Monday, April 29, 2013

Super Dungeon Explore

This is a game that intrigued me from the get go with its super stylized characters and monsters. Love it or hate it, the chibi style of characterisation always puts a fun and endearing twist on its subject matter and in the case of a dungeon crawler board game a much needed breath of fresh air. Of course, any big box of miniatures is expensive and I had never had the opportunity to get my hands on these models before now. So when I saw the release of the latest expansion with perhaps the best set models that had been produced I went ahead with the investment.


The models for Super Dungeon Explore come pre-assembled. This is a benefit for most purchasers but can make the removal of mould lines a little trickier and clean up on these models is already tricky given the material they are produced in. The softer, waxy plastic can not be filed away and use of a knife can easily dig into the plastic. So removing any mould lines really needs the tip of a nice sharp scalpel and plenty of patience.

I was still not entirely happy with the outcome of my removal of the mould lines and so turned to an additional fantastic solution for smoothing things out: Liquid Green Stuff. For such work, this can simply be painted on with a brush (clean well in water afterwards!) over any moulding indiscretions. It can be applied in a couple of coats and also filed down smoother when dried depending how fancy you want to get. In this case the initial texture created by the brush strokes worked well enough for the surfaces in question: rough stone, bestial fur, aged metal and bone.

The one other matter before undercoating are the holes in the bases, they are slotta bases which are rarely covered or filled by the model which leaves unsightly gaps. I filled this with DAS air dried modelling clay which I had handy, a much more affordable and quicker alternative to green stuff for the simplest of jobs. This was just pushed into the gaps with the help of a flat sculpting tool and left to dry.

Of course, none of this preparation is essential by any means but the more time invested the better the models may look.


This won't be a labourious step by step painting guide for now but just a snippets of perhaps the more interesting work done.

As always when painting anything as a large set I looked for any predominant colours or textures that appeared across most of the models. In this case with the assortment of skeletons and other deathly visages the bone was my first port of call. By completing this on mass for all models it would keep it very consistent. I also knew this would involve a few stages of dry brushing for that dusty aged bone look so completing this first allowed freedom with the brush without interfering with anything else that may have been painted on the model.

Foundry's Boneyard palette is quite ideal for a lot of bone effects, but I wanted a more neutral tone overall so I swapped the Boneyard Shade with Drab Shade for my base colour.

A quick run down of the stages used:

Drab Shade - Base coat
Boneyard - Heavy dry brush over all the model
Boneyard Light - Targeted dry brush of the highest areas
Boneyard Light - Painted high light for edges

Another texture to complete on mass was the metals I wanted the metals to look a little duller and more aged than normal so I used a dark brown (Bay Brown) and dark bluish grey (Slate Gray Shade) as a base coat for the steel and brass. The metallics were painted patchily over this base coat, to emphasize the old armor, with a far shinier metallic used for specular high lights.

The larger models can easily be daunting and in this set Nocturne and Van Wilder are large beastly figures with a hefty expanse of flesh/fur tone. My method for these types of models, is using a large brush and with a lot of different mixes of paints on my palette, I blend and highlight these areas while wet, which is easier than you might expect - don't be afraid to just go for it! All too often if you try to paint these areas with layered highlights glaring brush strokes will appear, which is not the look I was after. Plus you can work quicker and more freely with subtle mixes of colour over still wet coats of paint for an agreeable, and in this case, a supernatural/deathly effect.

"He looks like he's bowling" - Mrs MK

You may be starting to see the colour motif I incorporated throughout this set. From looking at the box and card art there are a lot of colours with glowing purples, greens and oranges. I quickly decided to minimize this for a far more coherent and distinctive look so this purple and blue scheme was born and carried through all of the evil minions. From glowing blue eyes, gems, and candles to blue patterns and even frogs. This theme is only really broken by the pumpkin, though I very nearly painted this purple also (the wife persuaded me otherwise!), but it does at least contain a blue candle.

Gruesome enough eyeball I hope.
It may be rude to point, the baron don't care.
Has to be noted that Mrs Minikingdom stepped in to paint the faces on  the witches and their broomcats. To great effect as you can see!
An eye colour change for Van Wilding, there were enough browns on the model already, artistic license ensued.
Brightly coloured frogs are known to be poisonous, beware. Also "Ribbit"
Blue candle glows blue (to be said five times quickly).
The celestial herald definitely the most vibrant model in the set.

I hope you enjoyed this post - this project was a bit of a deviation from the more traditional models I usually paint, but it was fun nonetheless. Look out for a future post on more painted Super Dungeon Models which Emma will be taking on once they arrive!


  1. I've been intending to pick up Super Dungeon Explore for quite some time now. Birthday coming up so maybe I should treat myself.

    1. If your anything like me there will be plenty on that board game acquisition list.

    2. Oh there really is. Although top of it is 'K2' with 'Super Dungeon Explore' not too far behind.