Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Casting a vision for the future of dxContent 3D Dungeon Tiles

Lets take a nostalgic trip back in time via the way back machine....Back in the late 80's early 90's I had an official "DBA" (Doing Business As...) called FireZone. FireZone made and sold war gaming terrain and structures.  Here are some photos...

All of these items were from my personal collection.  When I moved from Michigan to Georgia, I had to reduce my collection.  I believe this stuff was eventually sold on Ebay - hopefully still being used in the war game community somewhere!  Ironically, the stuff I did keep is better quality but its all packed away - some day I'll have to drag it out for show and tell.

Those days were good times.  A group of us meet regularly and painted minis and built terrain.  We went to conventions and wowed the crowds with our over the top game tables.  We developed our craft and the earnings from FireZone paid for the hobby for at least two of us.

We learned techniques that worked. And we learned some that didn't.  Our biggest challenge back then was mass production.  We had to do a lot of work by hand.  One thing that helped was learning how to make molds cast parts.  My good friend Dave Patterson got me started with Por-a-Kast and single piece latex rubber molds.

Fast forward to today... With the 3D dungeon tiles I'm back in the business of making and selling "stuff for miniatures" with the dxContent 3D dungeon tiles.  And some of the same challenges are there... I spent all of last week hand crafting and painting two huge tiles set orders.  Some where in the middle of the night with my neck and arms sore... I had to ask myself, can I really hand building every order?

The realistic answer is "yes" for small volume, but once it scales... it quickly becomes a "no".  For now I'm staying on top of the orders as volume has been manageable... but as any good endeavor should... you have to look over the horizon to see what is next and how you have to change to adapt to what is coming.   And for dxContent 3D Dungeon Tiles... molds and casting is on the horizon.  This means I have to dust off some old skills and learn some new ones.

So, I found time this past weekend to visit a really cool store called "The Engineer Guy" located on the south side of Atlanta - what a great place and what great staff.  I took in some sample pieces and in about 30 minutes Nelson (I assume) had me loaded up with product and shared with me a wealth of knowledge.  Later that day I had two complete molds (one was a two part mold) and over the next few days I even did some test casts.

At this point it looks like doors are going to be the first mass-produced cast offering - The cast doors are very durable AND have a bit more weight to them then the hand crafted versions - For those reasons I know people are going to love them.