Shaltari Starter Army

///Shaltari Starter Army

Over at the Beasts of War studios the guys are having a Dropzone Commander Boot Camp weekend, which I have to say looks like a total blast if the live blogging is anything to go by. I would have loved to attend as it really got my tournament hobby genes tingling, but it’s not to be. That said, I do have something of a free pass this weekend as far as the workshop goes and the frequent DzC updates from Warren and the gang has got me fired up to crack on with the Shaltari. If you were hoping for some more Imperial Assault updates then fear not, those are coming along nicely also and I hope to have the last of the Stormtroopers and the Nexu done by tomorrow evening. More next update.

So previously I showed the beginnings of the Scourge and the all-plastic force that comes in the two-player starter box. This time it’s the turn of the opposition which isn’t the UCM (even though that’s the force in the boxed set), but rather the ‘other’ non-humanoid race, the Shaltari. The reason is simple; it’s the other force I can get painted quickly which buys me some time to continue procrastinating over what scheme to do the UCM in (I know, I know!). I considered a few palettes, but in the end actually went with the primary studio scheme replicating the basics of Dave Lewis’ straight forward wash method. It’s similar to how I approached the Scourge in that the transparent properties of the wash are used to do most of the shading and highlighting work, but without the need for dry-brushing. In this instance several layers of the wash are applied to build up an increasingly stronger tint to a bright flat base coat of yellow.

After priming all of the units white, a single flat basecoat of Vallejo Game Air (VGA) Moon Yellow was built up in thin layers with the airbrush. Over the white primer it will look a shocking bright desaturated yellow, but that’s ok and is exactly what’s required. Before the wash was applied I carefully painted masking fluid over all of the power vanes/wings to protect them.

A layer of GW Baal Red wash was than applied over the entire model and left to dry fully. This was repeated two more times to build up the rich orange you see here. That is literally all there is to it, there are no added shades or hand painted highlights; it’s all achieved through the wash. Once the final coat had dried I carefully removed the masking fluid and painted the Vanes in a bright gold and gave them a wash of GW Reikland Flesh Shade. The alternating pattern was then picked out in GW Thunderhawk Blue. This is easily the most time consuming part and although not strictly needed for the tabletop does give the miniatures a really nice contrast detail. For the weapons it was a straight forward chainmail metal followed by a black wash and finally a bright silver highlight. The only spot colour was a light green in some of the gems and detailing and of course the sensor canopies which were just a clean matt black without any need for a highlight. What makes them pop is the glassy gloss varnish which is applied at the very end in thin layers.

I highly recommend giving each coat plenty of time to dry and avoid handling between coats. If done carefully you will end up with a nicely reflective black that needed absolutely no highlighting. The dropships shown here probably need another couple of layers yet to smooth the effect out as they have only had one or two. Other than a little base garnishing, the Starter force is pretty much finished and game ready. Along with the Jaguar walker I showed last post there is enough here to get some demo scenarios going and try out the game.

However, I’m not done there. Already I have a couple more units on the workbench including the somewhat impressively armed ‘Cayman’ and some air power. The Scourge are also getting reinforced this weekend so I’m going to have my hands full.

The Cayman is ‘work in progress’ having only spent an hour or so on it (painting time, not elapsed as it does take time to dry between layers), but it’s already looking like a nice centrepiece. Even at this stage, with no detailing done it really demonstrates how effective the wash tinting technique is on these miniatures the detailing is so crisp. More updates of the Cayman tomorrow on the Google+ page along with the progress on Imperial Assault as it happens.

Until then, have a great weekend.


By |2017-02-07T22:42:05+00:00March 13th, 2015|Categories: Dropzone Commander|Tags: , , |2 Comments


  1. Allan March 14, 2015 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Excellent work!

    Your neat brushwork and washes do wonders for these models. The work you have done so far on the DZC threads is fantastic. I like the way you have gone all out so the terrain will look great as well as the miniatures.

    I have been watching Dropzone Commander with interest ever since it was previewed at Salute several years ago (prior to release). I wanted to see how it reviewed and if it had longevity before committing money to the game.

    I have found a local gamer who plays DZC and I picked up my 2 player starter set this week. Looking forward to starting this game soon.

    Like you I have not decided how to paint the UCM yet 😛

    Happy Gaming,


    • Carl Woodrow March 14, 2015 at 9:29 am - Reply

      Cheers Allan, really appreciate that. Depending how the weekend progresses with the Scourge and the Cayman (already up and at it coffee in hand), I may pull another of the 4Ground buildings onto the workbench as well. I have ten to work through in total so it’s not going to be quick.

      Same as yourself I have been following Hawk Wargames since they previewed DZC back at Salute and similarly although I loved the scale and the miniatures wasn’t sold on the games longevity. I’m thrilled to see just how it’s grown since launch. It’s been a nice steady growth rather than an explosion and I suspect a lot of that has to do with the work ethic Dave Lewis injects into his business. The guy is incredibly focussed in his attention to detail and the hours he puts in are pretty well documented.

      Great to hear you got a starter set, I’m sure you’re going to love how incredibly well engineered the UCM are and how well the vehicles clip underneath the Condors. I still can’t resist picking one up occasionally and just clipping a Bear APC on and off repeatedly the design and engineering of it is that cool 🙂

      I will settle on a palette for them… eventually! Have fun putting those armies together and absorbing the rulebook.


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