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Your opinions on Dwarven Forge Terrain?


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5 hours ago, Inarah said:

 

I used dental plaster, which is quite a bit sturdier than the stuff you can buy at your local craft store.  It won't survive being dropped off a table, but it generally reduces chips and breakage through normal use and transport, and can be repaired easily.   DF is much sturdier in that regard, but you pay for it. 

 

 

I use dental plaster as well. It's not chip proof but is fairly stout, I've had wood glue fail at the joint before the piece actually broke.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Arkady said:

This reminds me, about 15 years ago, I knew a gamer who had bought a fair bit of DF resin kept cussing about how it was more 25mm than 28mm. I thought he was a bit harsh, but in retrospect, it certainly wasn't *heroic* 28mm. It worked quite well with his early 90s Ral Partha and Grenadier figures, but mid-noughts Reaper tended to be a bit large.

I have seen folks on the Dwarven Forge forums refer to “Scalegate, five years ago” and wonder if that refers in part to that.

 

But here is a photo of some minis with 25mm bases on a Dwarven Forge dungeon tile from their Dungeons of Doom line.

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Edited by Grumpy Gnome
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2 minutes ago, Grumpy Gnome said:

I have seen folks on the Dwarven Forge forums refer to “Scalegate, five years ago” and wonder if that refers in part to that.

I understand the issue is that not all DF product is the same scale. I haven't been playing with anyone using DF for years now, so I haven't actually seen the recent physical product. But my impression was indeed that at one point, with one of their Kickstarters, DF decided to make new stuff a bit bigger, presumably to better match currently popular miniatures ranges that are heroic 28mm.

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At 4 bases wide those 25mm bases are starting to edge into the adjacent squares.

 

Overall the base size issue is a non issue provided you only have 2 or 3 miniatures close together. If you have 4 or 5 or more clustered together then it begins to become a problem. It becomes a much larger issue in narrow corridors or tunnels. Basically I consider Dwarven Forge scenery to be beautiful and a very nice fit for a lot of the older miniatures in my collection but anything produced in the last 15-20 years is likely to have problems fitting in.

 

I'd agree that it's great for 25mm figures. Given that scale creep has most people using 32-40mm figures these days the 25mm scenery might not fit quite so well.

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Balgin Stondraeg said:

At 4 bases wide those 25mm bases are starting to edge into the adjacent squares.

 

Overall the base size issue is a non issue provided you only have 2 or 3 miniatures close together. If you have 4 or 5 or more clustered together then it begins to become a problem. It becomes a much larger issue in narrow corridors or tunnels. Basically I consider Dwarven Forge scenery to be beautiful and a very nice fit for a lot of the older miniatures in my collection but anything produced in the last 15-20 years is likely to have problems fitting in.

 

I'd agree that it's great for 25mm figures. Given that scale creep has most people using 32-40mm figures these days the 25mm scenery might not fit quite so well.

Perhaps my laziness in not pushing them all closer together is misleading. I do not see a problem with 25mm figures using the grids but obviously 32mm will not be able to.

 

28mm looks fine even in the narrow caverns, burrows and dungeons. 32mm fits the burrows. 40mm and 60mm you need to build specifically to consider those but DF still works for them.

 

Notice in the first photo I have 25mm based, 28mm figures in narrow burrow, cavern and dungeon pieces.

 

But yeah, these may not work the best for figures with ever increasing size. 
 

I wanted to use the figures from the recent Soloman Kane boardgame KS for my Tarnished Splendor project, I have gotten pretty flexible about using 25mm to 32mm scale figures with 25mm bases on average ,but getting out to 35mm scale is pushing things a bit too hard for even me.

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Edited by Grumpy Gnome
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Just to add my two cents to the topic. A few years ago I got really heavy into Hirst Arts stuff. I bought a bunch of molds and really started cranking terrain and game boards out. 

Then I saw Dwarven Forge for the first time and I took a long hard look at it before I went back to my messy dental plaster and silicone molds. I think the two types of terrain are for two different types of people. Dwarven Forge is beautiful, ready made and durable. Hands down it wins in these categories. Hirst can be beautiful if you make it so, takes a ton of time and even with dental stone is still a bit chippy. It wins in one category though, versatility. Hirst Arts is closer to legos than a terrain system so it can be whatever you want. Like I said, I bought a ton of molds and there are a ton to choose from, so the choice of what to make is wide open.

Here are a few things I have made:

 

Dungeons of course, in different styles

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Or perhaps you need a sci fi board such as Space Hulk

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Or Imperial Assualt

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Or a more traditional game board such as HeroQuest

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or Roborally

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Mordheim

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Maybe a castle

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Or something really different like a dice tower

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Or pieces for a boat

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This is not the only things i have made, just some. 

For me, the versatility is key and I like the building part of all of this, so the time factor is not a problem. It is a factor for a lot of people though. 

Dwarven Forge is the model that I use for all of my painting. I am always looking at images of Dwarven Forge to see how I can improve my own creations. 

One additional point, I am not actually fond of the design of wall and floor L shape configuration on the standard Dwarven Forge piece. I looked at and tried out a number of different configurations including the dwarven forge system before I settled on the one I use. It is wall centered on 1" tile and floor tiles are separate. This allows my to separate the wall and floor and allows for even more configurations. I have pictures of this somewhere. 

I hope no one takes this as a knock on Dwarven Forge. It is not. Their stuff is amazing and I really considered buying some. I just love the tinkering that Hirst offers and the versatility of the final product.

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Some beautiful work there RogaDanar!  You make some very fair points.

 

Balgin, You had me a bit worried so I went and did some quick experiments. 25mm bases seem fine, no matter the number, 32mm bases fit even the narrow pieces… but 40mm will not. The Dryad is a Games Workshop model on a 32mm base.

 

 

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As someone who has both dental plaster terrain (HA and other companies) and a bunch of Dwarven Forge, they are definitely overlapping items for two different groups of people.

 

It's like how two people can buy the same Toyota, but one wants a car to drive and the other person wants a car to tinker with.  One person just wants to be able to drive the car and have no issues; the other person wants to put new rims on, trick out the stereo, and improve the engine performance.  Is either person using the car the wrong way?  No, they just have different ideas of what they want out of a car.

 

Dwarven Forge is ready to go right out of the box, even unpainted it shows enough detail with the color of the dwarvenite to be passable on the table so everyone knows what it is they are looking at.  Painted pieces are tabletop quality right out of the box and dwarvenite doesn't chip, break, or crumble.  It's reliable.  

 

Hirst Arts and other resin/plaster options typically offer either 1) more customization (HA) or 2) more detail (Tabletop World), however you give up things when you go those routes.  With HA you have to spend a lot of time and gain experience by way of trial and error.  If you want to make your own pieces in resin you need a vacuum chamber. You have to learn how to not have bubbles in your casts.  You have clean the molds.  You have to glue and paint the pieces together.  With Tabletop World, you don't let anyone besides yourself touch them as they are expensive and can break.  

 

Again, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, but for me I use my dwarvenite pieces much more than my resin or plaster terrain now.  It's just easier to store, I worry about it less, and it just WORKS.  Yes, there are things I wish were better such as the factory paint job, some scale issues between "underground" and "above ground sets" (25mm vs 1"), and the fact that it's expensive, but in the end outside of my lack of impulse control it really seems like it's a product I can use my entire life with buying ONCE with very little maintenance.  I can let my 3 kids play with the pieces.  My players get a kick out of the stuff too.  It's worth it for me, as I'm in that group of people who just wants to game and spend less time on the assembly/paint portion of the hobby.

 

Edited by animesensei
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Posted (edited)

We have gotten our hands on more Dwarven Forge terrain and our opinion of it has only gotten better. We love this stuff. 

If you are curious to read more details about why…

https://thegrumpygnome.home.blog/2021/06/18/dwarven-forged-part-3-june-restock-loot-haul-and-review/

One question that keeps coming up from DF staff is what else can they make thatbpeiole would want. Is there something DF does not make that you want?

And, given their next Kickstarter will focus on city buildings…

Is there something about their buildings that you do not like? Something you wished they did different?

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Edited by Grumpy Gnome
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On 5/25/2021 at 10:54 AM, Inarah said:

 

I used dental plaster, which is quite a bit sturdier than the stuff you can buy at your local craft store.  It won't survive being dropped off a table, but it generally reduces chips and breakage through normal use and transport, and can be repaired easily.   DF is much sturdier in that regard, but you pay for it. 

 

 

I've only experimented with hot glue, its MORE time intensive, but also gives you clear options a if resin  isn't possible.

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I have DW stuff from the first two kickstarters,  but haven't  gotten any since then. Money was tight for a bit and by the time it wasn't DW kickstarter price had gone up just a touch po ast what I could justify.  I bought two HA molds a couple of years before then but could never find an easy source for dental plaster to use with it so the molds have sadly just sat around ( I still really want to build the tower , but I think I will have to wait until we get a different house at this point) We also have a 3d printer and gave print quite few fat dragon and printable scenery tiles.

...I've never used any of them for D&D. I've always liked the idea of using them, but I don't run prewritten adventures very often and my homebrew adventures don't use many dungeons and the ones that do, are not really drawn up ahead of time. None of the 3d tiles are great for off the cuff dungeons as the take time to set up. So I end up using dry erase markers and grid maps for most everything I do with D&D and Pathfinder.  (assuming we aren't just using theater of the mind, of course). I think if I was better about planning my adventures I could get more use out of them.

 

What they have been used for was Frostgrave.  I've used them to make a few ruined huts and did a completely dungeon based Frostgrave game that used a mix of mostly DW and a few Fat Dragon tiles. Size of the grid on the tiles doesn't matter much in that. 

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Here is a Battle Companies report where we used some Dwarven Forge terrain on the table…

 

https://thegrumpygnome.home.blog/2021/07/09/aftermath-2-the-taken-of-minas-morgul-versus-old-ozzys-outlaws-as-the-journey-to-blue-mountain-continues/

 

We will be able to better fill a 6x4 table once our DF Wildlands KS pledge arrives, which unfortunately has been delayed.

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The Dwarf Forge stuff looks amazing, but it is way beyond my budget.  I am a big fan of Hirst Art's modular moulds as a cheaper alternative (and I see others here are as well!).  Yes the moulds them selves are quite expensive, but you can get so much terrain and variety from just a couple of moulds that they are worth the investment (Mine have paid for themselves several times over with the massive amount of terrain I'm able cheaply produce with them.  Some of the newer moulds are really detailed too compared the old stuff.

 

My most recent Hirst Arts project was a ruined keep I built last year using just two moulds.  Hirst Arts have consistently impressed me and I would recommend them to anyone with in interest in terrain building.

 

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Edited by Dan S
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First, I love the stuff everybody has been building with the Hirst arts stuff, its amazing!  i am always intimidated by the little blocks and a glazed look of 'I had a plan...' I get every time i use the stuff.  but I may steal some of those ideas, especially some of the buildings!

 

Anyway my commentary on the subject, for what it's worth:

 

  • A lot of the answer is time vs money.  if you have lots of money, you probably don't have much time (and if you do, I envy you deeply and would like you to consider donating some of both to me 🤪).  If you have the money, DF is a great way to get some really nice generic terrain for most situations that is easy to transport (a 4x6 table of terrain fits in a 2x2x1 foot rubbermaid container.)  If you have the time, Hirst arts offers some wonderful opportunities for creative beautiful terrain and a fraction of the cost but will involve a learning curve and some patience and planning
  • DF plastic used to be a decent price.  the first intro dungeon and caverns were a pretty good value.  The latest pricing has quadrupled or quintupled in cost, making it really hard to justify any further expansions.  (you can buy 1 or 2 nice resin structures for the amount that DF charges for a 20x20 hut!
  • Hirst arts stuff works best with planned structures and dungeons.  We have a HA dungeon we use for heroquest and its great but trying to make something in HA that is modular is difficult and tends to develop chips and nicks pretty quick  (we do mix some concrete color into the plaster so the dead white doesnt show through at every nick)
  • DF is much more modular but also more generic.  I usually have to make some compromises when building dungeons from a module or map (why did this dungeon need a 38 degree angle in the hallway?) but i can usually put together a 3 session dungeon with about an hours time.
  • I understand the reasons for making the walls align but I really, REALLY wish that DF had made their corridor pieces a wall and 2 full squares wide.  their current setup makes the hallways either 7.5 feet wide or 15 feet wide.  and one square is split in half so its almost always useless. OTOH, it does allow 2 characters to stand side by side on a round or 30 mm base.  it is sort of irritating when the 10' gelatinous cube becomes the 12' gelatinous floating nightmare because it wont fit in the hallway!
  • For buildings, i generally like HA or custom casts and prints.  The DF stuff does not do so well when you get over 2 or three 'squares' in any direction (x, y, or z) and can bow or spread allowing walls to fall out.  that said I do have some of the village that i use for as part of my christmas town decoration (and starting village for the holiday games)
  • of all the stuff DF has done, i love the forest the most!  that forest is drop dead gorgeous and if I had been smart about it, i would have picked up another set or two of it at the kickstarter and not gotten the ice caverns or the deep caverns, but that's water under the bridge.
  • the LED stuff that DF has is absolutely awesome and jaw dropping impressive but its a PITA to keep up with all the batteries and changing them is a chore.  basically you either use it a lot or you leave it off.  if you put it away for 6 months every battery in the set will be almost dead. (it works for just long enough convince you that there is no need to unscrew everything and then, right before your group enters the room, they start flashing red and then go out (the flashing red is the low battery warning, which would have been nice if DF had mentioned in their instructions... oh wait, WHAT instructions!)
  • HA support is non-existent.  DF support is about as good.  and trying to ask a simple question on the DF forums (which are supposed to be for that purpose) tends to get either 'how could you be mean to the great DF' of 'only a mindless fool wouldn't know the answer to that' responses.

 

I have both, I like both but the DF sees a lot more use (although, for most of my games, a simple chessex battle mat or one of my scenic Dragon tablecloths and some tailor's chalk is my usual go to!)  I have some HA set pieces but it doesnt work for me as a modular dungeon builder.  

 

and thats my commentary and I am sticking to it 🙂

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