Thursday, March 29, 2012

More Dungeon: Accessorize!

To break up the project and have something to do while waiting for pieces to dry, I painted up some pieces to add some flair to the dungeon. Since I'm low on dungeon decor at the moment, I dug up some terrain from the Mines of Moria set Games Workshop put out and whipped them up real quick:

Here we have Balin's Tomb:

And a dwarven well. I added some moss, covered the bottom with some paper that was painted dark green, then filled it with some clear school glue. It was still not dry as of this picture, so we'll see how it comes out. I really need to splurge on some water effects resin.

A couple of columns, though these are too big to be practical in all but the biggest rooms:

A couple of trap doors. I love how well they blend into the floor and are amazingly exactly the right size.

A lock box/treasure chest. I went for a bronze look but I'm not really sure I nailed it.

And finally, some fun with the pieces:

Overall, I'm very happy with how it came out. I can't wait to get more dungeon decor from different companies to liven up the dungeon. First I have to get more rooms painted up though!

Happy gaming!

Friday, March 23, 2012

More Dungeon: Twisting Halls

I managed to add a few more painted pieces to my dungeon. I decided I needed some halls to go with my room, so I chose a set and got painting. Here's what I ended up with:

We have the stairs leading down into the dungeon:

A short hall section:

A plain ol' corner section:

I also did a corner with some pools of slime:

To be honest, it didn't come out as wet or visible as i would like, but that's what I get for using tinted clear school glue instead of some kind of water effects. A close up:

I also added some slime to a four-way intersection:

The slime here is even less visible because it runs through the crack. Its subtle, I guess:

My favorite piece is the moldy T-section. I used the same tinted glue to stick down patches of green flock and I really like how the finished result came out:

And it looks even grosser from and adventurer's eye view:

Of course I have to show a couple of "assembled" shots:

And lastly, the reason I chose this particular set is because it can double as a room set-up:

I hope you all enjoyed my pictures. I'm hoping to bang out another set in a week or so, as long as life doesn't interfere too much. Happy gaming!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An Oldie But A Goodie

Since I'm behind schedule on my dungeon project and taking sort of a mental day, I figured I'd dredge up a couple of pics from the past.

With rumors of Dark Angels coming soon along with 6th Edition Warhammer 40K, I figured I'd show off one of my favorite painted models, my Interrogator Chaplain. He's been the leader and centerpiece for my Dark Angels army over the years and one of my proudest achievements with paint:

I used only the Dark Angels Veteran sprue to build him and I'm particularly proud of the robes. I know he doesn't have a skull-mask or traditional crozius, but I like having a face on my army leaders and I just love that power mace!

That's it for now! Hopefully I can get some more dungeon stuff up soon!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One Painted Dungeon Room (and a short tutorial)

In the 24 hours since receiving my new 3D dungeon terrain, I have managed to paint up a whole room. I still have a long way to go, but I can see myself finishing about one room's worth of pieces a week, so it shouldn't take me too long to finish up. The results are simple enough to achieve and I must say they look amazing:
And so we can see the inside. The walls and floors of the pieces are completely bare and I wanted to give my dungeon a little life with a few tidbits, so I added a wall hanging and a couple scattered bones made of Games Workshop bitz. I also couldn't resist a couple blood spatters.
I think it looks pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. And in case anyone would like to know how it was achieved, here's a quick tutorial:
Start by basing your pieces black, watering down the paint so that it gets between all the nooks and crannies. The material is porous, so it will suck up the paint a bit. You may need a couple coats and make sure you do it over something like newspaper or a bowl because it will drip like mad. Once you have all the white of the original stone covered, leave it to dry for several hours. Since this project will take a lot of paint over time, I am actually using Behr interior flat house paint on it and it works just fine. I also used a small house paint brush on this step as well.
Next, heavy drybrush a medium grey-green color over the stone. You want to cover the black, leaving it only in the recesses. This particular color is called Inland from Behr. I chose the grey green to give it a sort of damp mossy appearance, but most of this color ends up covered by the last step. It is really only there to give an extra tinge of color, which I wouldn't have gotten if I'd gone straight medium grey.
When those pieces are dry (which is almost immediately), use a light grey to drybrush over the grey-green. Do this lightly, doing several passes instead of one heavy pass. You want to build up the color so the grey-green shows through but it is still bright. This color is Behr's Subtle Touch.
Finally, paint up any details you may have added to your pieces appropriately. I do highly recommend adding things to the basic pieces, just because painting stone walls gets boring after a while and these little touches give it character, plus something to look forward to in the last step.
And that's it, folks. Its really very simple and the most time consuming part is waiting for the undercoat to dry. Hopefully I will have another set painted up for next week! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: Dungeonstone Dungeon Terrain

Ever since I first opened HeroQuest back when I was 11, I have been hooked on dungeon crawling. And ever since I started setting up little model monsters and furniture on its colorful board, I have wanted to have a dungeon as 3D as its inhabitants.

I had heard of Hirst Arts, and then later Dwarven Forge, but my problem was always the same: I was a kid with no money and I couldn't afford the stuff. Even as an adult, the perception that I couldn't afford it continued, despite having good jobs and buying stuff even more expensive over the years. The concept remained my holy grail.

However, recently my wonderful, beautiful fiancee encouraged me to purchase some, with a portion of the cost covered by her as my Valentine's gift. I searched again, finding Hirst Arts (too much work) and Dwarven Forge (very pretty but very expensive) again. Then, amongst my wanderings I found Dungeonstone. It had a similar look to Dwarven Forge, but came unpainted and much cheaper. When I saw the price I ordered the Advanced Set right away. I wanted at least a fair sized dungeon and for $100 (plus $20 in shipping, heavy stuff!) I got about twice what I would get for a similar cost through DF. Granted, I have to paint it, but I see that as a good thing. I want to be able to put my own spin on the dungeon!

It took about a week to arrive and I'm very impressed.  Now for the unboxing!

Here is the box as it arrived! Notice the FRAGILE sticker on the side. This is true, but it isn't so fragile as to expect a box of dust to arrive. Fear not, it arrived well packed!

There is a LOT of paper packed inside. The box for the product is packed inside the original with paper to cushion. Do yourself a favor and open the packing box on the floor. The box inside very much weighs the 25 pounds you pay for in shipping and its hard to get leverage from a table top.

The product box itself is full to the brim with pieces and small sets of individual pieces are wrapped with a couple layers of paper and some foam. All in all this is a great system. The pieces were well protected, though it is time consuming to unwrap. I only had two pieces arrive broken, which were the curved hallway corners. Each piece has a small column that snapped off, but since the material is a sort of resin, a little superglue fixed it instantly!
As you can see, you get a LOT of product. That half of the table is a 3'x4' area and it is mostly covered. And if you think that isn't enough to build a good dungeon...
I got a decent 5 regular rooms and squeezed a 6th with creative use of intersection pieces.
 The material is rough and porous, so it should take paint well. Honestly, I would be ok with playing with it straight from the box, but I want to embellish it a little. I like the idea of taking a few pieces and adding some things like moss, broken weapons, bones, etc. to give it a little more life. It is heavy, and the roughness worries me a little, so I will probably find a black cloth to put underneath it as a play mat to protect my table. It is very durable and you won't have to worry about breaking it just from play. You don't want to drop it on the floor or any other hard surface, though, since it would most likely shatter.
Of course I plan on mainly using it for D&D so here are a few valiant adventurers entering the dungeon. The squares are one inch, typical of most RPG systems. These guys are mounted on 25mm bases so they barely squeeze in. You may find the hallways very narrow for miniatures with very open poses or protruding weapons, so it may take some fiddling to make them comfortable.
And of course, an homage to the game that started it all. I plan on running at least a couple custom adventures of HeroQuest in these tiny halls!

Overall, I am very pleased with the product. My only real complaint is the crypt tile it comes with. Everything else is so nice, but the crypt is very bland and lacks a lot of detail. I honestly don't see myself using it after I get some more dungeon decor added. I also think it could have two of the four stairway tiles replaced with some straight hallway pieces, but its a minor niggle, since they look great if placed back to back to make a mid-hall staircase.

Those things aside, I am excited to start painting it and play. The quality is good for the price and you get a good amount of pieces to make basic dungeons with. The prices being so good, I am already planning to order a couple of additions, which is testament enough to the product, I think.

So if you need a dungeon to mess around with, give this stuff a shot. You won't be let down and you'll save yourself a bundle if you don't mind painting it yourself. Check it out at .

Monday, March 12, 2012

"A test! I demand a test!"- Bender B. Rodriguez

I have an upcoming project (which I will reveal soon) that will require a lot of stonework, so I decided to paint up a test piece. It is a column from the Games Workshop Mines of Moria set. I wanted to get away from pure grey or brown stonework and went for a slightly more greyish-green approach.

I think it works. Its not overtly green, and definitely looks grey enough for worked stone. I think the green evokes a more aged, maybe damp appearance. And that is kinda what I'm looking for. I will definitely be adding more work to the finished product, like washes in cracks and such.

So...suggestions? Comments? Let me know what you think.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Battle Report: The Restless Dead

This battle report I have already posted on my Facebook hobby page a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to re-post it here so more could see it. This is a Song of Blades and Heroes skirmish using a portion of my Games Workshop Lord of the Rings miniatures collection. 

The bones of ancient cities lie scattered through the wild lands, seemingly peaceful... 

But the ghosts of long dead evils stalk the ruins...

And those who would fight against them are few, but brave.  
The stage is set...

The heroes rush to meet the ghostly threat among the ruins

One of the wights closes on an elf archer as elven arrows pass through it with no effect.

The elf mage uses an enchantment to bind one of the wights in place, allowing his kin to move up and banish it. The ranger cautiously moves up to support the victorious elf, heartened by success. The dwarf rushes to intercept the evil spirits bearing down on the elf archer, but he may be too late..

The wight lord charges the ranger, sending him fleeing and 
a lesser wight chases him down, leaving a hole in the line.

The wight lord slips past to threaten the elf mage, but his warrior brethren comes to his aid, 
intercepting him but having a portion of his life essence drained for his troubles. 
Meanwhile, the ranger drives back the wight chasing him.

The elf archer and dwarf fight valiantly, but the life draining wights take their toll.

The elf archer slumps to the ground as his life energy is drained away, 
leaving the dwarf alone against the undead.

After being driven back by the heavily wounded elf warrior, the wight lord is knocked off 
balance by a blast of magic from the elf mage. Seeing his opening, the elf mage
 rushes forward and sends the wight lord back to the nether-realm.

Finding himself wounded and outnumbered, the dwarf readies for death. However, as the wight lord disintegrates, the remaining wights lose their grip on the mortal world and vanish. 
The dwarf breathes a sigh of relief.

The undead destroyed, the ruins are at peace once more. 
The heroes mourn their fallen comrade, but celebrate evil's defeat once more.

This was a fun skirmish. It was interesting using a warband that all had the Drain special ability. It can be quite devastating when applied in numbers, since it makes it harder and harder for your opponent to activate. My only complaint would be the same I have with all Undead models I use: Morale. It always seems like no matter how good the quality on my undead is, I always roll at least a single 1 and it crumbles. I may try playing as requiring 2 failures in the future because morale just seems to have too much effect on the undead when I play them.