Friday, January 24, 2014

mantic deadzone figures - quick review of assembly, quality, mold lines & flash

After getting started on the deadzone terrain, I put the plague faction on the shelf since my plans for painting them involve staining methods and will benefit greatly from a batch approach. Don't quite have the cycles for that at the moment - so I've decided to have a quick go at the marauders since I will probably use a more standard paint method for them and therefore doing a few pieces at at time should not cause a great variation in their appearance.

Lots of rumblings online about the quality of the figures and the difficulty of working with the restic material. Here are my thoughts and a bunch of pics. There is a good degree of detail on the figures - they look really good painted up and that after all is the end goal. Getting there is the issue.  A quick caveat that it seems some factions/figures are better/worse than others - so expect some variation.

First up lets have a look at a couple commandos.  I think there are 3 poses (only 2 in these pics), and I don't really see much capability for converting these particular figures amongst themselves for variation. Perhaps if you include the flame thrower guy you could do a bit of mixing with the model that has both arms attached to the weapon. The running commando is 4 pieces and had a fair amount of mold lines all over - including right through his face?!?!  Definitely a strange one.  The commando at attention was probably the best of these four figures for mold lines.  Easiest to clean areas and some cunningly concealed (practically the opposite of the running figure)
running commando - see where his arm was glued I felt needed some filler
running commando - strange that they have a mold line running through his face
commando at attention - some filler required for his right arm socket
Next up is the mawbeast - or chainsaw dog as some people are calling it. It's funny I dislike GWs cartoony orcs in their fantasy game, but always found it suited the rogue trader universe (aka pre grim-dark) quite well. The above orcs are very reminiscent and this guy fits right in.  The detail is not as nice as on the orcs - his chainsaw tongue's "teeth" aren't very crisp and neither are his feet/toes. I found he required a lot of filling between where the two pieces go together. This may just be me, but I found the gap between the bomb belt and his hindquarters to be very obvious and didn't like it, so I've used a couple rounds of liquid green stuff to fill it. He also has a LOT of mold lines and some like around the tail are easy to clean and some on his legs and feet are very difficult and will probably require further cleaning after a coat of primer. Also you'll notice his bomb is actually miscast I am going to have to sculpt some extra fur over it to cover the blemish (third pic) which is probably not that much difficult from finecast (which when it sucks - it SUCKS)
mawbeast - look at all the mold lines I've had trouble cleaning on his legs
mawbeast - this shows more mold lines and the huge gap between pieces
mawbeast - a huge chunk of the bomb is missing behind his fur
Finally we come to one of the rippers. I would have included a goblin sniper in this review, but both of mine's rifles bent quite badly due to a lack of packaging/protection in my shipment. I would put the ripper between the commandos and the mawbeast. His legs had quite a bit of mold lines and were difficult to remove without damaging the details. Both arms required some minor filler to look good, but this was due to the ability to choose which arms to use with which ripper, giving you the ability for some variety which is nice. His fingers also had tons of flash which was difficult to remove and the mold lines on his head ran all the way around his jaw. I think they tried to conceal it via his mouth line but in my eyes it failed.
ripper - filler was required between both arms & body, see mold lines too
ripper - filler was required between both arms & body
ripper - flashing on legs was minute, but difficult to remove without damage
I fully understand why folks are annoyed.  It is a lot of work to do a GOOD job of cleaning up the figures - if you are someone who doesn't usually bother removing mold lines or only cares to remove one's that will be obvious once painted then these figures are extremely good value. For anyone like me who prefers to do a really good job the amount of effort does add up and reduces the value somewhat since I would still rate it much tougher to clean than plastic, or even metal depending on the metal sculpt.  Still for the price they are good value and I'm looking forward to painting these guys up.


Axtklinge said...

Sounds like a fair review.
I take it from your words (and images), that over all and despite obvious casting problems the low price tag and general sculpt quality, ends up making those a good buy.
Like you, can't understand the mold lines passing on the face, and experienced as they (Mantic) already are on the mini producing business, they really should know better. Go figure...

As a possible future customer, while I don't see myself buying the starter box to play the game right now, I could definitively see plenty of use in some of their minis to other game systems such as Necromunda (which may serve their purpose of selling minis just the same).
Specially if planning to do some conversions, and while at it, deal with the detail and mold problems.

If you decide to do any other review with more minis from that batch, a size comparison pic, next to minis from other know brands could be useful.

Tristan M said...

I will definitely get some pics like that, a good suggestion since the dreadball figures are much smaller than blood bowl figures.

Adam Wier said...

Good overview of the Dreadzone figure. I also commend you for trimming and assembling so many of them (with proper trimming and greenstuff work)! I have some of the Marauders myself. I started trimming the commander model and eventually lost interest. Whenever you run into any form of detail on one of the models things become a nightmare (if you want to remove the moldlines without ruining the detail anyway). I think I will eventually come back to them in the future though.

Great job with the ones you have assembled. Keep up the good work!

Tristan M said...

Very much agree, the face of the commando and the gear/piston parts of the rippers feet were the two areas where I was very concerned about destroying detail getting rid of the mold lines.

My guess is Mantic is really pursuing a certain select niche - those who like painted armies to play with. If you are into painting awards, these might not be the figs for you. At the same time they are cheap enough and go together easily enough that if you skipped all this extra prep and just threw some paint on them, they'd be quick to finish and look quite decent.

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