Sunday, January 18, 2009

LOG017: HOS01 RESIN GARAGE KIT FAQ

I've recieved some very good questions from an individual for the and I've replied accordingly the best that I can. I'm kinda busy to sort the questions and answers out so I'll just keep the Q&A as they are posted.

Q.

This is my first post, so hopefully I'm putting this in the right place. I'm a relatively new collector (less than a year), and I'm still learning things, so please forgive me if I ask something silly. I'm posting it here instead of as a PM in case someone besides Eric has some input and in the hopes that the answers to my questions benefit others as well.

Firstly, phenomenal work, Eric! This is just a beautiful piece. What's more amazing is that you are making it generally available to others. I am very seriously considering buying one of these, and possibly two depending on how convinced I become that I could put it together myself.

Eric discusses at length what it is he is offering in his blog site. He seems very upfront about the kit's limitations. I appreciate the honesty, but I also want to make sure I'm not overly alarmed by his disclaimers. So my major concerns are: (A) How hard is it to put together? and (B) How sturdy is the figure going to be?

In terms of (A), I am new to "garage kits" and am not sure what exactly that implies. Putting a kit together sounds kind of fun, but I'm also worried about it. If I am not experienced doing this sort of thing, do I run a significant risk of ruining my kit? That is to say, with merely enough time and patience (and the right tools and good instructions), am I likely to get it right eventually, or are there special tricks, honed skills, and/or extreme precision that are required to do this? If it sounds unlikely that I as a neophyte would be able to do it properly, I'd rather further invest in having someone who knows what they're doing put it together.

If this latter is the case, then I'd like to understand what the options are for assembly. There are two listed: "simple" at $80 and "complete" at $150. A little more description here would be useful. What will be lacking if I only get the "simple" option? Is the only difference the filling of bubbles and replacing of rods? Also, what is the expected likelihood of there being any bubbles? At almost double the cost, are these final steps especially hard to do or just time consuming? Are the acrylic rods only important if you plan on transforming the figure into train mode (this seems to be what the blog posting implies)? For the painting option, what exactly does that include? Since the figures already come in properly-colored material, what is left to color besides the detailing (which seems small)? Or will the body of the figure also be painted to compensate for the dullness of the material's coloring?

In terms of (B), I understand that this is meant to be a display piece, but exactly how fragile should I expect it to be? What is the effect of the figure being in resin rather than plastic? If I do decide to transform it (or maybe even just pose it), do I run a non-negligible risk of breaking it (assuming I'm actually trying to be careful)? If I were to transform it a small number of times (say half a dozen), should I expect noticeable degradation? If I accidentally bump the shelf he's on and he falls over onto his side, is he likely to break?

And finally (C) how do we make sure this project is a success? For me, at least, this is really exciting stuff. I'd love to see the line continue, and I hope that Eric's project is getting sufficient exposure to generate enough interest. I guess this has been around for a while, but I don't monitor the forums deeply enough to have noticed it until it got front-paged recently. Is it possible to front-page it again to let people know that they should start placing pre-orders now?


A.

the disclaimer is to warn folks like yourself and people who do not have first hand experiences with resin garage kits. For kits, there are good ones and there are bad ones. I've examined first hand 2 kits from Japan Wonderfest; the Lady Roses Coral kit and MetalHawk kits. I've not gotten a chance to assemble them but based on the quality of the molds and casting, I'd rate Lady Roses 9/10 (close to perfection and minimal cleaning) and MetalHawk 4/10 (bubbles in every part and some parts have flaws that affect details and large bubbles that are virtually impossible to putty up, this guy's practically selling rejected parts). I'd rate my own kit at a 7 for average quality and ease of assembly. But Prime is much more complex in design and much much heavier so I'm not factoring these in for the ratings.

I am making minor mods to the parts that I feel that are difficult to assemble and will only sell kits made from the 2nd mold onwards. If you'd follow my instructions carefully there shouldn't be any problem getting everything right.

I've designed most of not all the parts to be replaceable in the event that someone breaks something. Most of the important areas are held by screws and you wont need to pay a fortune to replace something small. The large parts are virtually impossible to break. And don't worry, you will not ruin your kit as all the holes you need to drill are marked, as long as you read the instructions carefully there shouldn't be any major problems with assembly. It's just terribly boring and tedious for me since I've been going through this thing for 2 years.

As for joints. The figure won't be a rag doll for sure. It will be able to stand on its own and hold simple poses but due to its weight, the joints do not feel strong enough. But I like mine better than Titanium War Within Prime.

I'm sure anyone with a little common sense and patience can do it without destroying the kit and someone with experience with garage kits and a dremel can do a good job. Resin garage kits are kinda common but not transformable ones and it's much harder to build one that is required to transform as the parts be assembled with greater care in order for them to fit properly in the alternate mode.

As for the 2 types of assembly services, I'd use an analogy; Say a MG Gundam kit. First option, I can cut out the parts, clean the excess materials, then put it together. In the second option, I have to do likewise, then putty up the seamlines, sand off excess putty. But in my case to fit and clean everything properly takes a much greater effort than merely trimming the parts and putting them together. This is a handmade product and not machine produced. There should not be any bubbles in the first place but I cannot guarantee 100% bubblefree. And replacing of rods is a more tedious process than what you think it is. If you drill a hole 0.5mm off your train parts will no longer align properly. The pegs I've included in the design to lock the limbs and parts together in train mode came out too loose after molding and casting. There are ways to tighten them (eg. add a little glue to the pegs or the hole to make things tighter) but only a prefabricated rod and a drilled hole can be perfect. Pegs and holes cast in resin tend to deform as the molds are soft in the first place and there's always a factor of human error. The steps are intermediate in level of difficulty but terribly tedious for me to do it. I've got better things to do with my time (like designing new stuff) than drilling holes and plugging rods in. ie. you want an engineer to sweep the floor for you, you gotta pay engineer rates and not sweeper rates.

The parts come colored but it wont look as good as real toy plastics. In short, adding colors weakens the resin so I have to do it sparingly.

It wont break toppling over. Some small parts or joints will break if dropped from a height of say, table top level. It's a heavy piece for its size coz its solid in all parts. Just compare a Bowen or Sideshow Marvel statue to a Hasbro figure. But mine's playable if you are careful with it. He's so blocky I doubt he can do real action poses, mostly museum or heroic poses. The joints MAY become loose. I won't know coz I do not have the chance to test the figure for a long period, but in theory they should hold, and like I mentioned, these are replaceable. You can even find the materials at local hobby or hardware stores probably.

For the project to be a success, there's no real way for any individual to make a difference. You like it, you get one and a few hundred others feel the same. Then they open up the package and like what they see and see value in what they've paid for, then will continue buying if new designs come out with consistent or better quality. That's how I see success and why I do not want to hype this up and claim that it's the most friggin amazing scratchbuilt garage kit ever designed when its not. I'd want people who'll truly appreciate what they've paid for and review the design and product honestly. Only then I can be certain that this thing actually has a future. I have seen and own some of the best transformable resin models in the world and even then, people do complain about them in comparison with real toys. So I'll let market forces decide whether this is a good product or not for its price.

1 comment:

James said...

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