Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Unfinished or Unpainted?

No luck in the local Walmart Stablemates hunt so far; it looks like that experiment/promotion may be a little more limited than we imagined.

C’est La Vie.

The past few days at work have been slow going, and a new shiny thing would have been a nice distraction. I’ll just have to distract myself with other things.

Speaking of Stablemates, here’s that Stablemates Painting Kit I found a little while back at the local Salvation Army. Complete with all the painting bits too, remarkably!

The models in these kits may be unpainted, but they are not raw or unfinished. They’ve been trimmed, cleaned, and the surface lightly prepped/primed to accept paint. Painting is just one step in the production process, albeit the finishing one.

I don’t have any true Factory Unpainted pieces out right now to show you the differences, and it might not be that helpful anyway. Like Chalkies, true Factory Unpainteds can be difficult to photograph, with nuances that are probably best demonstrated with an in-person examination or comparison.

Ironically, these early Test Color Quarter Horse Mares may be most helpful here, since I suspect they were Preproduction pieces that didn’t go through the full finishing process before they had a paint job slapped on them. The paint job caught and accentuated all the ridges and roughness of the back seam:

The unfinished nature of the seam is especially visible on the example on the left. Most of this roughness wasn’t from the mold itself, but from the acetone used to melt and soften the edges prior to assembly.

Most (but not all!) Stablemates come out of the mold solid, so they wouldn’t necessarily have this kind of problem to deal with. Most of the molding issues with Stablemates would be with sink marks (indentations caused by overheated plastic), mold flow lines (squiggly lines on the surface of the plastic), and flashing (rough extruded edges at the seams).

Sink marks can’t really be fixed or finished away, but mold flow lines and flashing can, to a degree.

So this is why I wince a little whenever I read complaints about newer releases that are either mostly or extensively white, as somehow being less finished or less complete. Perhaps, but there’s still a lot of work that goes into getting a model to that state in the first place!

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