Category Archives: Dropzone Commander

Shaltari, Salute and my first painted model


DSCF3831Well, it’s been a week since those of us here at the floating citadel went on our outing to Salute.  As had already been stated we all enjoyed the show and (some of us anyway) spent more money than intended.  My own bank account was somewhat lighter by the end of the day.  There was the usual displays and shopping opportunities, participation games and people dressed up as Imperial Storm Troopers.

For me the most influential event of the day was a participation game of Dropzone Commander.  Our regular readers will remember the excitement that this game created after last years Salute.  Despite two of my co-writers buying into the game when it was first released, I decided to wait until I’d played a demo game.  Unfortunately due to one thing or another one hadn’t happened, so last Saturday was the first time I got to see the game in action.  My overall impression…I see why so many people have been raving about it.  It is game unlike anything I have played before, being based on a 10mm scale sci-fi world with the emphasis on dropships, battlegroups and rapid insertion & extraction.  The game is fast pace, easy to pick up and yet very tactical.  Myself and nBreaker were playing the Scourge, and enjoyed the sheer destruction (between us and the UCM we took down 3 rather large builds, not bad for a beginner game), eventually wining by a single tank and dropship.

The game was fun enough for me to part with some money, and I bought the Shaltari Large Army deal with case.  Being Salute and a special event day the rulebook was included for free with any Large or Mega army so woohoo!  Then came lunch, and looking over my purchase whilst eating a sandwich I noticed that there was too much in the box…I been given a Mega deal by mistake.  Being a nice guy I went back to them and told the folks at Hawk Wargames.  The situation was resolved to our mutual satisfaction and I am the proud owner of a Shaltari Mega Army, so a big thumbs up to the guys at Hawk Wargames for their customer service!  I will be buying more in the future…just give me time to paint everything else first.

One and off this week I have started painting the miniatures, and above is the first one that is finished; a Shaltari Warspear fighter.  I look forward to my first game with my associates here at 6 Inch Move.

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Dropzone Commander – Painting the PHR Athena WiP – Pt 2


So there has been a lot of support for my attempts at a digital cammo, thank you all 🙂

I have taken the Athena a little further adding some weathering and adding cammo to the bottom of the aircraft, it looks a little shiny as I have added coats of varnish to protect the initial layers and allow the enamel wash to flow better, have a look:

I used the Mig Productions Dark Wash on the Athena and I think it came out a little too dark for my liking, so I have been looking for something that should work better with the Greys and blues I have used. I found a product from AK Interactive that I hope will work, the AK072 Early Panzers Weathering Set

AK 072 Early Panzers Weathering Set
AK 072 Early Panzers Weathering Set

“We have designed this set for all those modellers who love early German vehicles, or to put it another way, all those painted in Panzer Grey. The set includes all the basic products you need to do a near total weathering effect. The set contains a filter, a wash and a product to do streaking grime over the famous Panzer Grey.”

Being a huge WW2 fan and loving German armour (Although not the early period) I had similar products for the Tricolour systems from Mig Productions, so to try the AK Interactive ones made by MIG was a natural step.

A lot of people seem interested in how I do my Digital patterns, well it’s no real secret I just use a mask and many thin coats via an airbrush. I think I may have to do a tutorial, if enough people are interested.

Cheers

Carabus

Dropzone Commander – Painting the PHR Athena WiP


So following on from ZombiePirate’s post, I thought I would add some images of a work in progress on my version of the Athena. I got this miniature off Dave when we went down to playtest the game and is not from my Mega Premimum I brought.

So my thought has always been to do a Digital cammo style for the PHR I thought it would suit them, especially as they are cybernetic. So I was torn on colour choice, desert style like the original’s painted by Dave, greens and browns for a more woodland style table. I decided to go with a desert sandy colour.

So here is my first test version:

I liked some of the colour choices, I didn’t like how I ended up with a ridge because I had put down to thick a layer of paint, it’s also hard to get all the lines to well line up together. So overall while i liked it I didn’t love it. So my next plan was to strip it down, which I did in a Dettol bath (it strip fine, no problems BTW) and re-primed for my next attempt. Before doing so I considered dropping one of the colours, also making the pattern of colours a little larger or more blocky (my word for it) but how to do this.

I started looking around on the web, as you do looking for inspiration and got a test game in with ZombiePirate and realized that most game are on city terrain types. So desert would not be the most effective cammo, urban would! So I looked around at urban style cammo on Google, found some I liked.

To make sure I paint with the right colours I have a painting book, a little book with which I write any recipes of colours used and paint in little swatches so I can see what the colours look like before painting. I did the same for the urban style I was looking at, it’s on the same page as the desert colours I used if you are interested from the Model Air range.

So with colours picked, I broke out the airbrush to give the cammo another try, this time urban. Here are the results:

I have to say I was really pleased with the colour choices, they seemed to work very well, even better in person. I was also pleased with the more “Blocky” style this seemed to work a lot better.

What do you think?

Carabus

DropZone Commander – Just for fun!


Well it’s been a while since my last post this is mainly due to a series of a bad luck, my hard drive dies on the PC, good old RAID Stipe kills 2TB of content and files. Work has a net issue effectivly cutting me off from the web anywhere other than on the xBox. How did we cope with out it?

Any way enough rambling, I did have a go at some images inspired by the art work on the cover of the excellent DzC rules, and got a quick game in with ZombiePirate. Check out the images:

PHR

UCM

The Scourge

Sorry about the lack of Shaltari image it died with the hard drive 😦

Carabus

Dropzone Commander – Rulebook Review


DropZone Commander Cover Art

Last night I sat down to start working out the basic force for my Dropzone Commander UCM army. I’ve read the rules cover to cover now and am therefore trying to make a list so that I know what to assemble and paint first, there’s no use me frantically putting everything together and then trying to get a game in and finding that the stuff I’ve yet to get to is exactly what I need. After some brief Maths I found that the UCM Mega army comes in at 2320 points. That’s without organising things into battlegroups and without taking any upgrades or paying for a commander. The Kodiak is included but you’d need to spend at least another 35 points to get a basic commander in there.

However, that’s not really what I want to be sharing today. After having spent a good amount of time with the rules I thought I’d share my thoughts on them as well as on the actual book itself. When the 6 Inch Move posse first clapped eyes on DzC way back at Salute we were blown away by the quality of the models and I believe that we weren’t the only ones. Reading various fora on the Internet has certainly shown that we were not alone. One thing that did concern us was that on the day Hawk were remarkably quiet on the pricing and any details on the rules. Obviously this trend continued as we counted down the days (and in some cases hours and minutes) until the various milestones were met.

While the models were screaming at us to buy them, they really are very nice after all, we were very worried about the rules. As with any game the rules are the meat and potatoes, without a set of rules these fantastic models would just be ornaments sitting on a shelf. After we saw the website go live and were then privy to the costs we were even more worried as we then saw that this game was going to require a significant outlay and we didn’t want to spend all that money only to have the rules suck and then we’d feel rather short-changed.

As you know luck was with us as we got invited down to Hawk HQ for a game with the man himself. A great day was had and although it was rather a long one (the Burger King on the way home helped) it left us in a much more favourable position concerning the game overall. After that initial taste Carabus and I both threw down our cash for a Mega Premium army each and all we’d done was play one game. Getting our greedy little mitts on the rulebook itself was something we were then eager for as the release date approached.

Now that I have the thing physically in hand I must say that my first impressions are very, very positive. I’d seen the draft during our visit and I’ll admit that I had concerns about the quality of the book, £15 isn’t a lot after all as I’m used to seeing books in the £20-30 range. However, once I opened it up and had a flick through it I can happily say that I ate my words as I’ve not seen many books that are of this quality. The heady waft of “new book smell” aside the paper is nice and thick, the printing very good and the layout is among the best that I have seen. Everything appears pretty much where you’d expect it to be as you go through. The wording is clear and concise, things are explained well with diagrams where necessary. I can’t see there being a lot of room for dispute with things in DzC, from a first read through things look very tightly written. Obviously final judgements will have to be reserved until we’ve got some games under our collective belts but I’ve read rules in the past where I’ve picked up on things very quickly that could be ambiguous or interpreted in various ways. GW are rather infamous for leaving things open to interpretation.

The book starts with a brief introduction into the history of the galaxy, all from the UCM’s point of view, something I like very much, not least because they are my faction but because it makes sense to see things like that. You learn about mankind’s contact with the various alien races as well as where those dirty PHR folks came from, traitorous scum that they are! Then follows the rules, laid out in a nice format that explains every section in the right amount of detail. There wasn’t much that seemed difficult to understand and nothing that was really tricky if you spent a few minutes looking things over and giving it some thought. Once you’ve gone through all the rules each faction has its own section of the book which explains their individual background and technology before giving you the complete army list to select your force from. Each army section also includes the battlegroup force organisation chart for that particular army. While these look a little complicated to start with they’re actually quite simple once you figure it out and all the information is there for you to do it. Building an army list is quite an involved process as you make sure you adhere to the various rules (no battle group may exceed more than a third of the total army value for instance). You need to make sure your stuff has the right transports for use in the game as well as working out where in an activation you want certain units if you have a choice of which battlegroup those units can go in. I must say that I like having to think about things like this.

DropZone Commander

What I have missed out is that between the rules and the army lists there is a selection of scenarios. These are also very well laid out, it gives you recommended terrain levels depending not only on the size of your game but also based on how many players there are. Dave has obviously put a lot of time and thought into what people are likely to want to do with the game and tried to cater to those possibilities.

For those of you still on the fence about the game let me give you a few details on the rules now things are out and about. Believe me when I say you could do far worse than spend £15 on the book and then let that guide your decision of whether or not you want to play.

A typical scenario runs for 6 turns in an alternating activation turn sequence. Activations are performed by battlegroups which is a collection of squads and their transports. There is plenty of customisability in just what you take in each battlegroup. For instance in a clash (the mid-sized game) you are required to take one command battlegroup, one infantry battlegroup and one armour battlegroup. Within each of those groups you have a choice again of what to take to fill that group, the options available fit with what type of battlegroup it is. For example you won’t be putting in your heavy tanks into an infantry group. There are also a maximum number of battlegroups dependant on army size.

When a battlegroup activates all the models in it activate, they can move and shoot or shoot and move, but all units have to perform those actions at the same time. This gives the order in which you activate your battlegroups an extra layer of importance, you’ll have to be thinking ahead as well, just because you’ve activated one battlegroup to set in motion your grand plan doesn’t mean your opponent won’t screw it up if he activates the “wrong” battlegroup in the following activation before you get to activate the group you want in order for your plan to work.

The fastest moving models are generally the drop ships, anything ground based is normally significantly slower although I will mention that the Scourge APCs little turbo boost rule came out of discussions between myself, Carabus and the Shell Case chaps when we were playing our demo game. Movement must be considered as you can only move up to half of your allowance if you want to embark or disembark transported units. You’ll also not necessarily want to be exposing your stuff on a drop-off. Movement is vital to how this game plays and will need to be carefully considered. Most units have weapons with which to shoot. Close combat only happens in buildings when troops fight each other, normally over an objective. Other than that everything is a shooting attack, after all, why bring a knife to a gun fight? Every unit with a ranged weapon has a chart which provides details of that weapon. They each have a number of shots they fire and an accuracy value. The accuracy of a weapon shows the results on a single D6 that is needed for a hit. There are also two ranges to the weapon, a full range and a countered range. The countered range is used against a target that has Active countermeasures (pretty much everything in the game), against anything else you use the other value. There is also an MF value which is the maximum value that the model can move in order to shoot that weapon. If a hit is rolled you use a table to work out the roll “to wound” this pits the weapon’s Energy value (a number between 1 and 13) against the Armour of the target (a number between 1 and 10). For instance if an Energy 8 gun hits an Armour 8 target then you need a 5+ in order to damage it. If a model has Passive countermeasure then they can take a saving throw to stop the hit. Otherwise it’s a single damage point with each unit having a number of DP. Once the DP is gone that unit is destroyed. It’s a simple enough system to learn but with plenty of variety that I don’t really have the space to go in to. There are also a number of special rules for other weapons that make things really interesting in how they are used. Generally each weapon falls into either anti-armour, anti-air or anti-infantry and they don’t tend to be all that good when used outside of their main purpose.

DropZone Commander

Battles are not really geared for a straight up shoot out either, you’ll be playing over objectives in every single one of the rulebook scenarios and I’m really happy with that. All too often some games systems come down to a giant melee in the middle where the vagaries of dice rolls have more to do with the result of the game than a player’s strategy and tactics. Personally if I want to win or lose on a dice roll I can play Snakes and Ladders.

Without wanting to sound like a gushing fanboi this is one of the nicest books I’ve had in my hands for a long time. I quite like reading rulebooks for stuff and have far more than I am ever going to use for gaming. We are all aware of just how much hard work and effort Dave has put into his products and this is another piece of evidence of just how important quality is to him. I’m very happy with it. Now, to properly review it I must put any negatives there are. Luckily, these are slim and easily correctable. We’ve seen the Errata grow in the past week to correct some of the errors in the book, overall all that I have found has been some typos and a few grammar errors (over my past two jobs I’ve edited stuff in a very unofficial capacity within the departments I’ve been in, I’m known as being a stickler for properly punctuated and grammatically correct sentences). These stand out to me because I’m rather hard on myself when these things crop up – so Dave, if you need another proof reader I’m happy to offer my services 🙂

I look forward to now sitting down with hobby knife and superglue and getting my stuff on the table so I can really start to enjoy what we’ve got here. Personally, I think there are going to be a lot of happy hobbyists out there as I think the excitement of this game is just beginning.

Dropzone Commander – Unboxing the UCM


It finally happened! Almost a week ago the long-awaited and much-anticipated Dropzone Commander appeared in the wild. Those of us here at the 6 Inch Move floating citadel have been positively aquiver with excitement. After all, we’ve been waiting since Salute and while we’ve been treated to a few news items here and there, information has been a little sparse since we first stumbled across the stand at Salute.

Due to various issues of home finance I didn’t get to put in my pre-order until very late. I had it all planned by then a spanner was thrown in the proverbial works and I had to wait. I managed to put in my order on the last day of the pre-orders being set for shipping on July 27th, although it was rather late in the day when I managed to get to do it. I received my goodies on the Wednesday of last week, which was good news as I had the rest of the week off work. Unfortunately my wife is on her holidays at the moment and therefore I had to share my time and actually had to go out and do things rather than being allowed to play with my new toys. Nevertheless I’ve managed to get some good time with the rulebook and have read most of it other than some bits of the background in the army lists. However, I’ll be reviewing the rulebook separately in another post.

As I made mention of on multiple occasions now I am a big fan of the large and mega army deals. I personally went for the UCM Mega Premium, yes it’s pricey but it contains everything I think I’ll be needing for a good while. I actually first unveiled this to Carabus as he had already received his PHR Mega Premium the previous day. We had a good rummage through before I put everything back in the box to save for later. I’ve therefore included some photos in this post to show how things arrive. The Dropzone Commander case is your basic KR cardboard one but with the faction specific foam for your army, this is really good as it gives everything a home right off the bat. All your models are crammed into the various holes and the cutouts are there to safely cushion and transport your goodies as they are taken wherever they’re going to give someone a good drubbing. It’s really nicely put together. My only real criticism (and it really is very minor) is that it would be nice to have a paper sleeve around the case to show you what you get in it and to give you some references to work from later. As I said this is a very minor concern and I understand why there isn’t one considering these deals are not available in any stores, online or otherwise, outside of Hawk.

When you pop it open there really is a lot of stuff crammed in there. Mine all arrived in good order. I’ve had a chance to look through pretty much everything that came with it and am very happy with the standard of casting. There are a few tiny miscasts which will be irrelevant once the miniatures are painted. In fact the worst that I have to deal with is literally two or three tiny bubbles on the rear engine cowl of one of my Albatrosses. Other than that everything is the same quality as what I saw at Salute. I know Carabus has a few more issues but we’re expecting the odd thing here and there with a new product line and I’ve not seen anything on the same scale that puts this in the same basket as Finecast.

Each unit comes in its own little bag so as soon as you crack one open you’ve got a whole squad ready to use there and then. As mentioned in the “Working with Resin” download from the Hawk site the resin glues together VERY fast and I am not kidding you when I say you will not break that bond. I think the resin will actually decay first before the glue weakens so another voice adding to the caution you should take when putting stuff together. Make sure you’ve got stuff positioned right because once you press two things together you’ve only got a few seconds before it’s stuck for good!

I hope the pictures help show what you get for your money. I’m really happy with the stuff that I have, I’ve not heard anything from anyone outside of Carabus yet so I’m just putting my personal experience out there. I’m a happy customer and looking forward to getting this stuff on the table. I have a colour scheme in mind and things are already starting to be assembled. I’m already anticipating not being able to fit everything I want into my army so we’ll have to see how I go. What list I pick will also determine what stuff gets painted and done first.