Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ferrus Manus: Unboxing

Ferrus comes with the most pieces yet of the Primarchs!
Frequenters of this blog might already know how impressed we were Simon Egan’s third primarch model, Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands, selecting him as our favorite model of 2013.  Although I spoke at length about various aspects of the model when he was initially unveiled, I never actually did an unboxing to show off the components of the kit like I did with Fulgrim.  Although I have had the kit for a little over a month now, I had a few issues with some of the components not being cast well.  Having just received replacement parts in the mail, I decided now is a good time to show everyone the kit and to talk a little bit about Forge World’s excellent customer service.

Forge World has made a name for itself making large, incredibly detailed models for Warhammer 40,000.  Although their kits fit seamlessly with other plastic Games Workshop kits, closer inspection of many of their models (particularly those of Simon Egan) reveals a level of detail that is not present on many of GW’s kits. Nowhere is this penchant for intricate details more evident than in Forge World’s Primarch models.  Fine scrollwork filigrees adorn every part of their armor, never looking thick or gaudy.  Thin chains and fine buckles clasp down adamantium and weapons.  Their faces have individual teeth sculpted, and they even have eyebrows!  But such detail comes at a price (other than the monetary value), one that is sometimes easy to forget when marveling at the wonderful images on their website.  That price is that the models are cast in resin, a material that is excellent for capturing detail, but one that is especially prone to casting defects.  Mold shifts, warping, and bubbles are incredibly common in virtually any resin model.  And while this might not be a huge issue with blocky Imperial Guard tanks, with their size and straight edges, it poses huge issues for individual characters who are characterized by submillimeter details.  Those eyebrows that so impressed me could easily be destroyed by a tiny bubble, or their fine weapons unsalvageable with a bad mold shift.  Certainly you would expect Forge World to put a huge amount of effort into quality control to minimize this, right?  Based on my experience, this does not seem to be the case.  Of the three Primarch models I have purchased, each one had to get pieces replaced due to poor casting.

Not sure where to begin with the issues of this servo arm...
Normally if I get a model from FW that has some unsightly bubbles or mold shifts, I curse my luck and devise the best way to fix all the issues (usually some sanding and green stuff work).  With the company being located in the UK, it is somewhat of a pain to call about replacements, and then wait an additional two to three weeks for the parts to arrive.  Forge World’s Primarch models have been a different story entirely, however.  When a single character model, not much bigger than any other GW character model, costs almost $100 I expect everything to be nigh on perfect.  And as I mentioned earlier, such is the fine detail on each part that bubbles and flashing can easily ruin pieces beyond repair.  The primarch models are also sent housed in a cardboard box containing little plastic trays that provide little protection for the delicate pieces on their trip overseas.  Without any sort of foam or bubble wrap, it is very likely something will be broken, particularly the little leather or chain straps that tend to cover the models. Then if you are not careful they can be lost before you even know they were broken.

One of a few pieces broken in transit. 
Thankfully Forge World has very good customer support, and with a call or email, they are very willing to send out replacement parts.  For all my previous issues (with Angron and Fulgrim), I just called and told them what parts had problems, and after providing the batch number on the bottom of the Primarch box, they sent out the replacements without question.  With Ferrus, they asked I send them an email detailing the issues I had, but after that, they promptly sent out replacements as well. They did all of this free of charge, covering shipping and all.  I feel a little bad about them having to eat those costs, but with the exorbitant prices of the Horus Heresy characters, I think it is the least they can do.  At the end of the day, I wish they had tighter quality control at Forge World, and checked all the models (at least the character models) before shipping them out.  Because at the end of the day, even if they replace damaged parts, it still takes weeks to get them, and I would much rather not have to deal with the hassle, or give them more work by calling in part requests.

Mold shifts run all along the minute detail of Forgebreaker's haft and Ferrus' neck.

Having gotten that off my chest, I would like to show you some pictures of what comes in the largest Primarch box yet!

Probably the most impressive piece of resin in the entire kit, Ferrus Manus' armor is a sight to behold.
With questionable logic, FW attached Ferrus' arms to the sprue right on some delicate cog styling on his shoulder pads.  It was exceedingly difficult to remove it without damaging anything.
Forgebreaker is so slick with mold release that I will likely have to wash it multiple times.
The skeletal servo harness really sets Ferrus apaert from his brothers.
Ferrus comes with so many little chains and cables that it would be difficult to know where to put them without instruction; the paper insert in the box has a QR code that can be scanned to get a very helpful pdf for assembling him.
Piece by piece, I fill in bubbles and smooth mold shifts with green stuff.
Well that is a closer look at what comes in the box!  I am working at trimming and green stuffing bubbles and such on the model.  It is slow work, but it will be worth it in the end to showcase such an awesome model and important figure in the 40k universe.  If you are a diehard Iron Hands player, or just want a fantastic model, I highly recommend Ferrus Manus.  Just realize that you are getting a resin model, and even with a good cast, there will still be a lot of areas that need green stuff work and careful trimming.  And at its worst, you may need to have Forge World replace some parts.  But for people who have worked with Forge World in the past, it is not much of a surprise.

-Eric Wier


  1. Such a shame, it's amazing what you put up with when spending that kind of money on a figure. I can understand your frustration - the mantic stuff from the deadzone KS had lots of issues as well, but when you are spending closer to $1-2 per mini, it's much more palatable. Not sure I would have your patience to fill in bubbles on something I spent $100 on.

    1. Yeah, so many issues are really hard to swallow, but if the model is cool enough (which I feel Egan’s models are), I am willing to put a lot of effort into it. Since the model is cast in resin, it is a given that it is going to require a substantial time commitment due to how prone resin is to miscasts. It is really a labor of love, and at the end of the day I enjoy doing it (It is rewarding too!). I draw the line when the cast is so poor that parts simply cannot be fixed. And yeah, at this price-point I expect a little more.