[Review] Fine Cast : DE Mandrakes

A collection of model, book and wargame reviews, edited and maintained by members for the community.
User avatar
paulson games
Shas
Posts: 869

[Review] Fine Cast : DE Mandrakes

Post#1 » May 29 2011 02:26

I picked up a box of the Mandrakes, I honestly don't see any major differance between the new resin and other brands available for self casting. It's a bit more durable than the resin forgeworld uses but not by much. Overall it's very nice stuff to work with much better than the metal, and the casting is quite good, most of the threads on otehr forums people are bashing and have posted have some really rough miscasts the likes of which I didn't see present on any of the blisters I was sorting through.

The quality is on par with FW stuff, with the exception that the mold lines are way better. FW models in my experience tend to have a lot of mold slip and really bad mold lines, the fine cast stuff seems to have fixed that pretty well. They do have some small bubbles on some of the models. On my Mandrakes one of the guys only has two toes and each of the models has some microbubbles on the right hand so the fingers are all slightly damaged. But given my experience with resin that's a very common occurance as the parts are really tiny, none of them are deformed enough to be unuseable but they will all require a slight bit of touch up with greenstuff.

One of the librarians I saw in the store had some issues with the power cables on his staff having some voids due to bubbles, but I looked at maybe 30 os so blisters and only two models had apparent flaws, so overall they are pretty solid casts. And that's coming from a very detail focused snob like me ;)

In my opinion I think they came out well for the most part, but I am a very experienced modeller and used to the difficulties of working with resin. I'm not sure how great of a choice it'd be for the average 12-14 year old gamer however. I do realize that many of the kids may not notice or even care about the finer details as they are just getting the models to use for table top play and not high end modelling or painting. I realize that it may not have been a feasible option but I would have preferred if they'd kept the metal around for when you want a tablestandard model and then having finecast available for the more diehard modellers.

They were $33 which is a bit steep, the old models were $25 if I recall correctly? Being that the cause for the switch away from metals is that resin is cheaper to produce I'm not entirely sure why the price hike. They should have kept the price where it was at as they'd already be coming out ahead... but GW never misses a chance to drive their prices endlessly up. Finecast is a fairly solid product quality wise but I do think they are going to end up slowing a lot of their sales due to the higher cost.



3 out of the 5 models:

Image


The microbubbles, and other normal stuff for resin like the weapons being slightly bent which can be corrected with hot water.

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by paulson games on May 29 2011 03:55, edited 1 time in total.
Paulson Games parts are now at www.reddogminis.com

User avatar
Peregrine
Kor
Posts: 1378

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#2 » May 29 2011 02:37

Wow, those bubbles are just horrible. Way worse than anything I've had from Forge World, and it's not exactly encouraging news that these are some of the best casts.

User avatar
paulson games
Shas
Posts: 869

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#3 » May 29 2011 02:55

Most of my FW crisis suits are pretty bubble free, but they tend to have a lot of mold slip and horrible mold lines.

I've had simular bubbles with the deathkorps models, their mask breather hoses seem to be the devil for casting and their hands also seem to be a regular trapping points for bubbles. Having cast plenty of stuff myself I know how much of a pain those parts are, I get a lot of miscasts due to bubbles but the diferance with the stuff I send out is I'm able to personally sort through the parts and I try not to let anything miscasts slip out. (I run about a 30% failure rate on parts)

GW has a huge amount of model to crank out so even with a bunch of guys inspecting parts all day long they are going to miss stuff just due to the volume they need to go through at a high pace.

Given how much I work with resin I don't think these details make the model unuseable by any means, could they be better? yes, but I'm certainly not disppointed overall as the repair work will probably take me half an hour at tops.

Resin is not for everybody though and I do think they should have kept a metal option available as they tend to have fewer issues with bubbles and the average player isn't going to care about the small amount of differance in detail as they just want something to push around the table.

My biggest suggestion would be to look at your blister carefully before buying, open it in store before you leave so that if it's bad you can exchange or it get a refund immediately rather than having to make a return trip. It looks like there are plenty of good casts coming out, but there are some stinkers as well.
Paulson Games parts are now at www.reddogminis.com

User avatar
Kirwyn
Shas
Posts: 73

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#4 » May 29 2011 11:56

I purchased the Sniper Drone set, the only one and only Tau my new flgs received. It is perfect. no bubbles no defects, no nada on all four models in the kit. It looks much better than the metal casting even though it appears to be the same casting/mold(s) Better enough for me to buy another two or three more boxes of Snipers Drones. Paulson Games is right on about the mold lines and the flash. These are much cleaner than Forge World, especially the older FW stuff. I am not saying that FW is bad, only for the sake of comparison. I suspect most folks on this site have seen some FW product.

For those that have the metal set of sniper drones, the casting of the rail rifle barrel is awesome compared to the metal one.

I would advise to use snippers to remove these models from the sprue. If the model is removed by hand the casting "feeds" could tear off a little bit of the model where they attach. I learned this the hard way. It appears I possess the "very detail focused" gene as well.

I would love to have a Finecast Shadowsun model. :biggrin:

Paulson Games, thank you for your contributions to these forums, I really enjoy seeing your frequent posts and what you create from a seemingly endless supply of bits.
Action begets success.

User avatar
Pillar
Shas
Posts: 126
Contact:

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#5 » May 29 2011 12:21

The issue with bubbles, as exemplified by the ribbed air hoses of the Deathkorps, is caused by the amount of surface area the bubble has to cling to. In those little nooks and crannies, where the bubble can make significant contact with the surface of the mould, their natural buoyancy, even combined with agitators that might be used to "motivate" these bubbles up and out, isn't enough. It's why we're going to see bubbles appearing in places like fingers, and tight ridges that were otherwise meant to be clean and sharp - frills, that sort of thing.

That foot though... that is something else. Luckily, this time it can be easily covered up by basing materials, but I mean, what happens when that piece turns out to be a hand? But like you said - open them in the store, inspect them there, best advice I've seen so far.

User avatar
Shas'O Darkstrider
Shas
Posts: 49

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#6 » May 29 2011 02:09

I just finished cleaning up and building my first Finecast model(a warriors of chaos Khorne exalted hero), and I must say, I'm thoroughly impressed. The model is flawless. No bubbles, no miscasts, no mold slips, nothing. There was some flash, but I cleaned up all the flash and mold lines with a modeling knife in about 7 minutes of actual work. The model doesn't require pinning(though I pinned it anyways due to being a pinning fanatic), which is a new thing in my experience with resin models. Not to mention, the model is... well... for lack of a better word... gorgeous. I had previously painted this same model for a mate of mine a few months back when it was in pewter, and there really can be no comparison. The fine details stand out so much better than the other that it seems like a completely different model.

If this is what all finecast models will be like, then I'm freakin in. I'm officially on the resin band wagon.

User avatar
paulson games
Shas
Posts: 869

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#7 » May 29 2011 05:35

I took the box back to the local bunker which exchanged it. I gave the box a quick look over and it was better than the first but there were still a few minor bubble problems. None of these were major and could easily be corrected with a dab of superglue or greenstuff. I'm still a bit irritated as it required a second trip back for marginal models, not the sterling quality that GW is advertising finecast as being.

I took some on the sprue shots which I'd skipped last time.

Image
Image


The bubbles on the new box:
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image



The bubbles were still occuring in the same places, hands and toes so I know it's likely a result of the mold and not just a singular miscast. From my personal casting experience I know it'd take only a few seconds of work to prevent this using a light dusting of Talc powder on the molds which helps wick the resin to the surface and eliminate fine bubbles. This is an easily correctable problem which is why I'm not to happy with the purchase. (with the previous experience compounding it)

I apreciate the fact that the store was able to exchange the box, however it's not something I should have to chase around fixing, they are billing finecast as a superior quality product and in my experience it's proving no better than the metals. My biggest suggestion is make sure you go over every mini in the store before leaving and if you find a problem immediately exchange it or return it.

I had been planning on purchasing enough Mandrakes to fill out two full units, with future plans of purchasing enough Talos engines and Wracks to fill out a flesh cult list. I no longer intend to be doing so, with the increased cost of the models and downgrade in quality I really can't justify spending money on those. This is why GW just isn't cutting it for me anymore, had the quality upheld their BS hype campaign claims I had planned on buying 3 more boxes of mandrakes, 3 talos engines and at least 8 boxes of wracks. That's $500 in sales they just lost, purchases that will be going to Privateer Press, I will be buying cephalyx overlords and thralls to use as stand in models for the wracks and I will piece together the talos engines out of warjacks.

I gave it a shot and I'm disappointed enough I don't see any reason to use fine cast to fill core unit slots. The quality level is not what they have been promoting, GW just keeps *'ing up their stuff and I'm done with them. There are plenty of other options out there (and less expensive)



Privateer's Cephalyx Slaver Box - $33 for 6 guys, without dubious casts? Yes Please!
Image
Last edited by paulson games on May 29 2011 06:09, edited 1 time in total.
Paulson Games parts are now at www.reddogminis.com

User avatar
Wolfs16
Fio'El
Fio'El
Posts: 2748

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#8 » May 29 2011 05:41

Thank you very much for the review Paulson. I had a feeling that the whole Finecast stuff was a bit overblown. Having worked with resin extensively, these things don't necessarily scare me off from buying anything, but the fact that you have to do so much work feels like they forgot to employ some quality control! With the increase in price and the fact that GW advertises Finecast as the hobby messiah, you'd think they would look a little closer.

Oh and could you please re-size the Privateer image? It's a bit too large.

User avatar
Militant.Jester
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 826
Contact:

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#9 » May 29 2011 06:43

Hey, it's not so bad with Dark Eldar - just called the bubbles scars or self-mutilations!

This is actually the first I've heard about fine cast, nice to know about it. Unfortunately I stocked up on metal sniper drones and Vespids, which I regret because I really hate metal, but there isn't much I can do about it now. :sad:

Anyways, thanks for the review Paulson, I will keep this in mind!
Ni neart go cur le cheile::Cadre Log Activating...

User avatar
Fio El's Workshop
Fio
Posts: 226

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#10 » May 29 2011 08:28

So there is about a 30% failure rate with casting resin in molds not specifically designed for resin...
* Paulson's own admission + people returning flawed product for exchange or refund *
...and the price has gone up around 30% as well?
Sounds like GW might have actually done some homework on this one.
My son spends my 40K budget on Lego. No complaints here.

User avatar
MODELGLUE Eio'Y
Kor'El
Kor'El
Posts: 1283

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#11 » May 29 2011 08:34

Thank you paulson games for the detailed and honest review.

It really was exciting to see resin models make their way into the standard GW hobby scene, but now that we've been subjected to the hype and we've seen the evidence supporting the unfortunate facts it seems unlikely that i'll purchase anything from the finecast line.

I've had similar experiences with forgeworld models, in the past and very recently. I've had a case *in progress* for 3+ weeks, playing email tag and resending photos and batch #'s repeatedly. I'm very disappointed in GW's nonchalance attitude towards quality control and customer service.

(end gripe)

What good I do have to say about GW and forgeworld is that I admire their ability to crank out creative and vital products that keep them afloat. There have been some fine models released recently. I feel like they could borrow from lessons learned in the plastic model industry, and even the cottage resin industry however, to better themselves for future sustainability.

modelglue

User avatar
Tael
Fio'O
Fio'O
Posts: 5834
Contact:

Re: Fine Cast Review: DE Mandrakes

Post#12 » May 30 2011 08:19

Thanks for the time you took on this review Paulson, appreciated a lot.

I think pretty much every reaction I could have has been covered. Least I can say is I agree with the negatives and the positives in equal measure. I may cave and buy one at some stage, but presently with a helluva lot of models to paint, might not be fore awhile.

Hopefully the kinks will be ironed out by then (or the bubbles popped..)

- Tael.

Return to “Reviews”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest