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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Arena Rex Stuff!


Howdy ya'll!


So recently I received the majority of my Arena Rex order. I'm only waiting on the Ludus Magnus starter to be sent after it's been cast. Red Republic Games got hit for tons of orders during Adepticon, both due to their online sale as well as doing very well in their booth for sales there. I emailed one of their representatives, Chelsie, in seeing if it was possible to mail the rest of the order as it was ready and they did! Not only that, when a mistake was sent (in my favor) they were extremely helpful and gave me free expedited shipping when I reordered the miniature! For a company that is relatively small in the table top community, as well as extremely busy in recent months, they have gone above and beyond in service for just one individual customer. I am truly impressed.

Vargr's pose truly gives the impression that he's chopping you down, there's a very good flow of motion that makes it seem much more real than usual sculpts

I ordered quite a bit of stuff during their sale, including almost every single Ludus Magnus model short of Urbicus. I got the Legio XIII and the Zephyri starters as well and one miniature from each to give them four models each. Essentially I got enough for 4 players to have 4 gladiators each from their own ludi. Whether I ever get 4 players together for a game is another story, but essentially even if I never get to play I got my hands on some sweet miniatures.

Gaius Pallidus from Legio XIII

And sweet they are! Man, these casts are great. The detail is phenomenal, the poses are dynamic and it just oozes style. They are so different than the stuff I usually have, it's going to be a fun challenge to paint them all.

Sven, my favorite sculpt, from Zephyri

There are plenty of unboxings and reviews of the miniatures on the web so I won't go into great detail there. I did run into issues of taking models of the sprue, particularly with Viatrix. She has one eety beety teeny contact point on her feet that is supposed to be glued to the base. Due to the way she's cast there is almost no chance you're going to get her off the sprue intact. My very careful attempt still left her without any toes. It's fine, as I can bury it in sand, but it's a shame as she was one of my most anticipated models and she doesn't have toes now. This also led to having a slightly angled flat space to attach to the base, making her lean a lot more than intended.

Viatrix doesn't like it when you stare at her feet

Overall, though, the models weren't tough to deal with. You have to be extra careful when working with them, as they're resin and certain pieces will be brittle. Otho Mentulus' head had a crack from the stress placed on him while removing it from the sprue, but it's not noticeable at all. Frigge has an insanely tiny ponytail with a feather that goes on her head. When I cut it from the sprue it flew away and I didn't find it for a while, but if I didn't find it that would have been extremely tragic.

Hermes from Ludus Magnus. He reminds me of Crixus, but he was a Murmillo rather than Thraex as Hermes is

Only one model needed a soap bath to get rid of the layer of film usually associated with Resin miniatures. A few of the weapons need to be bent back into shape using heat, but not all of them did - surprisingly Iason's spear came out perfectly straight. All the other spears came out bent or extremely bent or hot damn, and Otho's sword was like a cartoon sword from Roger Rabbit. Hermes' sword was bent as well, but I just bent it back without any heat and it stayed straight. These are all things that anyone who's worked with resin should be familiar with, though.

Iason from Ludus Magnus, he uses the awesome Hoplomachus style of fighting

Otho Mentulus of Ludus Magnus, he is huge. I didn't put his tower shield on yet. Notice his sword pointing to the sky.


Having received and built most of my models I had to build a suitable environment for them to spill blood on. This has been something I've pondered for a very long time, since I last mentioned Arena Rex here.

There are a few things to think about, namely its size. The game was designed with a 30" diameter arena in mind, but they deliberately did not put an official size in the game so players could experiment with different arenas and sizes. This was a great move on their part honestly, and this way you have a ton of freedom to explore whatever you want to build.

There are hardly any mats you could buy for the arena. Most games use a square or rectangle play area, and the gladiator games that do use arenas use hexagons for their games. I found a few but none that satisfied me, and the official mat was only available to Kickstarters.

Of course my original plans were very grand, but after a ton of thought I scaled it back to something I knew I could knock out while being passable for demos. I also had to think of transportation, as being the only player I'd definitely have to provide the terrain myself. I knew worst case, though, you could use a 2x2 mat for the play surface and do fine.

In the end I scoured the forums to get inspiration and found this. It was simple and effective, something that can be easily done in a few hours without going insane. It didn't have the desert arena look I wanted but that's easy to do, the stones are what motivated me to follow its footsteps.

I got a 2x2 square sheet of pink insulation foam as the base. I already had it lying around, and it was a good way to give a solid foundation while keeping it light for transport. The only thing I have to worry about is chipping/damage, but it's not something I'll lose sleep over if damaged. I then got some foam bricks for cheap to build the arena walls.

Kristy helped me lay down a circle using a pen and some string. Then we used Tacky Glue and put each brick down one by one. It wasn't hard or time consuming at all, I'd say in an hour it was all done, tops.

Here it is with 3 rows of bricks

Once I got it as high as I liked I made some individual column out of the foam bricks. These things are pretty nifty, you can roll them to create rounded shapes, or you can cut them to fit what you need. I haven't tried pinching them to make shapes like trapezoids but it seems fairly easy to do.

I put columns on the walls in 8 places. This improved the look but it also functions as a deployment reference. For two players you obviously use the North/South orientation, add East/West for 4 players, and for 3 players you can use North for one and the middle of East/Southeast for player two, and middle of West/Southwest pillars for player three.

With the columns, miniature for scale

Up close

So it was extremely easy to build, and super cheap. The bricks were maybe $10, and I didn't use a whole box of them, and the insulation foam was less than $5. 

I plan on painting it up soon, and also using the Vallejo Desert Sand Gel paint to add the desert texture. It's playable for now though, and it's super light. It's not perfect, the bricks aren't uniform in size and resulted in a few bumpy parts, but it does the trick. 

Of course I had to put some minis down for a battle scene.





Hopefully soon I can get this all painted up to show off and demo! Give it a try, the rules are free at arenarex.com and the miniatures are simply stunning.