Wednesday, 15 August 2012

On The Painting Table

I'm going to try and get these posts going once a month, because if nothing else it pushes me to paint more. Id like to think that people find them interesting, but I'm not that deluded, my readership isn't all that big. Although I treasure each and every one of you.

IMG_0576My last project to come off the painting table was a full unit of Menoth Zealots, with Monolith Bearer. Coming off the back of finishing my Harbringer, I think the scheme on these guys works well, especially as they are effectively mooks. I went with a dirtier white, and replaced the gold in my normal scheme with brass. They hold together well, both as a unit and alongside my other Menoth. IMG_0577

Perhaps my biggest achievement has been to base all of my painted Warmachine models. To most this may not sound impressive, but I’m notoriously bad at getting bases done. However, after being shamed at the last gaming weekend, I forced myself into basing. I went for a very simple base, that is easy to do, but can be improved with simple additions. A simple base really does make a model, but an over complicated one can drown any model. I'm counting with the K.I.S.S approach and so far it’s going well.

One thing to crop up when doing the basing was how much of a pain it is to do when the model is finished. This won't come as a surprise to most people, me included, but it now means that all future models will be based as they are painted.

So, that's what I've done, what am I currently painting?

Well first up, I've made a start on the Dropzone Commander miniatures I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. While they are wonderful models, they need a different set of skills to paint. Things are made harder by the fact the undercoat didn't quick go on as well as it could. Sprayed them on a too humid day, and I've got a very grainy texture to them. It shouldn't hurt the final finish, but its not as nice a surface to work on. I’m going for a close to studio for the Shalatri, although this version is a bit dirtier than I was aiming for. For the PHR I’ve gone with a two tone blue and grey scheme as I’ve got enough stuff to paint white!

As well as the DzC models, I've got some Warmachine on the go and all of it Cryx. I've got the first layer of paint on the Withershard Combine as well making a start on the bulk of a new list. I'm hoping to field it at the end of the month, so to keep it a surprise I won't say what they are. However, I look forward to the reaction of my opponents when they see the force in action.

I should be in a position soon to display many more of my models, so I’m likely to soon go back and finish off some of the smaller projects that are unfinished. I have 2 Terminator units I’ve never managed to finish, as well as large chunks of my Tau army. So I’ll soon be adding bits and pieces of them to the workstation and try and get my painted model count even higher.

I’ve got to say, the last year has seen me paint many more models that I have previously. I’m not sure which is prompting this, the blog or actually getting some games in, but I’m really pleased and hope I can maintain (if not increase) my productivity.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Dropzone Commander Rules Review

My Dropzone Commander rules arrived a couple of weeks ago, and after reading the book through I'm ready to write up my thoughts.


Rulebook_IMG1The book is 152 colour pages printed on a nice glossy paper. Throughout are more photos of the miniatures taken in scenery which look amazing. The cover itself is a photo with special effects added, that brings the miniatures to life. The rules sections have some nice clear diagrams and there are plenty of pictures highlighting the technology and units released in the first wave. My only complaint is that the text does go a little close to the spine meaning you have to open the book wider than you may like. Then again, not everyone is as precious about not breaking spines on books as me.

There is a nice write up of the background to the setting at the start, giving the rules a grounding in the background. Nothing ground breaking in the background, but it is solid and well thought out. Each faction gets a couple of pages of background before a complete list of the units in the initial release wave. As a bonus you also get some alternate schemes painted up for those that aren’t taken with the studio schemes.


This is my opinion based on a read through of the rules.  Obviously to get a full understanding of them, there is not substitute to playing, but I'm still putting together my starter armies.

The first thing that struck me as I read the rules was how simple it is, while still maintaining depth. It’s great to see a sci-fi game where the focus can be on shooting, with infantry combat being only a minor aspect. In fact infantry combat seems to be one of the more complicated areas of the game. I need to read that section again to get a decent grasp on what’s going on. G

I think the game meshes ground based and aerial combat well, with fighters mainly being called in for strafing runs and not having to hang around on board being shot at. Given the scale, battlefield manoeuvrability comes from the dropships which will make battles much more fluid. Having your units move around under their own power actually can result in very little movement depending on the unit.

Another excellent feature is the turn sequence, which sees each player activating small portions of their forces at a time, allowing for strategic reactions to your opponents actions. No longer will you find you forces annihilated in a single turn and being unable to react. Instead you have a chance to try and repair poor tactical decisions, or at least run away from what’s killing you.

Terrain plays a major role in the game, as does playing scenarios rather than straight up annihilate the enemy battles. The book comes with a selection of scenarios with options to improve them based on the points size of the battle you are playing. In the scenarios objectives are located within buildings meaning your infantry has to go in and get them. Without terrain, the game would very quickly go to the force with the longest range, which isn’t all that fun.

ShaltariCards2For added tactical fun, each faction has a command deck that they can draw from and gain important bonuses. This simulates the actions of the commander on the battlefield, and each deck has a number of staples across each faction, and faction specific cards. The faction specific cards go towards building the feel of each army, and could help you save that vital unit from destruction. The number of cards you draw is limited to the level of your commander, and many of the abilities only work within an area of them, meaning you’ll need your commander up near the action. The decks don’t come with the rules unfortunately, but each starter army comes with them, or they can be bought for an additional £5. Alternatively you could not use them in your games, although that would limit the usefulness of Commander units within the game.

Perhaps the area with the most complexity is the army construction rules, although this does seem to be partly due to future proofing than anything else. Also, with so few army options at the moment, you might find yourself falling quite short of the points limits.


Overall, I'm extremely happy with the Dropzone Commander rules. They have lived up to the promise of the miniatures and I eagerly await a chance to give these rules a try. The book is a bargain at £15 with a decent amount of fluff mixed in with the rules.

With luck I’ll be getting a game in at the end of the month, and I’ll write up thoughts on how the game plays then.