Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Resin bases - a Review: Dragon Forge Design

So continuing my fetish for resin bases...
I took delivery this weeks of a smallish order of custom resin bases from Dragon Forge Design. Dragon Forge Design (DFD) is run by Jeff Wilhelm, a multiple Golden Daemon (and Slayer "Plaque") winner.
For full disclosure I know Jeff fairly well, whilst I'd not call him a "buddy" we have chatted on many occasions about painting, and more recently about his developing company.
Aside from producing bases for us mere mortals, Jeff is a free-lance-sculptor-for-hire type, with MANY years experience in the industry. Jeff also asked that I do a review of his bases.

As well as my "regular" AdeptiCon force (using the Back 2 base-ix bases), I'm working on a "Deathwatch" army for the Gladiator event (as there are no official Deathwatch rules I'm using the Space Marine Codex, with some self imposed limitations to keep in theme).My "other" Inquisitional armies are already mounted on a fairly standard gravel/wasteland-based scheme. Wanting to "match" these, but have something better than my dull basing, I took a good looks at DFD's products.
Over the past few year DFD have been building up fairly impressive range of square, round and lipped bases. The greatest advantage, for me, is the inclusion of bike, attack bike and 5" bases. It seems logical, but as far as I can tell DFD is the only company to offer a FULL range of base sizes for 40K.
Browsing the site I decided on the "Wasteland" theme; with a mixture of Desert Wasteland and Wasteland 2 I can integrate my new army into my existing forces without base "matching" issues. I duly ordered the following:

30x 25mm Urban Wasteland, 3x 60mm Wasteland II, 5x 40mm Urban Rubble Wasteland, 10x 24mm Desert Wasteland, and a Wasteland II "heroic" set.

DFD's bases arrived a short while later (the advantage of ordering from one's own continent!). They arrived neatly packed in zip lock bags (I recycle these for my eBay sales...) and in a sturdy cardboard box. No damage this time round!
As you can see there is almost no flashing. All the bases needed was a quick once around with a soft sanding pad. This took off the minor burrs with no effort. The bases then got the usual bath in warm soapy water, and primer was applied (Rust-oleum brand again). I won't waste bandwidth with a picture of them primered grey!

Inspecting the bases I could not find a SINGLE defect in casting - no air bubbles, no cracks, no blobbing... quite something! I don't know what Jeff's tricks are but I suspect he "tops" his molds with a glass sheet when the resin is curing, as the backs had no excess resin. I don't think he casts under pressure as I found a couple of air bubbles on the bottom; he may use a thin resin that had a long cure time - the lack of casting errors suggest this.

So, in summary:
Dragon Forge Designs
US based...
Near perfect selection of products in both round, round lipped and square.
Shipping is fixed cost- packaging is excellent, and I had no problems with damage
Payment via PayPal (even GW does this now, so it can't be all that bad!).
Resin quality is excellent, production quality is prefect - no defects in the ~60 bases I received.
No repetition in designs - 10 unique bases in a pack of 10...
Cost is good; 25mm bases run at US$1, 40mm at US$1.50. Whilst the per unit cost is higher, the fixed rate shipping compensates for this (so buy in bulk!). The quality of the bases is totally justified by the price point; I have yet to find a manufacturer that can match DFD for quality and design.

Overall I give Dragon Forge Designs a A++

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