Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bones Case Studies: Lysette and Autumn Bronzeleaf

Now that I have my Reaper Bones kickstart minis, I realize that I already had a few of the included models in metal from ages past. Last night I popped the blisters open, gave each a wash of Agrax Earthshade(tm) and photographed for comparison.

First up, perennial favorite Elven Mage Lysette, sculpted by Werner Klocke. 
 The face and hair details are reasonably intact but the cheeks are more cut on the metal version. The ears also protrude more in metal. The crystal on the staff also appears to suffer from the lack of hard transitions. The clothing detail however translated quite well. The buckles and lattice all seem to have translated well to the newer medium, as did the runes on the sword. I think she could be painted in such a way that it would be difficult to discern which version of the model was used.

Next, Autumn Bronzeleaf, sculpted by Jeff Grace.
Poor Autumn didn't make the transition as gracefully as Lysette, I'm afraid. While the clothing details are again quite accurate, the face and hair have lost a great deal of their fine cut. The nose especially took a beating in the transition. The locks of hair falling over the forehead are decidedly thicker than the metal version. Oddly, I didn't notice before that my metal Autumn has a malformed left hand, so I am unable to compare it to the Bones hand (which looks fine to me.) I can understand how potentially the sharper cuts like Lysette's crystal might be a problem for Bones, but if the clothing details can be reproduced so well it is counter-intuitive to me that the nose or hair would be so different on Autumn. That lock of hair in the front is certainly no thinner than some of the other details reproduced more faithfully.

So all in all, not terrible. Mostly. I will probably approach any detail I am not happy with on a Bones model asking "was this as bad on the metal model?" I assume that sculpting for the Bones medium will take a certain style and that sculptors will get better at it over time. Like injection molded plastic, it has its strengths and weaknesses, and we're only at the very beginning of learning how to tease out those strengths. I have one or two more of these to compare at some point, so maybe I'll do another post like this later.


Checking in on the Cloud Giants and my attempts to straighten out their weapons, things were mostly back to bent last night. I can't tell if they are starting to slightly straighten with multiple iterations or it's just wishful thinking.


  1. Really interesting to see the comparison - thanks. I had a go with one of the Bones models and really wanted to see what it would've looked like in metal.

  2. I have a couple of the bones miniatures and have read elsewhere too that regardless of method used things never straighten out, sometimes you can make things sligtly less bent (I put my gargoyle under a heavy book for a few nights to bend the wings into a better position... after about an hour the wings had started bending back, admittedly they never went back to where they were previously , but leaving a mini under a heavy phone book with only some tissue to try and preserve detail... not the best for a lot of the minis, for their price and the goal of the range I'd say reaper have nailed it... but if you want a pretty well detailed model, just get the metals =)

  3. I bought a couple of females on ebay just to see how they compared to their metal counterparts. I was horrified at the poor quality. I've painted a great deal of Grace's sculpts and what they did to his work made me ill. One of my girls is missing a nose!

    These are absolutely useless for my purposes. But for the tabletop gamer who paints at tabletop quality, they are value for money.

    I won't be buying any as there is no way I could sell any of them painted.

    1. Given for example autumn is like 6 dollars in metal and 2-3 dollars retail in bones, I expect that the 3 dollars difference is going to be more than covered in a better sale price for the finished metal one. Unless they are being painted in a third world country, the labor costs for painting are to high to waste it on the bones.

  4. I think most of the issues come down to bad mold production due to rushing. The Autumn you have has the same problem as mine which you did not mention which is the roughness of the face on the non staff side. On the reaper message boards we were comparing our problem minis and usually everyone had the same issues. Very few true miscasts almost all mold issues.

    Cowgirl Missing Nose
    Townsfolk Mom with Kids Kids Missing Nose
    Pathfinder Kyra the Cleric Nose Almost Indented
    Juliette Female Sorceress No finger details on hand
    Almaran the Paladin Back Face seriously distorted
    Autumn Bronzeleaf Staff Side Face bumpy
    Sharess Nashenneth Rough Face
    Female Warrior Missing 50% of Axe Blade Edge
    Mini Gun Marine barrel ends not well defined.

    I expect some loss of fine detail since they are half the price of the metal retail but some of them are certainly not acceptable at retail price of 3 dollars. 50 cents a piece is fine for the average human sized model in the kickstarter. Definately look at the models carefully if you are in the store. Some are great, some are not.

  5. For me, for use as entertainment painting and RPG use, I like Bones for nameless buggers like goblins, and bigger models where the detail seems to still be there and the price difference is huge. For player characters or really detailed figs, would prefer metal.

  6. Repositioning: the best results seem to be obtained thus: soak the mini in really hot water (off the boil), bend it to desired position, quench in ice water.

  7. I'm really loving my pre-Kickstarter Bones for monsters. The detail is solid, the price is amazing, and the plastic is much easier to work with than metal, resin or styrene. Amazing stuff for gamers and hobby painters. I'd avoid for paint-for-sale, or for competition. Later iterations might overcome the problems?

  8. I recently purchased the Vanja, fire giant queen Bones incarnation from my local hobby store. The detail was good except that her spear was bent all to hell. I dipped her in some boiling water, straightened out the spear, let it cool, and now it looks fine. Can't wait to paint her.


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