Disclosure: The Dropzone Commander Post-Human Republic starter army featured in today’s review was not provided by the manufacturer. I received it by winning 3rd place in a painting contest hosted by Battle Bin at the 2016 CMON Expo. No one requested this review… I just thought the kit looked cool and wanted to write about it.
- Neptune Medium Dropships (3)
- Ares Battle Walkers (2)
- Phobos Battle Walkers (2)
- Phobos weapons options
- Juno A1 APCs (2)
- Juno A2 turret variant (2)
- Immortal infantry(4)
Is it weird to start off by saying that the plastic these figures are made of feels really good? It’s super-dense, decently flexible, and handling it is slightly pleasing in a tactile manner. It also holds fine details very well and is easy to clean with needle files. Really good plastic.
Of the different units contained in the starter army box for Dropzone Commander, I have to say that the dropship is my favorite design. So, I’ll be starting with it.
Glancing at the box I expected the main body to be two halves that fit together, clam-shell like, but I was wrong. The main body is almost a single piece with a spine that fits into the bottom. This design results in a model that is sturdier and more durable than I suspected. This also means there are no seams to worry about as the spine slots into the main body.
The wing turbines and tail engine are also well designed, are easy to put in place, and offer a wide range of poseability options. However, the large pins of the turbines that affix to the body look a bit out of place. The rest of the dropship’s design is very sleek and streamlined, but these are very bulky. But, I don’t see how they could have done it differently without either restricting poseability or making the pins thin and in danger of breaking.
The gate tag on the nose of the ship is an area of small concern. Improperly removing it could leave a divot in the nose that would require filling. Using my sprue cutter left behind a very shallow divot that I was, thankfully, able to sand away.
Due to the precise nature of the design for all of these miniatures I found that you have to carefully remove all mold lines where parts will join. Not doing this can result in some gaps. Even after removing the mold lines along the back of the dropship’s spine, there are gaps at the tail end and where the front of the spine connects to the cockpit. Because they aren’t visible from any normal playing angle I elected not to fill them, but you might feel differently.
With how well all of the other parts of this kit fit together I was a little disappointed with the clear connector that links the dropship to the flying base. I was hoping the fit would be tight enough that it wouldn’t require glue, but this is not the case. You will have to glue the connector to the dropship, but because it’s clear be sure not to do this until after you have completed painting.
Next up are the Battle Walkers. The only thing that differentiates the different types of mechs are the weapon arms. Assembly is quite easy, except for attaching the legs to to the body. This is only a little challenging as you are attaching to round joints. This means you could pose the legs any way you want, but getting the legs even so it stands straight requires care. Also, the feet don’t bend in any way, so positioning them in an action pose might look a little stiff.
The gate tags on the legs are quite annoying as they destroy some detail. There are numerous little horizontal lines along the back of the legs where the tags exist. This problem is compounded by the mold lines that also run through these areas, which turns these little details into frustration. I’m probably just going to smooth down the back of the legs because it’ll be too much work to save these details.
All the parts fit together snugly, so it would be possible to leave the arms unglued so weapon sets could be swapped out on demand.
The APC was the most challenging build in the kit. It’s not hard, but be sure to let one side of the vehicle fully adhere to the baseplate before affixing the other side. I didn’t do this the first time and broke the glue’s hold when I tried to put the other side in place.
The construction is good with two notable exceptions. First, the positioning of the ramp on the sprue means it is difficult to remove without damaging the top edges of the ramp, which can leave you with a gap in the final assembly. Second, the top of the vehicle leaves a noticeable seam along its entire edge.
The gate tags on the treads, combined with the mold lines, means a lot of tedious and careful filing is needed to clean them up. Thankfully, only the front and back angles need to be done as the majority of the tread will be sitting on the table. This means you can get away with only cleaning part of the tread.
The two turret options are a tank turret and what I assume is a laser turret of some sort. The laser option leaves you with something akin to an American Starship tank, but with a much thinner turret.
My biggest complaint about the APC, however, is that it looks too much like a regular tank as it doesn’t share many details common between the dropship and mech. Sculpting on a cockpit bulge, similar to the other models, would go a long way in bringing visual cohesion to this unit. As it currently exists the only way you can identify that this tank belongs to this faction is the picture on the box.
The infantry with this army are a huge disappointment. All the excellent work of the other models stand in stark contrast to these blocky, ugly, unimaginative things. I know they’re wearing power armor, but that’s no excuse for the laziness of design at work here.
They truly look like the first pass at futuristic soldiers in a high school level 3D art class. The poses are so static there are electric charges coming from them. Honestly, I can barely believe they come from the same company. The heads are so small in scale to the rest of the body that it would be laughable if it wasn’t such an overall tragedy.
Comparing these troops to the box art makes me wonder what happened. Either different troops were used or the painter is a master at contrast because the painted troops on the box look infinitely better. In fact, they look good! So, if they are a different product, I feel cheated. If the paint is responsible for the transformation, then the painter did a phenomenal job and should be commended.
My personal opinion is that they are different models, but I can’t prove it.
Okay, enough of that diatribe.
These figures were quick and fun to build and they look like they’re going to be a lot of fun to paint. There is a great mix of open areas and great little details on each of these figures (none of these comments apply to the infantry).
Speaking of painting, the directions even come with a list of colors if you want your army to look like the box art, which is always appreciated. I plan to go a completely different direction with a lot of OSL on parts that I’m going to make all sci-fi and glowy, but there’s a great freedom to these miniatures for fun painting compositions. The mechs and dropships look like they’d work well with a dark eldar type of bright color scheme, but would also work equally well with more realistic military colors.
The directions themselves are very clear and concise.
Overall, Dropzone Commander’s Post-Human Republic box has been a very fun set to build and review. Good designs coupled with easy assembly always make for a good time (again, infantry not included). Whether you’re looking for a new wargame to try or just a fun set of futuristic vehicles, I’d suggest giving these products fair consideration.