Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dragon Forge Bases Review

I have been buying products from Dragon Forge for a while now and after receiving my latest order I thought I would do a little something for the occasion.

This is because of two reasons. Firstly I have not seen a lot of in depth reviews out there. Secondly the bases I picked up, namely some of the 'Parched Earth' range, are entirely suitable for use with Necrons (for which the new miniatures are also conveniently out now).

Firstly who or what is Dragon Forge Design?

Looking at the FAQs on his site we get the following;

"In short, it is me :) Jeff Wilhelm, sole owner, creator, worker bee, sculptor, mold maker, caster, packer, shipper and head honcho do it all. Someday I would like to expand my ranks with maybe some freelance sculptors and out source production but until that time is possible I do everything. Some days all I do from the time I get up to when I go to bed is make new bases for you my loyal customers!"

There are also the following galleries of his work;

Portfolio and Golden Demons

Then there is of course his site, which caters largely for the resin base and plinth crowd.

Copyright © 2001-2011 Dragon Forge Design, Inc. All rights Reserved.

There is however a selection of other things including scale icicles, game tokens, heads and the very awesome white metal ribbed cables.

So let's take a closer look at some of his products, namely some of his 'Lost Empires' and 'Parched Earth' bases.

Upon opening the shipping box you should immediately be able to see that each separate item on your order list is neatly packed in separate zip lock bags. Allowing you to quickly check that everything is there, without fail my orders have been complete.

Resin bases have in times past required large amounts of sanding to flatten or level the bottoms. Most commonly single sided moulds that are either over, or under, filled cause this. However I have yet to encounter this issue with bases from Dragon Forge, which usually have very little flash all of which is around the bottom edge.

As a rule resin is known to be plagued with casting issues, especially bubbles that result from mixing the two component parts. They can also be the result of air getting trapped in complex parts of the mould.

I have always been hard pressed to find air bubble or air trap defects in Bases from Dragon Forge. However in this batch I got a surprise. My first ever air trap.

In this case the defect is really simple to fix, I will simply paint it up as if the tip of the crystal had been chipped off.

Keep in mind this defect represents a total defect rate of less than one percent, and even then it is no-where near unusable.

So now that we have checked our bases over there are several things to do before we begin painting. Firstly what we want to do is take a sheet of fine sand-paper, about 800 grit should be good, place the base bottom down on the sheet before making about ten clockwise circles (ok just make circles of about 50mm diameter). Then turn the base on and angle and drag the edge around while turning the base for two full rotations.

This will bevel the bottom edge about 3-5 microns. You want to do this for a couple of reasons.

It will remove the minimal flash to be found on the bases, and secondly the slight bevel will help stop the bottom edge chipping while you game with your miniatures.

Once this is complete I dunk the bases in some Simple Green for about an hour before giving them a scrub with an old toothbrush and then rinse them with water. This will remove any resin dust and mould release agent.

I must point out that all the Dragonforge Bases I have received have had little to no release agent evident, but I wash them anyway.

The final step, before painting, is to prime the bases. Personally I use Tamiya 9Fine Surface Primer, in Light Grey.

While the tin states that it is for metal and plastic I have found it to also work well on resin, provided the resin is properly cleaned. It is also a neutral mid-tone allowing for easier coverage with a wider range of colours. You could also use Automotive Primer; it tends to come in larger tins that cost less, the caveats of which I have discussed here.

So now we are all ready to paint the bases.

Ok so now the final ratings I have for Dragon Forge:

- Ease of purchase: 4/5

The web store is accessible, and safe. Losing a point on the sheer fact there is no local stockist.

- Customer Service: 5/5

Jeff has excellent communications and service skills, keeping you well informed of any changes in his prices and the status of your orders. This is coupled with delivery of your purchases in a timely manner.

- Variety: 5/5

The range of base styles and other goods is really broad, with new products becoming available on a regular basis. There is very little that you cannot get.

- Quality: 4/5

Working with casting resins is an, often, painful experience. However the consistent quality of Dragon Forge Bases is something we can be thankful of. As I previously stated I have found very few problems/defects in the bases I have received.

Overall Rating:


Excellent product and all around good customer service makes this my store of choice when it comes to buying bases.

Coming up:
Tutorial - Painting
'Lost Empires' and 'Parched Earth' Bases



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