I spent my last post talking a lot about various plastic models. Here, I want to dedicate a bit of time to the other model materials that I’ve put together over the years – metal and resin. While I generally have a positive outlook on plastic models, I’m a lot more mixed on resin and metal, and instead of organizing by creator, I’m going to organize this post by materials.
Generally, I don’t mind a good metal model, however, I have noticed that plastic typically has a few advantages over metal – it’s lighter and easier to modify. On the other hand, metal models typically have fewer pieces, so they can be easier to assemble and have fewer noticeable joins. For me, the main trouble I have is the weight – I really hate to see a model that can completely demolish itself under its own weight.
Of the metal models I can remember putting together in recent history, Privateer Press has both the best and the worst. Their newer metal stuff has been quite good with nice joins and reasonable centers of balance. On the other hand, their older metals are… …Really really annoying to put together – they were hollow, didn’t fit together seamlessly, and had quite atrocious contact points (I’m looking at you, Man-O-War Shocktrooper). Games Workshop models always felt just okay to me – I feel like they largely sacrificed easy to assemble for a higher degree of customizability. While this allows a range of poses and options, it felt like I had to work pretty hard to get a “default” build as well.
There have been a number of things to turn me off of pure resin models over the years. The idea always sounds good, it has a similar weight to plastic, but can hold details as well as metal. However, the execution has always left something to be desired, usually in the way of excess material that takes a lot of work to trim. The reason I dislike this more in resin than any other material (including metal, which takes more work to trim) is that resin dust is carcinogenic, so you have to be a lot more careful about filing and working with it to ensure that you don’t breathe any in.
Games workshop is the biggest offender in my annoyance around resin. From the models that came on the sprue, I felt like I was getting a block of resin where I was responsible for removing anything that didn’t look like the model I wanted. On the flip side, the models not on a sprue, there was so much flashing and points that needed filed, it generated a lot of resin dust. Spartan Games also uses resin for their Firestorm universe models, and I typically find that they have less pieces to file off, but it’s still too much for my tastes.
As an added note, I’m just not a fan of resin as a material. It tends to be more brittle than both metal or plastic, and has a tendency to bend. These two things combined mean that if you get a bent piece in a model kit, it can be a significant effort to right it.
Metal/Resin mixed models
As much as I don’t like resin, Privateer Press is (in my mind) making some good metal/resin mixed models. Specifically, with their colossals and battle engines, that are utilizing the light-weight resin when having a big chunk of metal would simply weight too much. They additionally leverage the property of resin to produce larger pieces which allows them to have models that are large on the battlefield, but have fewer parts, are quite easy to assemble, and actually dodges one of my main gripes (brittleness) about the material as they typically use it for larger pieces that are unlikely to bend.
Metal/Plastic mixed models
Again, it is Privateer Press that I’ve seen put these hybrid material kits to good use. In this case, they’ve combined their plastic kits with a metal upgrade to a character model. I like this idea as it combines an easy to assemble, easy to customize, and light-weight base model with a highly detailed metal upgrade. This combination really hits the sweet spot for me, so I look forward to other things they may be trying in the future.