Register Register

Author Topic: How about some IWM plastics?  (Read 509 times)

DarkSpade

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2332
How about some IWM plastics?
« on: 13 March 2019, 19:23:26 »
It's pretty clear that a lot of us would love to see more plastic mechs.  There's a another thread asking about it seemingly ever other day.  We also know there's a number of reasons why Catalyst can't produce them to the level we'd all love to see.

But what about IWM?   Yeah they only deal in metal minis, but so did reaper for a long time. Not to mention Privateer press, Wyrd, and many other companies.  They've already got the experience with minis, the phone number of a lot of talented sculptors, and most importantly, the rights to make battletech minis.

Who knows, if it worked out maybe they could even change their name to Resin Zephyr Plastics!
Space Marines are guys who look at a chainsaw and think, “That should be balanced for parrying.”

carlisimo

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #1 on: 13 March 2019, 20:06:26 »
I’m surprised IWM didn’t switch to resin when tin prices spiked.  I’d be happy if all new minis were resin instead of metal; it doesn’t chip nearly as easily and it’s easier to fix mold lines.  Granted, you can’t just start pouring resin into molds for metal minis (see: GW’s Finecast adventures), but for future products, why not?  Labor costs?  Hazardous materials?

I don’t expect rigid plastic to be financially feasible, with a few possible exceptions.  But I’m not sure about that - Wyrd’s been able to release plastic sprues for Malifaux, and they’re not high volume sellers. 

Please none of that flexible plastic that CGL is using in the new box sets.  It’s great in that it allows some of the molding flexibility of resin or metal (allowing what would be undercuts in a two-piece mold), but there’s always a lot of cleaning up needed and the material is particularly difficult to work with.

dgorsman

  • Corporal
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #2 on: 13 March 2019, 20:33:05 »
I've *never* found it easier to fix mold lines in plastic.  I've also seen fewer on metal casts.

abou

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1210
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #3 on: 13 March 2019, 21:51:16 »
Plastic doesn't mold to nice edges or hold the details as well. But economics of scale flat out prohibit it. BattleTech doesn't sell in the volume to justify the investment or start up costs and each mold would cost thousands of dollars.

Sartris

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6686
  • Here for the Jokes
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #4 on: 13 March 2019, 22:20:07 »
would we be able to fan fund a sculpt for $800?

speck

  • IWM Web Support
  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2121
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #5 on: 13 March 2019, 22:55:19 »
would we be able to fan fund a sculpt for $800?

Nope

Sartris

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6686
  • Here for the Jokes
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #6 on: 13 March 2019, 22:57:54 »
That’s a no from me, dog

speck

  • IWM Web Support
  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2121
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #7 on: 13 March 2019, 23:00:22 »
I’m surprised IWM didn’t switch to resin when tin prices spiked.  I’d be happy if all new minis were resin instead of metal; it doesn’t chip nearly as easily and it’s easier to fix mold lines.  Granted, you can’t just start pouring resin into molds for metal minis (see: GW’s Finecast adventures), but for future products, why not?  Labor costs?  Hazardous materials?

I don’t expect rigid plastic to be financially feasible, with a few possible exceptions.  But I’m not sure about that - Wyrd’s been able to release plastic sprues for Malifaux, and they’re not high volume sellers. 

Please none of that flexible plastic that CGL is using in the new box sets.  It’s great in that it allows some of the molding flexibility of resin or metal (allowing what would be undercuts in a two-piece mold), but there’s always a lot of cleaning up needed and the material is particularly difficult to work with.

Biggest reason there was no switch is the $$$$$ required to do so.

Cache

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1825
    • Lords of the Battlefield
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #8 on: 13 March 2019, 23:10:50 »
I’m surprised IWM didn’t switch to resin when tin prices spiked.

Ral Partha did try resin back in the day. They kind of sucked.

speck

  • IWM Web Support
  • Moderator
  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2121
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #9 on: 13 March 2019, 23:17:46 »
Ral Partha did try resin back in the day. They kind of sucked.

Those where done by another company for Ral Partha back then.

carlisimo

  • Private
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #10 on: 14 March 2019, 00:45:41 »
Biggest reason there was no switch is the $$$$$ required to do so.

I had no idea. (Not that I would.) I guess I just assumed resin and metal were similar to work with, other than needing to design the gates differently (is that the right word? Channels?). And the equipment that melts either material; I hadn’t thought of that until now.

klarg1

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1324
    • Blind Metal Minis
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #11 on: 14 March 2019, 08:07:02 »
Resin (rather than plastic) has similar up-front costs to metal, but is also an expensive material, like tin, and what I have heard is that it wears out the molds faster than metal does, driving up production costs. I don't know for sure how the economics stack up vs. tin in the 2019 market, but I would bet that it is not different enough to justify the cost for IWM to switch.

For injection-molded plastic, I think Speck and others have answered fully already.
Read about my travails with miniatures:
http://blindmetalminis.blogspot.com/

worktroll

  • Oldest and fatherless
  • Ombudsman
  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 19943
  • 504th "Gateway" Division
    • There are Monsters in my Sky!
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #12 on: 14 March 2019, 12:58:25 »
IIRC, a big problem with Ral Partha's blue resin was that it was far more viscous than liquid metal, which meant more miscasts and bubbles. And unlike metal, the resin couldn't be thrown back in the melting pot for re-use.

Plus, yes, I recall hearing it ripped up the moulds more than metal too.

W.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

RoundTop

  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1169
  • In Takashi We Trust
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #13 on: 15 March 2019, 16:36:30 »
I know this has been said before, but:

Pros of metal:
  • Cheap mold
  • Miscast parts can be remelted
  • Cheap production machines
Cons: material is more expensive, human worker needed

Metal is great for: low numbers, high detail. Average cost remains approx the same as the unit count increases.

Plastic pros:
  • cheap material
  • Automated
  • bad material can be re-used
Cons:
  • High machinery cost (north of $500,000)
  • High mold cost ($10,000+ is not unheard of per mold)

What plastic is best for: High volume of a limited number of designs. It can make them faster than metal, and the material is pennies. The more you make, the cheaper the unit cost.

Resin pros:
  • High detail
  • Low machinery cost
  • fairly low mold cost
  • Light, and fills space very well
  • strong
Cons:
  • Can lack fine details
  • High material cost
  • difficult casting
  • time sensitive (Resin must be used before it hardens)
  • cannot reuse waste
  • brittle

Resin is best used for: Larger pieces that need to be lighter. Larger pieces that need big voids filled. Low volume, as cost stays consistent over time.
No-Dachi has a counter-argument. Nothing further? Ok.
Demo team agent #772

DarkSpade

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2332
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #14 on: 15 March 2019, 18:04:37 »


BattleTech doesn't sell in the volume to justify the investment or start up costs and each mold would cost thousands of dollars.

But CAV does?
Space Marines are guys who look at a chainsaw and think, “That should be balanced for parrying.”

Sartris

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6686
  • Here for the Jokes
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #15 on: 15 March 2019, 18:08:50 »
Reaper is a much bigger company

cavingjan

  • Sang-Wei MUL
  • Battletech Volunteer
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4327
  • grumpy ESOB
    • warrenborn
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #16 on: 15 March 2019, 20:43:24 »

But CAV does?

Doesn't CAV also have you using multiples of the same sculpt? Let's face it, if we could purge the line down to a dozen or two designs, plastic would be much more feasible.

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 15339
  • Wipe your mouth!
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #17 on: 15 March 2019, 21:40:14 »
But would we want that?

Our Officer's Club is better than your Officer's Club.

Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

"I think I've just had another near-Rincewind experience," Death, The Color of Magic

DarkSpade

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2332
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #18 on: 15 March 2019, 21:45:43 »
I'm not expecting IWM to just ditch metal over night or to ever swap the entire catalog to plastic.  If we want plastic battletech mechs though, I'd think they'd be in a better position to deliver than most.
Space Marines are guys who look at a chainsaw and think, “That should be balanced for parrying.”

Cache

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1825
    • Lords of the Battlefield
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #19 on: 15 March 2019, 21:58:38 »
If we want plastic battletech mechs though, I'd think they'd be in a better position to deliver than most.
Considering all the information given above, how so?

DarkSpade

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2332
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #20 on: 15 March 2019, 22:43:00 »
They're already in the minis making business, and more importantly, they've already got the license to do so for Battletech.  At worst, they have all the same hurdles Catalyst has, but without the restriction of only making box sets.
Space Marines are guys who look at a chainsaw and think, “That should be balanced for parrying.”

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 15339
  • Wipe your mouth!
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #21 on: 15 March 2019, 22:56:30 »
Is there any mini that sells well enough to justify the costs of switching to plastic?

Our Officer's Club is better than your Officer's Club.

Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

"I think I've just had another near-Rincewind experience," Death, The Color of Magic

Scotty

  • Alpha Strike Guru by appointment to the FWLM
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9461
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #22 on: 16 March 2019, 01:27:54 »
Is there any mini that sells well enough to justify the costs of switching to plastic?

No.  There's a reason Catalyst gets box sets produced overseas by companies that already have the equipment.

In order to break even on plastics, IWM would have to be able to move tens of thousands of units and that just doesn't happen.  When the archive existed in its precious incarnation, a mini was archived when it sold fewer than five units in a year.  The volume just simply isn't there.
Catalyst Demo Agent #679

Kansas City players, or people who are just passing through the area, come join us at the Geekery just off Shawnee Mission Parkway for BattleTech!  Current days are Tuesdays in the afternoon and evening.  I can't make every single week, but odds are pretty good that somebody will be there.

Sartris

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6686
  • Here for the Jokes
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #23 on: 16 March 2019, 09:02:25 »
And A LOT of units got archived.

How far are we off from commercially viable 3D printing? If models are moved in such small quantities, it’s a quality concern?

Psycho

  • CamoSpecs
  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1390
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #24 on: 16 March 2019, 09:15:16 »
Is there any mini that sells well enough to justify the costs of switching to plastic?

No.

abou

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1210
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #25 on: 16 March 2019, 12:01:12 »
Not to dogpile, but BattleTech as a game does not require a lot of minis on the board to play. So there just isn't the demand. Maybe IWM could do a plastic Atlas or Timber Wolf, but only maybe. Even then one or two minis wouldn't make up the cost of investment.

IWM had to do Kickstarters for the Spectral LAMs and for their Chaos Wars phase and none of those combined raised the millions they would need for plastics. It just simply can't happen. Reaper can do CAV plastics, but they already had the machines and therefore only needed the molds.

Sorry, man, just not financially viable.

Hellraiser

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7771
  • Cry Havoc and Unleash the Gods of Fiat.
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #26 on: 16 March 2019, 20:52:41 »
I'm not sure that its even worth the cost for this, but, the ONE thing I can think of that might be worth making in plastic......... is the Hex Bases themselves.

Is a single mold & you need them for all the minis.  (Assuming the mini isn't made with one)

Simple cast, & mass quantity.

Not that I think even that one option is worth the switch, but if I had to think of 1 thing they could "possibly" look to do, it would be those.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

JPArbiter

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 3055
  • Podcasting Monkey
    • Arbitration Studios, your last word in battletech talk
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #27 on: 16 March 2019, 23:52:00 »


IWM had to do Kickstarters for the Spectral LAM’s

And that kickstarter was After they had blown through several thousand raised by fans in a traditional manner looking into metal alternatives just for the Master.

So its not just that plastics are not viable on a spreadsheet. THEY TRIED on a small scale and couldn’t get off the ground
Host of Arbitration, your last word in Battletech Talk

worktroll

  • Oldest and fatherless
  • Ombudsman
  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 19943
  • 504th "Gateway" Division
    • There are Monsters in my Sky!
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #28 on: 17 March 2019, 01:57:07 »
I'm not sure that its even worth the cost for this, but, the ONE thing I can think of that might be worth making in plastic......... is the Hex Bases themselves.

Is a single mold & you need them for all the minis.  (Assuming the mini isn't made with one)

Simple cast, & mass quantity.

Not that I think even that one option is worth the switch, but if I had to think of 1 thing they could "possibly" look to do, it would be those.

Ral Partha Europe, and IIRC Chessex, already make plastic hexbases. Just saying.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Hellraiser

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7771
  • Cry Havoc and Unleash the Gods of Fiat.
Re: How about some IWM plastics?
« Reply #29 on: 17 March 2019, 11:35:20 »
Ral Partha Europe, and IIRC Chessex, already make plastic hexbases. Just saying.

Interesting.  I was unaware of this.

Are they connected with IWM?

Or were just saying that so I can go get some from them? :)

Either way, its maybe the 1 area where IWM might be able to turn a profit investing in plastics.  Maybe.   I'm not sure even that is worth the cost.  But it does fit the bill of simple & mass quantity.
3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

 

Register