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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A guide for Dropzone Commander Scenery

In most of the miniature games, the board, the place where the game takes place, is full of scenery, that contributes to make the game more interesting. Dropzone Commander is no different, I would even say that scenery is even more important than in most miniature games. Therefore it is necessary to have a nice board full of good scenery to have a good and visually pleasing game.

Introduction

Dropzone Commander is mainly designed to be played in a urban setting. In fact in the 2 players starter set, there is already a dozen or so cardboard buildings, that are to be used with most of the missions (and the initiation mission). To be really blunt, those buildings are cardboard boxes of various sizes :

  • the smallest are 4" on each side, and 4" tall
  • medium buildings are 5" on each side, and below 6" high
  • The largest buildings are 5" on each side and more than 8" high
First a note on the building height : the flyers have a default altitude of 6", so every building that is more than 6" height is a very good cover for them. Lower buildings could also hide flyers but not consistently (depending of the perspective).

One other point is that the places where the doors and windows are is really important because most of the infantry units can only enter there.

Last point, the shape of the building can have an impact on the units that can hide behind.

A special note on the roofs : it is customary to place the infantry bases on the roof when they are occupying a building. So it can be done easily when the roof is big and flat, but can prove difficult with another roof shape...

If it is entirely possible to play DZC on a non urban board, or with a lot of small structures, this article will focus on assembling a standard DZC table with big buildings, like the ones one get with 2 player starter set

I also won't speak of the special scenery for scenarios (bunkers, aegis orbital laser, monorail...)

I also won't focus on the board itself (the gaming mat, or tiles, or modular table). This is a entirely different subject.


My gaming board for DZC a few months back
There is a forum thread where people show pictures of their gaming boards for DZC. A nice place to get some ideas.


Official scenery from Hawk

Cheap : cardboard scenery packs

There are two versions : a regular one (like the buildings in the 2 players starter set) and a ruined one. There also are some tiles in the box. With one pack, it is enough to cover fully a 4 ft x 6 ft table for 30£



Cardboard scenery from the 2 players starter sets (except the 4 grey building that are custom made)


Cardboard scenery at Salute 2014 on the Hawk stand

Last but not least, the 2 players starter set already contains enough scenery for a 3ftx2ft table. Two starter sets could easily cover a 4ftx6ft table.

Expensive but nice : resin Hawk buildings

Picture from Hawk Wargames webstore

This is a modular resin system to build structures for the game. It is available from the Hawk webstore. There are also some complete kits that give an idea of the price of a complete building.

The smallest building kit is 25£

The largest buildings are more near 60£

Those are some really nice kits, that were used for the studio pictures (in the books). It can also be a good idea for a central piece, or a very nice table for those for whom money is not an issue ! It has to be assembled and painted.

Someone on the Hawk Wargames forums had gathered a full table of Hawk resin scenery and said it costed more than 700£.

Note : I recently got one of those for my own board to be a centerpiece. It is not only expensive, it is also a kit for a experienced modeller. It will require a few hours of work to be put together and painted.

Other ranges

Some people here and there are selling 10mm scenery that can be used for DZC. I still have to get one of those to make my own mind, so this review is made only from what I read on forums and blogs, and from the pictures on their webstores. I will gladly add any other range that I missed.

Warmage


picture from warmage webstore

Nice prepainted building range. The prices seems ok. The mirrored windows are an option. This is a nice touch. My only complains would be that there is only one type of footprint : a square shape of 10cmx10xm, and also that I don't like the look of the roof clutter.

http://www.warmage.de/Terrain-Kits/10-mm-Dropzone-Commander--Firestorm-Planetfall/

Blotz

picture from Blotz webstore


Blotz was one of the first to have a range of DZC buildings. It is a very complete and nice range. It is not prepainted but it also seems cheaper than other prepainted ranges.

http://blotz.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=23_57

Someone else wrote a full review.

There is also a pack with 13 buildings for 118£, which should easily be enough for a standard DZC gaming board.

Pezapoo and one of his friend made a gorgeous modular DZC board full of Boltz buildings, this is a thing to see !


Sally 4th

Picture from Sally 4th webstore


It looks like very similar to Blotz, but it seems more expensive. There is a full table building pack at more than 250£ ! It comes somewhat prepainted

http://wargamesbuildings.co.uk/epages/950003459.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/950003459/Categories/10mm_Sci_Fi_Dropzone_Commander_Scale_Buildings

Gameon

Picture from Gameon webstore

Basic buildings that do the job. Prices in $ so shipping could be an issue here in Europe.


Impudent mortal


Picture from Impudent Mortal  webstore


Prices in $ so shipping could be an issue here in Europe. I like the fact that the design is different, but the ground entrances are not well defined (where are the doors ?), which could create issues.

http://impudentmortal.com/product-category/terrain/10mm-terrain/

4ground

4grounds scenery table at Salute 2015, gorgeous !

Probably the nicest range, prepainted. But the prices are becoming very similar to those of the Hawk resin ones. But it also comes prepainted. Buildings are quite detailed but assembly can take quite some time (on some building there are dozens of windows to glue one by one). Some details are not sturdy and are quite fragile (I already broke some ledges...).

http://www.4ground.co.uk/Default.aspx?page=347

Their bank tower, monorail station and corporate building are all very nice, if a bit too expensive for my taste (we are talking almost Hawkwargames resin building prices !).

Beasts of war did an unboxing of the 4ground bank tower building.

A few new ranges...

Those came out since I wrote this article, and they look great :

DarkOps

New buildings, most seems centerpieces or very large (but also very nice)

http://www.darkops.co.uk/store/10mm



GCmini.com

http://gcmini.mybigcommerce.com/10mm/

GreenStuffIndustries

Destroyed buildings markers, damage counters, alternative bunkers... lots of good stuff there.

https://www.greenstuffindustries.com/store/c6/10mm_Games.html

Neo Tyrannis (funded kickstarter)

It is now too late to get on board but I was hesitating until the last moments. The buildings looks nice and are resin, but in my opinion the scale is a little too small for DZC as it is supposed to work for 6mm and 10mm. Also they many large buildings choices and not enough small/medium ones. Some buildings does not have flat roof or easy places to put the infantry bases so it could be an issue during games.


Railroad model scenery

The 10mm scale is corresponding to something between the 1/150 to 1/200 scale. It is also compatible to the n-scale or n-gauge railroad models. The exact scale depend of the manufacturer and can vary.

The main problem is that here in Europe, this scale is not very popular, so the products are not easily available. The germans do some things but a "small town in the Alps" is not what I am looking for !

Europe

Vollmer and some other german brands make some buildings but I found that it is very expensive.

USA

There are a few ranges in United States like  Lunde Studios.

It is quite expensive (but also quite nice)

Japon

The japanese are the ones with the wider ranges and the nicest models (in my opinion).

Kato is the most expensive -but it remains very affordable). In particular their "large size modern buildings" really seem designed for  DZC. Already assembled.

Greenmax is cheaper but need assembly and painting (nothing too difficult however)



greenmax factory, one of my favorite scenery
Tomix and some other brand are offering even more choice

A tall building from Tomix for less than 20€
For more detailed reviews on the subject, I wrote a couple article on the subject :

http://posthumangamer.blogspot.fr/2014/09/n-scale-railroad-scenery-buildings.html
http://posthumangamer.blogspot.fr/2014/02/n-scale-railroad-scenery-buildings.html

If I had to rebuild my DZC table from scratch I would do something like that.

It is difficult to give a estimate for a table full of railroad scenery but it could be difficult to get below 150€ in my opinion.

Using other miniature scales


Someone on the Hawk Wargames forums showed this nice table built with 28mm Mantic miniature game Deadzone scenery. The windows and doors are from  Antenocitis. The complete list of the kits :

Doors and windows SF 15mm Antenocitis
http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/sci-fi-windows-15mm.html
http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/mk-ii-blast-doors-15mm.html
http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/mk-ii-blast-doors-15mm-4022.html
http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/metal-shuttered-windows-multi-scale-15mm-20mm-25mm.html
http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/metal-shuttered-windows-multi-scale-15mm-20mm-25mm-4031.html
http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/fans-hatches-15mm.html
http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/shuttered-windows-15mm.html
http://www.antenocitisworkshop.com/15mm-standard-doors.html

webstore Mantic deadzone scenery pack : http://www.manticgames.com/mantic-shop/deadzone/scenery/product/deadzone-scenery-upgrade-pack.html

I think for a half table it requires at least 3 or 4 packs, so it could cost more than 100 € for a full table.

Mantic also have a 10mm SF game with scenery,  PlanetFall. However the scenery seems very flat and low and is also cardboard.

An unboxing of the PlanetFall scenery pack on youtube.

Home made

Some articles I wrote on the subject

Scratchbuilding DZC structures

http://posthumangamer.blogspot.fr/2014/02/frozen-city-large-building.html
http://posthumangamer.blogspot.fr/2013/10/frozen-city-small-residence-3.html
http://posthumangamer.blogspot.fr/2013/10/frozen-city-building-small-residences.html

Conclusion

I think there are three broad table categories : cheap and simple (cardboard for 30£), average solution with "real" scenery (more than 100£) and the very expensive and luxuous table where everything is possible (700£ and more)

1 comment:

  1. This is a great resource! I have a few 4Ground buildings and I love the, but would like some less expensive choices to finish out my table.

    ReplyDelete