Painting Dungeon Saga: Fast

Although I’ve not been in the workshop the past few months it hasn’t stopped a backlog building up of new projects and arrivals. I mentioned Mantic’s Dungeon Saga in passing previously and its arrival at the back end of last year. Up until now I haven’t really had the chance to look it over beyond a cursory quick check of the contents, so I pulled the box of extras out for a proper gander and to consider the best way to tackle the miniatures prep and painting wise.

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The figures are pre-assembled and manufactured in a coloured plastic to make things easier for those who want to use it as a plain and simple board game avoiding all of the painting malarkey. Blue for the heroes, beige bone for the Necromancer’s minions, green for the Marauders. You get the idea. Obviously that’s not an issue for me as all will get primed and painted before being thrown into action, but what’s the quality like plastic wise and more importantly what’s the fastest way to get them from out of the box and into the dungeon? In my humble opinion they are surprisingly well detailed for what are essentially  single-piece board game casts. They aren’t particularly soft plastic but thinner weapon parts definitely suffer from warping and a number of figures had adopted a bizarre ‘hopping’ pose as a result of being stuck to their bases. This was done at the factory again to appease the non-model making crowd so there really isn’t any choice when it comes to re-basing without cutting them from their pre-ordained placing. That’s not really a problem as I’ve no intention of re-basing them anyway. Both the warped weapon and one-legged syndrome were easily resolved by warming the miniatures up with a hair dryer and gently repositioning until cooled. Immersing in a cup of hot water for a few seconds will also yield the same result.

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I view Dungeon Saga very much as a beer and pretzels ‘game in a box’ type of activity in much the same vain as Fantasy Flight’s Imperial Assault, so with that in mind I opted to deploy as efficient a method as possible for the painting. For the minions at the very least quick and ‘dirty’ were the by-words. These are not meant to be display pieces and need to be able to withstand a fair bit of handling and chucking into a box during downtime. Ok, maybe not chucking but you get the idea. For that reason I turned to the tried and tested Army Painter ‘strong tone’ quick shade as weapon of choice which was brush applied over a series of airbrush primers and flat block colours to set the palette. Once the base effect was achieved I tidied up the finished result with a Matt varnish, added a few paint effects such as rusty weapons, blood and gore and that was pretty much it. From start to finish the entire base minion set in the box took  couple of evenings, not counting curing time for the Army Painter shade which really needs to be a good twenty four hours. Yes, you read that right; from start to finish the content of all three photos here took a net total of two evenings to do by sticking just to the basics.

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In that time you can go from this:

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Dungeon Saga Heroes in their naked blue plastic form. Avert your gaze!

To this, all without investing much in the way of time or effort.

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Marauders after some basic block colours and a coat of Quick Shade.

You really don’t even need to be an experienced painter to achieve this level of finish in my opinion, all it requires is relatively neat brushwork and a little patience. Perfect for this sort of game in my book. With two dozen of the Overlord’s minions ready to make the heroes think twice about looting, I applied the exact same regime to the three Zombie Trolls and the Overlord’s characters; Mortibris, Grund, Elshara and Hoggar. I should point out that Elven Banshee was the only figure that was not painted using the process above. The method was even simpler and required only a single generous coat of GW verdigris paint effect brush applied over a white basecoat. The base was the only part to get the quick shade treatment. Once dry a coat of Klear provided the protection before the Matt varnish sealed it all in.

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Obviously none of the pieces are going to turn any heads in a cabinet, but considering the time to table effort invested I’m actually pleasantly surprised with the result. Don’t worry, it hasn’t convinced me to forsake all 0ther painting and just dip everything into quick shade from now on. But for this task, this set of figures and the fantasy dungeon setting it’s a great tool and one I highly recommend for getting the overwhelming number of Dungeon Saga miniatures looking much more interesting without too much effort. Because let’s be honest who wouldn’t prefer to dungeon crawl with painted miniatures rather than blue, red, beige and green plastic?

Next on the workbench, the Heroes, Abyssal extras and a selection of doors. I kid you not.

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