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I have found it interesting to hear different views on miniatures in gaming on various forums. Different people have different experiences that frame their point of view and not everyone is a modeler.
There is a wealth of information on the internet about miniatures and it has been a steep learning curve for me after a long absence from modeling and analog tabletop gaming. So I have written a somewhat lengthy blog post about some of the things I have learned. Some of it may be a bit basic for you but not others. Feedback, suggestions, advice and questions about the blog are very welcome.
Miniatures in general is such a massive topic to discuss.
Hard plastic is obviously the "gold standard", but you often have to pay for it. That's not so much of a concern if you can expect high volumes of sales, but if you're not GW that's unlikely.
I find good resins absolutely fine though. White metal is a mixed bag, if I just want the mini as-is and it's a good quality sculpt, it's arguable better than resin. But if I want to modify the mini at all, or it comes with flash of any kind it's just so much harder to work with than resin to the point I often won't bother.
I agree, that's why I specified good resins
Have you got specifics for the price difference? I only know the vague sense of resin being cheap to set up but expensive to cast, whereas plastic is very expensive to set up but cheap to cast.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/09 09:20:36
The metal dies used for injection moulding HIPS plastics as complicated as a miniature are tens of thousands of dollars - 25k-50k range, easily. That's per sprue, and almost all kits have multiple. However the piece cost afterwards is pennies, and the production line can be fully automated. The lifespan of such a die, if properly designed, is tens of thousands of casts minimum with very little wear per use. This is why we only see plastic kits for high volume miniatures / ranges. The company has to sell enough to justify the high up front tooling cost.
Resin and white metal casting has a much lower set up cost (outside of the oven / spin-caster, which we aren't going to factor same as the machine / production line that uses the metal die) - 5-30$ per rubber blank, depending on material and size. These moulds don't last nearly as long - sometimes as little as a couple dozen uses if the parts are particularly finnicky or the gating badly done. Then a new mould needs to be made from the master / first press. The pouring / casting process requires a human operator, and these moulds have a shelf life even if not being used - though it's pretty long for most of the high quality types. Setting up the moulds is also a skilled craft, requiring someone with experience to ensure all areas of the cast fill correctly and the best possible impressions are obtained.
White metal is the most expensive of the three materials, resin is probably comparable to HIPS at industrial level bulk purchasing volumes. Resin is also quite hard on moulds, and they deteriorate pretty quickly when used for it. The more detailed the model and the more 'sticky-outy-bits' it has, the higher the failure rate and the faster the mould degrades.
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/06/09 21:06:29
Spin casting is rad. If you go digging on YouTube, there's at least one fine bloke who's done a whole series on how to lay out, press, cut and gate moulds. There's a lot of skill that goes into it.
Notice how the caster has a pile of moulds he's working with? That's because you need to let them cool down after use, or they wear out prematurely. And the 'pull' technique varies too - compare how he separates the weapon sprue cast vs. the bunny(?) figure. Mess that up and you can tear the mould.