Monday, October 10, 2011

The clomp of approaching boots

A whole stack of high POW AoEs, coming soon to a table near you.
Breaking Bad is a hell of a show, one that I've watched since it started a couple years back.  It's the most compelling show on TV now, for me at least, and one I look forward to each week.  This week's episode was the season finale (which I thought was the series finale for a couple weeks, but that's not especially relevant) which was the culmination of a story arc that's been going for at least two seasons.  To describe things in a somewhat cheeky manner, this season ended with a bang, and now I'm curious to see where they take the show next season.  I tell you all this so that when I say I had it on in the background while finishing up these Bombardiers you'll have an appreciation of everything that statement implies.  My entertainment sacrifice, though swap might be more accurate, has revealed a few things about this kit to me that I'll pass along to you.

Grunt shoulder pad.
Previous reports have told me that PP's plastic is more of a plastic/resin hybrid.  This accounts for the ineffectiveness of plastic glue .  It might also explain why PP's plastic is softer and feels a bit springier that GW's plastic.  This kit had a bit of flex to it which I imagine is similar to Finecast, though no as dramatic.  There was more flash and mould lines on the Bombardiers than the jack that I turned into Black Ivan, and in much worse places.  In particular a line ran down the outside of the calf along a line of rivets and overlapping plates, which was a pain in the butt to clean.  Mould lines also seemed to wander around the pieces, appearing in unexpected places.  Perhaps the companies take different approaches to mould making, but years of working with GW plastic kits have taught me how to find the seam where the halves of the mould meet and then look for lines there.  For example, the Bombardiers had lines on the inside and outside of the calf, as I would expect.  But there was also a line down the middle of the shin, which was unexpected.  I have no explanation for this.  On the plus side, the lines weren't a constant.  Some pieces were cleaner than others.  There was also no sign of the mould slip that I've seen on GW stuff in the past which requires an amount of cleaning that is only slightly less work than resculpting the pieces from scratch.

Leader pad.  Sorry for the poor pic.
All the joints and ball and socket, with the exception of where the left hand joins the gun.  (This join is very nice, with a peg at the end of the left arm that's cut in such a way to only fit into one of the guns, which keeps you from screwing yourself down the road if you pair up the wrong arms to begin with).  This is a great idea, but didn't work so well for me in practice.  The sockets are generally too big, allowing the ball to swim around in the joint.  I thought about sticking some putty in the socket to hold things together better, but laziness won out and I went with straight glue.  The shoulder pads are the biggest offenders here.  I had assembled a single Bombardier one night and wasn't confident in the pad's adherence to the shoulder.  In the morning I gave all the pieces a light tug and one of the pads came off very easily.  I took a good look at how the joint operates while assembling the whole batch and the results aren't too inspiring.  As stated the socket is way too big, plus the bottom of the pad intersects with the arm hoses in spots.  When I'm done with this post I'm going to go tug on all the pads in the squad.  I expect 3-4 to come off, if not more.  (Just did this check and only one came off.)  Out of 10 total pads, that's a pretty bad ratio.  Fortunately I'll be able to putty any that come off while plugging the gaps in the base.  Huzzah for combining putty activities.  Thinking of the feet, they're a bit too wide for the base.  I had to trim heels and toes on most of the models so they'd sit in the recess of the base properly.  As a follow-up on the shoulder pads, there's a set for the leader.  The sculpted Khadoran anvil pad is easy to distinguish (the leader pad has big spikes sticking up out of it).  The blank pad is not as evident (there's a bit of sculpted detail at the edge of the leader pad).  At least I'll know what to look for when I do the Shock Troopers.

This is a pretty negative review as I look at it, but the reality isn't so bad.  It's always easier to find flaws than strengths for me.  That said, I was disappointed with these models in general.  The sculpt is fine and the poses are decent enough, but the assembly was harder than it needed to be.  Mould lines are something you learn to live with in this hobby, but there's no excuse for having the balls and sockets mesh as poorly as they do.  I've been toying with a post idea about why I hate the idea of paying $50 for five plastic Terminators but sprint to the nearest plastic crack dispensary to pay $50 for five plastic Men-o-War.  It's still an appealing idea, but I think the tone of that post will be different now that I've put the Bombardiers together.  I should probably get a box of Terminators to make it a fair comparison, but I just can't stomach the price tag for them.

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