Friday, June 27, 2014

Amelial, the Void Herald

by CaulynDarr

I'm about 85% done.  There's still some clean up to do on her wings and base.  I might also re-do the faceplate of her helmet.  It didn't turn out quite like I wanted.  

I was really frustrated painter her.  I realized I hadn't painted anything for nearly a year, and my hands just weren't doing what they where supposed to.  I shouldn't have jumped back in with one of my favorite miniatures from the Kickstarter.

The model itself was a little disappointing.  The detail on the arms came out pretty poorly in the casting. As well as the visible part of the face.  It has almost no detail.  I had to paint on a bit of a smirk so it looked like she even had a mouth.  The concept renders also made it look like she would come with an alternate head without a helmet; unfortunately she didn't.

I'm assembled about a dozen other minis from the Kickstarter, and I think getting decent results is going to be pretty hard without good painting skills.  There's a lot of what was meant to be intricate detail that was softened and muddled due to the PVC material used.  The material is also a bit hard to work with in terms of cleaning up mold lines.  It cuts well, but it leaves noticeable scarring especially when the mold lines intersect with the aforementioned soft details.  The material at least bonds well with super clue.  Sets in a few seconds without having to use any Zip Kick.  I'd also suggest using a very light primer; a thicker primer like Army Painter will probably fill in to much of the deal.  P3 seems to work well as I've found it to be the lightest spay primer on the market.

Though I did get over a hundred miniatures, and most of them haven't been unboxed.  Some turned out really well, others are more problematic.  Yeah there's this,  but that's mostly an exception to the norm(it doesn't help that the material is partially translucent and does not photograph well) . Most are at least of passable quality. I think we are learning that a cool digital sculpt does not necessarily make for a good miniature.  3D printing lets us realize some pretty sharp results in the prototype phase, but the casting qualities of the material still maters.  Rounding up a bunch of digital artists off Deviant Art, just isn't going to cut it.

In the future when it comes to Kickstarters, be wary of pretty renders, art, and 3d-printed prototypes. Make sure to see if they have actual prototypes in the final material.  Otherwise, you don't know what quality you are going to get.  A lot of Kickstarters are powering through with this PVC stuff (also known as restic) as it's only redeeming quality is cost.  I'm overall pretty happy with Relic Knights, but I feel it could have been an order of magnitude better if done in true resin or metal.  The quantity is really making up for the quality at this point, and the rules look pretty fun.

In the future I'll be avoiding any Kickstarters using PVC.  As the base for a pre-paint line, its would probably be OK.  But for a game you want to use your hobby skills on and make look pretty, you want some better base materiel to work with.


  1. You're much more forgiving on the PVC material and crappy casting than I would be. The details in your pic look absolutely awful. To the point that I'm wondering if the molds were sand-casted and hand machined from the 3D printed prototype instead of being digitally machined directly from the computer model.

    I can't imagine why anyone would hand-machine a digital model, as it would be more expensive than robotic digital machining. But that's the only explanation that I can come up with. Maybe the KS guys just didn't know any better and were sold a turd by a crappy plastics house. Without bothering to do a single-model test before hitting go on the entire line.

    1. The models and art where all done by Soda Pop, and the manufacturing was managed by Cool Mini or Not. There seems to have been some bad blood generated between them, and they have parted ways. CMON did Sedition Wars in PVC and that had some manufacturing quality issues as well. Their only KS wins so far have been boardgames or have relied on very chibi looking miniatures. I wouldn't be surprised if CMON went cheep on manufacturing. I also wound't be surprised if Soda Pop didn't have the experience or skill with the material to get the desired results. I'd very much like to get the E! True Hollywood Story on this one, but both sides have been tight lipped and smiling though clenched teeth on the public front. Schedule crunch was in effect too. This KS was over a year late. So some minis probably just suffered from a "Let's just ship it" mentality.

      And the quality is all over the board. This one was on the poorer side of the scale. It would be a bit more acceptable if it was a member of a mook squad and not a unique solo. My paint job didn't really do this one much justice either, but the underlying detail was hard to pick out with my skill level. The quality and material are roughly the same as Dust infantry figures; it's a little bit crisper and less bendy. Though the Dust sculptors seem to have understood the material better while the Soda Pop guys who tried to do too much with it.

    2. I added a photo of the mini with just primer.

    3. That looks so rough that it could almost be a 3D print itself. The cloud-turd thing looks hand sculpted with a rasp on foam. Ug... Until I see one in person (hint hint) I'm gonna go with they-worked-from-print as my theory.

      I wouldn't doubt that the CMON guys now crap-all about digital modeling/machining, and that the SP guys assumed that would do a much better job than they did with the production.

    4. Wait... a year late?

      Did CMON hire a clueless Philippine plastics house that re-sculpted the 3D prints by hand before tooling traditionally? Because a lot of the messy details would suggest something like that.

    5. There where something in the range of a 100 unique sculpts in the Kickstarter total. And some of them got to be dreadnaught sized. Plus Soda Pop is getting a Paladium level rep for missing deadlines. Guess who's paired up Palladium on the Robotech Kickstater. It's like a singularity of schedule slippage.

  2. I'm not familiar with the model or where it comes from, but it's pretty damn cool and your paint job is coming alnog nicely. I like the subtle washing effects. This would make a cool dark swooping hawk lord (sorry, my game options are limited to you-know-what at this point)

  3. I have this lot coming in the post somewhere and I am dreading it. This restic stuff seems ok for boardgames but just does not cut it for a minis game that had such promise. Your painting has has brought out alot of the model good job.

  4. Honestly I have a hard time making anything good or bad out from you pictures. I guess you get what you pay for is generally true.

    1. I've replaced them with some better quality images.

  5. I dunno, from where I'm sitting the model looks lovely, and the paint job is coming along sweet.

    The only weird plastic/resin stuffs I've messed with came from Mantic, and it ain't that bad. it's just weird.
    Everything I've ever gotten from Mantic (and there's been a bunch, now...) has been 'ok,' but not like 'good,' if ya know what I mean.


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