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Posted by Serpent_Six

Have you ever wondered whether resin scenic bases are worth the investment? I’ve seen some pretty shoddy castings out there myself so I’m usually on the skeptical side. Today I’m going to review the new Wasteland II series of scenic bases from Dragon Forge Designs , sculpted and produced by Jeff Wilhelm.

Purchasing

First off, the Dragon Forge Store was farily easy to navigate, although they’re going to need to organize it a bit better as more products are added. The cart is all run through PayPal, so I happened to like it right away as I use PayPal for almost all of my gaming related purchases. My order was shipped promptly via Priority Mail. Another plus for me living here in the US. There aren’t many manufacturers of quality resin bases here in the States, and I hate the time / cost of importing them. Buy local first as they say.

After opening the package, I found each of the sets of bases in their own clear poly bags. These photos were taken without any prep work done at all to them. They are exactly as they were shipped to me. Very little flash or defects at all. I should note that I had to adjust the contrast to show the details of the sculpt. The resin Dragon Forge uses is a very light gray and does not photograph very well without some enhancement.

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25mm Rounds

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40mm Rounds

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60mm Rounds

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Bike Bases and Character Bike Base

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Attack Bike Base

The only “major” defect that I could find in the castings were a few open air bubbles on the undersides of some of the bases:

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As far as casting defects go, that’s nothing IMO. The bases stand flat out of the package. They need very little cleanup work to be ready to go. Dragon Forge does recommend that you wash them first in soapy water before gluing anything to them and I second this. I waited until after cleaning up any flash and filing so that I could wash the dust off at the same time and set them on some clean paper towels to air dry.

Once the bases were clean, I decided to paint up a couple to see how well the details stood up to paint. Often times fine details that look great on a raw sculpt can get lost after painting. I chose the 2 large 60mm rounds as they had lots of details to play with and a variety of objects to paint. Since it’s the BrushThrall way to teach in hidden ways sometimes I thought I would show a nice compact way to paint bases with minimal colors. In the final color usage it might not seem that way, but 3 base colors and 3 wash colors will be doing 90% of the work. Let’s get stuck in.

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Painting

Since I had been out of the painting game for quite a bit I was completely out of my favorite Dupli-color Black primer. I had some Krylon Flat White primer on hand so I chose to go with that and perform an experiment I’d been meaning to try for some time now for just such an emergency. The idea is to prime with the white and then wash with black, to cover 80~90% of the white, giving you the best of both essentially. The trick is will it obscure fine details?

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I decided to try 2 options since I had 2 bases to work with. For the first base, I used straight P3 Armor Wash. For the second base, I used a concoction of my own which I call “Grunge Wash”. It’s essentially VMC Smoke, VMC Black Glaze, Matte Medium, and distilled water mixed up in a dropper bottle. Here’s the results:

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As you can see, the P3 Armor Wash was pretty thin and didn’t stick very well to the flatter surfaces. This could be mitigated somewhat by adding some Matte Medium, but that won’t help the thin pigmentation coverage. My “Grunge” did much better, especially considering that’s straight over bare white primer. I designed it for simulating oil & grease streaks, so it had to stay where it was applied. For caked on oily dirt I sprinkle a little fine sand into it before it dries to give it texture.

So experiment over, I gave both bases another quick wash of thinned black paint to set them both to black and move on.

Step 1
Base coat all metal objects with P3 Pig Iron (or other steel metallic of your choice.)

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Step 2
Base coat the dirt areas with P3 Gun Corps Brown (or other light brown of your choice.)

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Step 3
Base coat the rocks with P3 Trollblood Highlight (or other warm gray of your choice.)

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So now all of the elements on these bases have been picked out in one of three colors. While that might seem overly simplistic, bear with me. We can make this as simple or as complicated as we want later on.

Step 4
Wash all metals and dirt with thinned P3 Bloodstone (or other red brown of your choice.) Matte Medium is important as you want this to stick on the flat areas of the metals as well as run into the recesses of the dirt and such. Allow to dry thoroughly.

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Step 5
Wash all metals and rocks with thinned GAFA Payne’s Grey (or other dark blue of your choice.) Again, Matte Medium is important as you want this to stick on the flat areas of the metals as well as run into the recesses of the rocks and such. Allow to dry thoroughly.

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Step 6
Wash everything with thinned P3 Umbral Umber (or other dark brown of your choice.) Once again, Matte Medium is important as you want this to stick on the flat areas of the metals as well as run into the recesses of the dirt and such. Allow to dry thoroughly.

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At this point, if you’re in a hurry you could clean up the edges and call it done. Especially if you’re painting a mass of bases at once. You can always come back later and pick out a few details to fix them up a bit as you have time.

Step 7
Drybrush the rocks with P3 Cryx Bane Highlight (or an olive drab of your choice.)

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Step 8
Drybrush the rocks again with P3 Trollblood Highlight (or the warm gray you base coated them with.)

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Step 9
Drybrush the dirt with P3 Gun Corps Brown (or the light brown you base coated it with.)

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Step 10
Drybrush the dirt with P3 Hammerfall Khaki (or a tan / bone color of your choice.) Catch the highest edges of the rocks as well.

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Step 11
Highlight the metal objects with P3 Pig Iron (or the metal you base coated them with.) The metallic will “pop” in comparison to the dull washed areas around it. You don’t need to go any higher up in value of color unless you want to show a “new” metal. I’m after aged and weather metal bits here, so just a few shiny edges here and there are more than enough to convey the idea that they are still metal.

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Step 12
Lightly wash the dirt areas with thinned P3 Umbral Umber (or the dark brown you used before.) I do not do this uniformly. I try to mottle the dirt and break it up. I also use the brown to outline the objects where they meet the dirt and deepen the crevices in the rocks.

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Step 13
Rust. I alwyas see questions about how to make good looking rust. If you don’t have a bottle of VMC 131 Orange Brown do yourself a HUGE favor and buy one. You’ll wonder how you ever got by without it. My rust always starts out as thinned VMC 131 Orange Brown. I then add other colors to it to push/pull it in the direction I want it to go. In this case I added a slight bit of the P3 Bloodstone to tie it back to the coloration of the metals. Apply as sparingly or as liberally as you want. Remember that rust usually collects where water collects, so in this case around the edges of the plates and in the recesses of the gear, etc. I also spread it out into the dirt as it will stain the dirt around it. (Which is why I made sure the dirt was painted first.)

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Step 14 + 15
Brass. The brass casings are easy. Since they’re already based, I just lightly highlight them with VMC 174 Brass. This paint doesn’t have great coverage (like any gold based paint) but when you go over a silver base it’s a snap. To simulate oxidation and tarnish I hit them with the thinned P3 Umbral Umber again.

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Step 16
I paint my base rings black. I know that’s not popular in that “other” game circuit, but it works for me. Several coats of dull spray sealer and the paint is finished.

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Finishing

To finish these up I just glued a few dabs of burnt static grass to contrast with all of the brown and added some Still Water mixed with green ink in the recess on the second base. I’ll likely add some ripples to this once I get the planned model attached to it.

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Conclusion

So here is the official YoungWolf7 Review of the Dragon Forge Design Wasteland II series of resin bases:

Quality: 9.5 / 10

The quality of these castings still impresses me. I’ve seen much worse out of so called “pro” operations. (No, I won’t name names.) Knowing that Dragon Forge is essentially a one-man operation makes it even more impressive.

Creativity: 9 / 10

It’s obvious a lot of thought went into placing the objects on the bases so that there were still plenty of options to attach model’s feet to them. All too often you’ll see a cluttered base with no place to stand a model. To me that’s a complete waste of time. These are easy to deal with, with room to add more stuff if you like.

Variety: 9/10

It’s not often that you’ll see 10 different bases in a trooper size, but you do here. I’m a variety junkie though, so I crave even more. Dragon Forge does have other base lines that are designed to complement / interchange with the Wasteland II bases so I’ll be picking those up very soon.

Paintability: 10 / 10

The acid test for me was how fun were they to paint. These were fun and I’m already eyeing the rest of the range even though I’m supposed to be recovering right now.

Overall: 9.5 / 10

To say that I’m happy with these bases would be an understatement. I can’t give them a perfect rating as nothing’s perfect, but they’re darn close IMO. To our WARMACHINE / HORDES readers: you may notice that Dragon Forge doesn’t currently offer much in the way of WM style round lip bases. They are working on this and are completely open to suggestions. Contact Jeff through their website and tell him what YOU would like to see. I’ve given him my suggestions, and maybe when I’m fully recovered I can start helping him out by sculpting a few. I can tell you that if I hadn’t sold off my Mercs to pay bills they’d be standing on his square cut slate tile bases though. Those are cool for city-dwellers.

Until next time.

–YW7–