Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Dropzone Commander, Part 1: Shaltari Starter set - Unboxing and Assembling

Hey Everyone

I'm back again with the start of a new, ongoing project: Dropzone Commander!

Specifically, the Shaltari starter set I showed off in my Christmas swag post. 

I first got into Dropzone about a two years ago - whilst I was demo-ing for Prodos I had the chance to go to Salute 2013, and it was here I first saw Dropzone. The models looked great, very different from the Games Workshop stuff I was playing at the time, but I was too busy with the Horus Heresy to pick up another game.

Fast forward a year and I was back at Salute, this time as a guest. The Horus Heresy was behind me, and I was between games. Remembering Dropzone, I headed straight over to the Hawk stall and picked up a starter set. I've played a few beginner games with the UCM and Scourge and really enjoyed the simplicity of the core rules, and the scale of the game. Having struggled to play big games of 40k/ 30k because of the physical size of the games, the 10mm scale really appealed to me.

I never really picked up Dropzone last year as I was still trying to settle on a game, but that's all changed thanks to the Dropfleet Commander kickstarter. A lot of people in my new club have backed it, including me, and so I needed to get a Dropzone army to compliment that.

I love the style of the Shaltari, and so jumped straight to them as an army! As the first post in my Shaltari Series I'm going to do an Unboxing Review of the Shaltari Starter Set
So lets jump in!

First Impressions:

Like most of the starter sets within the Dropzone Commander range, the Shaltari starter comes with three flying transports, three anti-aircraft tanks, three standard tanks, two transports and some infantry bases. Fairly standard fare, and a great starter army - everything you need to play!

Opening the box

Straight out of the box, everything is exceptionally well packaged. All the components come sealed within a plastic bag to make sure nothing is lost during transit.

The box contains three main elements: Three sprues, assembly instructions and quick-start stat sheet, and the bases.

The three sprues are all identical, containing one of each tank, the flying transport, the land transport, and six infantry models to place on two bases. Theoretically you can get two bonus infantry bases and a bonus transport off the three sprues, making the set great value. The sprues are all plastic, and the quality is just as good as something like GW. No flash, great detail, sturdy and easy to clip and trim.

The inclusion of assembly instructions is great, and something that I've sorely missed over the last year building mostly Infinity models. Whilst most of the models in the kit are easy to assemble, it's still a very welcome addition to the box.
The inclusion of the rule reference sheet is amazing. You get the same sheet in the two player set, one for Scourge and one for UCM, and the fact you get it in a stand alone Starter is brilliant for the new player (like myself!). It also means that you don't need to buy a rule book to start playing straight away - a great and player-friendly addition!

The bases are standard fair - three clear plastic flying bases (with Hawk-widget) and four infantry bases. Unfortunately there are ONLY four bases, as it makes 6 of the Infantry models from one of the Sprues redundant. Shame, but you still get one free transport in the set!

Building the kits

Tomahawk Grav-tank

The Tomahawk is the main battle tank of the Shltari army, and the main ground-to-ground combat tank in the kit. The models themselves require one tiny piece of assembly, as can be seen in the image below

The tank is provided in two pieces; anti-grav chassis and gauss cannon turret. The turret simple fits into the socket provided, and can be glued in if needed. I've chosen to leave mine unglued for ease of painting, and to allow me to rotate the turrets in-game. The image above also shows off the great quality of the Dropzone models - the models are covered in amazing details.

Kukri Anti-Air Grav-tanks

The Kukri AA Grav-tanks are the standard AA tanks within the Shaltari set. Unlike the Tomahawk, they require slightly more assembly.

The Kukri shares a chassis with the Tomahawk, and comes with a two-part turret. For the more skilled modellers, the guns could probably be pinned to allow free vertical rotation within the turret housing. I've chosen to glue my guns at a 45-degree angle to make it look like they're shooting into the sky. Once the guns are glued to the turret, the turret simply slots into the chassis - easy!


Shaltari braves are the standard Infantry in the force. Four bases of three infantry each are included in the set, and they're as easy to build as the Tomahawks. Simply glue the single-piece infantry into the base - job done!

Haven Terragates

The Haven Terragate are the standard Shaltari 'Transport' - albeit using the Shaltari teleportation rules.

The Haven Terragates were the most challenging of the models to build. The model comes in seven parts; a nose, tail, two arch's that form the power matrix, the two anti-grav fins and teleportation cystal (shown on the left model).
To build the model I first glued the two arches to the nose, forming the power matrix. I then glued the tail to the end of the arches, completed the power ring (shown on the central model). 
Finally, I glued anti-grav fins under the nose and the crystal support to the underside of the tail (shown on the right model).
All three models took around 5 mins each to build - still nice and easy.

Eden Medium Gate

The Eden Gates are the medium sized flying gates, capable of teleporting all the vehicles provided within the starter set.

Like the Haven Terragate, the Eden Gate comes in seven pieces. Four of these pieces are two-pronged anti-grav platforms, used for the front four 'wings' of the Eden. Two more are three-pronged wings, used for the rear wings, with the final piece making the main Eden body. The body contains three recesses on each side for the wings to slide in to, making it very easy to assemble. The two rear wings have slightly wider guide pegs, making it impossible to slot them into the wrong part of the model. As with all the previous models, these little touches make the set very simple for the novice modeler. 

The Finished Set

All in all, it took about 35mins to put the whole thing together, including clipping all the models off the sprue. The assembly was easy enough (when required), the quality is fantastic and the detailing exceptional. 

Very, very impressed, and I cannot recommend enough.

I thoroughly look forward to painting these models up! All I need now is for the weather to calm down enough to get outside to undercoat the models!

I plan on using the Apache colour scheme for the force -  a nice forest green with gold. Should be fun to paint, and very different from the rest of the projects I have ongoing (Ultramarines, Blood Angels Death Company, Yu Jing and PanOceania and Bushido).

I'll get the finished models up when they're all painted, hopefully within the next few weeks, and then I'll ask for some advice on what to buy next! As always, any suggestions/ comments are always welcome.

Thanks again for reading, and remember to like/ follow/ share to those that you think might want to read.