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Subject: soft PLASTIC OH-NO band rss

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B-Rom
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I’ve been fortunate enough to have an industry insider indulge me in an off board discussion about miniature figures. Something others in his position have taken a cold shouldered vow of silence towards me about when prodded.

I eventually scared him away into non-responsiveness through my unrelenting specific questions - but just before he tapped out he shook up my world by telling me that I may have mislabeled and misidentified a material I “thought” I was in hot pursuit of when quoting components for my designs. RESIN.

I was in fact told that the soft rubbery material that the majority of heroclix, horroclix, D&D and SW mini’s are constructed from is not “resin” but “SOFT PLASTIC”. Huh? Oh no!

I was also retold the infamous tale of how molds made to cast resin figures go bad after a handful of castings or so, but we all know that one.

Knowing that what I always considered resin may in fact be soft plastic lead me to some obvious questions.

So here are my discussion points I’d like to raise in the aftermath of my recent enlightening dialogue...


#1) Are you familiar with the term “soft plastic” and do you feel this material is what clix, d&d and SWM are made of?


#2) Is there a material dubbed “hard plastic” that is used for figures? Examples? (Green Army Men?)


#3) If soft plastic is the material I thought resin was, and resin is plagued by deteriorating molds, then why would anyone ever choose resin for miniatures in board games?


#4) Are there any examples of games in production with 25m-28m “resin” figures?
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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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First off, wow, you've thought a lot about this.

My knowledge of resin comes from other sources, and it almost always referred to a much more hard substance than anything which I have seen cast for minis in the game world. I'm thinking more of the schmaltzy knock off sculptures and things which you see in home decor stores--usually attempting to imitate hardened plaster or ceramic.

This is why it would likely deteriorate the molds. It's a hard, unflexible substance when cast. But I am no expert, I only have an ancillary knowledge of the stuff.

The term soft plastic does seem to be more applicable to what you've been labeling resin.

You might ask this guy further questions.
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Alfred Wallace
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In the uses of the terms I've seen, Games Workshop figures are examples of "hard plastic," where (say) Memoir 44 figures are "soft plastic." The chemical differences between them, I know not.
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Rich Shipley
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brahmulus wrote:
#1) Are you familiar with the term “soft plastic” and do you feel this material is what clix, d&d and SWM are made of?


Yes, the soft plastic stuff is nice since it will bend a bit without snapping. The downside is that they can arrive warped, but it is usually fixable with a heat gun (or hot air dryer).

Quote:
#2) Is there a material dubbed “hard plastic” that is used for figures? Examples? (Green Army Men?)


Many games that come with solid color pieces often use hard plastic. They can have finer detail, but are susceptible to breaking.

Quote:
#3) If soft plastic is the material I thought resin was, and resin is plagued by deteriorating molds, then why would anyone ever choose resin for miniatures in board games?


Resin is something that can be made by small shops in low quantities. Plastic injection modling equipment is expensive.

Quote:
#4) Are there any examples of games in production with 25m-28m “resin” figures?


I usually see resin used for buildings rather than figures. Low quality resins can have pits and voids which aren't too hard to fix on a wall, but would be tough on a small figure. The resin figures in the deluxe version of Discworld: Ankh-Morpork look pretty good though.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Why the obsession with resin? Its often more expensive and harder to work with than hard plastics that most quality minis are made from.

Soft plastic minis are like say the Heroscape pieces. IE: it usually has some definite flex to it. Lance & Laser experimented way back with some soft plastic minis for Critter Commandos too.

Hard plastics are the styles Games Workshop puts out, or say Siece of the Citadel or HeroQuest minis for example.

Then theres the middle ground of PVC plastics. Cant think of an example. But I have a batch of Glyos figures that are made from them and they hold up very well.
 
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B-Rom
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Excellent feedback and click-able examples everyone. Thanks.

diehard4life wrote:
First off, wow, you've thought a lot about this.


I'm borderline certifiable when it comes to this. I rarely have a game design (or patriotic dream) that isn't decimated by state-side quotes for high end components - but prior to reaching that obstacle I usually put in a ton of research.

diehard4life wrote:
You might ask this guy further questions.


Just reached out.


Can't believe I was mislabeling soft plastic as resin. Ugh.

I have dangerous ambitions to get more venture capitol/angel investor active this year - so this was an ironic revelation.
 
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Emperors Grace
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Um, yeah, it's a bit weird - resin used to be a different thing - plant liquids that hardened into solid substances (like amber).

Modern use of the word, however, means anything that follows that pattern (whether plant or not). Most modern resins are a variety of plastic.

That said, plastic itself applies to a wide range of materials of different hardness and finish.
 
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B-Rom
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Emperors Grace wrote:
Um, yeah, it's a bit weird - resin used to be a different thing - plant liquids that hardened into solid substances (like amber).

Modern use of the word, however, means anything that follows that pattern (whether plant or not). Most modern resins are a variety of plastic.

That said, plastic itself applies to a wide range of materials of different hardness and finish.


And I'm trying to confirm that if I threw a heroclix figure into the super-analyzer it would spark and smoke and spit out a little ticker tape that reads: "SOFT PLASTIC"

Right?
 
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Ben Pinchback
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I think the Resin castings you are referring to are generally low volume customizable toys or prototypes made out of limited life silicone molds.

You wanna talk about production level figures, you have to be thinking injection molding. There are many different plastics available, some "soft" and some "hard".

Polypropelene is a softer plastic, harder to hold tight tolerance, but more flexible.

Polystyrene is a more brittle and hard plastic.

There's about 8 billion more. Nylons, Glass filled Nylons, Acetal, Polyethelene, PVC.

That's not to say that some things you are hearing aren't refering to any of the above as "plastic resins". Just do some google searching and wiki reading. That should get you to the quote level.

Are you able to model the figures yourself, or are you paying for that too?
 
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Quote:
Are you able to model the figures yourself, or are you paying for that too?


ehm...About that, and so to not get off topic here, just created a thread about it. In case the thread author or someone else might be interested.
Sorry for chiming in...
 
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Rich Shipley
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Here's a cool page that describes the process of getting a particular game produced. The part I linked to is the steps he went through to get some figues made:

http://www.viktorygame.com/viktoryiihistory/#beginningviktor...

These are hard plastic pieces (I actually use them for another game), probably polystyrene.
 
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