Friday, 27 September 2013

Quick Review: 'Dropzone Commander' 2-player Starter Set

I was going to post my first Dust Tactics AAR today but Thursday morning saw the postie struggle to my door with my pre-ordered 'Dropzone Commander' 2-player starter set from Firestorm Games. Woohoo! I get to play with it a day early. I won't go through what's in the box as that has been covered elsewhere. But I will give my initial thoughts on the contents.

The contents of the Tardis-like box.

First up the dice and tape measure. The dice are an ok size and don't seem to be cursed out of the box, rolling a decent spread, for now. The tape feels a little flimsy but the stop and rewind mechanism work well, which is more than the B&Q tape I use does. I wouldn't use these myself preferring my Chessex dice but they're great for an opponent who is perhaps is new to wargaming.

Chessex dice and a tape for comparison

The plastic sprues are great with zero flash or mould lines. The detail is sharp and crisp and should take paint and washes well. The plastic is fairly hard, probably about the same as you'd get from Warlord Games.

The rulebook isn't new and there's plenty of positive reviews of it on the 'net. But I'll just reiterate that it's excellent quality with great photos. It comes in at about 158 pages of full colour goodness. The rules themselves only cover about 47 pages. The rest is devoted to fluff, scenarios, force lists, unit descriptions, painting suggestions and special rules for each of the races etc.

The paper maps which serve as the playing area are crisply printed with plenty of detail. They're not as good as the cardboard tiles obviously but are a decent substitute. I had no problem getting them to lay flat after a bit of judicious reverse bending of the existing folds. However the paper isn't that thick and looks like it will tear easily if you're not careful.

The counters and templates pop out of their sheet easily and are of a good thickness. As are the paper quick reference sheets which have a nice slightly glossy finish to them. The instruction sheets for assembling the models are in English not Chinese which is a bonus :-) The assembly instructions are pretty straightforward and helped by all the components on the sprues being numbered so there should be no confusion as to which part is which. They even contain a list of recommended paints.

That just leaves the card buildings. Again these aren't new coming from the existing Cityscape product but they were the only things that disappointed me. One of the buildings was torn and bent, I presume it had caught on something while the box was being moved around. Not the fault of Hawk though. But I found the buildings didn't go together as well as I had expected from seeing them being built in various videos. I was going to leave them flat and assemble them as needed but now I may glue them together permanently.

Overall though I'm happy with my purchase.

I've started to assemble my DzC minis and they've gone together very easily. I started with the 'spare' APCs so if I made a mess of things it wouldn't matter. I also want to paint them up first as testers for my colour schemes but more on that in another post.

The Scourge 'Invader' APC is just two parts, the main body and a baseplate. Even I managed to assemble those with no problems.

As you can see from the photos the detail is good but if you compare them to the resin models the detail seems 'flatter' but from three feet away on the table the difference won't be noticeable.

The UCM Bear APC comes in six parts. You start by adding wheel assemblies to either side of the base plate. I suggest dry fitting the models with multiple parts as I found it tricky to get the wheel assemblies 'square' so I glued the assembled base/wheels to the main body before the glue on the baseplate dried so I could use a paintbrush to push things properly into line. I then glued on the rear door. The instructions say you should attach this to the base plate first but I found it much easier to do it after everything else had been assembled.

The flatter detail is more obvious on the Bear but again it'll be fine once its painted up and on the table. Hopefully I'll get some paint on them today and have some more pictures to post up tomorrow.

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