by Dream Pod 9
Yeah, a nice middle ground between too many and too few parts would be nice.
im with you John about the valks... about 45-60 minutes per Valkyrie... and then you have two more which makes it a long time just to get one done.. much less a squadron..
still.. I like a clean miniature.. Im hoping that these are as good if not better than what RRT has made.... don't get me wrong.. I love what has been produced (building and cleaning nightmares aside)..
RTT had huge problems with oversight by the license holder, language barriers and inexperience with both the miniatures business and international shipping/distribution. It wasn't aimed at the beginning war-gamer either (so many parts), but neither did it satisfy experienced modellers (zero pose potential, really). I found the Valkyries took the better part of 45min to assemble, but I'm a bit obsessive about cleaning and prep.
DP9 doesn't have these problems, though I'd argue that the 10+ part count of gears isn't exactly aimed at people new to miniatures war gaming. It's more aimed at the experienced wargamer market (as opposed to modellers), who are not scared of 10+ parts (like WH40K Space Marines) but want stuff they can somewhat pose, assemble in a reasonable amount of time, and choose which gun it has.
By contrast, something like Space Hulk is aimed at the entry market, as the minis are single pose but 2-3 pieces tops. Not quite as easy as a standard board game, but lots easier than a regular miniatures war game.
I'll add that the number of parts is exacerbated by poor marking and directions. Just picked up the Robotech Tactics set today online but have been so on the fence for soooo long based on so many bad reviews about HOW the high part number was handled (no markings, crummy directions). Parts can be a good thing, and expand posability, but can also sink the ease of new gamers getting involved. So DP9, just keep that in mind as a lesson learned from the other guys.
Multiple parts (even a high count) can be good if done well, it's more the design, placement and if it adds anything to the mini rather than be superfluous. A lot of times a miniature should have had multiple pieces over not having them, it's unusual and bad decisions when a mini is worse for using more parts (Starship troopers metal brain bug, certain plastic minis that have two piece arms/legs...) etc, thanks for listening to backers on the Legs/shoulders :)
Just looking over the comments, I agree, we'll ask the 3d modeler to beef-up the legs and shoulders some more.
But for the parts count, we want to keep it count down as we saw the problems and complaints that have happened with another miniatures Kickstarter that had lots of parts. The War for Terra Nova Core Starter Set plastic miniatures has to be easy and fast to assemble to get new players in to the game, along with the new rules set.
@Tom - I agree that I'd want more parts if it meant better detail, but I also agree that fewer parts means that more people are likely to pick up the starter game. Just look at what happened with Robotech RPG Tactics; the 'huge' part count - not actually that huge but enough to be annoying - has discouraged a lot of folks from picking it up. Difficulty of assembly is probably the second biggest barrier to getting folks to pick up a wargame (cost being the first). It's no real barrier to folks who are already in the hobby, but I think DP9 is making a good compromise. Given the size of the models, the lower amount of detail won't be nearly as apparent as just looking at blown-up 3D renders. The treads on a Spitting Cobra (metal) mini are miniscule to begin with.
The only detail issue that really bothers me at times is the hip and but plates, which really shows the limitations of casting in plastic. If anything were to be separate pieces, the two front skirts and the rear skirt would be my first choice (and I'll probably be busting out the jeweler's saw and x-acto knives to correct it once I get into assembling the minis).
@John - Maybe nobody wants 40+ parts, but I would've been much happier with 16 parts, instead of about 9, if it meant better detail. Plastic is perfectly capable of holding detail as well as metal, if not better, but that doesn't happen when you make sacrifices in favour of lowering part count to speed up assembly. I've always been disappointed in that decision, but I've accepted it. Just don't make the mistake of thinking there aren't plenty of people who would be happy with more assembly once per model for better quality.
@Jake, the legs are each a separate piece from the pelvis already. A lot of the compromises being made are a result of keeping the part count down, to keep assembly time to a minimum. The metal and resin versions of the minis are not being discontinued, so folks who want the detail level they offer can still get it. I'm sure more detail could be squeezed into the models if the part count went up, but nobody wants 40+ part plastic gears to assemble.
Get the feeling the Cobras will be known as 'diet cobras'. I do really like the design but it is noticeably different from the source material. Looking forward to everything so far.
Could you not solve the draft/leg-pose problem just by casting each leg separately so the consumer can glue them onto a common pelvis?
I know a lot of companies bevel off details in order to beat the draft requirements of a rigid mould. Personally, I think that's a good decision, and I'd be happy to see it applied here. Think of it this way: 99% of the time you see a gaming miniature from far enough away that you won't notice the lower detail, and people who are looking for awesome quality will be more likely to buy metal minis anyway.
Is there any reason for the dramatically changed proportions?
If you guys can make poseable elbows, what about poseable knees? Would add a lot of variety and could probably work with the smaller gears too
@DP9, awesome, thanks for the update! I'm sure I speak for most of the backers when I say that. Expectation management is a good thing!
@ Brian. Right now we are about 5 weeks behind schedule. We had planned to have all the 3d models finished at the start of May, but we still have the final fixes to be done on the remaining northern models to get do this week. Then parts spruing will get started, followed by the actual injection molds being produced that will take 2 months. We think the first plastic will start being popped in September and our promised November delivery date is still doable.
@ Alfred. We have to compromise on details with what will work in the plastic injection molds. The surfaces need to have a 3 degree draft so that the part will not get stuck in the mold. Thats why the track and other details get smaller as they move away from the mold split line. The draft needed limits the poses of the arms and legs, where as the our older pewter minis could have the exact details on all sides because the vulcanized rubber molds can be bent to remove the parts, plastic injection molds are made of steel and can't bend. So we need to cheat the details to get them to look as close to the original as possible and work in the molds, its pretty complex and takes very skilled 3d modelers to do it.
@DP9, is there a way that in some of the updates we can get an idea of how "on track" development is going? Its cool to see all the models and such, and you have been great at keeping us up to date with whats happening now, but there is no metric for backers to see where in the timeline we are. For instance, just a simple "on schedule" or "1 month behind target"... whatever. I think most of us understand that things can slip on the timeline, but bad news doesn't get better with age as they say. Thanks!
I like the changes made to the King Cobra, it's pretty good now
The Spitting Cobra's head and torso still look too big, especially compared to the legs. Just compare to this pic of the metal Cobra: http://dreampod9.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/large/s3/gallery-images/SpittingCobra.jpg…
If I'm seeing this right, the torso should be narrower, at least toward the front. Legs need to be longer and beefier, feet larger. Head smaller.
Posable arms is great idea, though! And being plastic, it's easier to fine-tune the pose of the model a little when assembling. But the proportions need to be just right!
euansmith: previously they've said that the poses are final.
Personally I'm seriously hoping they change their mind. :/
Poseable arms is cool. Are the finial minis going to be in more dynamic poses, rather than the fixed, standing poses shown here?
The tracks on both Cobras look unusable, can that be fixed? I don't have a metal mini on hand, but I think those were two separate tracks with space for a support/drive mechanics in between. It might be that the process for making the plastic models is different then the metal, but stil I wouldn't sacrifice detail and quality.
Poseable arms is great news.
Is it my imagination, though - or an effect of the stiff stand-to-attention pose - or has the Cobra become much more spindly and gangly since the metal Blitz miniatures? It's almost like a step back to the metal minis of the nineties that adhered too much to the old Vehicle Compendium vector art.
One of the really nice things about the Blitz figures was that they were dynamic and aesthetically proportioned, matching the cool action artwork rather than the rubbish blueprint-style vectors in the Vehicle Compendium... these renders really do look like a retrograde step in comparison. This one is the most obvious (to me) so far: the greaves look about the same size as the shoulders, which look barely bigger than the head - look at the proportions between those elements on the metal figure or most action artwork of the cobra, and the greaves in particular on this mini look tiny in proportion.
I hate to be melodramatic and whiny, but I'd also kick myself if you guys made moulds of all this stuff and then turned around and said "why didn't anyone say anything sooner?". At the start of this project I was really excited to see some plastic minis for what is still my favourite Sci-Fi universe after fifteen years of gaming it... but if the minis arrive looking like these renders I'm just going to be disappointed and offloading them as soon as possible on eBay.
In the sell-shot for these plastics - used in the KS advertising and still on your forums ( http://dreampod9.s3.amazonaws.com/Heavy%20Gear%20Blitz%20Kickstarter%20Core%20Starter%20Set%20Contents%20Image%20Updated%20with%20Stretch%20Goal%2019%20Unlocked%2052%20minis.jpg ) - the proportions on the Spit looked a lot more like the (good) action artwork than the (awful) VeComp vectors, and the poses all around were far more dynamic - what happened?
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@David. They should be, as they are the same size and it will be a lot easier to drill out the holes for the magnets in plastic than in the metal.
impressed, once again makes me wish the cartoon had a toy range :)
I think I asked before...but honestly, will these be as easy to magnetize as the old Blitz models?