Monday, September 2, 2013

Reaper Bones Kickstarter: Reflections

Before the Kickstarter, I had painted some Repaer Bones and posted the work at the old 52 Miniatures 52 Weeks. I found it to be relatively inexpensive and fair detail. Took to the paint well. The larger figures seemed better off while the smaller figures lost some detail.

During the pledge, I saw an opportunity, like many, to get many figures for a good value. Being someone whose already painted them, I spoke up about my experiences with the material where I could and what primers and paint I'd used on them.

I was a backer of Reaper at the very high levels. I went with the get the metal for a year deal. I did this because I specifically asked, "Hey, with the whole Bones thing coming along, what's up with metal?" and was informed that "No dude, we're awesome and it's going to be like metal Nirvana for the next year. So much awesome." Not quite but it was assured that the regular release schedule would be kept up in metal.

So let's look over what actually happened?

First off, there was some bit where the shipments were supposed to be broken out and there were some problems with that. I didn't pay attention to that because it didn't really effect me.

Then the metal figures were initially late, but Reaper made good on that by sending all the back log of stuff that had come out. Thumbs up!

Then the metal figures stopped and Reaper was like, "Dude, we are not as awesome as we thought but we will be awesome again real soon or... you can take what's behind door #2!" I like metal miniatures so I stuck with the year of metal that will hopefully one day continue. It's not like Reaper has stopped making metal miniatures as they have rereleased the old Doom miniatures and even done some stuff for Monte for his Numera game. I've always appreciated the fact that Monte usually tries to get some miniatures done for his RPGs.

My initial shipment arrived, late as usual for a Kickstarter and I didn't even go through it until Reaper had finished. I knew that they would be bombed with a ton of issues from doing this whole scale thing.

When I finally did go through it, I was amused and angry and baffled. All of my add ons were present but my actual Vampire level pledge was not. When I asked about it, it was immediately correctly. Apparently some people at my level got passed over on the actual Vampire pledge. I wondered why, since there were only a handful of us, Reaper didn't get in direct contact with us and go, "Hey man, is everything all right? We know that you're at a particular pledge level that has some potential difficulties and just wanted to check in on you." But whatever.

In terms of the actual miniatures themselves?

Quality is all over the place. I guess there were enough of them with complaints that some figures have been pulled entirely. The biggest problem seems to be the noses. Some of the figures just don't plain have their noses at all. Flat and smooth features. At the same time, there are still people jumping into the air screaming that there are no quality issues. Look dudes and dudettes, you're not doing Reaper any favors by spreading false information out there. There is a loss of detail. In some cases a significant loss of detail.

There is also the wacky factor or pieces bent backwards. This is relatively easy to handle for the most part though as long as you have access to very hot and very cold water you can bend them back. Sometimes its more tricky with the larger figures as you have to figure out where you want it to be when its done.

The material takes well to glue though. It's also easy to cut or modify. I know this as I've cut a few off of their bases and glued them onto other bases. The glue actually seems stronger than the material at that point as when I cut too high on a foot and then had to go back in and cut the rest of the food off and misplaced where the foot and ankle should met and was like... nope, it's stuck and this is a hell of a bond so freak ankle it is.

Another nice thing is that a lot of these are one piece figures. Even where before it might have been multiple pieces, it's now, or at least arriving as, one piece. Makes assembly a much easier thing. My frustration level with Malifaux and their terrible plastic is very high so taking a few minutes out to play with some single piece figures makes my painting day.

Satisfaction level overall? High. There are so many figures with so much potential in there that I'm going to be spoiled for options for a long time. The price and affordability are what really sells it. I'll be curious to see how they do in the retail level if the quality control issues are there in the same level.

At the same time, Reaper has pulled their P65 line. I believe it's P65? Their old 'formula' so to speak that wasn't as costly to Reaper in terms of what their figures were made out of. Bones will probably replace that for sure in the future. Good material for that as there are a ton of large figures that will not lose a lot of detail due to scale and will hopefully be more affordable.

I can't see this stuff becoming a 'painter's' choice of figure medium though. It's just not crisp enough. Now that may change in the future, but for example Trollcast? There is some fantastic detail in that material even though the guy doing it is having issues getting it onto painter's hands. Resin will probably be the medium of choice for 'high end' stuff for a while though. This doesn't mean that there aren't uses and fun stuff with metal still.

I myself may go back and buy some of the figures I have in Bones in metal after it's all said and done. Like I said, the loss of detail on some of them is high.

I think that in the future, if there are going to be 'exclusive' Bones figures, that they will need to be designed more 'old school'. Minimize the buttons, the buckles, the straps, the pouches, the elaborate hilts, the numerous pieces of clothing that go no where. The old '80's' look of Citadel for example might be perfect for these as they were often one piece figures with exaggerated poses and stances.

At Gen Con 2013, I heard that Reaper is doing Bones 2 very soon. I'm actually kind of surprised. I thought that they may go a few months normal mode to catch up on everything. I've heard complaints for a few online retailers about the customer service levels but I personally haven't had any issues with them so take it with the internet grain of salt.

I haven't backed a few miniature projects that I was very interested in to see what Reaper will be offering. If the value is similar, not even as good mind you, but similar, to what they did with the initial Bones Kickstarter, I'll be in. Mind you I won't back any 'metal' pledges because I've still got many moons left on my metal pledge but anything else is fair game.

How about other people? I know that the off shore backers aren't happy and I'm wondering if they'll be back for a second round? Any other metal for a year people that stuck with the actual metal for a year? What's your experience been with the material? Buy more or forget it?


  1. I would buy more, but I hope they iron out the all the shipping issues before they do another Kickstarter. My shipment was missing as least one of my add-ons (the Clockwork Dragon). It might be missing more, but there are so many of the small ones, I don't really feel like doing an inventory in that much detail. I have noticed the quality variances. It seems like the larger minis have more detail and some of the small ones are lacking. It's not quite as obvious as you would think until you starting putting paint on some of them and see the details vanish. It's not even a situation where the paint is too thick because if you water your paint down too much, it just won't adhere at all.

    Overall, I'm satisfied, though. My painting skills are barely up to tabletop play quality, let alone competition-quality. For some reason, I decided to put my shame on public display by blogging about my painting efforts. Maybe I'll get better. Hopefully, the quality of some of their molds will.

  2. Practice is the key to improvement. Even if you never do more than put on a single layer, you'll get more control over the brush. And yeah, that first base coat has to have some thickness to it. I've found the 'foundation' style paints work well. I think Reaper's are HD?