Dungeon Saga: The Adventurers

As a follow up to my batch painting session of Mantic’s Dungeon Saga minions I’ve dragged out the Heroes this weekend. I also included some of the furniture (well doors at least for now) and the last of the ‘free’ add-on packs, the Abyssals to get the same treatment. In the previous update I made use of Army Painter’s Quick Shade to do all of the shading work as well as give the figures depth and a good layer of protection. For the Adventurers I followed the exact same approach with the addition of spending a little more time on some of the details and highlights to single them out as slightly better equipped and maintained than the Overlord’s minions. Although only slightly better as they are still grubby looters when you get down to it. Just saying!

Orlaf and Rordin are the two melee characters and being a Barbarian and Dwarf are all about flesh and metal respectively. Starting with Orlaf I gave him an all over base of GW Bugman’s Glow followed by Tallarn Flesh and finally a little Pale Flesh just for a few spot highlights. Normally I would start with a tan or much warmer base for a bronzed barbarian, but as the Quickshade will darken the miniature significantly it’s important to go a shade or two lighter with the base colours to compensate. The same approach was applied to Rordin, but I added a slight dot of red to the mix for the recesses to give him a more ruddy complexion. The bulk of the Dwarf is armour so for the majority of him I simply block painted a mix of Ironbreaker and black to which I added a few simple highlights of chainmail to avoid the overall effect being flat. For the undercoat I used Imperial Blue before painting his beard a base of Vermin brown with a Jokaero Orange highlight.

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The rest of Orlaf was a combination of beige browns and mid-browns for the weapon, boots and furs. There was no particular shade here, I simply started with a neutral base like Bestial Brown to which I added Ivory, beige or dark flesh depending on how bright or warm I wanted the material. Don’t be too hung up on the colours just go with whatever gives a nice mix of tones. For the barbarian’s hair I mixed Charadon Granite with a drop of beige brown. As you can see this guide is very basic and brief and that’s because the whole point of the quickshade approach is to keep the painting to an absolute minimum and let the strong tone do nearly all of the work. It’s all about going from the raw blue plastic to a game-ready set of adventurers in the minimum time whilst still achieving a decent end result from a boardgame perspective.

Madriga and Dalor on the other hand being ranged characters are all about the cloth. This made them a lot more straight forward as bright block colours were the order of the day for both of them. For the Elf I combined natural colours like Sick Green for the cloak with dark flesh + black for the chest armour, boots and glove, beastial brown the leather straps and Zandri Dust for the lower armour. Dalor being a wizard is pure showiness so I went with a palette of Warlock Purple, Vallejo Alien Purple and a deep Hexen purple. For the highlights I simply added Ivory to the palette above as I wanted a de-saturated pink rather than warm red. The quickshade would provide enough discord and bring the brightness of the colours down a notch.

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A few spot details in gold here and there pretty much completed them after which I painted the bases.

About the bases.

For all of the miniatures in the Dungeon Saga set the method I used for the bases has been exactly the same and this is to start with a thinned base of stonewall grey, to which I simply add whatever browns and greys happen to be on the palette at the time. I know that sounds somewhat random but that’s kind of the point. I didn’t want a uniform colour of flagstone, but a more natural mix of subtle tonal variations of the base grey. It doesn’t need a lot of colour added to the stonewall to provide a nice variety of tonal shifts and it’s important to keep both the paint very thin, almost glaze like and the brush well loaded. Adding random patches of the tones here and there and letting them ‘bleed’ into each other help create a more natural and interesting appearance. The trick is not to paint the entire base one flat colour but a random variety of subtle tonal shifts, loading up the brush with whatever base you have at the time and adding a brush tip of a lighter or darker brown or grey and letting it blend through the brush strokes. Once everything had dried fully the Army Painter ‘Strong Tone’ quickshade was brushed on and the Adventurers left a full twenty-four hours to cure.

Finishing touches.

Once the Quickshade had cured I gave our four wannabe dungeon delvers two or three light coat of Army Painter matt varnish via the airbrush and touched up one or two details like Dalor’s staff crystal and some chips and scratches on Rordin’s hammer in a bright mithril silver. You will also note I didn’t paint any eyes and opted instead to shade the sockets. This was to fit in with the speed-painting mentality, plus I am not a fan of eyes unless I am prepared to spend time getting them right as rushed ones in my humble opinion actually look worse than a simple white eye with a shade. Less is sometimes more.

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I did mention furniture didn’t I at the start of the post? Dungeon Saga comes with a healthy array of 3D furniture in the base set giving it even more of a Hero Quest feel. There are loot chests, barrels, quest items and a variety of other furniture to add interest. Probably the most important however are of course doors. No dungeon would be worth raiding without a healthy selection of doors to reveal hidden areas (and/or monsters!). Mantic have thoughtfully provided a nice selection of doors of all shapes and sizes for our heroes to smash their way through. These were painted in simple stonewall grey frames with light brown panels before getting the quickshade treatment and a few metallic details.

Update: Since penning this the adventurers, ably guided by Kev have completed the opening two scenarios; Journey from the East and Journey from the West. No problems thus far for the intrepid duo’s, but I wouldn’t have expected any as both are really just orientation quests to become familiar with the combat mechanics and function as a warm up. The next quest: “Well met” should test their mettle a bit more. Before then however this Overlord is heading back into the man-cave to put the finishing touches to the Abyssals and clean up some old-school metal Beastmen (unrelated).

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