Monday, February 25, 2013

On Finecast and Trolls

In the three years since this blog began (not sure where that time went), I have studiously avoided the blunt negativity and implausible bravado that marks the unfortunate end of this semi-anonymous forum, the internet. Previously, whenever I have engaged trolls the experience left me feeling sullied and vaguely diminished. And so I tried very hard to remain focused on the positive to the greatest extent possible.

But I woke this morning to a comment on this blog that finally has me taking the metaphorical bait. Oddly, the peculiar passage in question comes from my very own comments section and thus, in the spirit of Brent’s excellent “comments come lately” series, here goes my first official effort to feed the troll.

You may remember that some day/weeks ago I celebrated some random, wonderful miniatures from Black Scorpion. In that post, I indulged in a digression on the relative merits of Black Scorpion’s resin mixture compared to that of another prominent game company that you may have seen around the blogosphere.

…and from Slysa:
“I like how whenever anyone on the internet says they hate finecast they never say why it's bad it's always just blanket statements which leads me back to the inevitable conclusion that they're living the life of change=bad”

I still do not really understand where he meant to go with that nugget, but here are three moments that caught me a bit flat-footed:
- passive aggression masked as irony: when he says “I like” he means “I dislike.” The literal meaning is the opposite of the intended. It is an old trick to make oneself sound less of a prat for disliking something while not having to take credit for expressing the opinion.  I hate when people on the internet do this.

- an utter lack of self-conscious reflection: there is something really quite delicious in the way he laments how “anyone” will make “blanket statements” and, without even a breath, proceed to the only “inevitable conclusion," which is that  all who dislike finecast suffer from a life philosophy that fundamentally fears change. Period. Astounding. It is a wonderful and staggering accomplishment in just one small sentence.

- funnily enough, I do not mind the condescension. I think condescension is ok when one is moved to indignation (see: this post)… which leads me to the final point in this series of observations. Why the indignation? How can one feign (or worse, feel) said indignation on the merits of a statement of pure opinion? If I said, for example, “I loathe butter pecan ice cream,” would we then ascertain that my outlook on life is fundamentally flawed? How could one contest the validity of such a statement? Imagine the very useful exchange “–no, you are mistaken. You really, really do like butter pecan ice cream. You. Must. Like. Butter. Pecan.” Is that point genuinely arguable? For the record, I cannot stand the taste of butter pecan ice cream. It’s horrid, horrid stuff.

Mind you. I am no fool. I know that all opinions are not created equal, but a statement of pure opinion is not debatable. You may disagree. You may absolutely adore butter pecan, or finecast, or whathaveyou. We can talk about that if you like. Certainly. The simple matter of my opinion, however, should not inspire indignation.

But that last point has merit. I will presume that Slysa is a kindly troll, so here is the solid interrogative that he or she did not make, which would have provided a decent, more civil response to my assertion that finecast is utter rubbish: “what exactly do you dislike about finecast? Are you simply afraid of change or is there a more practical reason you dislike the stuff?”

Thank you for not asking, Slysa. Here is my practical response, which believe supports my opinion and which I am quite happy to offer:

I like change. I believe in it strongly. I like resin, and a post in the very near future is going to feature quite a lot of Forge World’s variety of the stuff. Moreover, a feature of the post in question was a compliment for the quality of  Black Scorpion's formula. I am finding it really quite pleasant to work with. Change is not the issue.

Finecast is.

The quality control on the stuff GW ships out the door here is lamentable. I believe that statement sincerely. I have worked with exactly four finecast models. The first was ok, look right and read below. The second was a mess. That happens. The third was an utter mess. I was disappointed. The fourth model is pictured above. You will have observed the variety of holes in the cloak, hat, boots, and so on. The model is untenable.

By my count (and only by mine) GW is batting 25% on this. I am done. But that is not even the whole story. Let’s revisit my first solid impression.   

Attentive readers will remember that I was once unequivocally positive on finecast based on my first impression. In fact, I was keen to refute the overwhelming negativity of internet wisdom based on the strength of the impression. Click here for the reference of my Necron test model above. I spent hours getting this guy right and I generally felt he was quite good.

And behold the same figure now.

Tragic. Utterly tragic. Note the staff (obviously), the index finger, but also the little trailing piece hanging from his belt. I am heartbroken.

Now. I must also mention that my treatment of this miniature has not been extraordinary. He has played about six games in his time and been in foam only twice. He once (and only once) came off a 3-inch piece of standard GW scenery... and lost the first half of his staff. Sometime after, he lost that finger. The staff might be fixable. The finger really is not. At all. Period. Nor the detail on his belt.

So, again by my reckoning, finecast is 1-for-4 out of the box and 0-for-4 beyond that. My experience only. My opinion only. Given that, I believe what I have said and shown here I would be a fool to feel otherwise about the stuff. But I will certainly entertain contrary opinions.


The Dark Templar said...

Brian, I really love this post of yours… and I'd never heard of butter pecan before today so don't feel qualified to comment on that.

I have only used Finecast the once – my Typhus conversion. I was lucky enough to be building a Nurgle model so it was quite chunky and any air bubbles present went unnoticed as part of the deteriorating armour. I had a very bent scythe which, even after lots of attention and hot water, refuses to straighten properly. I did not like the 'Edinburgh Rock' consistency of the resin, disintegrating under a drill or knife. I was lucky, it turned out pretty well for me in the end with that particular model but I won't rush back to try it with a detail-dependant model – I'd rather convert in plastic.

Da Masta Cheef said...

Quote: 'they never say why it's bad'

Don't we now? lol.

I suppose he/she doesn't read my blog, nor did he/she see my recent nerd-rage/screaming rant on the subject where there was a pretty obvious photo, of post-painting warping of Inquisitor Coteaz's hammer due to the poor quality of the finecast material.

Change is good, but change doesn't equal better.

Anonymous said...

I thought the reason few people currently 'never say why it's (finecast) bad' is because it has been done quite well, quite a lot already. That everyone was already aware.

I have never bought a Finecast miniature, or been given one. I don't recall ever handling one. But I am aware of the issues. I've read enough rants, complaints and pleas to GW to conclude 'finecast is bad' to be a widely held and widely known opinion. Much like 'the sky is blue' or 'stuff falls down because of gravity'. [Actually, in many countries those are considered 'facts', not opinions.]

So you gross negligence in not elucidating all of Finecast's shortcomings is perfectly reasonable to me. After all, complaints against Finecast ranks third to Porn and Political polemic in amount of internet bandwidth consumed. We probably don't need more of it. GW isn't paying attention, they are too busy looking for time travellers who violate their IP.

Davey said...

I like Finecast. I had a few shockers to begin with, but now I find miscasts rather rare and only very basic and easy to deal with. That's on the basis on 30 plus models. Just mentioning it so it's not all negative ;-)

oni said...

My experience with Finecast has been 100% FAIL.

1) I bought the SM Librarian in terminator armour... It took two replacements (3 models in total) before I got one where I could reasonably repair the model with green stuff. All of them were plagued with air pockets/missing detail, holes, miss aligned molds and random chunks of resin obscuring detail.

2) I bought the SM Vanguard Vets box... Again, it took two attempts of replacement (15 models in total) before I said enough, I want a refund. Again, all of them were plagued with air pockets/missing or obscured detail and holes. Not a single model out of all 15 could be repaired with green stuff.

After that I swore off Finecast.

oniakki said...

I have a surprisingly high 50% success rate on usable models (which is still abysmally poor from a QAQC standpoint on products out the door).

I still refuse to buy finecast if at all possible, I've used many resins and plastics before, and I really don't like how much it flexes given if dropped it still tends to shatter.

warhammer39999 said...

And here I was hoping for more pictures of actual Trolls!

Son of Dorn said...

I have to say, while my experience with Failcast is limited, I was never impressed with it to begin with. It's as though GW turned all of their blisters into pencil toppers. Remember those? Anyone that tries to market a product that just 'feels' cheap when it's in your hand has some issues.

Recent rumors of a 5 year plan to cast special characters in plastic are quite welcome at this point.

Frozencore said...

What happened to your Necron is tragic. I think I may have told you about a similar fate that happened to my unit of Dark Eldar Wracks. Not only did the store manager and I have to open 6 boxes to get enough non-miscast models to form a single 10 man unit, but then over the course of playing with them I had over half of the unit literally fall apart in my hands. It certainly put a bad taste in my mouth, and it has more or less killed my desire to play the army.

Zab said...

My experience with Fcast is hit and miss. the DE range was terrible, the Necrons were better. The 25th anniversary marine was damn near flawless. Still, I do tend to avoid it. FW resin can't be beat - except by plastic which is awesome in model form.

Brian said...

@ Dark Templar. You are not missing a thing with the Butter Pecan. And that's a good thought about finecast and nurgle. They seem a good fit to me.

@ Da Cheef. Solidarity in nerd rage! I've enjoyed your rants tremendously.

@ SAROE. I felt the same way and made a presumption based off that notion. So it goes. I suppose that I've learned (again) not to presume. Ha. And good point about the bandwidth issues.

@ Davey! a welcome voice of dissent. I am genuinely pleased to hear that your experiences has been better than mine. And I am pleased to hear that you're finding the issues diminishing. I should never say never...

@ Oni. Solidarity.

@ Oniakki. 50% is solid by comparison. I'm learning that it's a hit-and-miss situation that requires some finesse, or so I'm told.

@ Warhammer 39.9. Let me see what I can do about that. Hahah.

@ Son of Dorn. I do remember those tops! And I too would absolutely welcome the move to all plastic. I absolutely adore what GW does in that regard. They have it nailed down tight! Here's to hoping.

@ Joe lives!!! Great to hear from you again. Sorry to hear about the Wracks.

@ Zab. Plastic is the best. I'll take it any day. And you are the second person to mention that the quality seems to be improving. That's a good reason to hope for better days, I believe.