Saturday, May 28, 2011

I wasn't going to buy Finecast....I really wasn't

So in a remarkably foolish and immature decision, I figured I would stop by the local GW to see the Finecast models in person before I continued on my way to hunker down and work hard in Starbucks/Costa. I brought all of my grammar and teaching books, my notes, my pens, even a separate keyboard to plug into my battered laptop. That's a sure sign that I was actually intending to be responsible.

It started off innocently enough with me heading into the (very busy) store and the employees there all greeting me by name. Great guys and I have to comment on how nice it is to go to a store that has the hobby feel I remember from GW back in my pre-teen years (15 years, I'm old). The guys working here are just all around awesome individuals and they have created a real atmosphere of fun in the place.

I managed to get a game in too, though I hadn't planned to or brought my models. A guy was looking for a 750 game and one of the blueshirts offered me his Blood Angels and asked me if I'd play the guy. I took a real Deathstar of assault terminators, a Sang Priest and chaplain in a StormRaven, just for the fun of it. My opponent was a decent enough guy but was a bit frustrating to play against with a bunch of rules quibbles and rolling behind terrain. Not a huge deal really as I was playing casually, but the blueshirt got mad at him when he told me mid-assault that his bolter-armed Grey Hunter squad actually had a power weapon then mentioned that I didn't ask, when I queried why he didn't say so at the start of the game (when I had explained my non-WYSIWYG). It wasn't a huge deal but the guy took a while to realise why it came across as questionable. Still, I managed to use the mobility of the Blood Raven to let my terminators eat his Blood Claws, Wolf Priest and Grey Hunters (hidden power weapon or not). The Raven also took out his dread, a rhino and survived his Long Fangs' attentions all game. A decent game all in all and I won on killpoints when we cut the game short because of the store closing.

Anyhoo, back to the Finecast models. They are pretty nice I must say.

The resin has a rubbery nature to it, which takes out the biggest complaint I have of resin in general; that it chips when you try to trim it and is brittle. The blushirt whose army I used grabbed me when I was near the painting table and asked me if I would like to put together a sternguard since it needed doing for the display in the window. It cuts off the sprues very easily, flash is easy to remove by carving, superglue takes to it very effectively and the bond formed is very strong (I tried to pull off the combi melta hehe). The total time for cleanup and assembly was about two minutes for the model and I did a second just as fast.

While people were gushing about the detailing, I'm not convinced it is any sharper than most of the metal precursors, it just looks that way as metal detail is harder to see than resin detail. Certain models do look great though. We all agreed that the mounted Gandalf model actually looked like Sir Ian McCellan and someone had a Njal Stormcaller where you can see the individual fangs in his mouth. Good stuff, but most of them just look good. The model strength is high and they wiggled the Terror of Arnor model (large and winged like the Balrog) around by its wings, then dropped it a couple of times from 6-8 inches above the table with no damage.

My only two complaints about Finecast are that there are some small casting error.s You can see a few small air bubbles in some models. You can also notice mould-shift in some of them, which can take out detail, but it's a lot easier to trim this down than metal. Some of the flash is quite annoying though as it forms in spikes coming off the studs on the Mk5 shoulder pads. It's hard to carve this off without taking the stud too and these were the biggest problems for bubbles too. Given that they are small detail points, one bubble was enough to kill the stud entirely.

Ultimately, I think that Finecast will be decent for the standard character figures but it will really shine when the larger metal kits are brought around to the new material. I think things like the O&G Azhag, the Ogre Kingdom's Gnoblar Scraplauncher (thinking of you and that commission job OSH), Inquisitor Kazaramov etc. will really benefit from the new material. By taking so much weight off what can otherwise be small joints, it will make the assembly and use of the big models so much more pleasant to deal with.

One of the blueshirts commented on the price rises too. His understanding was that prices were going to go up anyway, but he conceded that the timing of the price rise was probably a mistake. They were happy to chat about the bad timing of the multiple issues GW has raised in the last few weeks, agreeing that they probably should have been spread out more.

So why did I spend money on things that were too expensive and I'd already said I wasn't going to get?

Because the store is really excellently run, I wanted to support it and for once, I got a deal from GW.

A Dark Angels chapter master (Ten pounds fifty) finecast model they had on the shelves was mis-packed. It contained two body sprues and no backpack/head sprues. The staff offered to sell it to anyone who wanted instead of sending back to HQ as you would just need two plastic heads and backpacks to have two models. There was a young kid there who, when he realised I was thinking of buying it, begged me for the other body. He only had four pounds something on him, but I decided that was enough for me. His face lit up with a big grin and I felt like I'd done my good deed for the day. I'll probably paint up this guy in Deathwing colours then either sell him, or donate him back to the store. Still, it's a mark of how much GW has changed when six quid for a single (incomplete) model is a good deal.

This is what I have, except that I'll be using a more modest helmet and adding my own plastic backpack/banner.

Perhaps the whole karma malarky does work because when I got to Starbucks, the exhausted looking (but cute) girl at the register asked me what drink I would like and was so relieved when I just asked for a plain coffee. I guess they've been having a day of difficult orders. We chatted for a bit since I was a barista for six months or so in the States and I know the challenges you get. After a minute she 'accidentally' rung my drink up as a partner beverage :-)

So all in all, I've had a great day, despite not doing the work I need to do. I think it's time now to head home and be responsible. I have a lesson to plan and grammar structures to examine for my teaching course. I can't put it off any more. Perhaps I'll even tempt karma one more time on my way out of here and see if the barista girl is free for a date sometime ;-)

All the best


PS: I'm a wuss and didn't go chat to the girl. Ah well ;-)

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