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When buying a game do you prefer:
Whichever makes the game most affordable

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Fresh-Faced New User


First, let me start by saying if this has been covered elsewhere please let me know. I took a look around but didn't find any threads specific to this topic.

The basic question (in case you don't feel like reading the long version) is, "When you buy a game do you prefer resin miniatures, plastic miniatures, or whichever makes the game most affordable?"

The long version

The reason I ask is not simply out of curiosity but more from a business standpoint. As I work on preparing a war game for release I am at a crossroads on how to produce the miniatures. It is the age old question of cast resin or injection molded plastic.

They both have their pros and cons and the intent here is not to try and persuade folks one way or the other or start a holy war. The purpose is to find out if there is a majority of folks who swing one way or the other. Obviously, if there is an overabundance of people who want one vs the other that will help me determine the best path forward for production. The reason this is important is that the business cost models are very different between resin and plastic. I won't get into the nitty gritty but from a general/typical scenario:

- Resin is typically quicker to produce
- Small batches are easier
- Costs are spread out over time.

- Takes more initial setup time
- Only makes sense for larger runs
- A majority of the costs are up front.

From a consumers perspective, the difference is mainly in cost per miniature. Typically resin models are more expensive as they are more time intensive, molds break down, cost of materials, etc. For plastic, once the molds are made the costs are pretty low per shot/injection. So for a 5 unit squad it could be a difference between spending $50 for resin vs $25 for plastic. This is why I added the third option as some people don't care so long as the quality is there at the best price possible.

And when I say resin I am speaking of quality miniatures like KDM and Mierce and plastic is HIPS like 40k.

Naturally, there are several variables to consider when producing miniatures but here I am just interested in preference. Interest in the game is a major consideration of course. If there are 100-200 people interested in the game then resin would make more sense from a strictly cost perspective vs if there are 2,000+ interested people then plastic becomes more sensible. But again, here I am just asking for your preference when buying a game.

And any other thoughts, insights or perspectives are welcome as well.

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Androgynous Daemon Prince of Slaanesh

Devon, UK

Depends on the game. That you're already referencing price in the context of squads suggests it would need to be plastic, as the number of models needed in a game of "squads" makes resin prohibitive full stop. If it's a smaller scale game the resin is preferred as the overall importance of each model is higher, therefore a resin sculpt is more desirable for the greater versatility and resolution of detail and the cost difference is less of an issue.

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Fixture of Dakka



I'm happy to work with resin or plastic as a material. Each has its own quirks and bonuses from my point of view and neither is perfect.

That said I'd consider myself decently experienced in miniature assembly so I'm more confident to work with resin. Some people get turned away because they worry about the extra steps like washing; or having to fill bubbles (in my experience bubbles are not a huge problem unless its finecast....).

The sculpts themselves are also key to consider. Resin to me says a higher grade of sculpting is possible, a finer level of overall detailing. Of course plastic is really closing that gap but far as I can tell its not quite there (though some get freakishly close like the stuff that Dropfleet Commander uses - which far as I can tell achieves finer detail than GW generally does - but it might also be differences in sculpting focus)

So for me I don't really have a preference in a general level. Now I will say that I dislike materials like Privateer' Press's plastic. It's tough but perhaps a bit too touch and its not enjoyable to clean. Straight resins like the sort Spartan Games (now Warcradle) or Forgeworld are far easier to work with. Meanwhile GW plastics are great and easy to work with as well.

So I'd say I've no bias on the general material, it all comes down to the specific properties. And, of course, the sculpts themeslves.

Note - I'd say that as someone who might consider backing a project I'd be concerned about any project funding for plastics that wasn't turning millions in income. Basically plastics got a serious amount I've yet to see any modest ks fund with platsics on the card that either didn't flat out fail eventually; have to change materials (the bigish one for Confrontation had to do this after promising loads of plastics they've now pulled back to metal/resin); or use overseas factories in China which can often come with huge delays when it comes to sorting out quality control problems and mass production.

Honestly there's a sound reason most companies go for resin/metal first whilst they grow their brand and customer base. I think its also important in the medium term that they find out if they've got what it takes to make it mainstream in the long term; or if people just get whipped into a frenzy around the launch and then it all dies off in 6 months time. Far easier to move on with resin where the costs are up front but also lower; tahn with plastic where the costs might be near crippling up front and never reach a profitable point.

Cashflow is also important; you don't want to front-load everything at the start and leave nothing for further investment later in things like marketing; outreach and such.

Note I went for "whichever makes it more affordable" more so because I'm saying I don't have an overall preference rather than cheapness being the most important thing.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/03 19:01:04

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Decrepit Dakkanaut


It's really hard to say,

If I liked the figures i'd buy them whether they were resin or plastic (at the moment i'd be very unlikely to actually play another system as I so rarely manage to play the ones I have)

I'd say plastic would be more desirable for a game (especially if you're intended to play with a lot of figures) and you'd be able to get into stores that don't bother stocking resins, and probably grab more gamers too

but you need to be able to fund the expensive regular release of more plastic (run a KS and yes if you're lucky you can make a bunch of stuff, but the people who bought into the KS will be bored with it and give up if you then can't carry on releasing more new stuff so while you might think you can slowly release the KS stuff to retail over say a year it's not going to be enough to hold your new gaming group together and if the early KS adopters start to back out its a good way to kill the game)

so if you've not got much money resin is probably a better bet as you could spice up a general release of KS funded stuff to retail (attracting new gamers) with a few extra self funded brand new pieces to keep the early KS backers happy

Your also going to want to have scupts suited to the material so if you go for resin you can have finer detail, but have to be a lot more careful about thin sticky out stuff like swords or figures standing on one leg compared to plastic, so who you can get to sculpt for you should influence what material you go for

as will lead time (plastic will take an age compared to resin)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/03 19:27:04

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Longtime Dakkanaut

The limitations on undercuts is a huge limitation of HIPs. GW are absolute wizards of working around it, but most companies can't hope to do the kind of detail GW gets away with. You really notice the lack of surface details after a while and even with GW stuff, you start to notice the boundaries after a while.

Resin seems to be a bit prohibitively expensive for large model count games and far too many companies fail to mix in metal for spindly bits. Model to model, I'll take a PP resin over just about anything else these days, but it really seems better suited for games with fewer characters than anything with large units.
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VF-1S Valkyrie Squadron Commander


Plastic all the way.

I’ve dealt with resin from a variety of companies, and I just don’t like working with the material at all - with one exception - I can’t remember the company’s name, but they make a lot of nice not-40K minis. Even so, if the company made plastics, I’d buy those instead.

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Courageous Space Marine Captain


I am much more excited to buy plastic miniatures than resin, but price also plays a factor. For example, I bought resin over plastic recently; TTCombat's Desert of the Dead campaign was able to sell resin minis at a great price while GW's latest boxed set offering is still too pricey, even in a discount bundle, to justify a purchase. Another price consideration is how diverse the box contents are. A box of nearly identical monopose minis with little variation has a lit less value per dollar, whether plastic or resin, and these days seems to be equally common in either medium. Plastic miniatures usually come with a lot more options and bits on their sprues, which can increase the value quite a bit as those parts can be used to liven up less desirable minis, like lower tier Reaper Bones campaign ballast. Unfortunately, options don't seem as common these days; Parabellum's Conquest shocked me by including almost no optional bits on their sprues, like they think they all Malifaux.

Plastic is much easier to work with. It is as easy or easier to cut and scrape, less likely to arrive warped or need to be washed, and plastic glue is super forgiving. Like, staying with Tiger Woods forgiving. With resin, you never know what you will get. My first experiences with resin were Forgeworld and Sprtan Games, and it took me a decade to trust the medium again. With Trollforged, Raging Heroes and Impact, I got well-cast resin that heroically resisted superglue like a squadron of Poe Damerons.

Resin is a fantastic medium, if it's the right mix, with a decent part cut and not-overbearing release agent to avoid mold damage, and handled by someone with the knowledge and patience to cast it right, and stored in a temperature-controlled environment where it won't warp, all at a competitive price. Plastic is better.

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Fixture of Dakka


I should note early Spartan stuff was very much of a different quality to their main line and latter stuff . Even their sculpting technology had a huge shift. The stuff from Warcradle now is great (they just have to hurry up and stop recasting old ships and cast some new ones )

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Awesome Autarch

While I don't mind the occasional large chunky resin piece for a 40K model, etc...resin is my least favourite gaming material.

Unhealthy to sand/smooth, annoying to work with, tough to clean up and patch, and figures can be exceptionally brittle if the company doesn't know what they're doing. In most games, wherever possible I prefer single piece metal figures. They've got the proper longevity I'm looking for. Metals also are the easiest to strip and repaint after that 20 years is done. I own heaps of metal miniatures from the early to mid 90's that are as good today as the day they were put in a blister.

HIPS plastic is fine as long as you make it robust enough to last 10-15-20 years of gaming. As someone who hosts games at conventions, resin figures break way too easily when being handled by players.

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Anti-Armour Swiss Guard

Newcastle, OZ

Plastics are just as unhealthy to sand/smooth, btw.

In either case, you SHOULD be wearing a dust/particulate filter mask as dust in any form is bad for you (some dusts are a lot worse). Same for paint and solvents used for paint stripping. PPE all the way, baby (but gamers, being lazy, typically will skip all of that stuff and wash the dust out with their paint water anyway).

Both are incredibly fragile for small/thin parts.

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Plastic all the way.

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Regular Dakkanaut

Plastic is more universal and, generally, more durable.

Resin is not as easy nor as cheap as people think. At least till they start casting resin models.

A QUALITY resin is key, as is not using excessive release. I've got ones that I've cast where.. well lets say that the resin has been soaked in some pretty harsh stuff but it's still shiny with release.. dunno how that happened but it appears chemically bonded.. doh.

But more than that. The biggest cost in Resin.. is the Mold. Even a really good resin is cheap.. like sub 10 cents a fairly large model.. say 50 cents US for something the size of a Rhino.

But the molds... yeah.

1. Quality is king. You need the right shore hardness, and you need the mold to be THICKER than you think.
2. Sure.. resin can cast really really fine detail... but such molds will have much shorter life spans as those fine details start to fail pretty fast.

The molding material is NOT cheap, at least relative to the Resin costs. That is for a proper quality pour-able molding material with the right features, hardness, and flexibility.

Also.. if your mold is not perfect.. you just trashed that much mold material.. start over. You cannot FIX silicon molds.

While plastic injection molding seems expensive.. they last longer and so the total sunk cost ends up being closer than many people think.

The real spread comes in production numbers. Low production Resin in Silicon molds will win out, but as production increases so too does the mold failure rate and the costs start to catch up fast.

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Dakka Veteran

Plastic. Every time.
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Fully-charged Electropriest


Depends on the number of models used in the game for me. If it's skirmish size, I'd prefer resin due to the details. If it's multiple squads (which it sounds like it might be) then plastic all the way.

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Dakka Veteran

Resin, metal and then plastic. Depends on a lot of things, and cost is the least of them. So I hit resin, but really need a depends.

I only really want plastic for big units, if it’s a small game I would much prefer resin and metal.
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Mighty Gouge-Horn

Anor Londo

 chromedog wrote:
Plastics are just as unhealthy to sand/smooth, btw.

I’ve been involved in the hobby for approx 30 years, this is the first time that I have heard somebody say that HIPs is as dangerous to sand/smooth as resin is.

I know all about the dangers of breathing in resin dust, please can you elaborate on the dangers of plastic?
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Fixture of Dakka


Wood, plastic, resin, metal, flour, chick dust - basically any fine material isn't healthy to breath in. Millers used to be well known to be well off, but short lived in the old mills due to all the flour dust floating around in them

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Agile Revenant Titan

London, UK

Based on some of the spindly plastic bits from GW that keep breaking, I'll take any material as long as the sculpt isn't trash and the pieces don't break if you touch them (looking at you Amallyn Shadowguide).

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Osprey Reader

York, PA USA

Plastic if at all possible. Resin production is pretty labor intensive. A better approach might be to buy 5 or so Anycubic Photon printers and just run them continuously.

But those parts are extremely brittle.

If you are looking to make display pieces to compete in painting competitions, then I imagine resin would win out every time. But if you want a reasonable replica to game with that can withstand a few trips to the floor and is cheap enough to buy in regiments? It has to be plastic.

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Mighty Gouge-Horn

Anor Londo

 Overread wrote:
Wood, plastic, resin, metal, flour, chick dust - basically any fine material isn't healthy to breath in. Millers used to be well known to be well off, but short lived in the old mills due to all the flour dust floating around in them

Resin dust particles are very difficult to expel from the lungs if inhaled, this is due to their shape IIRC.

Obviously it’s not a good idea to inhale any kind of dust particles, but resin in particular, to my knowledge, is far more dangerous to inhale than plastic, wood or flour, to use three of your examples.
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Longtime Dakkanaut

Palitine Il

For gaming figures? Short answer: Resin bad! Plastic or pewter man.

That said you can make judicious use of resin for on the table but it’s not a good idea. At best; Pewter or plastic for humans, resin “core” for bulky models with pewter detail parts or plastic. Privateer Press is using resin properly for gaming. Raging Heroes etc. make display pieces that can be used in game but you have to REALLY trust your opponent.
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Noble Knight of the Realm


I would think the total number, shape and size of the minis would push it one way or another. Some small, delicate minis would just break in resin, unless it was the flexible variety. Also, will these minis be all one piece or are we expected to assemble/glue them? Are there a manageable amount or will there be dozens that are needed? Is there an after market case where plastic would be suitable and preferable and you could make your money back?

I think you would be setting yourself up for costly failure if you take the advice of what gamers would prefer, but not in context of what they will be getting. You need to do what makes sense cost-wise and from a production standpoint. Because really, at the end of the day, if you have a stellar game with killer minis, no one will really care whether they are plastic or resin - as long as they are durable and suitable for their purpose.

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Fresh-Faced New User


I really appreciate all the feedback so far!

I think everyone has pointed out the various pros and cons of the materials pretty well and also the cost factors that need to be considered. As I said, there are many variables in this process and preference is just one of them. It certainly is not the deciding factor but does play an important role. Where possible you do want to give your customers what they prefer so it is an important piece of information.

I've seen comments/questions around the type of game and number of miniatures mentioned a few times. For clarification, the initial game is more of a skirmish style. Players will have around 10 models on average (could be more or less based on points values) but no more than 20. And units/models are typically activated/moved individually not in groups. So while you may have a 'squad' of humans, they move independent of one another not as a group. I don't want to side track the thread with too much info but since game type was a recurring theme I figured I would mention it.

A mix of materials is also possible if not probable. For example, the core game might be plastic and then additional individual units resin.

Thanks again and please keep the dialog and poll going!
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God-like Imperator Titan Commander


It's probably worth considering PVC as well. It's a cost-effective solution to the HIPS vs resin conundrum.
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Fresh-Faced New User


I did check into PVC but it is not great at retaining the quality and sharp details, at least not to my standards.
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God-like Imperator Titan Commander


I'd agree, but in terms of affordable mass-production it's way more affordable than either resin or HIPS. I was quoted $9,000 USD per mold cut, for example.

These little guys are from Dwar7s Winter, produced in PVC by the company quoting me that $9k/mold.
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Willing Inquisitorial Excruciator


 warchild40k wrote:

I've seen comments/questions around the type of game and number of miniatures mentioned a few times. For clarification, the initial game is more of a skirmish style. Players will have around 10 models on average (could be more or less based on points values) but no more than 20. And units/models are typically activated/moved individually not in groups. So while you may have a 'squad' of humans, they move independent of one another not as a group. I don't want to side track the thread with too much info but since game type was a recurring theme I figured I would mention it.

A mix of materials is also possible if not probable. For example, the core game might be plastic and then additional individual units resin.

Then I think resin (or PVC) is your best bet to start, unless the game is so much better than anything else out there, and inexpensive to boot. Plastics have a big upfront cost, and rely on ongoing and continued sales to make back the investment. If you're confident that you will be doing that much volume on the plastics, then go for it. But for a skirmish game that people can likely use their existing minis in, how much product will you realistically shift.

Plastics as a second wave option, if the game goes gangbusters might be a safer bet.

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Longtime Dakkanaut

Depends. I like resin because it's mostly one-part cast, you don't get those annoying seams/gaps when you glue two plastic parts to make one (i/e, MKIII marine backpack).

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Hardened Veteran Guardsman


As a general rule I’d go with plastic but I’m old school and actually prefer metal. I’ve never minded working with it and if you clean, pin, and prime/varnish it correctly you won’t have issues with breaking and chipping.

I’ve assembled a few bones models and was not a fan so I’ll always take the metal reaper models over them. I’m not a fan of privateer anymore and their “restic” models are so terrible it’s a crime they even charge money for them but the detail on some of their resin/metal kits is pretty great I have to admit.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/07 03:26:07

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Speed Drybrushing

San Francisco, CA

I HATE resin.

I would pay a gazillion bucks more to get HIPS. Anything over resin. So awful to work with. Hate, hate HATE it.

Whew. I need a cigarette.

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