I’m sure most Warhammer 40K/Fantasy players are well aware of the serious quality issues with Finecast models, so I will not be beating that particular dead horse today. Instead my intention is to focus on chain of events in my recent Finecast customer service foray since it is well documented.
It all started about two months ago with a Dark Angels Company Master model in Finecast, I never thought to actually look through the bubble at the model before buying it as I’m relatively new to the hobby and hadn’t been indoctrinated in the “Finecrap” legacy. Once I got home and flipped the package over, knife in hand, I noticed with absolute horror that the company master was nearly sheared/smeared in half. It was like one half of the mold twisted while the resin was still pliable. I do wish I’d taken a picture of that, it was rather comical looking.
I called Customer Service to report the problem with this model and the service representative – I think his name was David on that call – he was nice enough to set up an account for me on GW’s website, since that was supposedly necessary to file a return. I gave him the lot number of the disfigured model and he let me know a replacement would be on its way shortly. I asked whether I need to return the original to them, which he told me was unnecessary. That was kind of a shock to me – I can just see others buying a Finecast model and calling GW repeatedly to get models for free. The replacement was delivered in short order (3 days I believe) and it was a close to perfect model other than a bit of extra flash. So concludes my first experience with Finecast which was fairly pleasant overall, customer service wise.
A month later on my very next Finecast purchase, this time a Necron Cryptek, I notice his staff was “S” shaped…I wasn’t terribly concerned at this point. Opening the package up, I was able to see the more severe issues with the model. His feet were twisted at crazy, opposing angles, the back of one foot was sheared off/or missing detail, one toe was nearly amputated, and it was covered in a large number of pock marks from air bubbles. Following are some pictures taken of that model.
Once again, I called customer service and explained I had a Finecast issue – my very next purchase – I just chalked it up to bad luck. The gentleman from customer service was very courteous, but this time instead of immediately offering a replacement, he asked if I would try hot water/cold water bath on the twisted parts first. If you’ve not tried this method before, and the bent items are a little less severe it seems to work well. Get a bowl and fill it with as hot a tap water as you can handle sticking your hands in and another bowl filled with ice and cold water. Dunk your model in the hot water bath – you may need to weight it or hold it down – for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then while it is still submerged if possible, bend the affected area back to where it should be and while still holding it in position, transfer it to the ice water bath to “set” the change. Trying this method seemed to work initially, but overnight the pieces returned to being bent. They weren’t as bad as before, but several subsequent sessions would not correct them any further. It appears that when these pieces are bent severely, they develop a sort of muscle memory and will not go beyond that point.
Grabbing the phone I call customer service and get David again – popular fellow – that, or they only have one customer service representative. I explained that I tried the method suggested but was not able to adjust the parts to an acceptable position. He took the batch number again, verified my address, and told me a replacement was on the way.
Sure enough, five days (called on Thursday so had the weekend) later I received my replacement model. I excitedly ripped open the box and flipped the package over and to my dismay; this model was twisted even more severely. Granted, it did have fewer pock marks, but overall was unworkable without cutting pieces off, pinning them in proper position, and lots of Green Stuff work. Now, I’m pretty steamed, they sent a replacement for a quality control issue that was as bad or worse than the one I called about and it prompted the following letter to their customer service department.
Hi there GW Peoples,
I received my replacement Cryptek today, expecting it to be less screwed up than the one I called and wrote about initially. While there are fewer air bubbles, which is nice, it is far more warped and twisted than the previous model.
It seems to me that if you are going to the trouble to communicate with a customer, pull a product, and ship a replacement product all on your dime, that you would be perfectly sure the replacement was in better shape than the one called in about.
As I mentioned before, this is the second Finecast model I’ve bought and the second one I’ve had issues with. Not really a good track record you got going on there guys. Replacing them, almost no questions asked is great, but the delay and the constantly having to contact customer service will get VERY old, VERY fast. Gods help the players if you decide to pour everything in Finecast in the future.
I feel it is worth mentioning that I’m a relative newcomer to GW and Warhammer 40K in particular, having just been introduced to it in July of this year. While I do enjoy the game, the fluff, and the very awesome place to play provided by Giga Bites in Marietta, GA; I am still new to the hobby, and as such I have next to ZERO brand loyalty. The Finecast problem and the ridiculous pricing model GW is intent on, has me seriously considering the liquidation of my Necron army on Ebay and switching to a non-GW alternative.
The ball is in your court,
It took almost three weeks to hear back from them, perhaps a phone call would have been better, but I was honestly afraid I would turn into a raving lunatic as most people do when they call a service center. Below is the response from David (again).
Thanks for informing us of the problems with the replacement. One of our reps has pulled and inspected several Crypteks in order to supply you with a quality miniature. The alternate hand with the orb did require a little bit of liquid green stuff to be applied in order to fill a few bubbles; the rep has already filled these in. We will be shipping this later today via FedEx. I apologize about the delay, and should you have any questions, then please give us a call at 1-800-394-4263.
North America Customer Services
Please do not delete previous email threads as this will help us serve you better!
6211 East Holmes Road
Memphis, TN 38141
Games Workshop Customer Service is open:
Monday through Friday 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM CST
I am happy to report that this new model – which only took two days to get delivered – is darn close to perfect, even the texture is smoother (the other Cryptek were really rough – I just thought that was the way they were supposed to be). One question looms: Am I happy with the Finecast line? No, like most of their other customers, I’m not really happy. However, their customer service department has gone above and beyond which in my opinion, is the most important thing. Most articles one reads mentioning Finecast are nothing more than rants about the actual quality issues, so I felt the positive customer service aspect I experienced was worthy of sharing. It is my hope, that any future replacements receive the same amount of care.
…Now that they know I’m a troublemaker. 🙂