I picked up a copy of the third edition from my FLGS, Wizard's Keep, and got to painting. The miniatures are decent but not great. With this set, I tried to be more deliberate about contrast. Regular readers may remember my work on the heroes of Shadows of Brimstone, particularly the Marshal, where I added another highlight layer after I thought I was done, and that really made the model pop.
Lord Godalming was the first out of the gate. I had some fun with his lantern, doing the OSL in a slightly different style than before. Instead of painting the whole figure normally and then trying to add the lights, I built up highlights around where the lantern shines, and then tinted and brightened at the end with a series of glazes. It worked well, and I am happier with this than my last attempt. After having played the game, I realized I could have taken the lantern light up much brighter: it looks OK in this close-up, but on the table, it doesn't register.
Next is Van Helsing, looking dapper in his spats. I'll point out how much brighter I took the highlights on his face than I normally do, an effect that I think works well on him.
Mina Harker was fairly plain in her black dress: a few layers of dark grey, and that was done. The scarf probably could have been brighter, just for more visual interest, although the faded orange matches the card art fairly well.
Here's Dracula himself, looking ... well, maybe not so good. The card art depicts him with grey, lifeless skin. I think I captured that here, like his dark purple suit. Once again, it matches the card art, but it's not much to look at. I'm unsure whether I would have been better off diverging from the card art, increasing the contrast of the highlights, brightening up the tone, or what. It's not like he's a dark menace on the game board, since figures like Mina Harker are practically as dark as he is. I'm no sculptor, but I would have gone for a more regal or powerful vampire sculpture rather than the almost comical monster-movie mouth-agape pose.
Last is Dr. John Seward, another hero in a monochromatic scheme. These gothic characters like their dark tones. The subtly different shades on his cloak, vest, and coat are nice in the picture, but on the table it's hard to tell it's there.
So far, I've only played once, and we had one critical rule backward. The heroes have turns called "day" and "night", and between these are "dawn" and "dusk." Combat happens between day and night, but several of Dracula's cards change behavior depending on whether it is night or not. That's a serious design problem, because there's already a thing called "night", and combat doesn't happen then. Does dusk count as day or night? We made a judgement call and got it backward: dawn counts as night, but dusk counts as day. Anyway, the result is that once they heroes got on my trail, it was just a matter of chasing me down and beating me up---I really had no way out, not without better combat cards. I'm eager to play again, especially with the advanced rules. For the heroes, the only difference is that they pick their starting cities, but Dracula gets a host of new powers with the Advanced rules, including several I could have used to get out of my jam earlier. (I was cornered in Eastern Europe with nowhere to go, but Wolf Form would have let me pass through a hero into Central Europe, where I would have more options.)
The figures were fun to paint despite the fairly low detail of the scultps, at least compared to other stuff I've been working on. I'm currently painting the heroes from the new Runebound edition, and so these are also boardgame-quality miniatures, but they are much nicer. It wasn't clear that painting the Fury of Dracula miniatures was worth it from an aesthetic point-of-view: they felt abstract to me, in a different way than the painted Ashardalon figures really bring the dungeon to life. Whether it's because of the game rules, or the fact I was Dracula, or the drab colors, I am not sure. Anyway, if you want to come by and play, let me know—I'd love to give it another play, but I get the sense that you really need exactly five players to get the full experience.