Bendy Dungeon Walls Review
Posted by MortiS-the-Lost –
I know a lot of people on the forum love dungeons and are looking for nice cheap 3D dungeon pieces for their games. Well here's an offering from a company called 'Dark Platypus Studio'
Me and Rob discovered these sets online some time last year while looking for some extras to add to our 3D dungeons (for those not in the know Rob also owns several boxes worth of MK3DD). But it wasn't until a few days back I finally got hold of a set of Dungeon Life Bendy Dungeon Walls (thanks to Cat for picking me up at set from Orc's Nest while she was in London).
In box you get 50 wall pieces which clip/hinge together and 5 free standing doors. The first thing that struck me upon opening the box was how small the pieces were. To be honest I was never expecting them to be as large as my MK3DD walls, but I didn't expect them to be quite as small as they are: 1” wide by 1.3” tall (IMHO the pictures on their website and box seem to give the impression they are a little bigger, but maybe that's just me)
^the walls are about a quarter of the size of the MK3DD walls
The sets are intended to used with 28/30mm figures and the standard 1” = 5 feet scale, thus the size of the walls isn't too much of a problem with human-sized figures, but larger monsters such as Trolls and the like tend to loom over the walls, that plus the fact the doors are around 4mm taller than the walls can give the dungeon a kind of hedge-maze like feel and players could be forgiven for thinking models can 'peek over' the walls.
^ “ha! I got 'im now!”
The walls are kinda brittle and break far too easily for my liking (I'd damaged the clips on 2 wall sections with in minuets of getting them out of the box). Also the walls (and to a lesser extent the doors) had quite a lot of flash on them and need quite a bit of cleaning up before they can be clipped together. But despite their flaws the walls have a really good level of detail and there are 3 or 4 different variants meaning you don't get the 'repeating pattern' effect you get with long stretches of MK3DD and Dwarven Forge walls. Like the walls, the doors are also rather nicely detailed with wood-grain, metal bracing strips, door handles and nails/rivets. The set comes pre-painted and as you'd expect like most pre-painting it's terrible, but it's not hard to repaint them yourself and make them look really nice.
The walls are designed to be used in conjunction with a 1” grid battle-mat (the set doesn't come with a battle-mat but you can download and print them from the Dark Platypus website), but the thought occurred to me while I was mucking about with them that the walls could also be used with dungeon floor plans should you so wish. But be aware they are designed with the 1” grid in mind and thus work better with some floor plans than others (if the squares on your floor plans are not quite 1” the wall sections will go 'out of synch' and make turning corners and placing doors difficult).
^ the Heroquest and AHQ squares are too small to work effectively with the walls
^likewise the 30mm squares of the Warhammer Quest are slightly too large
^ D&D 3rd/Chainmail tiles work quite well
^ Billiam Babble's dungeon tiles work very nicely with the walls
one great thing about Bendy Dungeon Walls is the fact that because of the hinge-style clips you don't have to join the walls at right-angles to each other makes the set very flexible and very useful for representing round structures or uneven cave-like dungeons. In fact I got hold of the set with the intention of using it with my MK3DD dungeon to represent cave sections in my dungeons.
However one problem with the walls is that they can be a little unstable when placed on top of folding battle-mats which tend to not quite sit flat on the table (One rather clever way used by Marchomer to keep the battle-mat flat is to put it into a glass frame), the walls are also vulnerable to dice hitting them and players knocking them as they move their miniatures (not good during table top games which tend to involve lot of moving miniatures and rolling dice!) The flyer inside the box recommends blu-tac-ing the walls down to stop them getting knocked over and Dark Platypus also provide a magnetised version of the set for use with a magnetic battle-mat (similar results could also be archived by gluing Magnetic Strip to the bottom of the walls) for added stability.
All in all not too bad a set and not too pricey either. Are they the next best thing to the no-longer available MK3DD sets? Maybe ... I just feel kind of disappointed with it, but Perhaps I've been spoiled by owning MK3DD sets. I can't help but think a lot of the problems with the Bendy Dungeon walls could have been solved by making the pieces bigger (the clips would be less likely snap off, the extra hight would mean monster couldn't 'look over' and the extra weight would make them more stable) What I think I should say here really is: if you want a cheap 3D dungeon go ahead and get Bendy Dungeon Walls (and a matching battle-matt), it's not perfect but you won't find anything better for similar money.
Here's the link to the Dark Platypus website:
and here's a link to Orc's Nest in London one of my favourite RPG shops
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