By Joseph Forster
New model time! It’s been a while since we had new sculpts to paint! Not that I’ve worked through my metal pile of shame… (but it is increasing in value faster than my stocks.)
The Fire on the Frontier small book expansion introduced three new Native American units to Blood & Plunder. The Braves had already been released in metal but with metal costs becoming prohibitive, the Young Braves and new elite Native unit, the (semi-disturbingly named) Pnieses, were released in a 3D printed resin. In this article we’ll be looking at these new models, reviewing the new material, and showcasing as set of painted Pnieses (pronounced Nees/Neeses).
3D printed? Are they good? Are they worth they $18 price? Short answer is yes, they are good quality models. Overall, I hate to see the price of Firelock’s miniatures get so high but I’m trusting they are keeping their prices as low as possible. I do know the Firelock crew aren’t getting wildly rich off of this…
I have grown to love the metals and I didn’t relish the idea of moving to a new material but after painting a couple sets of the resin miniatures, I have been genuinely impressed with them. There’s some real advantages and some annoying disadvantages. Read on for more specifics.
When it comes to detail, these models are incredible. They blow the metals out of the water. Even the smallest bear claw and strap design is crisp and defined. The faces benefit a lot from the crispness as well. These have a level of detail and form that we’ve never really got from the metal miniatures.
But you would not know it when you first get the models! My models were a semi transparent off-white color (there have been reports of two different whites and an opaque blue material in circulation) and before the models were primed, you couldn’t really see the details at all.
And of course, getting real colors on the minis brought them to life and made these details even more visible. Detail is top notch.
Most of the minis are super smooth and I would never know they were printed. But once I got to painting them, I ran into a couple spots that were slightly “ridgy.” Before priming, this looks more pronounced but after a normal coat of spray primer, almost all of these areas looked perfect unless you magnify with a quality macro lens. At a magnified level, you can see the layers, but I only noticed a few of them while painting. I didn’t do any sanding or scraping or treating or anything.
I found the axe heads to show the lines the most prominently. I also noticed this on the King Philip model.
They came out of the pack cleaner than the metals with just a few nubs to scrap off (mostly off the bottom of the bases).
Metal doesn’t snap. Plastic doesn’t bend. Metal tends to have paint chip easily. Seems like a trade off. These seem sturdy and I haven’t had any break yet. Firelock sent me some early prototypes and with improper packaging, some of the bows and hatchets broke in the mail, but I haven’t had any pieces break on me, and there was zero broken pieces on the production models mailed to me from Florida to Oregon. I’ve dropped several models off my painting desk while working on them and nothing has broken.
One model came with a crooked musket and I ran it under some hot tap water, straightened it, and changed the water to cold and it has been perfect. The resin has some natural give and springiness to it (unlike the horrific, glass-fragile resin of some of the older GW models). This material is not brittle at all.
I love the weight and heft of metal models. These are clearly lighter! Not a big deal at all. Only issue that has come up so far is they aren’t heavy enough to squash the static crass on one of my terrain boards so they float on top of the fuzzy grass. On the plus side, they are cheaper to ship across the country, especially when you multiply that weight differential across 8 packs of minis!
New Material Verdict
I expected to hate it and I didn’t. The verdict is “more than acceptable” for me. I was actually very impressed. I’m kind of wishing I could get some of the older models in this material to see if the details come out better. The poor spy character and Miliciano with the morian helmet might actually have defined faces after all!
That’s the nitty gritty review. Here’s some more pics of these finished minis.
The longhouse in the background is from Acheson Creations. Great terrain piece!
These Birchbark Canoes are from Brigade Miniatures. Great minis which seem very accurate and well made. Nice resin models. They’re a little small for Blood & Plunder as they only hold 5 models, but they’re super nice. Firelock needs to make one that’s just a big bigger!
The war paint is always a challenge. And its very nerve wracking! You spend all the time painting the miniature and then the war paint is the very last step and if you mess it up, there’s a ton of repair to do! This fully black head is authentic but I kind of regret doing it.
The black head made the eyes that much harder to do well!
Thanks for reading! I hope this review was helpful. These are great minis and if you plan to play some of the Native factions in either Fire on the Frontier or the upcoming Raise the Black, you should pick some of these up!
I know Firelock is experimenting with different materials to keep retail costs down and keep quality high so I don’t know if these minis will always stay in this medium or not but I am happy to say that these are beautiful and functional minis. They will be leading the charge in my next Iroquois war band!