Monday, August 18, 2014

Finecast Review: Gûlavhar, The Terror of Arnor

I dropped by an old friend’s place a couple of weeks ago to demo one of my favourite games, Infinity, for him. Of course, he was immediately interested and is doing what he can to sell one of his Warhammer 40k armies and pick up some Infinity figures. Don’t worry, he still has a couple of other armies so he hasn’t dropped Games Workshop or anything. After seeing the paint job on my Sgt Duroc, he took a blister out and handed it to me to see what I could do with it. Inside the unopened package was a Finecast model of one of the larger monstrous creature Games Workshop had designed for their Lord of the Rings line, specifically Gûlavhar, The Terror of Arnor.

Now, at first glance I was pretty excited. It’s a large figure on a 60mm base, with large wings spreading out from either side. I figured I’d really be able to practice my airbrushing on such a large piece. As well, the main colour are a range of black, greys, and white. With this figure, it’s all about the shading and highlighting. However, this was also my first real experience with Games Workshop’s Finecast. Now, this probably won’t come as a shock  to those who’ve worked with the product but, overall, I was not impressed.

I’ve gotten too used to really nice plastic, metal, and resin models from other companies. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the original sculpt. It’s suitably creative and creepy, and definitely adds to the terrifying atmosphere of the Angmar forces. Also, the Finecast does a reasonable job of holding some very sharp details. In this case it’s all about the cast. Not only did I find the odd bubble, the different parts didn’t fit together hardly at all. There were large gaps and even some pieces broken off. Some were still in the package, but some either were missing in the original cast or broke off before packing. Check these examples out:

The bottom of the figure was mis-cast and full of bubbles. Not a deal breaker, as I'll be putting basing materials, like sand and static grass, around the base anyway.

This one's a little more irritating. You can see the gaps on the neck, wings, and arms. I know there's a lot worse figures out there, but I'm really used to these kinds of lines being modeled in less obvious places. Also, the third finger/claw is missing from the hand. I don't believe it was in the box at all.

This gap was so extreme... really inexcusable among the current industry standards, in my opinion.
You can see that previous gap in the background, but the other wing wasn't much better, and the neck and arm on this side were also fairly obvious. There were also bubbles on the arms.
Here you can see the bubble more clearly, as well as gaps at the horns and another missing finger.
I should also note that the claw at the end of one of the wings was broken off as well.

Now, at the same time as they released their first Finecast products, Games Workshop also release what’s known as Liquid Greenstuff. They advertise this stuff as “the ideal tool for filling in small gaps on a miniature.” So, though there are some obviously large gaps on this model, I figured I could at least use the Liquid Greenstuff to fill the smaller gaps, bubbles, and seams. Yeah…. Not a great review of this product either. Even using the thickest bits of the Liquid Greenstuff on the smallest of gaps didn’t really make any difference. It looked fine at first, but once it dried I might as well have just painted the seams with acrylic paint. The effect would have been the same. So a few nights later I just went back to the old standby and used the real Greenstuff and some sculpting tools to do what I could about the flaws. I’m satisfied, but not entirely happy with the process and the results.

There will be more updates on this project as it gets closer to completion.

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