Von Drake Manor ... Some Assembly Required

Von Drake Manor ... Some Assembly Required

Super Dungeon Explore - I finally started cleaning up my Von Drake Manor Minis, they've been staring at me for quite some time and I was going to make this my October project but some other stuff came up so I had to back burner it. Now that I'm taking a short break I was able to scrape off the model lines and fill the gaps with greenstuff. Just like the other Super Dungeon stuff I've cleaned up I sculpted the flagstones so the base has a bit more dimensionality and transitions back smoother. 

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On the painting table ... A Dragon and his Spawn

Super Dungeon Explore – The last three models of this commission are just about done. Starfire and two Rex. The models are pretty straightforward. With the Rex needed some gap filling around every join. It's nice that the models come pre-assembled, however this can lead to issues with the joins that might have been avoidable if you could put it together yourself.

For the paint I started with a Mephistion Red base followed by a earthshade wash. The purple is a hormaguant foundation with a purple wash and genestealer purple highlight. I then went in with the red and highlighted after the wash to bring out some of the details.

Off the painting table ... Super Dungeon Explore

Off the painting table ... Super Dungeon Explore

Super Dungeon Explore – I was able to wrap up a good portion of this commission over the weekend. All I have left at this point is to finish Starfire and the two Rex models. The Rex models have some pretty nasty gaps that my client asked me to fill and smooth out. 

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Off the Painting Table ... The Eyes Have It

Off the Painting Table ... The Eyes Have It

Super Dungeon Explore – It's been another crazy month for me so I'm not getting things off my table as quickly as I'd like to. My current tabletop quality Super Dungeon Commission is chugging along smooth and steady. After practicing on paper for a while I've been able to get pretty decent Anime Eyes on the models that I've wrapped up so far. 

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Super Dungeon Explore – Well it looks like them boys at Soda Pop Miniatures have parted ways with C'MON, which makes me very excited. As a backer of Relic Knights I really feel like C'MON dropped the ball and left Soda Pop hanging in the wind ... Relic Knights when it delivers is going to be a great game. It's nice that SPM is providing good updates and feedback directly on their forums which seems to be easing some of the discomfort backers are feeling. 

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Von Drak Manor - Box Opening

Super Dungeon Explore – I had a chance to open up the box for Von Drak Manor and take a good look at the minis included in this set. They're the same quality as the last expansion with the minis provided pre-assembled. This is cool as you can get right to using them as soon as you open the box but it's a bummer because if you want to do a nice paint job on them it's going to be a pain to get all the mold lines removed. 

If you don't plan on painting them the purple plastic looks really cool and the heros are the same grey plastic as the other heros from previous sets.

As you can see from the photos the minis are really cool and have that same old school video game vibe as the rest of the models for the game.

Happy Birthday to Me

Random - It's my Birthday and I got some new toys. Look for a full review of these in the future.

Super Dungeon Von Drake's Manor - Love the look of this box. I really need to allocate some time to playing this game and getting these minis painted. The whole thing is way to fun to sit on the shelf.

Chessex Pound of Dice - You can never have enough dice, this bag has a full pound of assorted D6. I really like these to have in my community dice box. Nothing is more frustrating than having somebody else touch your dice and jinx them.

Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter - I love these books even if I never get a chance to play the RPG the wealth of information within these is great to read. I've been absorbing all this stuff as I begin to rework my own Space Marine Chapters backstory.

On the painting table ... T-U-R-T-L-E Power

Super Dungeon Explore – In an effort to get my cute stuff painted I began work on the heroes and Rocktop Gang from Caverns of Roxor. Yes I know I'm an expansion behind; but I decided I wouldn't pick up the next one until I had everything painted from this expansion.

As with all the SDE stuff removing the mold lines is a bitch. At some point I just had to give up because of where they fall going right through the detail on the heads of some of the turtles. Super annoying and it would have been easier to clean them up if they weren't preassembled, but alas after the uproar about the original box it seems that everything with come preassembled for the boardgamers.

Anyway after cleaning them up and sculpting stones on the bases to cover the gaps in the slotted bases; I primed them white and used GW base to block in the color. I chose to stick with a common color for all the turtles and shells. After looking at them again it's really hard to tell the rollers apart from the slowpokes so I changed them to a darker scheme then the rest. 

Making an Impact ... Kickstarter Delivered

Kickstarter – I recently received my order from the Impact Minis Chibi Kickstarter. I've been super excited about these since I pledged and was nervous about it when the creator had health problems. Amazingly he was able to get through the problems and deliver pretty close to the deadline. 

While I love the models and can't wait to get them all assemble and painted I do have to voice a single concern. Trollcast/finecast/whatever it is kinda sucks. Most of the minis have some minor bubble issues which is easy enough to correct with liquid greenstuff; in fact most of the bubble problems and on the undersides of models or in inconspicuous areas. The miscast issue is a bigger deal as I'm not a fan of resculpting ears. Thankfully it only looks like a few models are affected and I imagine impact will provide replacement parts once they get through the initial shipments. Another issue with the molding is the placement of the vents the areas they were place is less then optimal in some case. Notably with the Flesh Golem had a vent placed on it's chin ... really guys? The same can be said for where the mold lines run.

Ok now that the uncomfortable criticism is out of the way I can't stop gushing about these models. They are slightly larger than the Super Dungeon Explore stuff but the aesthetic matches up perfectly. As a fan of the old D&D cartoon I can't wait to see them on the table killing stuff and collecting loot.

Once I have them all assembled and painted I'm going to make custom rules and cards to increase the number of heroes available in my Super Dungeon Explore games. I'm also going to have to figure out custom spawn points for the monsters I picked up as well as decide whether to make the type 2 figures mini bosses or dungeon bosses.

On the painting table ... Fired Up

Super Dungeon Explore – After spending so much time working on terrain I decided to take a break from the Near Future Board and dig out some miniatures to paint. For Christmas I received the Caverns of Roxor Expansion and an extra box of the Fire Denizens. having only played a few games with them they've been sitting in my basement waiting for some painting love. 

All the new Super Dungeon stuff comes preassembled which is a bit of a mixed blessing. It's nice because you don't have to take hours putting all the little dudes together. It sucks because the preassemble minis aren't always put together well and you have some nasty gaps and a harder time removing the flash/mold lines. (which because of the type of plastic is a pain in the ass).

After gently scraping off all the mold lines with a brand new xacto blade I washed all the minis with warm soapy water. Again an important step because the type of plastic used has a weird sheen to it. Next I mixed up a blob of green stuff to attempt to rectify the gap problems and fill in the slots on the cavern bases. I decided to sculpt some stones that were raised up from the base to add a little more interest to them. The whole process took a few hours to finish up all the models with a fire theme.

This time around I stuck with a white primer. I think this is going to help the yellows and oranges pop on the models. Most of the time I use a red oxide primer as it's easy to cover and gives a darker feel than white but less muddy than black or grey primer. I've found white works best for bright colors.

I'm happy with these look for now and will probably go back in to smooth out the transitions and add more highlighting before sealing these. But for now they look way better than the bare red plastic and are usable on the tabletop.

And now for something cute ... Impact Miniatures

Chibi Dungeon – Not to long ago Impact Miniatures ran a successful Kickstarter to produce chibi style characters based off the old D&D cartoon. The campaign was a success and they wound up reaching many stretch goals. I believe the bulk of the rewards are supposed to ship in May. However they were able to produce a five headed dragon early which is now available in their web store.

Overall the sculpt matches the concept sketches and looks very cool. The size is comparable to the Boss monsters from Super Dungeon Explore and as such could be used as a replacement (or if you're ambitious and want to make your own stats like me as a new boss monster) for the existing monsters. 

I was a bit bummed at the amount of flash and sprue chunks on the mini when it arrived, however the "troll-cast" plastic they're using is pretty easy to work with. The model looks to have a bit of texture from the type of 3D printing that was used but I'm hoping it goes away one it's fully primed and painted. For the cost this is a really cool model that can add a new level of monster to your Super Dungeon games or supplement a chibi style RPG campaign.

As you can see by the photo the overall size of this model is impressive, weighing in at slightly larger than a Contemptor Dreadnought. For the cost you're getting a great deal for the amount of raw material. Assembly was a pain it the ass as this isn't normal plastic so plastic cement won't work in it instead you have to use super glue. Because this is "spin-cast" plastic rather than injection molded you will notice a large amount of bubbles in the cast which is disappointing. Luckily Games Workshop has the same issue with their Finecast product and has come out with Liquid Greenstuff to fills the inevitable bubbles and gaps. I'll be picking some up as I assume when the Kickstarter shipment arrives the models will have the same problems.

Review - CMON: Super Dungeon Explore Battlefoam Bag

Super Dungeon Explore – So since I'm pretty into this game it bummed me out to open my box and find that Starfire's wing snapped off. Unfortunately, there's really not a good way to store him in the plastic tray included in the game box. Combine that with the fact that I plan on painting all the models, I needed to find a storage solution. First I looked at the Battlefoam tray inserts for the game box, while these looked cool they really only fit the base game and as such would be quickly outdated. The reviews and photos I found online of the trays in action also discouraged me as they protrude from the box and puts a ton of strain on the box lid. (why they didn't just do a standard box top baffles me).

Next up I looked at pluck foam trays to fit in my existing Sabol Bags. My problem with these is I already own a ton of them and can never remember which models go in the trays. Since I have display cabinets, I like to have my models out to look at when not in use. Trays and bags are usually only used when I need to pack stuff up to travel. (Note: having game night at your house means you don't have to pack stuff often) Not thrilled about the proposition of more trays I can't remember what goes in what meant this was not an option either.

So I started looking for a new bag just to hold this game. Lo and behold Battlefoam makes CMON branded bags. With Relic Knights on the horizon and Dark Age nagging at my interest I figured this would be a good purchase. Was I right, read on to find out.

Just like all Battlefoam bags the case is built to take a beating. Nylon fabric with and hard plastic liner means this bag can take a hit. The stitching looks pretty tight and the strap has a nice heavy plastic handle. (Hoping the seams don't pop like on my Malifaux Bag.) This bag also features a full length zipper system. Which means you can unzip it and easily remove the trays, on more then occasion I damaged a model trying to force the trays into my Mark One Sabol Army Transport, so this feature was appreciated. There are a decent amount of pouches on the outside to store random bits and the Super Dungeon Rulebook fits nicely in the outside pocket. Like most of the bags I've seen or owned from Battlefoam the construction is pretty top notch. There are some minor issues with the stiching and loose threads.

Battlefoam uses a rigid foam for their bags. This holds it's shape well but some people complain it damages their paint jobs. (I'm guessing they didn't properly prime and seal the minis ... but that's just speculation) I personally like it the trays don't flop when you hold them one handed which means it's unlikely you'll accidentally tip your minis on the floor. The bag comes with custom cut foam which is supposed to fit all the models from the base game and the expansion. Since all the minis come pegged for assembly the should all be exactly the same right? Not the case either I found some way to assemble my dragon wrong or the foam wasn't cut to the right shape. In either case trying to wiggle the damn thing into the spot snapped off the wing. To rectify the situation I carved deeper into the slot where the wing is supposed to fit and recessed it. This made the dragon fit a bit better into the "custom slot"  I had to print the images from their website to see where the rest of the models are supposed to fit because it's not really self explanatory. 

The bag has some flaws but overall it seems like it will work for what I need it to. First up is the lack of a Super Dungeon Velcro Patch, the other bags come with a patch for their respective brands (including a game that's not out til May...WTF) but this one didn't. Not a huge deal and it's noted on the site when you order, but still a fail as there's no where to get a patch for this unless you make your own. (Yes I will probably make my own...) Second while it states on the site that the game tiles don't fit in the bag I was hoping to be able to at least get the lootimeter to fit. No such luck. If the bag was an inch or two wider and taller they could easily fit the boards in there. Third while the pouches on the outside are cool it would be better it if they fit an Ultraprobox or one of those Fantasy Flight card boxes, since ALL the cards don't fit in the slot on the tray when sleeved up. The heroes and monsters fit ok but the rest have no where to go.

Final Thoughts:
The bag is going to hold my minis just fine and keep them safe. It's solid and hopefully I'll be able to use it for some of my Relic Knights when they come out. I am disappointed however as the bag feels like a money grab from Battle Foam. It feels like they took a standard bag and called it custom. A few minor tweaks to the bag would have made it hold ALL the game components perfectly with room to expand as the game grows. Instead you get a bag that holds foam cut to the basic shapes of the SDE minis with pockets and pouches that don't make sense for the game.

If you compare the product shots from Battlefoam's site with the shots I took you can see where the discrepancies lie. It just bums me out that the second "branded game specific" bag I've bought from them still doesn't cater to the needs of the specific game it's branded for. Instead it feels more like Fruity Ohs with a Fruit Loops Label taped over the name.

As a follow up my Malifaux bag is beging to spilt at the seams. I've had it for about two years and take it with me to a weekly game night. I've never flown with it or put it through any abuse so this is a bit of a bummer. We'll see how this bag holds up.

Under the Wire - 3D SDE Completed?

Super Dungeon Explore – I was able to finish up the paint on the 3D boards I built over the weekend. The paint is really nothing more than a quick drybrush, but I'm happy with how they look. I think once I have the rest of the minis painted up in bright colors they'll pop on the rather drab board.

Given I decided to take part in the Sodapop contest Saturday morning to meet the deadline of today I'm really happy with the results. If you agree please head over to the Sodapop forums and vote for me in the Caverns of Roxor contest.


Now Entering the Third Dimension

Super Dungeon Explore – Over the weekend I had a day to myself and had planned on doing some more work on the library board I've been slowly making progress on. Well after cutting some blocks of foam to add some rooms/higher levels to the board, gamer ADD kicked in.

Rather than finish a project I got distracted by the pile of Super Dungeon Explore minis left out from a game earlier in the week. The minis are so nice looking I began to lament the flat tiles the came with the game. Don't get me wrong the tiles are beautiful and serve their purpose just fine. But they feel more like the homely girlfriend and these minis deserve a prom queen.

To begin I made a trip up to Home Depot to pick up supplies. I want to keep this small and cheap so I picked up a 4'x8' sheet of 1/2" pink foam, a few rolls of cork contact paper and a large snap off razor knife. Once I had the sheet cut down to fit in my car I made the track back home and started work.

I measured out my tiles to be 13"x13" this gave a nice 1/2" border around each tile to add some walls. With my trusty sharpie I then went about drawing the grid. After I gridded out 5 tiles I then marked them up to match the existing tiles. I stuck with the non lava side of the board for my first set. (Yes I'm probably going to make a boatload of panels, considering how easy these were to make.) 

After marking them up I went about cutting the cork into flagstones. This was a tedious process but I'm happy I picked up self adhesive cork, gluing would have added a ton more time to this project. After cutting 1" strips I used a pair of scissors to cut random shapes from the cork. Essentially they're all roundish and fill roughly 1" of space. I stuck these down and repeated the process for all five tiles. (Note if you're going to spend a few hours cutting little cork tiles invest in a comfortable pair of scissors, the tiny pair used made my thumb really sore.)

The next stage was carving the walls. Typically I use a hotwire cutter when making rocks or other pieces from foam. However for this project I wanted a specific look and opted to carve the foam with a knife. I invested in a heavy duty razor knife with snap off blades. This made the project really easy to carve as the blade passed through each block of foam smoothly. (Also through my index finger, but hey that's what glue is for.) I was quite proud of myself for measuring everything twice as it meant not mistakes on this project and no double work. In the end I spent a Saturday afternoon and evening carving and glueing down foam walls and now have 5 five tiles of 3D Super Dungeon Goodness. Next up is texturing and painting as well as adding some details but the project came together really quick and I'm happy with the results so far.

On the Painting Table ... Super Dungeon Explore

Super Dungeon Explore – After going through the tedious process of assembling all the models for Super Dungeon Explore. I started the massive task of painting up the models. I decided to start with the heroes as they are the most important part of the game so it helps to get some color on them so they stand out on the table.

Before I began painting them I used some greenstuff to raise some of the stones on the premolded bases provided in the box. This helped to hide the the gaps were the model tabs fit into the base and help to blend in the models that are on raised platforms. 

After priming them I used some foundation paint to block out the basic color scheme for each model. After finishing this I realized I don't own enough bright colors of paint. Off to the store...

How I felt

Finishing – It's important to me that my models be complete. You spend so much time painting and basing your models, why would you leave the bottom of the base plain? For me I use a compass cutter and some self stick felt to complete the base. Not only does this give your model a finished look, the felt will help to keep them in place on the battlefield.

Finishing – It's important to me that my models be complete. You spend so much time painting and basing your models, why would you leave the bottom of the base plain? For me I use a compass cutter and some self stick felt to complete the base. Not only does this give your model a finished look, the felt will help to keep them in place on the battlefield.