Conquest Core Set Miniature Review: The Spires

In my last post I was raving about Conquest. But, in this post I will take a step back and discuss the overall process, challenges, and successes of Para Bellum’s Spires from the Starter Box Set.

Ranks of fodder to chew through

For those of you who are not familiar, it contains:

  • 1x Pheromancer
  • 3x Brute Drones
  • 1x Abomination
  • 24x Force-Grown Drones

This force comes in around 575 points or so if I remember correctly, and is a nice starter army that will let you build on it.

For each of these models, the detail is amazing. For the Force-Grown Drones for example, you can make out each individual linen that they’re wrapped in, you can see each piece of bone armor, and the shape of how it fits on the soldier. However, there flipside of this is that painting the finished miniatures can become quite tedious.

All of the models come in many pieces. However, they are easy to assemble. There are no tricky pieces that you’ll find in Games Workshop models. Typically, the minis come in legs, body, arms, heads, and weapons. All the connection parts line up just fine, and the plastic is quite easy to work with. Using a liquid cement or super glue will make these miniatures hard as a rock.
When assembling the Abomination, I was faced with a challenge. The overall form seemed pretty static, and it’s overall size made it difficult to allow the cement to set. I had to come up with various ways to perch parts up so that everything would stay connected.

My absolute favorite models out of the bunch to work on are the Brutes. I’m not sure why I was so drawn to these guys, but, they seemed the most customizable. There are several different options for weapons, arms, and decoration. It allows for a nice variance if you were to have multiple units of these.

The Pheromancer was just fine. There was nothing terribly great or bad. It was a pretty standard leader model. Slightly more complicated than the troops to assemble, but, overall, really fun to paint.

The Good

  • Easy to assemble. Great contact points, most of the models will easily set and become tough as nails if you use the appropriate liquid cement.
  • Great individual detail: keeps your attention while painting, and with some of the master painters out there- paint jobs can highlight the great detail.
  • Plastic is amazing to work with and feels durable. It’s tough and easily cleaned and sanded.

The Bad

  • Limited customization. Only select models seem to have the ability to be customized and made unique in a pile of similar models.
  • The high detail can make it difficult to paint. While the detail keeps your attention, there is A LOT of it in regards to the linens and bone armor. If you want to focus on those, you can easily get overwhelmed.
  • It is VERY easy to lose some of the detail if you do multiple priming layers (such as zenithal priming)

Overall, it’s a great way to get started in Conquest, and even in the hobby. I know I’m looking forward to the Hundred Kingdom half as they were just as fun/easy to assemble.

The Best Hobby Lamp You Can Find

Chances are, if you’re stumbling on this page, it’s because like me, you paint miniatures. Whether it’s board game minis, Warhammer 40k, Malifaux, or any of the various wargames out there, you will most likely want to paint them. And, if you want to paint them, you need good lighting.

Now, I’ve used a lot of different lamps through the years. Natural. General room light. Multiple lamps. And honestly, they’ve all sucked. But, let me tell you about the big winner.

First off, I apologize for the mess. My hobby area works best in organized chaos, mostly because it’s not as easy for the little one to find anything specific. Secondly, this is my Neatfi XL LED Task lamp, and this sucker is absolutely fantastic.

The grip on the table is pretty bog standard. It’s the typical vice type mechanic along with the ability to actually fasten it directly on the table. Nothing special to talk about there.

It really begins to shine in the actual size of the lamp. There are two arms which are approx. 16 inches each, giving it a nearly three foot span it can reach. With the three different joints, the mobility of it is really nice as well, and allows for quick and easy swiveling, twisting, or really anything you need to get it in position.

The lamp itself is no slouch. It’s a massive 23 inch beast that can pump out 2,200 lumens of nice bright white light. This is where I fell in love with it, honestly. Between the size of the lamp and the clean white light, it makes painting a lot easier to see. Especially when your eyes are old and tired like mine.

You can also press the button after it is on to dim the light. It allows for three lower levels of light, at 75%, 50%, and 25% respectively. I don’t use these often, but, it’s nice to have the options available.

Lastly, the price point was not terrible. Was it more expensive than a standard desk lamp? Yes. But, it was far from unreasonable. At the time of purchase last year, I paid around $125 for it. Now, on Amazon, it’s dropped to $105 at the time of writing this article.

Honestly though, I feel the only other better set up is getting multiple soft light boxes to hang above your work area, which, I know those cost a heck of a lot more.

If you’re into miniature painting or any sort of hobbies that involve needing a large amount of light, such as drawing, bead necklaces, heck- even sewing, go check this beauty here. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Dungeons and Lasers- Part Deux

I love a beautiful gaming area. I love to look down, see painted miniatures, in a three dimensional area. I feel it adds so much to the overall gaming experience. It’s why I’ve always loved seeing a fully painted and terrained 40k game. There is just something about it.

But, what if you don’t have the skills to make a city out of insulation foam or a dungeon out of home made materials? Or, what if you run an rpg and have an every changing adventure area?

Well, I have an answer for you, but you gotta jump on it before it’s too late.

Late last year, I pledged the Dungeons & Lasers 2nd Edition Kickstarter. I’ve backed a few other Archon Studio Kickstarters, and they seem like a pretty legit company to support. The dungeon pieces look to be incredibly high quality (of course, this will be confirmed on when the order comes in), highly detailed, and incredibly versatile.

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Now, I’m not a huge RPG player, where, this seemed to really be marketed to. I’d like to play more RPGs, but, I have a very limited network that doesn’t seem to be too interested in slaying dragons most of the time.

Now, what I do have, is board games. And a lot of people who want to play a simple, yet attractive game in a short period of time. Something with a basic rule set, easy to see obstacles, and most importantly, something they can get lost in.

Dungeons and Lasers is going to be an all star ingredient in that recipe.

Now, I know a lot of this is ‘merely speculation’ as this Kickstarter is not in hand, and in fact, still getting funding through the late pledge system. But, I’m hoping that I can at least bring it to a few people’s attention for their gaming needs.

Their Gamefound is full of their Kickstarter pledge levels, which are immensely full of value. Essentially, for $100, you can get enough to comfortably run a D&D campaign or a board game. This will give you a 2ft x 2ft footprint, which, honestly, should be enough to run a quick adventure or a game of Heroquest. And even better, the pieces have integrated squares that can be used for movement purposes.

Then, either through separate buys or through larger backing tiers, you can add unique rooms of your choosing. For the fantasy theme, there are mines, warlock altars, and torture rooms just to name a few.

But Ken, you may ask, I want to use this for my Cyberpunk campaign or maybe a sci-fi themed board game. Well, they are offering sci-fi themed as well, along with many different rooms to go along with it.

They are also including miniature set pieces in this backer as well. So, your rooms will have plenty of stuff in it.

The last thing I want to cover is the dragons that they made for this. You can purchase one of 7 6″ highly detailed dragons. Because, really, what dungeon doesn’t have a dragon at the end of it. You could also take advantage of their bundled dragon set which includes 6 of the 7 dragons.

If you haven’t backed them during the main campaign, I highly recommend going to their Gamefound and backing them before it’s too late.

Now, the next thing from these guys to keep an eye out for is their Woodhaven Kickstarter. But, there will be plenty of time for that when it launches.

My plan for this- making a giant board dungeon crawl board game for my family involving any and all miniatures I have. I’m pretty excited for this all to finally be delivered.