Fire Raptor Hell

How I Dealt With A Cursed Kit

Intro

[language warning: Recounting this project pisses me off… just a bit.]

It was late April, 2019. I had just returned to the fold only 3 months prior, after 13 or 14 years completely away from, well, anything Warhammer related. At the end of 2018 I had decided to jump back into 40K. With a little help from crippling boredom onset by a broken foot, and a little push from my wife. I had set a date in January of 2019 to get started. As there was much preparation to do beforehand. For starters I didn’t have any tools, paints, paintbrushes, a good place to work, books… You name it, I didn’t have it. And if I did have it, it was obsolete. By decades at this point.

Okay, so I wasn’t completely lacking. What I did have, was a mishmash of models I had built and shoddily painted almost 20 years prior. Most would be unusable. There was a lot of shopping to be done.

After a couple months, or so, of stripping old paint, building new models, trying to get back into painting after so long, and planning an army, I decided I would buy myself a nice present. I’d been working pretty hard on this stuff after all.

I have always wanted a large Forgeworld kit. Though nothing so serious as a titan(yet). I remember seeing Forgeworld models in magazines, rule books, and catalogs all the way back in high school. Some of those models were incredible. Mostly tanks. Nothing like regular Games Workshop miniatures. They were all expensive as fuck. Plus you had to mail order that stuff from England back then. Though the internet existed, we were still technically well before the online shopping boom. Obviously, in the current era, it is as easy as point and click, then the product ships from anywhere in the world. I was actually pleasantly surprised by this when I made my hobby return. Though, I shouldn’t have been, really.

I chose a Forgeworld kit that looked badass and carried a lot of firepower, because I was building my Iron Warriors as an anti-infantry army. I wanted to pour as many bolter rounds into the opposition as possible. Seemed fun. It helped that the example photo on the Forge World listing was painted as an Iron Warriors model. So it wasn’t hard to wrap my imagination around it. I would also buy a box of Iron Warriors Legion terminators in cataphractii armor. But I am not here to discuss them. Those are great.

I am here to tell a tale about the $190 Fire Raptor Gunship. It’s a cautionary tale of intrigue, ignorance, and expectation.

I am here to recount how, in the spring of 2019, I got sucked down into the tenth level of Fire Raptor Hell…  and how I somehow managed to crawl out.


Uhhh… You’re Kidding, Right?

When I purchased the Fire Raptor kit, I was excited. It was a new challenge. When I finished it, I was just thankful it was finally fucking over. I was numb.

After 3 months of attempting to rebuild my Chaos Space Marines from scratch, I had made significant headway. And now I wasn’t only building for fun. I had recently made plans to meet up with Tyson in November to reconnect and actually play the game. I needed a respectable army and some more firepower. I was also totally ready to build and paint something much larger than a Space Marine. I had built and painted so many at this point… So, it seemed like a perfect time to build that Fire Raptor that I had bought a couple weeks back. 

When the box arrived, I opened the box to check to make sure the correct model was inside, but did not thoroughly check the contents. This was, without a doubt, mistake number one. The “instructions” said, “Fire Raptor Gunship”. That was good enough for me.

What a fucking moron… Am I right?

When the time came to open that box for building, I was met with almost immediate disappointment. Inside were the typical bags of Forgeworld resin pieces, and the unhelpful photocopied “instructions”. In one of the larger bags were two long pieces of the model. Both attached to either side of a single piece of cardboard. Holding them in place was a single rubber band. A thick, strong  rubber band. Double wrapped around the center of these pieces.

As I removed the rubber band, I could feel that it was way too strong for this job. It was really on there. Sure enough, one of the pieces was visibly warped. The other piece snapped in half almost immediately. These were the side walls of the jet’s fuselage. Pretty important stuff.

I was dumbfounded. My fun project was over in mere moments. 

The rubber band was so tightly wound around the pieces and cardboard that the blunt protrusions of the pieces punctured the cardboard. 

The pieces were not placed facing the detailed side out on both sides of the cardboard either. Both pieces were facing the detailed side(with the protrusions) inward towards the cardboard. 

Why?

This packaging method is why. In this picture, the right piece is bowed inward. The protrusions(wing supports) pushed the pieces away from the cardboard. And the rubber band warped them at the center.

Why would anyone package those pieces that way? A flat side of the piece to a flat piece of cardboard. That would make so much sense to me. 

Whatever…

At first I thought about just gluing them back together. But that would prove to be impossible. The break points were too warped from the pressure of the rubber band. If I glued it back together, the odds of me getting this model build correctly were less than zero. Let alone the prospect of the glue holding as I tried to make everything fit.

An afterthought would be, who knows how long this kit had been sitting on the shelf in the warehouse with those pieces wrapped like that. 

It was already well after midnight when I emailed customer service. Which would be close to day break, and the start of a new business day in England. I explained my situation and my disappointment. 

While sleeping, in the wee hours, I received a response. 

It went like this:

“Hi Robert,

Thank you for getting in touch regarding faulty parts with your Forge world kit, it seems a few of our servitors have encountered critical errors in the processing chips and seem to have made a few less than worthy parts or potentially our Arch Magos may have had issues with their MKII retinal scanners whilst checking the kits over in our quality control room.

Either way we have now raised you a replacement parts order for all the bits you need replacing so you can continue with your hobby project as soon as possible.”

Witty. Geeky. Kind of liked it. Kind of did not. 

Sounds like it’s time to upgrade to a MKIII retinal scanner. I hear that one can scan for flaws in packaging too. Not just resin quality. And wait a minute! You have a whole room devoted to quality control? How big is this “room”? What the fuck do they actually do in there? I have questions!!

The email also went on to say that the process could take upwards of two weeks before shipment, because the pieces are going to be cast by hand. I thought that was kind of cool. Fresh new parts sounded just… swell. Regardless, this project was now on hold for a couple of weeks. Not that it even really got started.


Are You Fucking Kidding Me Right Now?

It is now the middle of May. The new wall pieces arrived from England via UPS after just about 2 weeks. Props for the delivery estimate, Customer Support dude. I checked the new resin to see how they looked. They were shipped with a similar cardboard piece and a rubber band. Only this time they weren’t totally warped. Emphasis on “totally”.

Tiny victories.

I wasn’t able to immediately restart the project, however. I was working a particularly tough schedule that week. So I had to wait until my weekend. I remember feeling excited again to try to start the build once more. I cut and cleaned the resin pieces, sanded and filed stuff down, cleaned them again. Then started gluing once everything was dry. It was all going so well!

Looks okay here
Wait a minute…

Until it fucking wasn’t… 

After a short while, I started noticing that pieces were not lining up. Some, not even close. It was like the whole model was warped. To the naked eye, prior to gluing them, the pieces seemed fine. What was going on here? The thick center-piece for the vertical stabilizer was warped. I removed it and tried to use the boiling water trick. That proved fruitless. The piece is too thick. I got it to bend a bit. But I think it warped back. Or maybe it was just my imagination in the first place. I don’t know.

There are large gaps forming all over the body of the model. I tried multiple ways to make them fit. Maybe if I pried this open here… Or slid this into place, rather than fit it on top… Or maybe… Nothing worked.

The plastic parts and resin parts do not line up whatsoever. I began to think that it was me that was screwing this all up. So I checked my work to the instructions multiple times. Not that they were overly helpful. The above segment includes the new walls I got in the mail from England. You can see it looks warped slightly, just above the circular entryway, under the plastic piece.

Hell, even the resin doesn’t line up with the resin. The above picture is the bottom of the model. I know I am not the best at sanding the cut points. Even today. But I do my best to make sure they are flat. You can see the cut points just above the flight stem slots. That area is sanded flat. This resin just isn’t lining up.

I had heard of needing to use modeling putty to fill gaps on Forgeworld models. But this is insane. I’ll need to put that stuff on every edge of the model. Annoyed and a bit defeated, I proceeded. Accepting that this must be part of the process.

[Full disclosure: I had never used green-stuff prior to this model. So I was about to contribute to this disaster with poor application and well, just about everything related to this putty probably. Seemed fitting, really.]

I did my best. Watched some YouTube videos about how to use the stuff. Not that it helped. I was already resolved to the fact that this model will not look perfect. Or even good, for that matter. 

After I let the putty set, I sanded it down with my dremel, sandpaper, and files. It was here, as I was handling the model, that a piece snapped off. Snapped as easy as you could snap a ripple potato chip in half.

WHAT THE SHIT?!

I remember sitting there, holding the broken piece in my hand for a few moments. Just kind of looking at it. Then at the model. Then back at the piece. It was almost comical. If my blood pressure wasn’t rising, I may have let out a chuckle.

The above photo is from much later on in the build. Long after I had glued it back together. But it highlights the piece that broke. The tail snapped right off while I was moving the model. I wasn’t manhandling it. Or even jerking it around. I just turned the model using that stabilizer as a handhold, and it snapped. The resin was apparently just that weak.

I was feeling okay-ish about the gap filling process, until that piece snapped off. Now I was getting pissed off again. It was seriously like this model didn’t want to be built. Could it be cursed? Or maybe I am cursed? Probably the latter.

It was here that I noticed something. Or rather, realized that I had failed to notice something.

I was missing pieces.

Important. Fucking. Pieces. 

Yup. Fucking, Cursed.

I’m cursed! It’s cursed! My desk, it’s cursed. My cat, he’s cursed. [runs to the window and points at an old lady walking her dog] YOU’RE CURSED TOO, LADY!!!! It’s ok the window wasn’t open. So she couldn’t hear me. Probably…

You have to be fucking kidding me now. Am I on a fucking hidden camera show?! Is there a live studio audience laughing at my misfortune right now?

The resin Top Fins. The pieces that attach the wings were missing.

I searched my hobby area where I was working, my bookshelf where I was storing projects in process, and the kitchen where I was cleaning the resin. I asked my wife if she had seen them. They were nowhere to be found. It would be one thing, and possibly easier to explain, if I was missing one of them. But both?

I was dropping expletives left and right. Probably made up some new ones. I am a New Yorker, and a former Navy Sailor, I have that talent when pressed. I had all I could do to not throw this whole fucking thing away. Or better yet, throw it out of our third floor window.

FLY WINGLESS GUNSHIP! FLY YOU CURSED FUCKING MIS-SHAPED BRICK! YEAH!!! BE FREEEEE!!!!

I literally cannot proceed. Again! Once again, this project had to be tabled.

The pieces that are missing are what holds the wings on. Wings are kind of important for jets. Some of the most important parts of a plane, in my professional opinion. And yes, I am qualified to make that statement.

I immediately sat down to email Forgeworld. Again. This email was much longer, and much more irritating than my last. It may have been more venting, really. The response I got back, from the same person as before, was a far cry from the last response I received.

Hi Robert,

Thanks for getting back to me and sorry for the missing parts in your kit. I have raised a replacement order for you now under [order number].

This order will follow the same process as last time and may take a few days to be cast to order before shipping back out.

Kind regards”

Not quite the same playful tone as the last one, eh? Where was the detailed and witty story about malfunctioning Servitors? Was that an, “everybody gets one” type of thing? I’m beginning to feel cheated left and right here.

So, I set everything aside. Again… 

The Fire Raptor is ever there. Ever staring at me. Ever mocking me. It is perpetual. 

The Fire Raptor just is.

Fuck…


What A Fucking Mess…

My email to Forgeworld, and the response was on or about May 19th. By June 20th, I still haven’t received a shipment notice from them. One month. So I had to email them once more. This time looking for a progress report. I would have forgotten about it, had I not had this hunk of resin, plastic, and modeling putty shit staring at me daily. Mocking me. 

Or maybe it was asking me to kill it. Put it out of its misery. I just wanted this model done and out of the way. Sooner rather than later.

I didn’t receive a response from Customer Service for four days. But when I did, It was brief, like 2 lines, and it contained a tracking number. It was like my email had sparked them to life. “Oh shit! We forgot that order!”

By June 29th, I would have all the pieces I needed in hand. And the build of this cursed model would soon be pretty much complete. 

And man… does it look like absolute shit. There were gaps everywhere. Nothing lined up. 

The ball turrets, on the side, are supposed to sit in a C-type bracket of resin to allow them to move “freely” up and down, left and right. That simply was not possible. The bracket just wouldn’t fit with the ball turret attached. It was like the bracket and the turret were too big. Or maybe the walls were too small. I had to fashion a mounting system with magnets to attach the bottom of the ball turrets and the base of the opening. Sans bracket.

In the end, I like my mount better. The turrets stick out just a little more, and are now removable. Good for packing and traveling.

Again, tiny victories… Yeah… Thats it… tiny victories.

The huge gap at the front was a nice touch. Great aerodynamics. Traveling at supersonic speeds, sucking all that air into the hull of the jet. Anyone feel a breeze? Alarms must be howling in the cockpit. Eh, the Machine Spirit probably silenced that alarm long ago. Or maybe it has been on perpetually for ages. Who knows. Though, the latter would be Chaos as fuck.

It even sits lopsided on the table. Almost looks twisted.
Some parts I didn’t bother to apply the putty too. Why bother at this point? I was numb to the whole concept of trying to fix anything else.

The rear hatch did not fit. The whole model was warped so much that the door would not fit into place. As a matter of fact, the door itself was warped. I had to boil that too. And I still had to cut and sand it down just to wedge in there. I ended up trimming a pretty good amount off of that piece just to make it work.

Another example of brittle resin. This piece snapped off easier than the tail section did. Another clean break. Another super glue job.

I got a lot of practice with Green Stuff during this build. But that doesn’t mean I got good at using it. There were a lot of spots that I could not get into with my dremel or files. I also didn’t fucking care. I was just ready to get this stank piece of ass painted.


Maybe You Can Polish A Turd

The painting process was the smoothest part of this whole debacle. And for that I was happy. But why wouldn’t it have been? Though, it would have been almost poetic had a disaster happened while painting though. Maybe something like dropping the whole thing on the floor and it shatters. I seriously  would have thrown it all away at that point. Anyway, now that I was into the painting phase, I had to get creative with all the deformities. 

This bag of ass was starting to look okay with a little paint. Thought, the warpage was still very visible.
Even the green stuff covered up pretty well with some paint. Not perfect. But still…
Definitely can still see the green stuff application points. They look like really bad welding jobs. Kinda works for a chaos model. I guess.

It was at this point that I realized I kind of didn’t care anymore about painting this to completion. I was just trying to finish it as soon as possible. So I grayed out the canopy with the pilot inside. Eh, he’s probably long dead anyway.

Daemonic Machine Spirit, take the wheel! 

I don’t quite know why, but I enjoy using masking tape.
It’s probably those clean lines that I cannot freehand. There is something satisfying about peeling that tape off after the paint has dried.
Kind of starting to look respectable.
Or rather, acceptable. A lot touchups were required.

There would be a lot of touch up work to do on the hazards. It was around this time that I would begin to paint on wear and tear from millennia of service. That would help cover up the deformities. And highlight them at the same time. 

In theory.

Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust, for the win. It really has a great effect. Sometimes I also add some shade to the rust afterwards for a darker look. Usually an Army Painter tone of some sort. After taking these pictures, I was finally able to take a little pride in what I had accomplished. This thing tested my resolve, and I feel as if I had triumphed. A little.

That large gap under the sensor array though… I probably should have filled it. But by that point I had already become so numb to this project, and really could not be asked to care. From this view you can see how the whole model is warped. The vertical stabilizer is off center. The front portion of the jet is sort of twisted.

At least it looks decent flying around the table. And it spits a lot of bolter shells. More tiny victories.

November 2019

All’s Well, That Ends Well… Or Some Shit…

So the box was cracked open on April the 30th, and the final coats of paint were added on November 1st. From start to finish, this model took about half a year to complete. And it was not because I was pacing myself. It was largely in part to Forgeworld’s piss-poor quality control, and my inexperience with these larger kits. 

I take full responsibility for not checking the contents of the packages. And perhaps some bad techniques for building. This was one of my first major resin builds after all.

But that brittle/weak and overly warped resin, missing pieces, improper packaging, and time lost to waiting? I place that blame firmly at the feet of GamesWorkshop/Forgeworld. It’s that simple to me. These kits are not cheap. Not in the least bit. Personally, I think they are overpriced. I could buy a large bottle of 3D printer resin for about 20 US dollars, and print my own. If I had my own resin machine.

So the question is, what exactly am I supposed to be paying for? A nice design? Quality? A model that presents a mild to moderate challenge, but is fun to build? That is what I am expecting to be paying for, with a price-tag such as that. And for the most part, I get it. But, paying $190 for a cursed fucking headache….

A couple years on now, looking back, I consider this whole debacle a learning experience. That whole adage about hindsight being 20/20 and whatnot. But what did I learn during this test of my resolve? What were my takeaways? What would I pass on to someone else?

  • For starters, those quality check slips in the forgeworld boxes don’t mean shit. Let me get that out of the way right now. There are no Servitors or Mark-fucking-whatever scanners. You have no quality control rooms!(I’m sure they do.) I have a lot of bad experiences with GW. And this ordeal was the start of that disdain. Which would only grow in the coming years. Particularly 2021.
  • I should have cut that rubber band off, rather than unwind it from the cardboard and pieces of the model. I had recognized it was too tight beforehand. Not that I think that it would have helped. The damage was done long before I opened the bags.
  • For these resin kits, big or small, check the contents. Make sure you have all of your pieces. I have translated this into kits beyond GW and FW. I do it for Creature Caster as well. Though, I have never really had a problem with them.
  • Check the quality of the resin. Look for hairline fractures or cracks. Particularly on large flat pieces. The two pieces that snapped had really clean breaks. Almost too clean. There was no splintering. Brittle, or weak. The resin was sub par in my opinion. Perhaps there was a crack or break there already.
  • If you are hellbent on seeing a disaster like this through to the end. Figure out a way to make it work. Consider aging, battle damage, or weather damage. Stuff like that. In the end it gave my Fire Raptor a bit of narrative. A machine of war that is hundreds of generations old. Driven by a Daemonic Machine Spirit. It is not going to look shiny and new. 
  • Lastly, definitely do contact customer service. While I was irritated with just about everything, Customer Service did not ask for proof of anything. No pictures were needed. I didn’t have to send anything back. They just asked for my order number and replaced the parts. I didn’t even pay for the international shipping. At least there is that. They kind of do have your back. Though it is totally unfortunate that it has to come to that.

I hope that all this information could prove to be useful. Because cursed kits apparently do exist, and you don’t want to get sucked into your own hobby hell.

Like I did… 


Afterword

In the fall of 2021, I met up with Tyson at his home to catch up, hobby, and play some games for the first time since 2019. He showed me his Storm Eagle that was primed in assemblies, waiting for it’s paint job. [cough] shame [cough]

Anyway, that model is a variant of the Fire Raptor. Or maybe it is the other way around. Either way, his model had a couple of the same defects my Fire Raptor did. Most notably, the vertical stabilizer was off center. Slightly. Granted mine is much more noticeably so. His is definitely not centered.

Tyson’s image.

Seems like a bit of a design flaw to me. But I’m not bitter…

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]



Robert

All of these are true except for one:

Robert is: a Hobbyist, a Music Lover, an RPG Gamer, a Mustard Lover, Chaotic Neutral, a Japanese Speaker, a Veteran, an Otaku, a Table Tennis Player, an Anime Fan, an Aviation Professional, a New York Rangers Fan, a Chaos Lover With Loyalist Tendencies.

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