I’m not normally one for shoving projects aside on the painting table to paint something seasonally appropriate, but I sure as heck am on board with changing gears to work on something completely unrelated to the current goal based on spurious whimsy. Accordingly, without warning, the Cawdor models that have been slowly receiving love were unceremoniously shoved aside as a train of thought mainly centered on dwarf characters for D&D reminded me that I’ve had a longbeard sitting in a drawer aging like a fine cheese for about a year now.
Kringle is one of Ninja Division’s Masterclass models, quite obviously themed after a certain jolly fat man. These resin models have been part of Ninja Division’s commitment to making good on their kickstarter commitments, and are an inordinate amount of fun to paint. As someone who otherwise spends his time painting heroic scale models for Warmachine, Age of Sigmar and the like, painting chibi models can be an incredible breath of fresh air.
Painting Kringle started with the reds of his hat and robes, followed by the fur trim and beard, before getting stuck into finer details. The wet palette saw more use than it has in awhile, with the leaves being a blend of five different green tones. While the berries may have been intended as holly, I had The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in my head so I went with something a little more purple and sugar-dusted. I think it’s also provides a little better contrast against the red of the hat.
The staff head unfortunately broke off, and while I had originally been contemplating trying to do something along the lines of a candy can with alternating tones, I really liked the idea of his just having a walking stick or cane rather than a druidic staff. The end result is a model that I’m pretty darn happy with. Sure, he’ll never be at the forefront of an army, but there’s always the chance someone will play a dwarf wizard or somesuch in a D&D campaign, once we’re in a position to play in person again. My Super Dungeon models often appeared on the table as both heroes and monsters, since I’ve managed to collect a small horde of assorted chibi gribblies over the years.
While Kringle is a playable hero in Super Dungeon, his ultimate fate may be to be woven into a small vignette. A few scenery elements, maybe another model or two to tell a story, and some judicious use of small LED lights and a veritable mystical wonderland could appear encapsulated in a glass sphere.
Time permitting, a new side project may happen over the next little while. Much will depend on whether or not I can find the elements I’m picturing in my head. Where does one find a chibi owlbear to approximate a sasquatch? I can’t rightly put a yeti in a forested scene…
It’s worth noting that both Kringle and Krampus are available for order until the end of January, for those who might be interested in taking on some new chibi painting projects of their own.
A long time ago I picked up Super Dungeon Explore, because the chibi models were adorable, a huge change of pace from painting Warmachine, Infinity and Warhammer, and the idea of an adorable dungeon crawl style game that played like a 1980’s arcade adventure was appealing as hell to my slow-getting-older-and-more-nostalgic self. I really, reallyliked what I found. The game wasn’t perfect but it was a stupid amount of fun, easy to pick up and teach, and – as mentioned – the models were adorable and fun to paint. Over the years I added Ninja All Stars and Rail Raiders Infinite to my collection, and the end result is an awful lot of chibi models at home in the Gdaycave.
A decent percentage are painted, and that’s something I’m proud of, though there’s a long way to go before they’re all done. Even though it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to coordinate a game of SDE (or NAS or RRI, for that matter), I love my pile of chibi adventurers and monsters, and I’ve added a bunch of Masterclass models to the collection over the years, such as the utterly gorgeous Star Guild Rock Singer and the Tusk Raider.
With such a prodigious collection chibi models, I’m well invested in Ninja Division, and I’m in support of John, Deke and the lads as they work to make cool things and to deliver on their kickstarters. It’s a slow process, but they’re working to make good on all of the things, and with Super Dungeon Conquest going into public alpha, I’m very curious to see the next stage.
Super Dungeon Conquest is – at least, in the Alpha – a tabletop miniature game that’ll scale down to fit on a 2×2, but a 3×3 seems to be the norm. While the game is being made available with Ninja Division’s excellent chibis, the rules do allow for any miniatures to be used. Players put together a warband of up to 20 models, from which you’ll select a limited number (point value) of models depending on the scenario. The rules currently have you building a warband of up to 1000pts value, but the two scenarios in the rules recommend playing at 750pts. It’s implied in the rules that there’ll possibly be a campaign system where casualties and injuries can carry over from game to game – that alone could be a major selling point for gamers looking for an alternative campaign tabletop game with a different aesthetic to, for example, Necromunda.
The current rules introduce two factions – the Royal Army and House Von Drakk – allowing you to pit paladins against the undead, with a variety of models available for each, from grunts to solo heroes. Another nice touch is spellcasters than can pick and choose their spell lists, based on level. This really called back to 1990’s Warhammer to me, where pumping Heinrich Kemmler or Nagash up to be the single most powerful spellcasters on the table was a big deal, and more powerful spellcasters meant more spell options from your preferred lore – and yes, the Royal Army and House Von Drakk build their spell lists from seperate lores (Aegis and Necromancy respectively).
True to the Super Dungeon theme, models have a crystalline affiliation, powered by one of five gem types – Sapphire, Amethyst, Citrine, Ruby and Emerald – which implies that we’ll see at least five primary factions. The Royal Army are Sapphire, Von Drakk is Amethyst, though of course there’s nothing restricting the release of multiple warbands affiliated with a single gem.
Play is d10 based, meaning you’re not restricted to using the usual Super Dungeon red, blue and green dice. This, combined with the rules allowing for any models around the 28-30mm scale, has me looking at these rules and thinking they’re very timely as people try to make their way though the pandemic and are looking to be able to play games with whatever they have on hand. I would hope that we would see dedicated armies come out and rules for the existing models from SDE – who doesn’t want to play an army of koopa troopa analogues led by a Blastoise analogue with the Rock Top Gang? – but time will tell.
You can get your mitts on the alpha rules directly from the source, and Sapphire and Amethyst starter sets are available directly from Ninja Division. If all goes well, not only will we have a new game to play, not only will we have another use for those swarms of kinoshrooms (which, to be fair, I use as mobs for D&D), but we’ll also be that much closer to Super Dungeon Legends…
Welcome to the end of the week! Today we’re taking a quick look at two different treats that were announced this week. From our friends at Ninja Division, the latest addition to the Masterclass line of resin chibi models is the Pauper Price and his guild of goblin urchins, and from Modiphius, the latest book for the Conan RPG – The Art of Conan!
Ninja Division has been releasing some wonderful resin chibi models for their Masterclass line, proceeds of which are going to fund their larger projects including Super Dungeon Legends and Relic Knights 2.0. We’ve seen some great new heroes like the Easter-themed Springtime Druid and the star-spanning Chuy, playable in both Super Dungeon and Rail Raiders, but the Pauper Prince is the first Masterclass entry that provides not just a a model or two, but a brand new Dungeon Boss and spawn point. These new models also add some more life to Clockwork Cove, expanding the lore of the region.
Clockwork Cove is the most “Steampunk” area of Crystalia, home to inventors and industry, setting itself apart from more traditional Fantasy regions, the gothic shadows of Glauerdoom Moor, or the savage peaks of Frostbyte Reach. The Pauper Prince holds power in the Undercove, the seedier underbelly of Clockwork Cove, backed by the goblins of the Prince’s Guild. This is immediately reminiscent of Oliver Twist’s Fagin and his orphans.
A troll in a top hat, the Pauper Prince is a radical change from the trolls we’ve previously seen in Super Dungeon, the shamans of the Mistmourn Coast. We don’t have any information about his rules yet, but one can only assume he’s traded his people’s spiritual abilities for the ability to command an army of rats. Given my fondness of rats, I won’t lie, the rats alone are almost enough to garner my investment.
The Prince’s Guild are those who serve the prince. Undercove Goblins, the spawn point comes with a small horde of little greenskins with impressive probosci. Moffet leads the bunch, with her repeating pistol, and she’s backed by four dagger-wielding Guttersnipes and a pair of Fetchers with weighted nets.
Hopefully we’ll see rules soon, but for now you can click the pictures to put in a pre-order, with shipping expected to begin near the end of July. It occurs that the two combined – the Prince and the Guild – will make for an awesome chibi diorama, let alone the centerpiece for a whole new campaign of Super Dungeon Explore.
We’ve had a look at a few of the sourcebooks for Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of in the past. Modiphius has consistently been releasing excellent sourcebooks for the RPG, expanding on Robert E Howard’s world with more and more resources. Any storyteller, dungeon master, overseer or Friend Computer will tell you how art can make a huge impact on your gaming experiences, from setting the tone to providing reference visuals for NPCs and monsters – both of which can make the gaming experience come alive for your players.
Each chapter introduces art from a new sourcebook, with a special spotlight on the cover artist. The covers include fantasy art luminaries such as Brom, Paolo Parente, Simon Bisley, Alex Horley, Darren Bader, and more.
Whether you’re interested in a coffee table book, a resource to add a visual element to your games, or you’re just a fan of fantasy art of shirtless swordsmen fighting an array of giant apes, reptiles and gibbering monstrosities, The Art of Conan is worth a peek. You can get the PDF directly from Modiphius or via DriveThruRPG.
Chibis have been absent from the Lost Hemisphere for awhile, but with the Golden Kobold looming, knocking out Ice Climber Candy was high on the to-do list, and also provided a little extra motivation to slap paint on the big daddy mushroom himself, the Furious Fungomancer.
Long one of my favourite models in the Super Dungeon line, the Fungomancer takes the Okoshrooms and Kinoshrooms that came out with the Emerald Valley Warband, and kicks it up a notch. Glimmerwing – the fae dragon mini-boss that came with the warband – is a lovely creation, to be sure, but let’s face it, he’s just not as much of a fun guy as the Fungomancer. (See what I did there?)
Playable as a mini-boss in either mode of play, the Furious Fungomancer wobbles about the board causing all sorts of havoc, most notably through the Blessings of Hyphaeability. Your hero is a Hearthsworn Fighter loaded with magic items? *Poof*
Now you’re a mushroom with no limbs.
Not quite as deadly as some of the other mini-bosses, the Fungomancer will nonetheless annoy the snot out of the party with magic attacks, Slow effects, and board control by means of bouncing. If Fungal Fury is active and you attack the Fungomancer, after you finish an attack you’re bounced away by Spongyand then take damage for your impertinence. If he (or anyone, really) gets a Slow effect on you, then comes the mushroomining through Blessings. Oh, and if you do take his enormous fungal butt down, he slaps you with one more Slow effect, just out of spite.
In Arcade mode he’s a little more straightforward, but that doesn’t help the heroes at all since he no longer needs a Slow effect in play to activate Blessings of Hyphae. Congratulations, you’re a portabello.
The Furious Fungomancer was a lot of fun to paint, and a good test of how smoothly I could paint the red cap (and, truthfully, the stem) without the use of an airbrush. Experimenting with washes and layering led to a result I’m pretty happy with and conveniently I even had a base suitable for dungeon flagstones laying about the place.
The Golden Kobold online painting competition is accepting entries up until the end of January. Doesn’t matter where you find your entry model, as long as it’s a chibi. Slap some paint, maybe win a thing 🙂
It’s been awhile since we’ve had some Super Dungeon Explore models here, but with the Golden Kobold painting competition looming, it was time to get some paint onto some chibis! The Furious Fungomancer was promised, and he’s in the works, but I thought I’d knock out one of Ninja Division’s latest Masterclass models first – Ice Climber Candy!
Candy has been Ninja Division’s mascot since the outset, and there’s plenty of variants of her in chibi form for Super Dungeon Explore, Ninja All Stars and Rail Raiders, and of course there’s Relic Knights as well, but with the cold wind blowing here in the Northern Hemisphere, Ice Climber Candy was a natural choice. Oddly enough, and somewhat unusually for Candy, this incarnation is not heavily focused on potions, and is missing her trust sidekick Cola. Instead, she’s built for dungeoneering and smiting the denizens the party meets along the way. If you read the fluff on the back of her card, it’s because kobolds stole and drank all her soda. Clearly, that means… revenge!
Candy comes with a human standard 6 move and 3 actions. Her preferred offense is that pick, swinging that pick for an impressive 1R2B (One red dice, two blue). Her armour is an okay 3B, Will 2B, and Dex 3B. She’ll want to pickup some magic items to boost as she does. 5 Health is also standard, but she can still carry 2 potions. She has Yellow and Green crystal affinity, and a pretty sweet ability called Burrow.
Burrow lets Candy move through walls, difficult terrain, and structures. I don’t know how many games of SDE you have under your belt, but the ability to move through walls is somewhat bananas when it comes to board position. Back that up with her Stay Together ability, and for a single action she can pull a teammate from up to 6 squares away, into any square adjacent. Get your tank into position, your support back to safety, whatever you need – Candy can reposition the team as needed.
As offensive support she’s no slouch either, with her Frostbyte Explorer ability granting both Hunter and Slayer to friendlies within range. That means that can reroll a dice on attacks against Spiders, Gnolls, Orcs, Dragons, Kobolds and Drakes. The undead and fae may have escaped her focus, but the lizards and goblinoids are in for a beating.
If she needs to hit a little harder, she can use a potion for Campfire, making a melee attack with 2R2B that also sets the target on fire. I may have a new favourite pyromaniac… and finally, the Tent potion lets her remove a Princess Coin and put it back in the team’s backpack. This means you can functionally use one of these very special limited resources – the only way you can resurrect a dead hero and return then to the game – twice.
Ice Climber Candy is a departure from the shenanigans we’re used to seeing with Ninja Division’s spokesmodel, but she’s still a strong addition to your team if you’re looking for a support character.
And then I painted her. She’s a fun little model, with opportunity to work in natural tones as well as the brighter jewel tones that Candy is known for. There’s a couple of little things I’d like touch up now that have been revealed by the camera, but by and large I’m pretty happy with her. The base is, of course, from Dragon Forge Design, a few extra angles carved in, and some snow added to help mask the join between Candy’s own resin ice chunk and the case.
I’ll be taking a nicer pic of her sometime shortly and submitting her for the Golden Kobold. Do I expect to win? Pfft. I ain’t no Drew Drescher or Mark Maxey. But she was fun to paint, and the competition was the motivation to get her done. Sometimes participation is its own reward. Break out your chibis and your paintbrushes, have fun, and throw your hat in the ring. You never know!
As we sit on the cusp of Samhain, the knocking on the door of All Hallows’ Eve as the veil between this world and the umbral realm of spirit thins allowing ghosts to pass through and damage our crops, rearrange our furniture and otherwise cause inconvenience for the living and generally disseminate spookiness, ones thoughts turn to those creatures that thumb their nose at mortality, or at least live up to the posthumous moniker “unquiet”.
Today I thought we’d take a look at some of our favourite undead models, from some of our favourite game lines. Some folks like a crisp, clean skeleton with a rusty helmet and broadsword, others prefer rotting flesh sloughing off a brain-hungry zombie, and then there’s some of the more esoteric undead from different cultures. Miniature gaming companies often try to hit multiple genres to generate wider appeal, but we’ve all got our faves for whatever reason. Here’s some favourites around the Gdaycave.
While Bloat Thrall Overseer Mobius might hit the mark in terms of necromechanikal nightmares, there’s something about a skeleton with a waterlogged pistol in a diving helmet. While the Scharde Isles may have scarier undead, the Revenant Crew of the Atramentous blend the the unliving with the piratical with a touch of infamy. Not only are they skeletons, but they’re pirates. Not only are they skeleton pirates, but the Atramentous is one of the most recognized and feared ships to threaten the shores of Western shores of Cygnar, Ord and Khador. This model has long been one of my personal favourites from the entire Cryxian line.
Sure, it’s not human, but the Husk takes the concept of the Cryxian Bile Thralls and kicks it up a notch. Not only is this lumbering undead essentially a giant bladder waiting to be burst all over the living, it’s filled not with acidic bile, but rather a swarm of deadly insects. If it creeps, crawls, has too many legs, and likes to sink tiny venomous fangs into flesh, there’s a chance you’ll find it inside the husk’s bloated, rotting form. The Husk earns its place by striking fear across multiple channels, combining the standard fear of the unliving (oh, how humdrum!) with nightmare fuel for those scared of reptiles and insects.
A dual faction model, Yin can be a part of a Ten Thunders crew or a Resurrectionists crew. Yin earns her place in the list not because she’s an amazing sculpt or has great rules (which is not to say neither is the case), but rather because she’s something you really don’t see a lot of models for. The Penanggalan a vampiric monster from South-East Asian myth, with sources in Malaysia and the Philippines. This particularly gnarly creature manifests as a floating head, trailing below it all the usual viscera and entrails the polite folk tend to keep inside their bodies. According to some legends, the Penanggalan will behead a victim and remove the internals organs, so that it might insert its own viscera into the cavity and make use of the body during the day. There are countless miniatures out there for skeletons, zombies, etc, but precious few of this particularly horrific gribbly.
Blending into the whimsical – you know I had to bring up the chibis – Super Dungeon Explore’s 1st edition had two separate expansions dedicated to the undead, as well as a handful of minibosses and a hero or two. Von Drakk’s Manor introduced skeletons, liches and necromancers, while Stilt Town Zombies warband added zombies (well, yeah…) and a touch of the evil voodoo trope. Glauerdoom Moor has a solid variety of the fantastic dead, but I’d have to say my favourite is Hecate Vilehorn. Breaching stereotypes, Hecate is a Centaur who doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about forests or druids or any of that, instead embracing death magic and even making herself a fancy hat. A close second favourite would be the skullbats, because they’re delightful in their comical malevolence.
This is a tough one. I play the Flesh-Eater Courts, but technically the vast majority of them aren’t undead – just delusional cannibals. The armies of death are currently receiving a massive injection of new models with the Ossiarch Bonereapers, and the Nighthaunt army is filled with models that are outstanding examples of what can be achieved with creative model engineering. In the end I’m going to give it to the Thorns of the Briar Queen. Some amazing examples of models that actively look like they’re floating, the Thorns not only have a stunning model in the Briar Queen herself, but even a wraith carrying its own decapitated head. The vast majority of the time skeletal sculpts have a whole skeleton, every bone complete and in its right place, as if every body raised to join the ranks had died of poison or natural causes. It’s refreshing (as disturbing as the concept is) to have models that acknowledge that the restless dead may have been victims of horrific violence themselves before rising to seek revenge on the living.
Blood Bowl played a huge part in my university miniature gaming days, and while it may be collecting dust in my basement, it still holds a special place in my nostalgic nerd heart. Games Workshop’s release of the current edition had me very happy, though waiting –multiple years- for several of the teams to be released has been painful. Thankfully, there are some excellent third party options for minis, should you only be looking to play casually. Greebo put out a kickstarter a few years back for an undead team, but rather than just your standard fantasy undead, Greebo themed all the designs after the aesthetic of the Italian Renaissance. Skeletons with floppy hats, Mummies styled with papal garb, the assembled models were unlike anything I’d seen before. Of all the models I received when the kickstarter fulfilled, Niccolo is a definite favourite, and one of the most dynamically posed skeletons you’ll find.
Many years ago I jumped in on fairly early on for Super Dungeon Explore. I’d been painting multiple Warmachine armies, and as much as I loved them (and still do), getting to paint such characterful chibis was an incredible change of pace. A palate cleanser after that 17th Dawnguard Sentinel, something whimsical after three Crusaders back to back. I backed Ninja All Stars for more chibi madness, and I also own a couple of Relic Knights cadres. Every GenCon I’ve attended I’ve recorded an interview with Ninja Division, and while there’s certainly been some highs and lows in their timeline, John and Deke and the rest have always been wonderful to chat with, and they’ve continued to make some of the most fun chibis in the industry, right now as part of their Masterclass resins. It’s been ten years of Candy and Cola, so it’s only fitting that they’ve released a new incarnation of their mascots to mark a decade of nifty.
A visit to GenCon wouldn’t be complete without chatting with the folks from Ninja Division. I was able to sit down with John Cadice and chat about the state of things, and with the continuing success of the resin masterclass line I’m looking forward to Relic Knights 2.0 kickstarter obligations being met, and Super Dungeon Legends down the line. Of course, their booth at GenCon had plenty of chibis (as well as a Paint-And-Take), and with the LE Sweetheart Candy available in very limited stock, I had to snaffle it…
Every once in a while you get a model that just blows your mind with it’s je ne sais quoi, something that just makes you excited to be a tabletop hobbyist. I got to experience one such moment last week as I assembled the Tusk Raider, one of the Ninja Division Masterclass Resin’s for Super Dungeon Explore. The Tusk Raider has been out for awhile, but to date I’d not managed to wrap my grubby little mitts around one.
What do you mean, your resin models don’t come in baggies?
The following announcement went out Monday concerning the state of the union at Ninja Division, especially as relates to their efforts to fulfill their Super Dungeon Explore and Relic Knights 2.0 kickstarters. You can read it on the SDE kickstarter page at https://kck.st/2V2DNSN. I’m sharing this for the interest of those who may have backed one of Ninja Division’s kickstarters, but I want to be abundantly clear: Hostility is neither welcome nor productive. I’ve seen the discussions on social media and other platforms. I get that a lot of people are upset that delivery has yet to be made on the outstanding kickstarters, and frustrated that communication from Ninja Division hasn’t been as forthcoming as they may have preferred. I understand.
I also understand that while most think of it as such, kickstarter is -not- a preorder system, completion of projects is -not- guaranteed, and that decrying their shortcomings far and wide with the kind of vitriol and hatred that many have seen fit to disseminate will not help the situation in any way, and instead will most likely hinder and hamper any efforts being made to complete delivery. After discussions with the powers that be at Ninja Division, I don’t for one moment doubt that they are doing their best to deliver on their promises. I know it’s not guaranteed, and the information released in the update isn’t sunshine and roses, but I wish John and the crew every success.
Ninja Division Company Update
The purpose of this update is to provide both our fans and partners with an update on Ninja Division’s current company status, the status of our outstanding projects, and restate our commitment to the continuation of our popular brands.
It broke our hearts to let the majority of our incredible staff go at the end of 2018. Their determination in the face of company adversity and their passion for our products kept us going. We look forward to seeing what they do next. Ninja Division is currently staffed by its three owners (who are off salary) and a sales manager who continue to work towards the successful reorganization of Ninja Division and pursue Kickstarter fulfillment options.
With staff layoffs, we are unable to individually respond to all email and social media posts we receive, and our time is best spent pursuing all available options for the continuance of the brands we all love.
External Partnerships – Licensors
Ninja Division would like to request that backers from all of our outstanding projects direct your questions and inquiries to us. We understand we have not been able to maintain communications with the regularity or presence that communities and projects like this desire, and that we have limited availability while we work on solutions, but the ownership of these projects lies with us. Our outside partners are not able to service refunds, returns, or ship your product.