Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dreamforge Leviathans on Pre-Order

Well, it is the week of Dreamforge news I guess!  I got an email from Mark from Dreamforge telling me that he is now taking pre-orders on both versions of his Leviathans!  I prefer the Crusader and am putting in my order for one.  I recommend you do so too!

Leviathan Crusader ($306.75 pre-order price) Retail $375.00

Leviathan Mortis ($296.75 pre-order price) Retail $350.00

Leviathan Crusader

Leviathan Mortis

Monday, April 25, 2011

Industry Interview - Mark Mondragon, Dreamforge Games, Part II

This is Part II of my interview with Dreamforge Games founder Mark Mondragon.

5) You didn't give up after your problems with GW, and now have re-invented your company. Tell us about that process.

My nine to five is as a procurement manager for IT products, blades, servers, switches, etc. The creative work I do with DreamForge-Games is far more satisfying than pushing PO’s through enterprise software. As the economy takes its down turns, you only need a procurement department to work out contract issues. Eventually all the issues get resolved and the pink slips start flying. I was faced with the decision to continue to be an overpaid corporate slave or a starving artist. I am fortunate enough to be in the position to fallow my true love and do something creative.

The current Leviathan designs were about 70% completed, so I got to work refining the details and started researching the new processes and machines that would allow me to turn pixels into real world objects. A lot had changed and although not perfect, the machines used to print 3D models had greatly improved. Having found a process that would work, I now needed to figure out how I would be able to pay for these very expensive prints. As it so happens John Bear Ross put a call out on his Yahoo forum for help, he was swamped with overtime at his nine to five and his client work was falling behind. One thing led to another and I started doing contract work for others in the gaming industry. Khurasan Miniatures, MERCS, Comfy Chair Games, Outland Games and eventually some commercial work for Land Rover. This side work helped me to fund my current designs and get the ball rolling again.

Having worked with John over at Moddler for my clients prints, he was the obvious choice to handle my personal work and he printed the Leviathan kits on his Objet printer. He always runs his machine at its highest resolution, so you get the best quality possible. I can’t tell you how important it is to have a good service provider doing your prints, part orientation makes a big difference on the quality of the print.

I then spent two months benching the parts, cleaning up the surfaces to mold level quality in an effort to get rid of the micro stepping that these printers create in the surface of the model. Another two months making love to molds followed by a limited release of casts to prove the molds. It has always been my intention to contract out the casting end because it is so time intensive that it takes me away from the design side. My search for a contract caster took a month or more. It’s surprising how few resin casters there are here in the US. This model presented some unique problems, with the number of parts I needed to make family molds, each mold containing four or more parts. With an open pour mold, it soon became evident that I needed to find someone who could inject the resin into the molds. This limited my short list of casters even further. I finally settled on a contract caster and sent my masters off to them. We have had a few bumps along the way but I am about to open up pre-orders for the Leviathans and roll the dice.

6) The new model looks AMAZING. The state of the art has obviously changed. How has that affected your work?

Due to the process I use, the software and printer are critical components to the process. I use Rhino for my CAD end with a few plug-ins to aid in the modeling process. I have found Rhino to be about the best software available for hard surface models such as tanks, mecha and other mechanical devices. If you’re doing organic surface models, such as animals, people, you’re not going to find a better software than Zbrush. The printer end still needs to catch up, but I would imagine that within the next five years you will see printer technology that can spit out a part that has nice clean surfaces. The other aspect that still needs to come into play is affordability. It’s still far less expensive to hand sculpt than it is to produce a model using a printer. This is the Achilles heal of the process, can you make a master cheap enough to be able to charge a price that most can afford.

7)  What is next?

With the release of the Leviathans, Crusader and Mortis, there are three more variants based on the same chassis. Each having their own weapons and some armor or other detail changes. A re-release of the refined Black Widow tank, The Paladin Leviathan, a more Anime design, and then… They sky is the limit.

I am currently working on a game system, Iron-Core. The Iron-Core is a game system being developed for vehicle centric combat. In the Iron-Core universe there are ten major factions, each faction has its own unique style. Eisenkern, the more gothic look, the commonwealth, a more advanced manga feel, the Protectorate, a nostalgic Russian influence, The Republic a more updated US military look and the alien races with their own distinctive designs. It is my hope to provide each faction with a complete set of vehicles and Leviathans. Within this framework, there is enough diversity of designs that I will be able to express my creative juices and provide the gaming community with a wide and varied selection.

Iron-Core as a game system will be scalable and modular. The goal is to provide a platform that will allow the player to choose between a fast and dirty beer and nuts game to an ultra detailed shell counter game and anything in between. This should allow the players to work within their budget or time constraints and still allow them to enjoy the models and the company of their friends.

Can all this be done with just me pushing pixels? I think it is a rather ambitious goal, but I like challenges. The more exposure I have with the other creative minds and talents in the gaming community, the more I find possible alliances and perhaps future partnerships. Until then I will keep pushing pixels and making models that I hope the gaming community will find as enjoyable as I do.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Industry Interview - Mark Mondragon, Dreamforge Games, Part I

Mark Mondragon is a bit of a legend in Apocalypse gaming as he built what is still the most impressive Titan yet released by anyone.  That Titan got the full wrath of an over-zealous Games Workshop's attention and the rest has become gaming legend.

So when Marc came back with a new "Leviathan" many of us were happy to see him back in the saddle.   This interview is meant to give us a good inside look at Mark, his small operation, and how he has used technology to advance the creation and production of his new models.

1) Well, we always need to start at the beginning, so tell us how you got into gaming and sculpting.

I started gaming in the 70’s with the first booklet release of Chainmail and later the first release of D&D. My first step into tabletop miniature games came later. It seemed a natural transition to deal with the limited time available due to work and other more adult pressures. Unlike RPG’s, playing a tabletop game does not require a large group of friends or an entire day set aside. I think my first tabletop game was MAATAC, a fun little game with 6mm scale sci-fi tanks. I have always been more interested in armored combat, tank on tank games rather than infantry skirmish games. There is something about sixty tons of steel rolling across the battlefield that sparks my imagination.

I started sculpting in 2000 but was never completely happy with the results. I am a bit of a stickler for quality and correct proportions and hand sculpting although enjoyable did not give me the results I was looking for. About that time, I ran into an article by John Bear Ross, explaining his work process using a CAD program to make miniatures. This sounded like a perfect match to me. I could express myself artistically, while making a model as dimensionally correct as possible.  This process also allows the artist to change the detail, scale and proportions of the model or individual components to suit their desire with ease. There are a few artists using traditional sculpting methods to create incredible work; Kallamity is the first to spring to mind, what he can do with modeling clay and plastic kit parts is simply amazing.

Each process has its challenges, to hand sculpt you need a great deal of patients and a fair amount of flexibility in your vision of the final model, as it is far more likely to change as the creation process moves along. With digital sculpting you can get exactly what you want but the technology to print your creation is expensive and still not to the point of giving you a nice clean surface. 

2) And so were the Titans your first attempt at a commercial venture?

I had a few kits that saw limited release, most were not hugely successful but all were invaluable learning experiences. The path to be a successful garage kit producer is a long one that requires you to master many disciplines. Making a good casting is a trial and error affair. Learning how to make molds and get nice clean castings takes time, and many expensive mistakes. I don’t think you ever master this area as each part of a model presents its own challenges, you simply build on each experience and refine these skills as you push forward.

3) Your Titans are the stuff of Gaming legend now. Tell us about what happened with GW.

We all know GW is judicious with its use of th legal system to protect its copyright. In early 2000, I released two large Mecha/Leviathan kits that stood 24” tall. GW took offence to the designs, stating that they felt that my models infringed on their copyright. Were they correct? I really don’t know, the case never went to court as it would have been simply too expensive for a small business owner to fight without pro bono representation. Based on what I know now I feel it safe to say that these kits may have been sailing too close to the gib to be undeniably safe from challenge. It was a very expensive learning process. The three positive lessons I took from this experience were, one, a better understanding of IP law, two, the protection of the current Leviathan designs and three the confidence that what I can create can be well received in the gaming community.

4) So how many of them did you actually produce?

Of the Large 24” Leviathans, I think only three saw the light of day. Production was very slow and when GW raised its objections, I decided not to continue production until the matter was settled. If memory serves there were eight to twelve outstanding orders at the time, I stopped production. I am a strong believer in taking care of my customers to the best of my ability, so I made sure all my outstanding orders received full refunds including any PayPal fees they may have incurred.

Tomorrow, what is next for Marc and Dreamforge...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Forgeworld Crassus Amoured Transport

Well, Forgeworld has the Crassus Armoured Transport that we recently saw sneak peaks of up for pre-order.  The model is 225 points in the game and has armor 14-13-12 and two structure points.  It comes with 4 heavy bolter sponsons, as well as smoke launchers and a searchlight standard.  The weapons can be upgraded and there are the usual upgrades.

So basically this is a vehicle that makes sure your troops get across the board. and then jump out and shoot as it is not an assault vehicle.  There are no fire points so you aren't going to be able to use it as a mobile bunker.  None the less, I want one!

Per the Forgeworld website:

This immense armoured carrier is named after one of Lord Solar Macharius’ greatest generals, Borgen Crassus, who remained steadfastly loyal to the Imperium throughout the grim and bloody Macharian Heresy that followed the Lord Solar’s death.

The vehicle can be retrofitted with additional weapons to fulfil other battlefield roles as required, and thousands of these vast transports were drafted into the 6th Cadian Armoured’s ranks during the fighting on Betalis III.

Complete resin kit. Model designed by Daren Parrwood. Experimental rules for the Crassus can be found here.


Forgeworld also released two more in their line of excellent decal sheets:


Red Scorpions

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Black Library

OK, if you haven't ordered you limited edition, leather bound copy of "Promethean Sun" you need to do so!  There are still copies left.  Heck, I woke up at 3:45 Monday just to make sure I got one when they went back on sale.  UGH.  But well worth it as I am a book collector as well as a 40K geek.  My limited edition hardcover of "Horus Rising" is one of the prides of my collection.

I am a HUGE Horus Heresy novel fan (Having adopted the handle "Loken" on forums should be a clue) and I think that they are the best 40K novels because they really give character and depth to the Space Marines.  We are now invested in specific characters and chapters from the past and I know I grab each new volume as soon as they come out.  Heck, I want to do pre-heresy Thousand Sons now!  They were absolutely the coolest chapter pre-heresy and "A Thousand Sons" remains one of my favorite books.

Talking with Dan Abnett at Adepticon was the highlight of that trip.  What great insight into his contributions to The Horus Heresy series!

The Outcast Dead, due November 2011

Deliverance Lost, due January 2012

Please Emperor, tell me that is Corax!  The Primarch who bashes people on the head with Predator sponsons!  That is one guy I want to read more about!

Well, that is it for now.  Good hunting!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Eldar vs. Dark Angels Apocalypse Battle Report

Here is a great Apocalypse Battle Report video by KBelleau on the Apocalypse40K forum.  The Dark Angels take on the Eldar with a Reaver and a Phantom Titan facing off.  The Phantom uses the new Forgeworld rules.

You can follow the discussion on the forum here.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Forgeworld WraithSeer And Corsairs Released

Forgeworld has released the new Eldar Wraithseer model on pre-order and it is awesome.  Experimental rules are here.

Rare and precious beyond compare, their souls protected from the predations of Slaanesh within spirit stones, long-dead Warlocks of great power can still be summoned to aid their Craftworld in the form of a Wraithseer. Armed with a lethal D-Cannon and a Wraithblade wreathed in the eldritch energy of their psychic arts, a Wraithseer is a terrible and implacable foe.

The Eldar Wraithseer, designed by Will Hayes, is a complete resin and plastic kit available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 26th April.

Also, the Eldar Corsair conversion kit is out.

There are many bands of so-called ‘Corsair’ Eldar scattered across the galaxy, and all are savage and deadly raiders. Outcasts from the strict confines of the Craftworlds, the Corsairs live in self-imposed exile, seeking to explore the galaxy and experience the full gamut of emotion and sensation accessible to the Eldar’s sensitive psyche. Most are young and adventurous Eldar who will eventually return to their homes older, wiser and tempered by warfare. Some, however, embrace the raider’s life completely and fall further still, becoming ever more bloodthirsty and psychotic, indulging their darkest impulses and eventually seeking out the infamous Dark City.

The Eldar Corsair Conversion Kit is designed for use with the plastic Eldar range. Designed by Will Hayes, this resin upgrade kit contains detailed weapons, jump packs and heads that enable Eldar players to convert ten plastic Eldar Guardians into Corsairs, and is available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 26th April.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mega Gargant WIP

Apocalypse40K Forum member PowellHall has been working on a massive Ork Mega Gargant and I figured you all would like to see the state of the art in massive Orc Titan builds!

"First off, let me remind you that Big Meks are a strange and independent lot, that is to say that my idea of Orky may not match anybody elses. My conversions tend to be a blend of 2nd and 3rd edition styles. I kind of like the idea of Giblet Grindas, Bowel Burnas, Gobsmashas and open wheeled Battlewagons. I tend to hear a lot of “that’s too clean looking for a propper Ork paint job”, but, that’s the way I like ‘em!
With that being said, I started this project taking inspiration from (what else?) the Epic Mega-Gargant, which is big, but I wanted BIG!
I’ve been working on this about 3 or 4 months now and I feel I am making pretty good progress. It has finally reached a point where you can tell what it is and maybe what it will end up looking like."

You can read the whole chronicle on Siegworld's website here.

An Epic-scale comparison of size between a Mega Gargant, a Gargant and some Stompas.

It started with a bunch of parts!  3 different computer housings were the basis.

 The model has five different floors!

Each floor was highly detailed.  Here is one WIP.

A control room!

 Now it just needs paint!

And his try at the different types!  The Mega Gargant is at an early stage in this photo.
More to come as the project nears completion!


34" tall at the top of the head (not including the gun turret that sits on top of the head).
51" tall at the top of the Weirdboy Tower.
23" wide at the tracks.
The lower hull is 20" deep, but with the "knives" out front and the small set of treads to the rear, it covers 41" from front to back.
With the CC arm extended out and the Lifta droppa clocked horizontal, it spans 53". 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sanctimonia Cruor Fellblade

An awesome video on a Fellblade using Tom McBride's parts.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bridge over the River WAAAAGGGHHHH - Part 3

Well, Orc Warboss Greg Teeuwen posted some new photos of this epic Orc vs. Imperium battle, so it was a good opportunity to summarize the game and lessons learned, while sharing some great photos.  

We tried to balance the sides by equalizing structure points and "D" weapons.  But a little more needs to be done due to the nature of Orcs and Apocalypse.  

1)  An Orc structure point is not the same as an Imperial one.  Probably a 2-1 Orc to Imperial structure point ratio is better.

2)  Orcs don't have many things to punch through armor 14.  We tried to have less Imperial armor, but next time a specific % will help make the game more balanced.

3)  The Gargants need to cover less territory than we had.  The bridge needed to be at least 12" shorter to give the Orcs a chance.   They needed a screening force as well.

Finally, I think the Orcs suffered a bit from no clear general planning the grand strategy.  So we need to address that in all future games, making sure there is one general who will be in charge of the objectives.

A great time was had by all!

Table # 1  The Orcs have landed and a small Imperial force has been sent to destroy the Doomsday Missile.  The Orc lander is in the back.

The Imperial Forces have to hold back the Orc tide while targeting the Gargants as well. 

 The scrum that followed on Table 1!

 Quick!  Blast that White Dwarf!

Greg artfully lays out the fall of Warboss Sheepshagga!  Layed low by a Titan!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Forgeworld Rules out for Inquisitors and Eldar Phantom

Forgeworld has released new rules for their Inquisitor Hector Rex and Solomon Lok as well as the twin linked Psy-cannon that they offer.  They can be found here:

Hector Rex and Solomon Lok updated rules

Also, the rules are out for the Eldar Phantom Titan!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Forge World Open House

The Forge World Open House was this past weekend in the UK and Warseer posted some great photos from the event showing all the cool upcoming models!

The original thread on Warseer is here.  Thanks to PhillBrad2 for all the hard work!

More info on Bell of Lost Souls here.

Salamander shoulder pads

 Astral Claws shoulder pads

Astral Claws Land Raider Doors

Dark Eldar Raider with Haywire Cannon

 I have no clue what this is, but Dark Eldar players are in love!

IG Crassus Tracked Bunker

Eldar Corsairs

Eldar Wraithseer

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ultramarines vs. Smurfs!

One of the best displays at Adepticon's 40K Team Tournament was an Ultramarine army that had just raided the Smurf village!  It was hysterical, and here are some photos.

Passion of the Smurf!

The agony!!!!!!

Smurfette gets the ax!

Pappa Smurf has his house burned!

Next target....My Little Pony!

I hope you enjoy!



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