Archive for Dropzone Commander

Catching Up

Posted in 40K, Blather, Dropzone Commander, Games, Minis with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2015 by stingersix

Wow, I have been slack here. No new posts since February. But I have done a ton of painting and completed several projects, not least of which is my Tallarn army for 40K. This is basically going to be a big photo dump of all the things I’ve been working on since then, with a few comments about what you’re seeing.

 

First of all, I finished my Tallarn army! I’m really happy with the way this army turned out. The detail and character on the minis is great and the theme (LRDG) fits it perfectly. The Rough Riders are the centerpiece models. Unfortunately, their in-game performance does not match how awesome they look, but whatever!RR_1 RR_2 RR_3 RR_4 RR_5 RR_WIP_1 Sentinel_top Sentinels T_1 T_2 T_3 T_4 T_5 T_6 T_7 T_8

I have had a couple games with my Tallarn. So far, I have lost every single time. Heh! But again, oh well. It’s 40K so what do you expect? These pics are from a fun narrative scenario where the Tallarn were accompanying an Inquisitor on a doomed archeological dig. The Tallarn defended their outpost to the last against the Necrons (who pretty much just plowed them under).

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Now, if there is any game that I have played a lot of this year, it’s the excellent Dropzone Commander. I can count the number of games of 40K I’ve played on both hands. I’ve lost count of how much DZC I have played! The game has really taken off at the store and the community is vibrant and growing. We’ve expanded our games beyond the default urban setting as you can see. My UCM army is big and getting bigger! I love the UCM air power! Dropzone Commander scratches an itch for me that was once fulfilled by Epic Space Marine. It seems to be doing the same for a number of other folks.

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Round about when I finished my Tallarn, I started painting some of the Knight Models Batman miniatures. Still haven’t played yet but I love these figures. Since it’s a true skirmish game, I’ve tried to do my best on these models and make them look as good as I can get them.

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In the summer, I started playing Bolt Action. This game is super fun and I’m hoping to play more of it in the future! I’ve had an American infantry force sitting around for a while, so it was good to finally play!

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And pretty much the last thing I’ve done recently is paint up the ships for the HALO Fleet Battles game! Spaceships are super easy and fast to paint. I knocked two fleets out in a week! The game is fun too!

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That’s what I’ve been up to since February! There’s much more to come!

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Dropzone Commander Battle Report – Operation Cyan Rapier: Phase 2

Posted in Battle Report, Dropzone Commander, Games with tags , , on August 15, 2014 by stingersix

My buddy Stephen and I played our second game of the campaign we have going “Operation Cyan Rapier.” I’ll talk about Phase (game) 1 later, but today’s game was the follow-on from that game in which the UCM managed to successfully extract a Praetorian insertion team that had gone into enemy territory to link up with local Resistance forces. The mission was (barely) successful and victory was won at great cost to the UCM Praetorians. So, here is the preamble to Phase 2:

Operation Cyan Rapier – Phase 2 – Decapitation

After the successful (but costly) recovery of the Praetorian insertion teams from Estrella del Mar, UCM command gives the go-ahead for Phase 2, a strike at the Scourge command elements in the area of operations. With the Praetorians taken out of the line to recover, UCM General Magday reluctantly decides to commit his heavy assets, hoping to deal the Scourge a knockout blow before the main landing operation. This is a risky and controversial strategy, as the relatively small UCM task force assigned to this operation cannot afford many losses. Nevertheless, the UCM forces once again prepare for battle.

Unbeknownst to the UCM planners, the Scourge have more reserves than originally thought, and have managed to keep them hidden even from the Resistance spies. As a result, their defenses near their headquarters complex will be at full strength to face the coming assault!

 It was a modified version of the Decapitation scenario in the main rulebook. 1750 points for both of us, and Stephen got an extra 350 point battle group to represent the unknown reserves (which would start rolling for entry on turn 3). I do a lot of my own scenario design and a favorite method is to take an existing scenario and tweak it in interesting ways. You’ll see more of this when I talk about the Snipers a bit later on.

In this campaign I am also making an effort to do more rural and less heavily urban terrain. This scenario thus featured fully half the board as hills and wooded areas, and the other half a mostly open landing field. It makes for a very different feel than the usual tight cityscape we most often play in.

So, was the UCM able to take out the Scourge Overseer? Read on!

Here’s the battlefield. Pretty long sight lines. In that regard it favors the UCM, but, the UCM has to attack and close the distance in this mission and the Scourge has to defend, so perhaps both sides’ favored roles are switched up? Definitely a challenge for us both. The idea was the UCM was attacking the local Scourge command base, which was established in an old air/spaceport (you can see the runway there). The walled off area was the command center, and there are two bunkers. A string of fighting positions lined the edge of the airfield. Off in the rough, there are a couple of wooded hills, some abandoned huts and a few fading craters leftover from the Scourge invasion centuries ago.

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In the Decapitation scenario, the Defender sets up inside a fortified area. The Scourge used the old human terminal as their base. Each wall section and turret is Hardened with 10DP. Steve had a bit of trouble figuring out his list and didn’t have enough AA initially (extremely important in this scenario since keeping his Command unit alive was the key to victory), but we re-jiggered his list a bit and got it straightened out. Here, his Reapers form up around the Overseer (UCM codename: Broken Tower) with a squad of Hunters ready to burst out of the gate. Warriors line the parapets.

Taking out Broken Tower was my objective. Steve’s objective was avoid losing his Commander, or at least make any UCM victory as costly as possible. This position seems a tough nut to crack – indeed although I had 2 squads of 2 Archangels each, going into that AA bubble was a frightening prospect!photo 4

A bit hard to see here but there are 5 Possible Objective markers. These represented possible hidden locations of my Praetorian Sniper squad. Until the actual squad was revealed, these markers all had the Scout ability, representing remote sensing equipment and digital ghillies set up by the Snipers who had infiltrated the are before the battle. If fired at, they could only be hit on a natural 6 but if the snipers were actually there, they would take damage, otherwise the marker would be removed. If a Scourge unit moved into base contact, they would also be instantly removed and the snipers revealed if they were there. I borrowed on the Infiltration rule from 40K, allowing me to place a marker in cover as close as 12″ from an enemy, and no closer than 24″ if out in the open.photo 5

At the end of T1, the UCM forces are surging on to the battlefield. I have a big tank blob of 6 Sabers and 3 Rapiers in the Albatross. You can see my Longbows down and deployed near the huts. The Ferrum has launched its flight of drones and the Legionnaires and Heavy Ordnance battle groups are going in. My command Kodiak is out of the frame at the bottom left. Steve has raced forward with a squad of Hunters, driving them into one of the fighting positions with the use of a Command Card (Overdrive??) I lucked out and got one squad of Archangels out of Reserve on T1, but they failed to arrive for an attack run. No biggie.photo 6 photo 7

Warriors deploy into the bunker on the right.photo 8 photo 9

Turn 2 action: Scourge Corsairs sweep in on an attack run against the fully loaded Albatross, the big fat transport making a terrific target! I committed both my FM squads to intercept. The flight leader went in screaming “EARF!” at the top of his lungs but in his excitement he and his wingman both missed! The second squad zoomed in from the opposite vector and managed to splash one Corsair, but only one! The survivor opened up on the Albatross but missed, his aim disturbed, no doubt, by his over-enthusiastic enemies! After this, the Albatross pilot moved forward as close as he dared and dropped the tanks into the fray!photo 10

 

Turn 3 and the game develops! The Armor battle group rolls forward, hammering shots into the base fortifications. If I could take down a wall, I could possibly start picking off Reapers and clear the way for some Archangel runs on the Desolater. But I couldn’t bring the wall down. Steve began to threaten my Kodiak with his Prowlers and Reavers so I loosed off a hail of fire with my Rapiers, downing a fully loaded Invader and a Reaver. The Prowlers survived the crash, and with a mass of tanks nearby, turned their attention to a more inviting target. They couldn’t attack this turn, but if Steve won the next Initiative roll, my tanks were in trouble!photo 11 photo 12 photo 13

My Archangels squads had until now been busy elsewhere on the battlefield. This turn it was up to my drones to try and crack the AA bubble and get some fire on the Desolater. The drones swarmed in and the Reapers began reaction firing. The dice did not go the Scourge’s way – even with the Reaction Fire penalty, he should have been hitting half the time. Even the Warriors on the walls blasted away to no effect. In the end, I lost only 2 drones out of 8. They lined up on the Desolator and did 4 points of damage! With the Scourge AA Reaction Fire exhausted, the Archangel squads rolled in on the Desolator and blew it out of the sky! Mission accomplished?photo 14

I revealed the Snipers’ position. The Scourge Warriors in that bunker downrange were definitely scoring hits! An earlier volley of AA fire from the troops on the walls had destroyed an inbound Condor and a mounted squad of Legionnaires. The Praetorians synched their cybernetic ballistic targeting computers together and ranged in on the Warriors in the bunker. Their combined fire sounded like one single shot…photo 15

Seven points of damage on the Warriors! The Snipers managed one more shot later in the game, resulting in a total wipe-out of the Warriors!

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The Scourge have lost their Overseer, and now enraged, seek to do as much damage to the humans as they can before they escape. As the UCM frantically tries to withdraw from the fight, the Prowlers leap onto the Sabers and Rapiers for a hot plasma injection!photo 17 photo 18

Not much left of my armor! The tanks slam into reverse and pull back, shaking off a few Prowlers. Hoping to both pick up its tanks and kill their tormentors, the Albatross swings around bringing all its guns to bear! The tanks also unleash heavy machine gun fire at the walkers, while also taking down the fortress wall with a few shots from their railguns.photo 19

The fight on the runway has been close and deadly, leaving the field covered in burning wrecks! photo 21

With an untouched Scourge battle group now entering the fight, the UCM forces mount up and firewall their throttles to escape!

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Final positions at the end of Turn 6. Most of my units have exited the board. Steve made a desperate push to catch up and was closing in on the Ferrum. The Legionnaire-carrying Condor was shot down, but the Bear and the troops inside survived the crash, but were still on the board. The Praetorian Snipers, their mission complete, activated their therm-optic camouflage and crept carefully away from their hide-site. They knew they would be walking home…photo 24

In the end, a Strategic Victory for the UCM. In our next game and for the rest of the campaign, the Scourge cannot have a Commander higher than an Overlord (Lvl5) since Broken Tower was killed. We took a look at UCM losses to see at what cost victory was won for the UCM – I lost my entire armor battle group except the Albatross, plus a few other units, but it all came out to about 25% of my force. Acceptable losses.

It was a great game. Had Steve’s dice been better when he was rolling for Reaction Fire against the drones it could have been a much different game – I would have had to risk the Reaper AA bubble with the Archangels.

So now we’re talking about where our campaign goes next. In Phase 1, the UCM recovered vital info on the Scourge, allowing them to progress to Phase 2, which was a strike against the Scourge command. With success for the UCM so far, we think General Magaday is going to commit his forces to an operation to establish a secure beachhead, so we’re looking at a straight-up clash of forces, probably with the Bridgehead scenario. Focal point missions are always a scrum!

Thanks to Steve for a great game!

Painting a UCM Raven

Posted in Dropzone Commander, Minis with tags , on May 24, 2014 by stingersix

I put together this quick tutorial on how to paint a UCM Raven (the ‘B’ model in this case). Up close, the camera reveals many imperfections (in HD no less). But at arm’s length, these 10mm scale models look pretty good. I find the trick with models this size is to make their outlines visible, so they stand out on the table. And since my color scheme is somewhat drab, use a little color to make the models pop a bit more.

Step 1 – I started with Army Painter Spray Primer, Army Green. Great stuff. Just lay on a smooth coat.

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Step 2 – Basecoating and wash. Paint the exhausts and canopy. I used Citadel Ironbreaker for this, and Abbadon Black on the two radome bulbs above the canopy. Then wash the whole thing with Citadel Nuln Oil. This will darken the model (which I wanted) but leave the model looking blotchy and kinda like crap. Push past this by laying down a thin layer of paint over it. I used Citadel Catachan Green, but if you started with say, a sand color, you would just use a sand colored paint. The layer I use is indeed thin, with a little more water than paint. This smooths out the wash and brings the color back up.

photo2Step 3 – Exhaust staining. I did the heat staining on the exhausts by using brown, purple and blue washes in that order, from the inside of the exhaust fans to the trailing edge. Lay down all the colors wet and they blend together naturally.photo3

Step 4 – Highlighting. For UCM models, they tend to have panel lines. You can highlight these by painting a stripe of a lighter color down their length (I used Citadel Nurgling Green). Don’t be afraid to go outside the groove. In fact, you want to a bit. The groove will be blacked in in the next step. Doing the panel lines like this really helps the models stand out on the table and gives them a lot more definition. I then edge highlighted everything else with the same color.photo4

Step 5 – Black lining. These Ravens only had one line to do across the back of the wings and fuselage, but it’s a typical feature on UCM models with large, flat surfaces. The black line is done with a Micron pen, but you could also do it with a brush and black ink if you’re careful.photo1

Step 6 – Detail. Without any detail, the models clearly lack something. I add a simple rub-on letter transfer (I use Woodland Scenics) and yellow bar on the fuselage. These serve as visual identifiers in game play – I know what models are with which battlegroup – and they make the models look better all around. The canopy panels get a quick touch of Ironbreaker again to brighten them up. I paint the landing light on the nose red and give it a slight highlight and…photo2

Done! That’s a quick & dirty tutorial. This method gets my minis done quickly (I painted 6 in an evening) and looks good on the tabletop!

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Busy busy! 40K & Dropzone Commander

Posted in 40K, Dropzone Commander, Minis with tags , , , on May 24, 2014 by stingersix

I haven’t posted for a while but I have been busy! I have finished a number of projects, including that Forge World Fire Raptor, an Inquisition warband and I finished restoring that old junky Land Raider. I have also painted a great deal of Dropzone Commander minis!

I will let the pics speak for themselves.

Fire Raptor – I painted this for my friend, Adan. He bought it and said he’d probably never build it. Whaaat? Spend all that money for nothing? I told him I’d build it for him. I felt like building a FW model since I’d never tried it before. Adan agreed (wouldn’t you?)

It was a difficult model to build, one of the most difficult I’ve done. You know all the issues with resin – warping, etc. Lots of sanding and filing, gap filling, and all that. Very glad to have finished it and I’m happy with the result. But damn, I do not want to build another one.

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I magnetized the guns on the turrets so they can be switched out for heavy bolters.

 

 

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Adan plays Alpha Legion, so I freehanded the hydra emblem on the side.

 

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There was lots of detail in the cockpit, so I painted it. I couldn’t cover that up, so I didn’t glue the canopy on.

 

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Next up are my Inquisition warband models, painted for the campaign we are about to begin at the store. My favorite are the creepy little Cherubs. I also quite like the Reaper War Ape I am using as a corrupted Jokaero.

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Finally, here is the before shot of that junk Land Raider I’ve been restoring the past few months.

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And here it is after!

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Now some of the Dropzone Commander models I finished. I painted a lot more than this so I’ll need to get more pics up later.

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More to come!

 

Getting used to the new airbrush

Posted in Dropzone Commander, Minis with tags , , on February 5, 2014 by stingersix

So, I’ve recently gotten started with my new airbrush. Got myself a Badger SOTAR 20/20 for Christmas, then I bought a compressor and some other stuff.

1545543_685876688110008_1296320375_nI’ve set it up (my wife says the compressor looks like two little pigs, one on top of the other) and practiced with it a bit and I can already see that given time and patience, I should be able to do some really interesting stuff with it. To break it in, I painted some Scourge minis for Dropzone Commander.

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These have an Army Painter Plate Mail Metal primer/basecoat. Then I mixed some Vallejo blue and red to get a purplish color and ran it through the 20/20. It’s definitely a learning curve as the airbrush has settings to control paint flow, and figuring out the right PSI pressure to use is a bit of a challenge but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Just things like brush movements and the best way to hold things to spray are also things to be practiced. Quick color changes and cleaning also requires some know how. Yes, the learning curve is a bit steep.

Anyway, the models came out looking good (enough) and I’m ready to do more with the airbrush. The SOTAR comes with the finest needle Badger makes and it’s designed for detail work. It really is a quality airbrush. That said, I can see how it’s perhaps not so great for larger basecoating jobs. To that end, I’m considering getting a second airbrush, perhaps the Badger Patriot 105, which I hear is a good all-purpose airbrush.

DZC Army – Aurum 111th Drop Regiment “Black Scorpions”

Posted in Dropzone Commander, Minis with tags , , , on January 25, 2014 by stingersix

I have finally got my Dropzone Commander army past the starter set stage and at a reasonable level and variety for some more involved games. Not knowing how to build a DZC army, I took the default option of acquiring the “Clash” army models shown in the rulebook on page 87, with an eye toward expanding it to the “Battle” level on the same page.

The great thing about painting at this scale is how fast it goes compared to 28mm (for obvious reasons). I got most of this done within a month, which is pretty quick for me. I also was able to compare the build of the plastic Condor to the resin version. They’re pretty close and the resin version has just a bit more detail actually. The only really big difference is the resin model has a molded canopy where the plastic one has a clear canopy.

So, the Hawk Wargames resin models have been pretty good. I have spotted a few bubbles and thin bits here and there, but certainly no worse than most GW Finecast models I’ve worked with and usually better. Another good comparison was the Bear APC resin model. It was two pieces split lengthwise. Once fitted together it looked dead on like the plastic Bear APCs. The other big resin model is the Albatross, a massive multi-vehicle dropship, which kinda looks about as ungainly as its namesake. I can’t say it’s a beautiful design, it’s kinda ugly in fact. But it seems to be a useful model in the game so we’ll see how it goes.

The only metal models so far are the Praetorian infantry. These are pretty clean sculpts with decent detail for their scale. I wasn’t sure how they’d paint up but they came out looking pretty good.

So, pics!

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DZC Lessons Learned

Posted in Dropzone Commander with tags , , , on January 8, 2014 by stingersix

Had another great game of Dropzone Commander with Stephen Bajza last night. As I get more games under my belt, I’m feeling more confident with the rules and understanding the tactics and flow of the game. It really is a good game that sets up a lot of tense situations. Steve called it ‘structured chaos’ I think was what he said. Because the initiative can shift each turn, and with the alternating turn order, things on the table are constantly changing and you have to stay on your toes, prioritizing your moves and targets.

A few general things I’m getting so far:

  • If you win the first initiative roll, letting your opponent go first allows you to see where the focus of his effort will be, and lets you deploy your infantry last (and hopefully outside his AA envelope). There is something to be said for going first on T1 though, especially if you’re the Scourge, because it is often possible for you to be inside a target building on T1. There’s a lot to be said for making your opponent react to you with an aggressive move that is hard to counter.
  • UCM in general don’t need to close with the enemy. They out-range the Scourge with almost every weapon they have. They are slower though, and need to watch out for fast-moving enemy.
  • Scourge want to do the opposite and close as fast as possible. If you’re going to do this, go in with numbers to present your opponent with multiple targets to spread his fire. Attacking with massed forces in general is a good idea.
  • Don’t forget you do an extra damage point if you roll 2 better than you need on the damage roll!
  • If you find yourself spread out too much, or out of position, call for dustoff, get the dropships in, and move them. You can wrongfoot an opponent that isn’t expecting you to pick up a whole battlegroup and move it. This is one of the main features of DZC in my opinion – the ability to rapidly redirect the direction and focus of your maneuver is powerful and an awesome part of the game!
  • Protect your dropships and transports! You’re utterly crawling without them. That said, once the units they transport are gone, that orphaned dropship can at least put fire on enemy units (unless you need to keep it alive to save kill points). Flying on the deck when you move isn’t as risky as it sounds I think (this coming from the guy who rolls 1’s like a champ), and protects from potential reaction AA fire.
  • Infantry in buildings can be dug in like Alabama ticks. But if they move to the windows to fire at you, fire back! Most infantry have no countermeasures so you’re at full range – even machine guns can do damage in this case, so light ’em up! You’ll need 5’s and 6’s because of soft and body cover, but if you’re volleying a whole squad, that’s a lot of dice.
  • If you’re going to try to take down a building, you’ve got to mean it, since they’re usually pretty tough, so if you haven’t got any better target, hit a structure. They have no countermeasures and so you can shoot at full range and always hit on a 2+. You should have a decent chance of doing Falling Masonry damage to infantry cowering inside. Scourge players! Don’t forget your MBTs have the Demolisher special rule! Nasty!
  • If you’re doing an objective search with infantry, keep your APC and dropship nearby and hidden. Ideally, you don’t want to have to move either the APC or the dropship toward the infantry they’re picking up. The grunts should be able to pile straight out of the building into the APC, which rolls right into the dropship, which punches it and hightails it for the board edge.
  • When it looks like you’re gonna have to engage in CQB, try to outnumber the enemy. This is not new news! One-to-one fights are going to come down to who rolls better. Bring numbers, quality or preferably both.

I’ve only played with the units and the scenario in the starter set so far, so I expect things to change as I expand my familiarity with the game, but these things seem to be decent basic strategies to stand on.