surprised doesn't cover it :D

I did get my metal morticians to Gencon and back, but man it was tricky - one wrong bump and scalpel would have lost a knife hilt yet again...

@landstander Definitely try clipping those under-lugs off, it lets you see what the situation is under the feet.

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great write up @Mako. I'm more of a game player than painter (I see myself as a good table top standard painter but i do treasure my 1 best painted die :) ). I was looking forward to the plastics for ease of gameplay but had apprehension if my basic paint skills would be up to the task of making them look good. Im also normally a really slow painter but in trying to get the Farmers ready for a launch event I managed to get the entire box painted in two evenings and I must say I'm more than happy with the results. I really like the box and it does display them nicely on the shelf.

From the early unpainted photos I was very concerned about Bushels face and neck, but as soon as I got some paint on her the details popped out. I dont like the weapon in her right hand though far too bendy.

Looking forward to the Blacksmiths now that I have seen the step up in quality from the Kick Off Box

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@Mako great review work here mate. it really backs up the wait till you see with your eyes point of view many people have had on the forums. I am mostly a player rather than painter and now have three kids so price and the ability to let my 6 year old join in the fun are big factors for me. He is getting kinda sick of only being able to play with the kick off teams when I have 4 others...definitely looking forwards to the official blacksmiths release now

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4 hours ago, Zerachial said:

@Mako great write up, thank you! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the blacksmiths but I'm a painter more than a player. 

Ditto :D

I'm having far too much fun painting Sledge, the hammered steel is full of opportunities!

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Great writeup @Mako.  Agree with all points EXCEPT the weight, where I'm exactly opposite.  Looking around for lead weights to add to the bases to give it that solid feel of metals that I miss the most about Blacksmiths. :P

Otherwise, love the review.  I compare painting the Blacksmiths to painting models where I slightly primed a little too much (thus the loss in sharpness).  Otherwise everything else about them is amazing (price, durability, convenience)!

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Im curious to hear from others who have worked with the plastics. I got the Kick Off Box not long after it came out. I primed, painted, and sealed it as I have dozens of miniatures from other games, plastic and metal. Today, I pulled my Masons out to discover that some of them (and some Brewers I would later discover) are becoming tacky and shiny, like when I spray primed/sealed Reaper's Bones material (which I later learned was a no-no). Some of them are sticky enough for me to press my finger into them, and pick up just from the sticky surface. It's odd though, not all of them have become sticky. Flint and Spigot are really bad, where Marbles and Brick aren't sticky at all. Has anyone else encountered this problem? I don't think it's a paint/primer issue, because I used the same primer, paint, and sealer on my Metal Union models at the same time. I'd love to get any help with this. 

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My farmers are in the process of being painted  but yeah at least where the base is bare primer it's tacky. I'm hoping after the varnishes it won't be. The mold lines are much more frustrating to clean than metal or resin.

Also what am I supposed to do about the huge flat spot on grange's back? I'm guessing free hand some kinda shirt look but I'm lost. Wish I had looked at the studio models back. 

Besides that they are what I expected. And I enjoy not having to assemble. 

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I'm painting up the farmers now. They're almost as good detail-wise as the metal casts and have the ready-to-go advantage. Plus the joints won't break when I drop them on the floor!

I take a fairly basic approach and just take them out the box, get the Games Workshop paint pots out and start painting (white undercoat first, then colours). It all looks fine so far and is as good (or bad!) as my metal models. So these are great for new entrants to the hobby ... you can buy a box of farmers, a box of paints and a brush and get going straight away.

In terms of prep work, the mold lines on my farmers were not very prominent. I think if you don't want to get the scraper/knife out and are aiming for table-top quality you don't really have to clean up the models at all. I'd say the same for metal, but resin always has some flash that you need to cut off (although at least that is easy to do with resin being softer).

And this remains one of my favourite miniatures ranges to collect/paint because, regardless of the material they are made of, I really like the subject and sculpting style. There aren't many games with such a wide mix of men, women and animals (next year a donkey!). They think about ease-of-painting when making the models ... the details, like the big prominent stitches on lots of the models, are easy to pick out. And there are nice story-telling details ... for example how they put studs on the bottom of the figures' boots, to show they are footballers, or the limited Rage model holding Blackheart's sword.

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@Kin2 @Ik-tornado That's weird, I've found that can happen if there's oil in the surface layer of materials (FIMO is a classic example, painting over that if its underbaked is asking for trouble) but not seen any sign of it in the blacksmiths. I did give Sledge a thorough scrub in soapy water though, so maybe I cleaned some residue off. How did you guys set up for painting? If it's not that, then I'm a little puzzled (and concerned, honestly... I'd rather not have the material leach something into the paint!)

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@Mako I always clean my models with a scrub in soapy water with a toothbrush before priming. I then primed with the same brand and color primer that I've used on all my metal guild ball, and countless metal and plastic warmachine models over the years. Painted like I would any model, then sealed with the same sealer that again I've used on all my metal, resin, and plastic models for years with no issue. 

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6 minutes ago, Kin2 said:

@Mako I always clean my models with a scrub in soapy water with a toothbrush before priming. I then primed with the same brand and color primer that I've used on all my metal guild ball, and countless metal and plastic warmachine models over the years. Painted like I would any model, then sealed with the same sealer that again I've used on all my metal, resin, and plastic models for years with no issue. 

Then yup, I'm puzzled! That's kind of weird. Just checked my Sledge, and he's not tacky in the least so I'm not sure what's going on there! Best I can guess is a slight mistake in the plastic mix that leaves a loose oil of some kind in it, but it's a total guess. 

I'll be keeping a careful eye on that as I paint, and will let people know if the same issue turns up for me. If it's even vaguely common as a thing, then that info will need to get back to the casters to check into!

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