Saturday 28 January 2012

A tale of two Aragorns

This version of Aragorn is still one of the miniatures that can still be bought both in metal and resin. For me, painting both was the first opportunity to compare these two version. And that's exactly what I plan to do in this post.

1. Package

Let's start with the packaging. The metal version is packed in the traditional blister pack that we're all used to. The transparent plastic is convenient as it gives you a chance to see the model (at least those parts that can be seen). GW created a slightly different blister pack for the finecast miniatures. It's still transparent plastic but the shape is slightly different - this one's rectangular. Looks a bit more elegant but the real difference is that in the finecast version, there's a printed picture with a sample paintjob. It's a great idea and I really like it and that's why Finecast gets a point in this round.

2. First impressions/preparing the miniatures for painting.

First impressions are an important aspect of the hobby. Many people choose the miniatures to buy on the spur of the moment and factors such as quality of little details can be decisive.
At first glance the finecast version looks great, the level of details is amazing and looks better than on the metal one.

You should be able to see that clearly in the pictures. The details on the tree of Gondor are a good example as they do look better on the finecast Aragorn.

The metal version is a bit shiny so it may be a bit unfair to compare the minis based on the pictures only. The large flat surfaces (e.g. cloak or horse's neck) look equally good.
Now as far as preparing the minis for painting is concerned, it was easier and faster with the finecast version. I used the new GW mold remover tool and it worked great with the resin miniature. The mold lines came off easily and without any effort on my part.

Anothre thing that I really like about finecast miniatures is that they're so much lighter. After a longer time, even the mounted model of Aragorn can feel heavy, which is never the case with the finecast version. It proved a bit more difficult with the metal version and I had to switch to the sharp hobby knife to be able to do that.
All in all, the finecast mini gets the edge again and strengthens its lead.

3. Upon further inspection...

The devil's in the detail and this is no exception. As I said earlier, the details look better on the finecast version but there are some problems with it as well. The biggest issue is that the thin elements (such as blades) are too thin and bend easily.
I had to strengthen them with Green Stuff as I feared that they'd break too easily. It's possible to give them the desired shape when they're put under hot water but that's not really what we want to do when preparing a mini for painting, do we?
Another issue (something that many people have complained about) are the bubbles of air caought in the miniature in the process of casting.

As a result, there can be a number of tiny holes in the miniature. In case of this one it wasn't a big deal as there were just a few of them and filling them with Liquid Green Stuff was fast and easy but that's also another unnecessary thing that we have to take into account while working with finecast models.
And finally, the biggest problem that I hadn't noticed until I started painting - in the finecast version half of the face of mounted Aragorn was badly miscast. It was a bit too late to improve it then...
All in all, a point for the metal version keeps it in the game.

4. Painting

Let's have a quick look at both versions after applying the basecoat (a thin layer of brown Army Painter spray on a solid black ).

(the metal version is on the left)

Not much to say here really. Both versions look nice. I could say the same thing about painting but there are small differences. Painting the finecast version was overall a bit easier due to its weight and the fact that paint seemed to stick to the surface better. Additionally, if a metal version falls down (especially in the earlier stage of painting when there's only the basecoat applied, the paint chips off easily, which is not the case for finecast models.
And once again, finecast version gets a point to increase its lead.
5. Summary

I have to admit I was less then enthusiastic when I first learnt I was going to paint the finecast version of such a detailed miniature. Fortunately, my initial worries proved wrong and I really enjoyed painting it.
Even though the final score is much in favor of the finecast model, it is worth noting that there are still serious issues that prevent it from becoming a solid replacement for metal models. There's plenty of room for improvement but if GW really focuses on improving the casting process, I'd have nothing against the disappearance of the metal models.

So, to finish up, here are the pictures of painted minis, metal version first:

And the finecast one:

OK, it seems some of the links aren't working properly so here they are again:


  1. Links to the images appear to be broken, I can only see small ones :(
    Nice to see a good review of the finecast, haven't read many so far :)
    Personally I like the heaviness of the metals, I'm much more prone to dropping or toppling over the plastics I've got.

  2. I know, for some reason some of the photos don't upload properly when I use blogger tools. Maybe you could try opening them in a new tab/window? If that doesn't work I'll try uploading them again.

  3. Well a new tab doesn't work if the link is broken :/ copying the image location doesn't make them any bigger either. Something not right with blogger that breaks the links?

  4. this week and the last I have been painting a sqaud of banshees where half are metal and half are finecast. I think you havr really captured how I feel. Yes finecast can be so much better, yes GW need to fix up a few things with it. I just found mine had a lot of bubbles and heard my store had to send a lot back as they were really badly miscast. I still vote for finecast.

  5. I've found that Finecast have a tendency to break/snap clean at thinner joints such as weapons, while metals tend to bend which isn't as bad as it can be bent back into shape. If they were both to break, the lightness of the Finecast would theoretically be an easier fix.

  6. No idea why the thumbnails refuse to work properly, I did everything the same way I do it normally, weird... I uploaded the pics to photobucket and added the links at the bottom of this post.

    Thanks for all the comments so far !

  7. weird :/ thanks for the upload!
    really nice reds on the cloak and I love the skin on the horse :) very nice shading

  8. Mógł by być z tego ciekawy art na Mitrilu - lenisz się...

  9. Może i by mógł być ale jak już coś opublikuję to jakoś zniechęcają mnie treści i poziom komentarzy...

  10. Dla dobra portalu przymknij na to oko - brakuje malarskich artów na tej stronce. Mógł byś też swój topic odkurzyć - zwłaszcza, jak LotR nieco odżywa.

  11. How you paint bases?

  12. The cobble stones were painted with VMC Grey Green, drybrushed with VMC Neutral Grey, followed by a very light drybrush of Astronomican Grey and a wash of watered down Thraka Green (I also applied a little Devlan Mud in the recesses).
    The earth was painted by drybrushing Scorched Brown, Snakebite leather and Bleached Bone. After that I just glued some static grass and ithey were ready.


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