Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Valandor! (no actual doors)

We come to it at last ... the Return of Valandor!

Ba'el - Undead Demonlord for Return of Valandor expansion for Mantic's Dungeon Saga.

A return somewhat less anticipated than the Jedi, King and Planet of the Apes, but perhaps one notch above the Pink Panther.

Speaking of which: Ba'el the Undead Demon himself!

Ba'el - Undead Demonlord for Return of Valandor expansion for Mantic's Dungeon Saga.

This poor miniature has been given a rough ride (not least by myself), but I confess I enjoyed painting him. Despite having very few articles to paint, he's covered with texture, which results in a fun time for the ink n' drybrush enthusiast.

  • Flesh: Cadian Fleshtone base, Carroburg Crimson wash, Flayed One Flesh drybrush
  • Armour: Charcoal Grey base, Ironbreaker drybrush
  • Straps: XV-88 base, Agrax Earthshade wash
  • Claws and horns: Zandri Dust base, Agrax Earthshade wash
  • Wing bones and teeth: Ushabdi Bone base, Seraphim Sepia wash
  • Tongue: Pink Horror
  • Exposed Flesh: Blood for the Blood God

In keeping with my slightly-variant bases per quest, I gave this one glowing cracks: Dawnstone, drybrushed White Scar, then run over with Nihilakh Oxide technical paint.

(Nihilakh Oxide really is a lovely tool - and while I have used it once to represent copper oxide, surely everyone uses it for ghostly effects? They should just call it "Spoooooky Paint")

Ba'el - Undead Demonlord for Return of Valandor expansion for Mantic's Dungeon Saga.

He makes for more of a 'wet' undead, like a zombie - although I'm not sure how the resurrection process is supposed to work for demons anyway.

But I've got over my disappointment at Ba'el's size, and I'm declaring in favour of him. It's a sound enough piece.

And now we come to our eponymous hero:

Valandor - Celestian for Return of Valandor expansion for Mantic's Dungeon Saga.

Hmm. There's not much to say about him that isn't immediately apparent. Those tiny hands and feet; those Joan Collins-scale shoulderpads; the glam-rock headband; the lethargic stance; that safety-curtain of a cape. It's a rubbish model, it just is.

For all that, I actually enjoyed painting poor Valandor. It was fun throwing on some metal paints and washes, it was even fun picking out the gold trim (although I lost heart during the freehand stage on his back).

Which raises a question of cognitive dissonance: can you enjoy the process of painting a model without actually enjoying the model itself?

Valandor - Celestian for Return of Valandor expansion for Mantic's Dungeon Saga.

But done he most certainly is. I guess I haven't done the model any favours by giving him pink armour, but damnit, I was forced to give him some cheekbones on that flat-featureless face, which is more than you should expect from a model this scale.

The paint recipe, should you find yourself in the unenviable position of owning one of these:
  • Armour: Stormhost Silver base, Druchii Violet wash, Stormhost Silver drybrush, Retributor Armour trim
  • Clothes: Calgar Blue base, Drakenhof Nightshade wash
  • Cape: Caledor Sky base, Drakenhof Nightshade wash, Caledor Sky drybrush
  • Loincloth: Grey Primer, Drakenhof Nightshade wash, Ulthuan Grey layer

All things being equal, I'm fairly certain this character design was based on Ozymandias from the Watchmen comics.

Mind you, the way I blob on eyes, he could have been Rorschach

And so finishes my Dungeon Saga. I've got eight character models left (and the doors, always the doors), but all my updates since Christmas have been nothing but Mantic, doing 47 models of all four expansions, and I'm somewhat spent.

So I'm content to concede the painting challenge to Kraken (who declared earlier this week), and thereby retire to the pavilion to console myself with tea and cucumber sandwiches.

Valandor and Ba'el for Return of Valandor expansion for Mantic's Dungeon Saga.

Having now gone through all the Dungeon Saga set, here is how I rank them (at least from an aesthetic point of view - we've only done two campaigns so far):

  1. Dwarf King's Quest
    You'd definitely want this one (which is lucky, as you can't play without it). There miniatures are classic dungeon; varied sculpts; not one of them is less than good and many of excellent.
  2. Warlord of Galahir
    Your mileage may vary depending on whether you like greenskins, but this one doesn't disappoint. The orclings are poor, the detail on warlord could be sharper, and the trolls are a bit dull. Other than that: there is a solid batch of minions and a pair of unusual adventurers.
  3. Infernal Crypts
    There's not a lot wrong with this set (and plenty that is right), it just feels a bit samey. Having four types of Abyssals (including the Guard, which really aren't distinct) feels like one type too many, and the Molochs are lacklustre. The Succubi are nice (if lacking in sharpness), the Hellhounds, Tortured Souls and Effrit are good (I'd love to have seen an Effrit at a monstrous scale).
    Drech’nok himself is a cracking miniature, and the two adventurers are nice additions (although the naiad worked better in concept than practice). Something of a curate's egg on the whole: less than the sum of its parts.
  4. Tyrant of Halpi
    From here the quality drops sharply. I've gone on enough about the dragon: but at that price point, it's no better than average. The two adventurers are nice, but you don't get a lot in the set.
  5. Return of Valandor
    Speaking of value, this is pretty thin gruel. For the same price expansion you get a single set of Undead minions and the above two models. So in hobby arithmetic, it's saying that Valandor and Ba'el are equal to a whole set of minions and two adventurers. They're not.
    You only get half as many cards in the set too!

My recommendation, if this game looks like your cup of tea, would be to go in for the Dwarf King's Quest, Warlord of Galahir and Infernal Crypts. For the final two, I wouldn't rush to get them unless you're a ferocious completionist. As a Kickstarter backer, I got Return of Valandor as a welcome bonus, but I'm not sure I'd pay for it. Tyrant of Halpi is a maybe, and the other three are solid wins.

The dragon is flying above them.

That said, maybe the Return of Valandor will turn out to play the best of the bunch - so we'll see when we finally get there.

But for now - we take on the Waaaghlord of Galahir!


  1. Hey, if you really don't want to paint your furniture, you might like this:

    I wouldn't judge you.

    1. When Kickstarter closes a door, it opens another, pre-painted door.

  2. My phone's autocorrect thinks 'Valandor' should be 'Calamity'.

    So cruel...