Friday, July 20, 2012

Forge World Void Dragon Phoenix - How Not to Build a Model

This week I got to move to the next phase of my planned domination of the skies by the Space Elves - the Phoenix Bomber.

I was at Warhammer World last weekend, up at the tills, trying to decide which of the two Phoenix models to get. They cost the same. But there is the vanilla version and the Void Dragon edition. In theory, the latter is a special reworking of the original, with a few extra details and female pilots. I believe the supplied weapons vary too. I was a little concerned there might some blatant Dragon motifs on the thing, making it a little uncool for my Sun Blitz Brotherhood detachment. Turns out that stuff doesn't matter - the model is absolute crap any way.

It started off well. Here's a picture of what you get in the box/bag:

At this stage, the model is awesome
The most striking feature of the set is the flyer is pretty much a solid single cast. Its a hefty beast, and you just have to stick on the engine nozzles, two sets of fins, and the cockpit surrounds. All good, yes? No.

For a start, the main body is attached to a a chuck of resin by three solid pylons of material and a substantial amount of flash. Cutting through the flash ought to be simple enough. Except for when you have to get through a pretty solid chucnk of it first, causing your blade to then suddenly run through the inexplicably thin and cuttable wing section. Leaving you with this:

OK, maybe I'm just not a good modeler
Great! A chance to put the greenstuff techniques I learned at the Open Day to use! Grrr... This one I was prepared to put down to poor technique on my behalf when cutting. Lesson learned, I said, move on to the next bit and we'll fix that one later. Its hardly noticeable....

Then I got to grips with the dorsal fins. As far as I can tell, the Void Dragon versions have cutouts, making them more, I dunno, spacey or something. Problem is, they too are attached to a big lump of resin.

Starting to think I'm not the problem
Yeah, thats the upper surface the resin is attached to too. Not the bottom surface you glue to another surface, you know, like a surface you can't see. No, its the top surface. Good luck getting that lump off without ending up with something like this:

That is not my fault
Maybe expert modelers know some foolproof way to deal with issues like that. I would have gone with not casting it that way round to start with, but hey, what do I know. That I need to do more greenstuffing, thats what.

Well, I thought, at least the cockpit canopies look pretty simple. I'll just stick those down, paint them, then add the clear plastic after. Piece of cake. Except....

I knew Eldar were supposed to be tall, but...
Thats right - the pilots are too tall for the cockpits. You can get the canopy surrounds glued on ok (as long as you're prepared to spend a good bit of time figuring out which bits are excess resin and which bits are supposed to look that way, then cutting and filing to make them all sit nicely against each other), but it is then physically impossible to get the clear plastic tops on because the bloody heads are too high.

At this point I realised that my clumsy fingers and lack of experience weren't the problem. Its the actual model itself. And don't even try to tell me Forge World is for experienced modelers and will require some finishing work. I can handle filing don the broken surfaces that are on every single piece of this kit. I can reshape bits with warm water. I can fill bubbles with glue or greenstuff. All that is doable. But come on - at least sculpt pilots that are the right size for the bloody model!

After all that hassle then,  I am left with the choice tonight of waiting till Monday morning to ring FW and ask them 'are all the models this crap, or did I just get really unlucky?' or chopping the heads off the pilots, gluing on the plastics, and then just painting over it all.

I am, shall we say, a little disappointed.

And the bloody weapon pods broke off when I tried to glue the canopies on
Maybe the vanilla Phoenix is great. Maybe I got a bad cast. I don't know. For £67 though, it ought to fit.

OK, rant over. I've spent some time this evening with warm water and lots of greenstuff. Tomorrow I should be able to post some pics of the almost good version of it.

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