Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My tour of Reaper Miniatures, Part 2: Casting & Paint

Quick recap: My wife, twins & I went to Texas to visit family for Thanksgiving, and I managed to coax my wife to join me on a tour of the Reaper warehouse a few days before Thanksgiving.
More here:
Part 1: Entering the Reaper's lair
Part 3: Minis galore

After seeing the rows upon rows of minis we were taken to see the area where miniatures are cast.
You turned a corner to see a hallway broken up into several bays. Matt picked up a small brick of pewter (another proprietary mix) and told us to watch how quickly it melted.

 He rested it in a smelting pot, and waited for about 5 seconds before the whole thing shifted and slipped completely into the melting pot.
A pile of recently cast Gloom Wraiths. If you think about it, this pile of metal is probably worth about $125
On the way to our next stop I saw this table of familiar looking minis. If you watched the Kickstarter 2 countdown you probably saw these at one point or another. I was most excited to see the "Heroes & Villains" minis.
These were all metal, primed white. I personally prefer the heft and feel of metal, and it gives me hope that some of the bones I like will make the shift to metal one day.

Next we visited the packaging area. Here, high-tech machines tirelessly printed cardboard backings and shuffled miniatures into their proper boxes.
 Just kidding. It's done by hand, by this guy (I don't remember his name, sorry).

Two guys were in charge of the boxing process while I was there. The wood boards had cutouts that held up to ten plastic box fronts. They placed the mini inside, and glued the back in place. The backs themselves were pre-printed by another company, but labeled in-house. (Matt inferred that that was going to change in the near future)

 From there we went to see "Thomas," Reaper's new plastic casting machine.
It took me far too long to figure out why they called it Thomas. My wife had to point out that it looks like a blue train engine (she might have been rolling her eyes at the time).
 This is one of the purchases the company made with the proceeds from their first Kickstarter. They'll be able to pump out miniatures nearly 24/7, only stopping to refill the machine with Bones plastic (if I remember correctly). Here Matt passed me a handful of plastic Warlord bases to show what it could do. I've already started using the bases for minis (more on that later).

We then stopped over in the corner where paint was being produced & pots filled. Matt made sure to point out that Reaper is the only game company that makes it's own paint.
Apologies for the poor photo quality. This shot was far blurrier that I'd like to post, & I did my best to make it passable
The paint mixing and filling was also done by hand. One person was tasked with making sure the colors of each new batch were spot on, which is pretty incredible. All the paint pots are filled by using kidney laboratory pumps (above). *edit: One reader pointed out that they couldn't be dialysis pumps, and since I can't read the writing on the pump to confirm I downgraded it to "laboratory"*

Here they also had walls full of their paints organized into tubs. I typically use Citadel & P3 for my painting needs, but I might have to give Reaper's line another shot.

Next: Sculpting & Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment