Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

Posted by The Skald The Skald
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Having seen photo's of loads of stunning 3D dungeons on here and elsewhere on the interweb, it's one of my burning ambitions to have something similar. There's info on various different products and DIY techniques scattered all over the forum, but I thought it might be of some use to gather the "juicy bits" into a single, easy to find titled thread, as well as post my own humble efforts as I go along with my quest

I've specified "modular" in the title, just because that's my own preference - individual corridor / room / cavern etc sections that can be laid out AHQ fashion, as opposed to "fixed" dungeons like this ~



So, to kick off, and since it's all Mortis's fault I'll use the Mage Knight dungeon as exhibit A, in what I call the 'Plastic' dungeons



Not quite what I have in mind, but the lightweight, detailed plastic parts and the ease of use would have swayed me to using this as my dungeon of choice. Unfortunately it's no longer produced and secondhand sets are as rare as Cockatrice guano and go for the equivalent of a princesses ransom online (Amazon have some pre-owned listed at £265 as I type!)
Sadly then, a non-starter until after the Lottery win  

Moving on to exhibit B (at which point I'll drop the naff 'exhibit' malarky) and a visually similar product that Mortis has already reviewed in-depth elsewhere, the "Bendy" dungeon.
I couldn't find this on the web at first, then came up with what's either the same product 're-branded' or something very similar ~



"Dungeonworks" uses plastic wall sections with tiny magnets in their bases to fix them to a gridded metal floor. The shape of the wall base does mean it could be used free standing (but prone to being knocked over), but as Mortis pointed out in his obsevation, the walls are a bit low compared to 28mm figures so don't quite give the same 'feel' as Mage Knight in play.
The sections are shorter too, so you need more of 'em to make up corridor lengths / room sides (not to mention the possible problem of accurately aligning with existing floor tile 'grids') and anyway - they're also OOP with pre-loved examples fetching silly money (though I'm currently bidding on a set - I'll let you know how I get on at auction end dear reader)

So, since I can't find any other 'plastic' sets, and having decided on flexibilty as a major factor, my next consideration are the card dungeons.
Now I'm going to keep this bit as brief as possible for now (but may well revisit it later), simply because I currently have a crap printer!  but I can only speak highly of the 3D Dungeon Blocks offered by our very own Mr Billiam Babble fom what I've seen on the web



and there's a very neat "wall" option too which works great with his superb floor tiles ~



Value for money-wise, I also think the Fat Dragon 'E-Z Dungeon' looks worth a punt ~



There's some very flashy looking products from the likes of 'Terra Clips'  ~



and 'Battle Systems'  ~



but they're pretty expensive compared to my budget and not quite "modular" enough for my taste.

I'll be moving on to the plaster / resin options in the next post and then some DIY solutions, but I'll close for now with a plea.........
Does anyone have a set of the "Prince August Dungeon Builder" (give your horrors a home) moulds they'd be prepared to sell me pretty please?
(or even a good quality casting from each of the moulds??  )

All images snaffled from the web and used without permissions etc etc.
TTFN and comments more than welcome!



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Quests-of-legend Quests-of-legend
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

I have on my computer all the Stone-edges stuff, before the merged with world works, which are similar but better than EZ dungeons



This stuff looks great, but takes a lot of ink to get a tiny dungeon and is a PITA to put together.

Dungeon Forge stuff looks good, but 1: Costs a fortune to buy 2: Weighs a ton

I eventually chose to go for Battle systems......having got the sci-fi set the quality is amazing and in the KS you got a lot of stuff, so chose to get 2 dungeons for the fantasy set.
http://quests-of-legend.weebly.com
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

Thanks for that - I'd not heard of the Stone Edges stuff, but after your recommendation I googled 'em
Still available at 'DriveThru' and this image gives some hint at the detail ~



Definitely worth considering!
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

OK then, while I've got chance this morning I'll post "part 2" and waffle about the cast dungeons.
I reckon visually the Dwarven Forge stuff has got it pretty much nailed ~



but the price!  Definitely out of the range of my pocket unfortunately, otherwise it would be a no-brainer of a choice.

There are cheaper alternatives out there, and Dungeon Castings has to be a contender ~



but, for me the walls just aren't high enough. That's just a personal preference, but if I'm going 3D, I want the walls to be at least as high as the doors to give the desired visual effect

Of course, "Dungeon Castings" are simply made up (under licence) from Hirst Arts castings, using their range of dungeon moulds ~



Still a bit expensive at around £30 a pop, but at least the walls could be made up to the height I'd like ~



Of course, this brings me neatly back to my earlier plea
I reckon that the Prince August 'Dungeon Builder' moulds would be about perfect for what (I think) I'm after..........



So, that's it for now, but I'll mumble on about the DIY route next time - as ever, please feel free to comment..... your contribution could well help others as well as me who are trying to make these difficult choices
(Once again, all images shamelessly filched from around the web and used without permission - but you knew that already Mortis)

When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

Gigging up in the North East tomorrow, so I'll round off this thread intro now with thoughts on the "DIY options"

Now, if only I had the modelling and painting talents to produce something like this ~





I wouldn't hesitate to go down this avenue, but then of course I wouldn't be writing this thread either!
So, what are the modelling options for crafting a 3D dungeon from scratch? Foamcore seems a popular one ~



and the results can look quite acceptable ~



I reckon it would be too time consuming to get it "textured" though, especially making up enough modules to start playing  

Polystyrene looks a possible contender ~



and the combination of blocks and sheets would make structures, floors and walls pretty straightforward ~



Adding stuff like these resin doors from TableTop Towns would make it look quite presentable I reckon ~



but I suppose this also leads into yet another category, the "semi DIY" approach - using commercial components to complete a DIY build.

Hmmmm. Options, options. At least getting this thread started has given me a clearer idea of the direction I'm most likely to take - I've also realised that it's not just money that's a limiting factor, but also TIME. Not that I'm in a huge rush - I've got the 2D floortiles I can use, but the truth is that I don't have as much 'hobby time' as I'd like (but then again, who does???? ).

All of the above examples are illustrative but not exhaustive, and I'm always open to clever ideas that I've missed - hopefully I can look forward to deciding on the right approach for me, and then starting a "How I did It" thread
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
Quests-of-legend Quests-of-legend
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

Might be worth looking at these MD terrain, my experience of mdf terrain is pretty good.

Angry Badger (sites down at the moment as they are moving to a new site)



Could be a half way idea.
http://quests-of-legend.weebly.com
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

Once again, thanks for your input

Considering the "explosion" of laser cut terrain, I did check out the web for anything half decent but found nothing worth mentioning - if their site's down at the moment that'll be the reason!
These are as you say worth a closer look, and duly noted ta!  
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

This post was updated on .
I mentioned earlier in this thread that I was bidding on a "Dungeonworks" lot (2 sets) on evilbay and that I'd promise to let you know how I got on, not expecting to actually win 'em.........



Imagine my surprise when I got home tonight and had an invoice waiting!
Still keeping my options open and reached no decision which way to go with the project yet, but I figure that I can use these "Mortis Style" as an extension to whatever system I eventually pick

EDIT: Here's some box art I found on the web ~





When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
MortiS-the-Lost MortiS-the-Lost
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards

This post was updated on .
The Skald wrote
it's all Mortis's fault
Yea I get that a lot!

I've been meaning to add my comments to this thread of a little while now, but I've been rather busy and I see this thread has grown bulbous in my absence …

First off a little correction - the 'Dungeon Works' set and the Bendy Dungeon Walls are unrelated products. The most notable difference between the 2 being the size of the pieces - Dungeon Works walls are about 2” x 2” and thus form a 2” grid (making them much more comparable to my MK3DD sets) while the Bendy Dungeon Walls are a lot smaller and fit to a 1” grid although the hinged joints mean you're not restricted to a grid which is why I use Bendy Dungeon Walls along side my MK3DD pieces to build cave sections.



Bendy Dungeon Walls are made by Dark Platypus Studio and are still (as far as I know) in production (Yay!) - I'd suggest looking for an eBay retailer to get them here in the UK rather than trying to order direct from the US.

Dungeon Works are of course (like most good things) out of production and thus one of those 'nice if you've got it' products - and I see that you have got it now, congratulations welcome the world of 3D dungeons you can't get parts for!
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~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
MortiS-the-Lost MortiS-the-Lost
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards


My suggestions of where to go from here  It's time to get converting, scratch building and expanding on your  Dungeon Works sets! I'm going to ramble on a little here but hopefully you'll find at least some of these ideas useful …

There's a company called Wills that you may already be aware of - their product ranges include some rather nice chunky panels of textured plastic that look like this:



the pieces measure about 3” by 5” and should not be confused with plasticard. They come in packs of 4 pieces if I recall correctly and there are plenty of different textures available, some will match your idea of what a dungeon wall should look like better than others - I'd suggest the texture shown above, but choose one you like - it's your dungeon after all

To get hold of some you only need to goto your local train-set store most of them will carry at least some Wills products and may even order some in for you - if not gaugemaster.com sell them online. (BTW If you don't already own one get yourself a razor-saw while you are at the model train store as you'll be needing one to cut the Wills panels)

Measure your Dungeon Works walls carefully and then mark the Will panels (on the smooth back of course) and cut them to size. Glue the 2 pieces back to back (with maybe a bit of plasticard in between to add thickness if needed) add a small base to the bottom (perhaps using the left overs) and you've made your own version of a Dungeon Works wall piece - Undercoat black, dry-brush on some greys and add magnetic strip to the bottom to finish it off.
As I mentioned just now the Will panels are about 5” x 3” so you should be able to get 1 wall out of each panel meaning you'll get 4 walls out of a packet which is not too bad economy when it comes to dungeon pieces - but you may want to look into casting your pieces in resin  

A quick tip: although it seems like a good idea at first don't bother making double-length (4”) wall pieces the will cause more layout problems than they will solve

of course if you are making more wall you will need more floor too - there are a few companies out there that make magnetic battle-mats, but I haven’t looked into it myself.
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~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
MortiS-the-Lost MortiS-the-Lost
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards

PS TableTop Towns doors :

While normally I'd encourage people to get TTT products for strictly personal selfish reasons - The bad new is these are not quite the dungeon pieces you're looking for because they are 1 sided and designed to sit flat against our other pieces. The good news however is that they are made for us by a company called Scotia Grendel who also make very similar 2 sided doors - much more suited to use in dungeons  


 ^ 10077 Double doors set (4) £6.00


 ^ 10082 Single doors (6) £7.50

Using some bits of left over Wills panels bits you should be able to add a 'surround' piece to the Scotia Grendel pieces to make them fit with your Dungeon Works wall pieces.
-----------------------------------
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
MortiS-the-Lost MortiS-the-Lost
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards

Scotia Grendel also make a lot of the resin furniture and 'dungeon dressing' pieces I use with my MK3DD sets, have good browse around their Histoical and Fantasy Scenics ranges, here's just a few of the many pieces I own


 ^ 10027 - Magician's Accessories - See my painted version Here 


 ^ 10035 - Tavern Kitchen - See my painted version (and a fair maiden) Here 


 ^ 10030 - Spiral Staircase - Look Another Link! to my painted one

The 3 sets you see above are 7 pounds each BTW

I wish you good luck with your 3D dungeon and personally draw a small amount of excitement from the fact that because  Dungeon Works and MK3DD pieces are quite similar we should be able to copy each others layouts to some degree - although I have noticed that your set contains 1” length wall sections meaning you'll be able to do a few things that I can't!
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~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards

In reply to this post by MortiS-the-Lost
Great tips, thanks Mortis
I'd completely forgotten about the Wills sheets (been a long time since I did any 'small scale' railway modelling!), but I'd been thinking about the Slaters embossed plasticard and what I could mount it to for strength - the Wills stuff would save loads of hassle

Thanks for the doors and scenery link as well - Ive got some of that stuff 'on watch' on ebay from a couple of traders... it'll be better going straight to the supplier I reckon.
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
MortiS-the-Lost MortiS-the-Lost
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards

I wouldn't recommend embossed/textured plasticard for dungeon walls - however it does make for
a great way to decorate bases 
-----------------------------------
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards

 Top basing tip thanks Mortis! I know it's one of the old mini's painting mantras 'bases & faces', so I'll definitely be using your step-by-step instructions on some of my figures!
Some are destined to be Wombles though - (as in "overground, underground....") so I'll have to be selective
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
Quests-of-legend Quests-of-legend
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards

You could also look at this

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1207385459/twisting-catacombs-miniature-dungeon-scenery

You got 8 days to join, most things are renders, but if you look at the updates, you can see the prototypes.
http://quests-of-legend.weebly.com
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards

Wow! There's some fantastic looking stuff there!
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
jogar_t_hutt jogar_t_hutt
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

In reply to this post by The Skald
you know i like that i mite give it a go myself
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

jogar_t_hutt wrote
you know i like that i mite give it a go myself
That'd be cool - especially if you post up how you get on, any inspiration will be appreciated

In the meanwhile, I decided to take a punt on this :~



I won't be using it as intended (a kit to build the sewer 'diorama' as shown on the box), but there's a load of useful Hirst Arts style castings (floor tiles, walling, arches etc) that worked out LOADS cheaper than buying them in more conventional "dungeon" packs
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
MortiS-the-Lost MortiS-the-Lost
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

I've come across www.dungeoncastings.co.uk before - Must warn you that as far I can see they actually sell pieces cast from Hirst Arts molds, I hope you get the product you think you are getting  
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~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
The Skald The Skald
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Re: Modular 3D Dungeon Building on a Bards Budget

MortiS-the-Lost wrote
 -  as far I can see they actually sell pieces cast from Hirst Arts molds, I hope you get the product you think you are getting
I was a bit confused when I read somewhere on the web that these were Hirst Arts pieces - cast "under licence", and then somewhere else that they were castings "derived from Hirst Arts originals, but not the same"
I bought a few bits to check them out and use in a diorama and they seemed OK, so yep, I got pretty much what I expected with this set (lots of wall, floor and 'features' castings) which is best described as "a DIY kit of parts".
I'll post some photo's to show what's in the box and what I've done with it in a couple of days
When men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.
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