Thursday, 20 March 2014

Robotech Tactics #2

Palladium kind of lives up to its reputation...

So there's just a few months left till July, which is Palladiums self-set finalized date of when they'll ship wave 1 to backer. Note, they've already missed several of their previous self-set dates so who knows if they'll make this one in the first place. However, it seems forces are at play which may impose heavy contractual penalties on Palladium if they miss Gencon, which explains the recent rush to get things out. 

As such, they've recently just previewed a few of the mechs for us to say. Supposdly they're made using 3D print while the final product will be made in Hard Injection Plastic. However, what has been previewed so far has not been reassuring to say the least...

Number of Parts
Let's start with one of the biggest complains. WTF are there so many parts on a MONOPOSE model? Let's take a look at the Valkyrie there. It has 21 parts for a model that's roughly the same size as a warjack in Warmachine. Maybe even slightly smaller. And it's MONOPOSE too. Wtf is the head even split into 2 pieces? 

Sure, some of you might say "That's just a render", it doesn't mean they'll really be stupid enough to make the kit so many pieces.
Um...yes, they apparently are. Here's a look at the Spartan, this time in 3D print. Notice the sheer number of pieces and no, it's not 2 models. All the legs are split in half. Why? WTF knows?? 

Let's count the pieces again shall we? That's 34 pieces for the Spartan. For a FUCKING miniature. And again, for another monopose figure since the arms aren't ball-jointed or even flat so you can move them around. No, instead they have sockets -_-

Let's just do a simple calculation. Assuming battlecry has the pointage you need to be able to play decent sized games or whatever is the norm in Robotech Tactics. And battlecry comes with 6 spartans and 7 veritechs. That's 6 x 34 + 7 x 21 parts right there, for a total of 351 parts. But wait, let's not forget the veritechs have 3 different modes, all of which need to be assembled. If we're generous, let's assume they will have roughly the same number of parts as their plane mode, so thats 14 x 20 parts, for 280. That's 531 parts... But wait!! That's not all that battlecry comes with.
I'm not sure about you, but looking at those sheer number of parts makes something inside of me want to shrivel up and cry, or at least go and play Warmachine where I already have figures assembled, ready to paint and probably have an EASIER time finding people to play with. 

So why the sheer number of parts you ask? Well, if you ask PB and there defenders, they'll repeat the same answer. It's for the detail! Then they'll give you some explanation about how this is hard plastic and how it needs to be tooled right and the molds have to be able placed like that to get the detail on the legs. I'd just like to point you to the diagram they made right above. Notice the detail on the leg that requires 2 molds? It's a GODDAMN ridge! 
Then I'd like to point you to exhibit B, which is the Death Marshall kit from Wyrd. It's also in hard plastic and about the same size as the Spartan. First, let's take a look at the number of pieces. It's at most 9 pieces per model, NOT 20+. And let's take a look at the detail. You see those flames? They're ONE single piece of plastic from the same mold. 
So when you look at what can be done with hard plastic molding from Wyrd and how they can come up with intricate flames in 1 piece and then you look at Palladium and how they need to cut a single leg into 2 parts just to get ridges, you kind of have to wonder wtf shoddy factory they outsourced their production to. 

But maybe that's just being harsh on Palladium. Maybe Wyrd has some secret lost tech they use to manufacture their plastics in China that Palladium doesn't have access to. Instead, let's look at some other sprues. 

Um, nope. Still not seeing how you need to split it up just for ridges. Most of the sprues are fairly detailed and notice how they don't come in 20+ parts just to build the body. 

Of course, when PB and their defenders get presented with evidence proving 'hey you CAN have detailed parts in 1 piece', they then start spouting off about cost, as if their figures are somehow miraculously cheaper. Again, let's take a look at some of the figures. The wyrd figures, which are pretty much the most expensive of the non-GW figures, cost 24.80usd at RRP and come in packs of 3. That's about 8 bucks for a fairly detailed and large 28mm figure. The Spartans come at 32.95 for 4, which is surprisingly enough 8 bucks per figure. So really, they're the same price. The spartans aren't that much bigger than the Death Marshalls, due to the coffin and everything and the DMs are a lot more intricate and detailed. 

The quality 'seams' off
Okay, other than the horrendous number of parts, what else is wrong with the figures? Let's look at this. 

See those seams running right through the figures? Yeah...those are going to be an issue. Despite what PB thinks, no, putting primer and painting over it is NOT going to make those seams magically disappear. You'll still see them, especially some of the most obvious ones. 

The PB white knights would argue but it's so easy to fill in with green stuff and file the seams away. Yeah, how bout PB NOT give us shitty seams in the first place? When is it the duty of the consumer to fill in the defects of Seriously, when GW came up with finecast, there was such a shitstorm over it because of the warping, the holes in the casting process and so on. People didn't accept it, and PB expects people to accept this? Uh, how bout no? 

Granted, those are still 3D prints so they might time to change things around. They also claim the pieces will fit together much tighter with the hard plastic pieces. I have no idea if that's true or not but frankly, after this kickstarter, I'm starting to understand that you really shouldn't just trust what comes out of Palladiums mouth. They say they have better models to show and that the Spartans are the most 'complicated' of the lot. I take that to mean they're the worst, and I also doubt they have more models to show considering it's been several days and guess what? No new models to show us. You'd think if they had better models to show us, they would have to alleviate the concerns of the backers.

Also, wtf does the Battlepod seem to be mostly several pieces while everything has been cut to 20 pieces or more? 

Overall, as time goes by, my enthusiasm for this dies a bit more. Which is a pity, considering I love Macross. Yes, that's right. MACROSS. Not Robotech. It's just that the more Palladium speaks, the more annoyed I become. This is also considering what they did to Paulson games who originally pitched this idea to them.