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Thursday, 4th October, 2012, 12:37 AM #1
Defender (Lvl 8)
Review of Dungeon Crawler Miniatures
I have to say that one of the great things about being a reviewer for EN World News is the opportunity to experience a wide range of new RPG products. It really feels like the RPG community is a boundlessly creative bunch of folks, forever coming up with new game designs and related products to keep the industry fresh and exciting.
And it seems to me that Kickstarter has really given a boost to the proliferation of games and gaming products. I don’t think a day goes by without seeing a new Kickstarter project on a message board, blog, or twitter, featuring a new game system or accessory for gamers to enjoy.
Recently, I was contacted by Dungeon Crawler about their new line of miniatures for use with fantasy and horror role-playing games. Their three miniature sets - “From the Depths”, “Omens”, and “Townsfolk” – offer four miniatures each to add some fun to your game!
Dungeon Crawler Miniatures – Sets 1, 2, and 3
- Publisher: Dungeon Crawler (Gift Vision)
- Year: 2012
- Media: Plastic Miniatures (painted and unpainted)
- Retail Price: Pre-Painted $2.99 each or $10.00 per set / Unpainted $1.29 each (Order from Dungeon Crawler)
The first three sets from Dungeon Crawler are some very nice sculpts, with good attention to details and textures, overall. The miniatures are light-weight molded plastic, firm, but with just a little bendable “give” in parts where the details are thin (hands, antennae, tentacle tips, etc). It seems that will give the miniatures a bit of durability, and prevent the delicate parts them from breaking off as we’ve all experienced with metal minis.
The minis are firmly affixed to round three-quarter inch bases, which make them ideal fits on most battle mats and dungeon tiles using one-inch spaces. There are four quarter inch notches in the bases, which presumably would allow for the attachment of flag stands for conditions or other marks.
The paint job done on the pre-painted miniatures is pretty decent, with both shading and highlights done on textured areas to bring out some details. A few of the miniatures could have used a bit more highlights to really make details stand out, but overall, they look decent set on a set of dungeon tiles.
Images of all the sets can be found on the Dungeon Crawler site here, as well as pricing and other products.
The Miniature Sets
Currently, there are just a dozen miniatures out by Dungeon Crawler, divided into three sets of four minis each. The first set, From the Depths was actually released back in January of this year, with the latest two sets Omens and Townsfolk releasing in August.
From the Depths features four tentacle miniatures which would be useful in any Cthulhu-esque horror game, or to represent some aberrant thing from the Far Realms in D&D 4E. The purplish octopoid tentacle (labeled “Kraken”) has well-detailed suckers, and the brown “finger-tipped” tentacle (“Otherworld Arm”) is just downright creepy to look at. For the outdoors or perhaps the Fey realms there is a bean-stalk looking tentacle (“Plant Vine”), and there is a set of three inky black tentacles (“Grappler”) which might make for a good representation of a certain spell from Evard. All the tentacles represent lengths subjectively of about ten or more feet, so they look suitable scary next to a human sized miniature.
Dungeon Crawler’s second set, Omens, is a bit of a strange grouping. This set features a giant ant, mastiff dog, raven, and wood coffin, although I’m not sure how these fit together as “omens” – unless one counts just the mastiff, raven, and wood coffin as somewhat related to the infamous Omen Trilogy of movies from the 1970s and 1980s? But regardless of their relation to each other, the set has some fine sculpts in it. The giant ant and mastiff are quite good paint jobs, although the latter looks a little puppy-like. The coffin is really nifty, and includes a lid which fits fairly snugly, and covers a cavity which could be embellished with treasure, mold, or bones. The raven is also a great sculpt, and set on a base which has a clear plastic stand to give the illusion of flight. The mini clearly represents a fairly large version of a raven – think Tower of London black raptor as opposed to mid-west American crow here. And despite the size and precarious pose, it’s actually a fairly well balanced design, and does not topple easily.
The final set released by Dungeon Crawl is labeled Townsfolk, but I think the designers sold their minis short, and I mean that in a good way. At least three of the minis in the set have multiple uses, depending on how one chooses to paint them and use them in a fantasy game. The “beggar” is a hunched over old crone that could easily be re-purposed as a witch or hag. And while the “merchant” is pretty much always going to look like a shop-keeper, the youthful “scamp” could be used as a Halfling mini with little or no modifications. And finally, the “seductress” could be used as-is for entertaining male heroes after a long adventure, but again, I think the mini has more potential than that. It instantly reminded me of the evil high priestess from the cover of the Forgotten Realms module “Old Empires”, or be used as a damsel in distress any dragon would be proud to have as a “collectible”. Enterprising miniature painters could do all the townsfolk line up as undead – the right paints can make any human figure look ghoulish, ghastly, zombie-fied, or even vampiric!
As you might have guessed from my intro, Dungeon Crawler has a Kickstarter Campaign in the works to release a new set of miniatures called “Tidal Wave”. This new set will include four pirate minis, a mermaid, a water elemental lord, a “ghost hound”, and a “jellyshroom”. From the images shown, these look like decent sculpts and paint jobs, and would be awesome for a sea-faring adventure for almost any fantasy game. If interested, you can check out the Tidal Wave Kickstarter and make a pledge – there is still 39 days left in the campaign, and many different levels of participation to choose from.
Overall Score: 3.75 out of 5.0
Overall, I like these first few sets from Dungeon Crawler, and think they can definitely have a place in a wide range of fantasy and horror adventure RPGs. The sculpts and paint jobs are quite good, and I like that gamers are given the option of buying unpainted minis to paint in their own styles if that is their preference. On the downside, the mini lines are quite new, and there is not as many selections as one would find with a more established company. But the pricing is competitive, particularly on whole set buys, and hopefully their current Kickstarter indicates that more mini designs are on the way!
So until next review… I wish you Happy Gaming!
Author’s Note: This author received a complimentary copy of the miniature sets for use in writing the above review.
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Friday, 5th October, 2012, 11:22 AM #2
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Not sure I agree with the 3.75 out of 5.0 score. The minis are all high quality. You know what you are buying ahead of time, so it's not like you are going to get blind-sided with randomly packaged minis you don't want or need. I'd give them a score of 4.0 or 4.5, with a 5.0 score reserved for an incredible sculpt and or paint job.
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 12:17 PM #3
Gallant (Lvl 3)
Thanks for the kudos Thom, and the great review Neuroglyph!
I just wanted to point out that in paragraph 2 of production quality it mentions "3 quarter inch bases", but they are full 1" bases on our medium characters, only the Scamp is 3/4" right now.
Saturday, 6th October, 2012, 12:53 AM #4
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Overall they look rather good. I used to paint some when I was in school and not having the time now I would opt for prepainted. That price makes it a good bargain. The only thing that I would like to see is something I could use for a character and not a set of npcs, a set of limited animals, and a set of tentacles. The best for me would be figures that could fill more than one character role and be in positions that are more static where pieces are less prone to breaking. Action poses look great, but that sword held above your head does not make a good character for me at least.
Sunday, 7th October, 2012, 09:10 PM #5
Gallant (Lvl 3)
We've just dropped a huge reveal/spoiler combo on our KickStarter - Dungeon Crawler Minis :: Tidal Wave (DCM) by Gifted Vision Stretch Goal #2 Revealed, plus Spoilers! — Kickstarter
Sunday, 21st October, 2012, 06:33 PM #6
Novice (Lvl 1)
I saw your re-launching the kickstarter.
When is that going through?
Friday, 26th October, 2012, 01:00 PM #7
Gallant (Lvl 3)
It is live as of yesterday and can be found here Dungeon Crawler Minis (DCM) :: Tidal Wave Redeux by Gifted Vision — Kickstarter