As I mentioned last week, I’ve finally broken the seal on the Dropzone Commander two player starter set. It’s been sitting on my shelf for over a year now so it was long overdue. This is a game I’ve really wanted to get into pretty much since launch, but have never got further than the rulebook. Partly it has been because other projects just kept taking precedence, but if I’m being truly honest it’s been because I couldn’t settle on a colour palette for the forces. Yes, really. So I’ve decided to be pragmatic and focus on some quick methods instead that lend themselves to the two alien forces in particular; the ‘Shaltari’ and ‘Scourge’.
Although the outward appearance of the Scourge tech would heavily suggest they are bio-mechanical, the background states this isn’t the case and the majority of colour schemes I’ve seen for them are underpinned by metallics. This has never sat comfortably with me as I just don’t think it suits the styling of the miniatures, but that’s purely my tastes. Fortunately I came across a fantastic series of videos by ‘Pezzapoo’ on YouTube (find the gallery here) which uses a really fast an effective palette based almost entirely on wash and dry-brush techniques. The end result is a little more bio-mechanical in appearance, but more importantly looks absolutely stunning on the Scourge. I really like it when painters come up with effective schemes that leverage the mediums properties to its full advantage and that is exactly what Pezzapoo has very cleverly done blending layers of washes with soft dry-brushing. The Scourge detailing is perfect for this kind of approach which lets the two techniques do all the shading and highlighting work for you. Seeing absolutely no reason to re-invent the wheel I replicated the method for my own Scourge force making only one minor amendment which was to swap the sensor colour (the eyes as everyone seems to call them) from dark red to dark blue. I felt this helped introduce a cooling note to the palette which was too warm for me with all the red hues.
I’m not going to reproduce the details here as it’s Pezzapoo’s design, but if you would like to find out more I recommend subscribing to his channel and checking out the video guides which list all the colours used along with the method.
The Hunter grav-tanks and Reaper anti-air were both fitted with 2mm magnets to allow the turrets to be removed/repositioned before painting. It’s not really necessary, but it added a fun element and also meant in the case of the Reapers I could carry them in their Dropship by temporarily removing the turrets from the lower two tanks.
The Intruder APCs were also magnetised to make them easier to carry in the Dropship. These were added to the inside before the bottom plate was fixed in place so are neatly hidden away. Again, probably not all that necessary if I’m being honest. The Warriors I painted on the sprue to make it easier and added them to the base once finished and varnished.
The entire starter army was the sum of a couple of evenings work in total, not including cleaning and assembly which to be fair was a total cinch as the plastic they are manufactured in has to be the cleanest I’ve ever worked with. Mold lines were practically non-existent, the material itself is both resilient yet cleans and sands effortlessly and it captures a high degree of detail. Overall pretty darn close to its more expensive predecessors at a fraction of the price. Although the Starter box provides a nice core force of three battle groups to get going with, I’ve already given some thought towards reinforcements and have a Prowler pack well under way with attendant Intruder dropships, not to mention a potential commander.
What you see here is very much a fast method designed to get the starting force painted and on the table economically time wise. That’s not to say it has to stop there though. It’s fully varnished and game ready but at any stage I could easily return to add further layers of detail or effects in the future. My plan is to wait and see how the UCM shapes up and then decide if I need to add weathering to the Scourge to help harmonise both of the armies on the table. Currently they are a bit too clean looking, but that can easily be remedied in the future. Overall I’m far from displeased with the result considering how little effort it requires; my hat off to Pezzapoo for coming up with the underlying palette.
So what’s next? As I mentioned above I’m already working on the next two Battlegroups which consist of Prowlers and an imposing Desolator air unit, but before I get too carried away with the Scourge, I will be swapping over to the Shaltari to repeat the process with their all-plastic starter set. After that we shall just have to see where things take me.
Until next time.