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:

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Wizard

This one was fun to paint though working on different shades of white proved a bit tedious. I tried to give each element (staff, inner and outer robes, hair and beard) a slightly different shade. It meant working on each element separately and using different colors as basecoat.

I think that this one will look great once it's put in the middle of the ranks of Warriors of Minas Tirith - he should stand out among them nicely.
More Gondor heroes coming soon so stay tuned. Not much to say here, so I'll just end this post with a song.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Just like that... the middle of winter a ladybug pays an unexpected visit.

I've kept silent on the blog recently but I have a few projects going on (one of which can be seen above. More pictures coming soon!

And by the way - I'm really impressed with the recently announced releases for the LotR miniature range. Maybe not all of them are great but hey, how many years it's been since the last release? You can check them out here. Gorgoth Beast - can't wait till I get a chance to paint it!!

Friday, 6 January 2012

2011: Year in review

Some of the early WIPs for 2012

Time to make another one. I think that while the previous year had been a period of major changes and challenges, 2011 was a year of stabilization. I kept my job and started working extra hours in a language school. This meant less free time but it also forced me to organize my time better as working from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or later does require that.
On a hobby level, I painted a total of 233 miniatures, which is an improvement compared to 179 in 2010. I also added more paints, brushes etc. to my workshop. I painted mainly LotR models but managed to work with a few from other systems. Malifaux was probably the best "discovery" I made last year - a great game with an amazing atmosphere and amazing miniatures. I also took (for the first time) part in a painting competition and ended up with a pretty decent result. My painting highlights would probably be the Death Marshals as painting these great models was particularly enjoyable and I'm quite pleased with the final effect. Another model that could be considered my painting highlight is the Cryx Helljack model as assembling it and thinking about the way to incorporate all the elements on this one was a lengthy, but an enjoyable process too. I should probably mention Darksword miniatures here as their miniatures are extremely well cast

Now, as far as resolutions for 2011 are concerned, here they are:
- expanding my Cryx force (at least one more unit, some solos and a few jacks)
I did paint a few more models but can't be to happy with the result.
- playing more (4 games in 6 months isn't a good result by any measure)
This one's no good - I completely failed here. In fact I'm even considering selling my WARMACHINE models but time will tell.
- writing more and more often on the blog
I guess I partly succeeded here as the overall number of posts has improved significantly. Still, I feel I could have done more here.
- buy a car :]
This one went well, I have a car and got used to it to such a degree that can't imagine life without it now.

Now, as for my hobby resolutions for 2012 (I'll try to be more realistic this time);
- keep on updating the blog as often as possible,
- paint more Malifaux models for my Lady Justice Crew and possibly start another crew (most likely the Dreamer),
- play at least one game of Malifaux,
- paint at least 200 miniatures :)
- prevent this little fellow from playing around with the minis I work on (which he seems keen on doing ;)

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