Sunday, 19 July 2015

Mansions of Madness - The Monsters complete

Mansions of madness is a unique game. Its mix of dungeon crawling, horror themes, exploration and unique scenarios, make it a really different experience to other games, and I feel it is the Arkham series game that best captures the feeling of the short stories. Usually, you cannot win by fighting the monsters and the game is best played when the investigators hurriedly run around in a panic to desperatly stop the horror before it overwhelms them.

And as you know, I paint my boardgames just to make the gaming experience cooler. My mantra with boardgames is to paint them well enough that they look ok on the table, but simple enough that it doesn't take a lifetime to paint. After all, they are paying pieces first and foremost.

However, for this project I had an extra set of criteria. Monsters in mansions have little data cards that you are mean't to slide in and out when you deploy a new one, as each card has different stats and specials on it. I find sliding those cards a pain in the butt, so I wanted every single monster in a group to be virtually indistinguishable from the others. 

Note, I left the Mansions monsters box open and they got dusty. I'll sort that out at some point. 

Take these maniacs as the first example. Yep, they are in a slightly different body position. But I did my absolute best effort to make sure the models looked as close as possible, right down to the blood spatter. 

Also, another plug for GW's "blood for the blood god", it's simply the best "blood" material i've worked with in painting by miles. I love how it looks on the denim jeans, as that is how blood looks on jeans. 

The cultists were painted as identically as possible. Normally I mix up race in my models, as I don't like seeing a swarm of white dudes only in all my games. But the setting, and the concept of "matching" didn't really work this time around. 

The Shoggoth's got fully covered in a glossy sheen, but asides from that, they are basic black with a tiny bit of highlighting. The eyes are only real "painting" on the figures. It goes to show that even minimal effort can yeild fine looking models for table top play. You don't need a golden daemon sword quality figure for a boardgame to look a lot better. 

I'm so so on these guys, but i'm really happy with how the human heads turned out. The key idea for the monsters, along with "matching" was to make them colourful and easily differentiated from other monsters. This is why I went with quite a vibrant colour palette over the whole series. 

Of course, to balance out those bright colours, other figures got more homely looking schemes. The nightgaunt's in particular, are mentioned in the stories as being featureless. So i thought painting them a dull grey would work. 

The zombies were another large batch that needed to match. I used some of the GW corrosion technical paint to give them a dirty look as well. A hate how they are all waving like gormless fans though. It's not a pose I would have chosen for them. 

The wizard was my least favourite model in the range. He's just a bearded dude standing with his mouth open. I wanted him to be a little bit cooler, so I custom made some tentacles and put them growing out of his mouth. This way, instead of standing there gormlessly, he looks like he's about to explode and become a Dark Young. 

 Finally, my favourite models in the set, The Dark Young and the Crawling ones. The Dunwich Horror itself is an odd figure, the face and the tentacles are kinda cool. But the Dark young is such a nice figure, it feels very solid, as the plastic they use is a bit floppy on thinner parts like arms and weapons. He's just a big ball of awesome. 

The crawling ones had more effort put into them than many of the other figures, because i like them so much. I used wet-blending on the torso to tentacle section, so it looks like the humanoid torso is organically growing out of the sludge at the bottom.

Total paint time for these figures was low, and the key was making them functionally good, rather than works of art. Virtually anyone can paint to this level with a small amount of practice. So I say again, don't be dissuaded from painting your games, even an average to mediocre paintjob is 100 times better than bare plastic. 


  1. Great idea for the wizard!

    1. Cheers, the figure always looked a bit silly to me, now he looks a lot less silly :)

  2. This game looks amazing and I've never heard of it!

    Does it play more like Arkham Horror or Descent: Journey into Darkness?

    Also, great paint job, I do wonder what your 'low time' was as your Dunwhich Horror looks great.

    1. It's an odd game, quite unique. I'd say it plays closer to Descent than Arkham. But the main difference is the players are trying to solve a mystery, more than kill the baddies. In most scenario's, playing like descent will make you lose. You have to solve clues and puzzles, and try to get the job done and many of the monsters are very hard to kill, especially if you don't have good gear.

      A normal game has more time fleeing from monsters and trying to hold them up while someone uses the special key to open box x, so they can get the sacred powder to stop the ritual, that sort of thing.

      Low time.... well, the Dark Young took perhaps 20 minutes of painting outside drying time. Spray, liberal base coat, ink, drybrush, then the mouth and done.

      the only figures in the monster pack i spent time on where the crawling ones and the maniacs. The rest were quite hasty

    2. Thanks! I think I'll pick this game up in August.


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