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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




Scotland

After spending a fruitless afternoon trying to put a set of plastic figures together I feel I really need to rant. A bit.

I'm not going to name any company, as I think they should be welcomed if they try to offer something a little different. But they need to get it right.

In this day and age, why are plastic figure's quality so extreme? You can buy from one company and find that they go together no problem,with only mould lines to tidy up. Then you get a set from another company and it seems that the only easy part of the build is getting them out of the box!

1) Bad fit. The ones I tried to fit together today were a really bad fit; arms,bodies,joints,add on weapons. There was no single redeeming part so I at least could feel like I was getting somewhere. Surely computer aided design has advanced enough(even if you are not running the biggest company in the world) that you should be able to eradicate or reduce this problem? Did your test models not alert you to problems?

2) Soft detail. Why? We all have plastic models that have detail that simply fades out on the most prominent parts of a model (annoying on faces especially) or just suddenly stops and turns into something else. Or my favourite;you have no idea what you are looking at. If you are releasing figures to take on the bigger companies and charging for them in the same price bands, the detail needs to match them and not this soft detail nonsense!

3) Lack of instructions. Okay,it may save you money, but if some parts fit only on certain bodies etc, you really need to say so as it cuts down on frustration. Maybe even number the parts on the sprue saying which part goes with the other part? It's not difficult to do that surely.

I've wasted £30, to be honest. Also add on another £20 for alternative heads and it mounts up.
The only creative thing I did today was to remove them from their bases,which I'll use on a current project. But these figures will probably stay in a box marked "Whatever you do, don't open!".

As I've said at the start, I'm all for manufacturers bringing us something new and alternative, but please make sure sure the figure quality matches the asking price.

 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




Having put some historical models together (WW2) in plastic and metal from the same company I know exactly what you mean.

the metals are fine, the sculpts of the plastics appear technically fine, however stuff like ammo packs appeared to be designed to be specific to certain bodies, but the instructions don't mention it, nor do they mention that each right arm only pairs with one left arm, and not they are not adjacent on the frame either.

most irritatingly you have not exactly multi-part but monopose models with a few options, at best you can raise or lower the weapons and swap heads.

very hit and miss, the same company makes others that fall together.

Weirdly have found the very cheap historical stuff a lot better than the more 'premium' end where stuff appears rushed.

also there is a massive difference depending where the stuff is produced, Rendra make some excellent stuff, crisp, detailed, where as some of the stuff from China is much softer in its detail
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Courageous Space Marine Captain





SoCal

Did you buy the old Mantic Men at Arms? It sounds like the old Mantic Men at Arms...


   
Made in us
Scuttling Genestealer





philadelphia

Had that experience with Privateer Press, a lot of the hard plastic and restic(whatever it is) is low quality. They can get away with it because the base is more concerned with gameplay than the hobby aspect but still sell them as high quality miniatures. And to be fair, I think other companies are several years behind gw's plastic so I might not be making the best comparison.
   
Made in nz
Storm Trooper with Maglight






Off the shoulder of Orion

What you are describing sounds very much like the Warlord Games US Infantry box. I agreed to make one for a friend, but as you point out, they are a nightmare. No instructions, paired arms that have have to guess at, tiny parts, poor fit, soft detail and when you finally manage to get them built, they look disappointing.

4 built, 46 to go....

My Collected Narrative Photo Battle Reports

http://www.dakkadakka.com/wiki/en/Gordy2000%27s_Battle_Reports

Thanks to Thor 665 for putting together the article
 
   
Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User





Any number of reasons, both engineering and business.
Legit technical failures: Bad plastic batches, worn out tooling, incomplete seals, not enough accounting for shrinkage, improperly calibrated CNC machines, etc.
More parts, more complications. Anything organic even more so than hard surface models.
Cost in material differences: Dollar store plastic army men aren't really meant for painting and so can be made from cheaper yet durable low temp plastics, versus the type of polystyrene GW or some historicals use. Some companies can't afford the higher end PS and instead use a cheaper blend which sacrifices detail.
There's also anticipating volume of sales, etc, etc.

A company may have spent 20 years doing metal and resin casting, injection molding is a whole other animal.
There's a steeper learning curve and investment in IM tooling and related software vs casting.
I could pick up resin casting over the summer through trial and error without missing bill payments, but I'd have to take out a loan to try the same with injection molding.

Very likely though companies outsource their mold design, and not always to the same teams. It's a gamble whether that talent knows what they're doing, or even understands the intended hobby/costumers experience with products. The files might be ready, but the manufacturers might not have the layout experience, hardware capable of doing them full justice, or cut corners to deliver. Accountability is harder to enforce when they're literally on the other side of the planet.

CAD and molds aren't cheap. While the software licenses are less than they used to be it's still a couple grand annual, and the engineers who use them aren't regularly designing fiddly toy soldiers. So the skills for designing quality miniatures is still comparatively limited. Open source stuff has improved for 3d printing, it's not really there for fine detail IM soldiers vs phone cases and some model cars.
Rapid prototyping can address some of the fitting issues, but getting the actual molds made just for testing is pricey.
These are businesses, in a niche market, with project deadlines or budgets that may limit how many iterations of tool testing they could get made before product release. Even sinking $$k into the production, may mean releasing volume of passable over perfect, and hoping to make some money back.

Some companies are stuck in their ways about how they develop products, so even if there are more options to aid them, they may not explore them.
Like not using rapid prototyping options to test product fits first.
Otherwise just laziness and bad design, because 'hey, it's plastic not resin, they'll buy it.' Some businesses will just fail.

Other than packaging, instructions are likely the least expensive part of the product, particularly if they aren't drawn.
There are technical and/or cost reasons why matching parts may not be adjacent on the frame, but I agreed in this day and age there's little excuse for a total lack of instructions or making some effort to having clear assembly examples.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/05/10 20:23:09


 
   
Made in us
Legendary Master of the Chapter






 Gordy2000 wrote:
What you are describing sounds very much like the Warlord Games US Infantry box. I agreed to make one for a friend, but as you point out, they are a nightmare. No instructions, paired arms that have have to guess at, tiny parts, poor fit, soft detail and when you finally manage to get them built, they look disappointing.

4 built, 46 to go....


Really? i didn't really have much issue with the warlord infantry kits. having done both US airborne and DAK, the only thing that bothered me in those kits were the laying down guys. cant always get them to fit on the long bases.

 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

2) Soft detail. Why? We all have plastic models that have detail that simply fades out on the most prominent parts of a model (annoying on faces especially) or just suddenly stops and turns into something else. Or my favourite;you have no idea what you are looking at. If you are releasing figures to take on the bigger companies and charging for them in the same price bands, the detail needs to match them and not this soft detail nonsense!


one of the main reasons for this is to keep the part count down. Pieces have to pull out of a mould with no undercuts, and a lot of the time designers 'cheat' but running things together/filling bits in to achive it, where you'd get a better result by snipping off a layer of detail and making it a separate part ,

You can see it best in things like the multipart plague marines compared to the dark imperium ones which have a lot more 'cheated' sections to avoid having extra parts,

but that leads to Kingdom Death/Wyrd MK2 designs with a 32mm mini's thumb being a separate part (fine for folk like me who enjoy building, but a real problem for many)

alternatively you can move to slide moulding (an order of magnitude more expensive)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/05/10 20:58:41


 
   
Made in ca
Ancient Venerable Black Templar Dreadnought





Canada

I find at least for "clear" assembly you may have missed some helpful sheet somewhere.
I know for the Bolt Action stuff there is usually a picture of the sprue and they show what goes together.
I found the difficulty was so many darn parts more than anything.

Worst I had was the Robotech Box where the veritech models are painful, there are added instruction pages out there to help.

I hate to admit GW models I find fits are quite good.

Malifaux has some truly mind bending joins but their fits are insanely good.

Results may vary, I have been putting models together for some 39 years now so that may be a factor.

A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
Napoleon Bonaparte 
   
Made in au
[MOD]
Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.






Under the couch

This covers most of it pretty well:
Spoiler:
 PondaNagura wrote:
Any number of reasons, both engineering and business.
Legit technical failures: Bad plastic batches, worn out tooling, incomplete seals, not enough accounting for shrinkage, improperly calibrated CNC machines, etc.
More parts, more complications. Anything organic even more so than hard surface models.
Cost in material differences: Dollar store plastic army men aren't really meant for painting and so can be made from cheaper yet durable low temp plastics, versus the type of polystyrene GW or some historicals use. Some companies can't afford the higher end PS and instead use a cheaper blend which sacrifices detail.
There's also anticipating volume of sales, etc, etc.

A company may have spent 20 years doing metal and resin casting, injection molding is a whole other animal.
There's a steeper learning curve and investment in IM tooling and related software vs casting.
I could pick up resin casting over the summer through trial and error without missing bill payments, but I'd have to take out a loan to try the same with injection molding.

Very likely though companies outsource their mold design, and not always to the same teams. It's a gamble whether that talent knows what they're doing, or even understands the intended hobby/costumers experience with products. The files might be ready, but the manufacturers might not have the layout experience, hardware capable of doing them full justice, or cut corners to deliver. Accountability is harder to enforce when they're literally on the other side of the planet.

CAD and molds aren't cheap. While the software licenses are less than they used to be it's still a couple grand annual, and the engineers who use them aren't regularly designing fiddly toy soldiers. So the skills for designing quality miniatures is still comparatively limited. Open source stuff has improved for 3d printing, it's not really there for fine detail IM soldiers vs phone cases and some model cars.
Rapid prototyping can address some of the fitting issues, but getting the actual molds made just for testing is pricey.
These are businesses, in a niche market, with project deadlines or budgets that may limit how many iterations of tool testing they could get made before product release. Even sinking $$k into the production, may mean releasing volume of passable over perfect, and hoping to make some money back.

Some companies are stuck in their ways about how they develop products, so even if there are more options to aid them, they may not explore them.
Like not using rapid prototyping options to test product fits first.
Otherwise just laziness and bad design, because 'hey, it's plastic not resin, they'll buy it.' Some businesses will just fail.

Other than packaging, instructions are likely the least expensive part of the product, particularly if they aren't drawn.
There are technical and/or cost reasons why matching parts may not be adjacent on the frame, but I agreed in this day and age there's little excuse for a total lack of instructions or making some effort to having clear assembly examples.

The one thing that I would add is that due to variations in the way different materials behave, digital sculpting and test models only get you so far. There's still a little bit of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best once it actually gets to tooling, and because of the cost of the tooling process there's no going back if something turns out to be not quite right.
   
Made in us
Douglas Bader






Two things:

1) Fit quality is partly a tradeoff with ease of assembly. For example, some of the GW kits seem to have deliberately large gaps between parts so that even a small child (a big part of their target market) can make all the parts go together. Closing those gaps would mean greatly reducing the room for error in part alignment, which means parents of those frustrated customers coming back and demanding refunds. On the other hand, with something like a high-end historical kit you know that your target is experienced adults so you can afford to make all those tolerances as tight as necessary.

2) Detail is sometimes soft because of the limits of plastic molds. You can't have undercuts so sometimes that means that squares have to be less than perfectly square, raised areas can't be as prominent, etc. And it gets worse the farther you get around the side of the part. Since miniatures typically have a clearly defined front that gets the most attention that's obviously where the best detail goes, and sometimes the sides and back are sacrificed to make it work. You can counter this to a degree by increasing the number of parts in the kit, breaking up each object into tiny pieces that can be fully detailed without undercuts, but with gaming miniatures how many customers are going to be happy with having to glue half a dozen pouches (each composed of 2-3 separate pieces) onto a basic infantry model? Contrast that with the number who value ease of assembly and don't really care if the details are a bit off in a way that you can't really see from across the table...

There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
   
Made in au
Dakka Veteran




I have recently Really enjoy puttng together some tau Pathfinders, but the firewarriors kill team box was just awful. Horrible cast, poor detail and bad fits for a lot of things.

I also got the Hobbit box, which i think is one of the worst experiences i have had putting minis together.
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




Scotland

Thanks for the replies Guys!
These are a relatively brand new release, maybe from a couple of months back.
Gaps; I can take small gaps,easy to fix. The gaps on these are frankly ridiculous,the parts do not remotely align.
No instructions on the box info list.
Some of you have mentioned companies that you think it may be. It's none of them.

 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Gordy2000 wrote:
What you are describing sounds very much like the Warlord Games US Infantry box. I agreed to make one for a friend, but as you point out, they are a nightmare. No instructions, paired arms that have have to guess at, tiny parts, poor fit, soft detail and when you finally manage to get them built, they look disappointing.

4 built, 46 to go....


close from me, Warlord plastic WW2 Japanese, when I heard they were coming out in plastic I ordered two more boxes of the metal starter box from FLGS... both of which arrived in plastic Grrrr.. refunded the difference but had I known thats what he would order (despite specifically wanting metal) I'd have ordered them direct while I still could

the Test of Honour ones were nearly as bad, no idea what weapon is what, nor which arms go with what
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Courageous Space Marine Captain





SoCal

Slipstream wrote:
Thanks for the replies Guys!
These are a relatively brand new release, maybe from a couple of months back.
Gaps; I can take small gaps,easy to fix. The gaps on these are frankly ridiculous,the parts do not remotely align.
No instructions on the box info list.
Some of you have mentioned companies that you think it may be. It's none of them.


Is it Shieldwolf, then? Their sisters had gaps in the torso, but I don't remember many soft details.

   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka






If the models you're assembling have pin-and-socket joints, you might get better results by trimming down the pin, drilling out the socket slightly or simply clipping off the pin altogether. You can still align the parts without them in most cases, and if the tolerances are too tight, or if you get too much glue down the socket, then you might have trouble getting the gaps between parts to close up.
   
Made in gb
Fresh-Faced New User




 Desubot wrote:
 Gordy2000 wrote:
What you are describing sounds very much like the Warlord Games US Infantry box. I agreed to make one for a friend, but as you point out, they are a nightmare. No instructions, paired arms that have have to guess at, tiny parts, poor fit, soft detail and when you finally manage to get them built, they look disappointing.

4 built, 46 to go....


Really? i didn't really have much issue with the warlord infantry kits. having done both US airborne and DAK, the only thing that bothered me in those kits were the laying down guys. cant always get them to fit on the long bases.


There's two generations of Warlord's US Infantry kit (as opposed to the "Airborne" and "USMC" kits). The first generation came out a while ago and has the weapons on a seperate sprue. The second generation came out a lot more recently (early last year, I think - after the airborne) and has weapons on the main sprue, moulded to arms, and is much better than the original, in terms of sculpts. I got into BA last year and built a second gen kit and it was fine. there was a slip in the box labelling the sprue making it clear when arms were paired. There could have been a little more supporting information about correct "builds" for given units and time periods, but as it;s such a huge field I guess short of putting a book in there it would always be lacking.

First Gen kit is labelled "American Infantry" on the box and has 25 models in it:


Second Gen kit is labelled "US Infantry" and has 30 models:


At a guess, Desubot has the first gen kit as the total adds up to 2x25...

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/05/14 08:38:36


 
   
 
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