01 November 2015

Delta Zulu Six - A (6mm proxy) Dropzone Commander UCM army

I'm not too found of Hawk Wargames: I wrote about this before but I'm not sure where or when anymore, so here I go again (feel free to skip the next paragraph, the good stuff is underneath)...

When I first heard (well, read probably) about Dropzone Commander I was very eager: air-mobile-centric game, beautiful and original models (the Post Humans and United Colonies, that is; the Scourge goes from OK to "hey look, evil flying CD-rack at 3 o' clock" and the other aliens gear looks like a mix between Native Americans headgear and BDSM accessories)... And then I found out it was all going to be 10mm-scaled! I came over to 15mm for the sheer pleasure of freely mixing and matching whatever toy form whatever manufacturer, so I'm not about to buy into another scale that's compatible with pretty much nothing else, thank you very much! I'm sure there are plenty of arguments for that specific scale (air-mobile tactics need a lot of space; but then why not go 6mm, another widely accepted standard?), but that choice of scale seems a very GWish "let's make sure if they taste our product they can't go anywhere else to get their lead - or resin or whatever- fix" move to me. Not meant as a compliment. End of ranting.

Recently I read a blog post about using 6mm proxies to try out Dropzone Commander rules without taking on a new mortgage... Nothing new so far, I thought about it before but the idea kind of broke down with dropships (and other flyers): they are a key component to the game and each faction has several different very specific ones; not that easy to source in 6mm. But Raskal just used suitably sized Firestorm Armada ships (he had, I assume, laying around) for the different dropship. 

6mm not-UCM proxy army by Raskal over at Raskal Central.
Sure they're not the correctly scaled next to the 6mm infantry and ground vehicles, but...
  • Visual scale clues are usually pretty limited on spaceships model;
  • A bit of scale wiggle room is apparently allowed when two scales are not in the same plane (i.e. air versus ground √† la Flames of War 15mm ground forces with 1/144 airplanes).
I think Raskal intended this experiment as a crude placeholder (he ended up buying the official stuff), but I think it could work as a permanent solution... Especially if you go for spaceships that stylistically match your ground vehicles and blend them further together with your paintjob...

So here we go with yet another project (as usual just a gedankenexperiment, I probably won't go very far with it)!

I'll call this project Delta Zulu Six: "delta zulu" for "dropzone", off
course; "six" for 6mm but also for the commander call sign in military
radio procedures, so "DZ6" can actually mean "dropzone commander";
the triangle is both the Greek letter delta and the APP-6 symbol for a
dropzone... I'm quite proud of this ;-)

The faction that inspires me the most is the UCM, so here we go with a list of proxies...

Dropzone Commander UCM mega-army. Picture from manufacturer website.
Infantry 
Infantry is easy... 6mm infantry = colour coded rice grains, remember? Pretty much anything will do... So:
Picture from manufacturer website.
Land Vehicles
After googling around for a while, I decided to go mostly with Brigade Models (BM) for the UCM vehicles: they have a really extensive range of 6mm vehicles that should allow me to proxy everything I want and they've got a matching range of spaceships that will make nice dropships. 

The UCM tanks are tracked but the game doesn't seem to make a difference between locomotion types so after a bit of hesitation, I went for BM Germans (hover) tanks as proxy for main and heavy battle tanks and variants...
  • The BM German Thor MBT will serve as proxy for the HWG Sabre MBT (no articulated-arm-mounted gun, but I can't think of an off the shelve solution to that, so I'll just live with it) and as base for that platform variants:
BM German MBT and Heavy Support Tanks (and a command variant). Picture from manufacturer website.

BM German Heavy Tanks and Tank Destroyers. Picture from manufacturer website.

  • For BM EuroFed Catroux Wheeled APC seems like a good match for the HWG Bear, just lose the turrent (or replace it with a smaller twin MG, see here under).
  • The HWG Kodiac ACV (armoured command vehicle, I assume) and its trailer design is, I think, a very characterful UCM model... I could go with the command variant of the Catroux but I think it's worth the extra effort and, after all, I only need one, so what about a chopping/cutting/filing off the front part of either an APC or a ambulance variant (for the raised compartment common to command vehicles) and using what's left to model a trailer?
  • The easiest solution for the HWG Wolverine Scout Buggies would be twin MG and missiles variants of the BM EuroFed Javelot Dune Buggy... I might consider swapping turrets for an actual AA one (possibly clipping one of the two guns to match the asymmetric design of the original model) and a slightly more impressive AT one
  • For the howitzer, I'm thinking about using the cruciform carriage common to several BM fixed mounts (like this one) together with the BM CDSU SPG turret (which seem to be the smallest available in BM inventory in order to both not hide the carriage and stick closely to the model aesthetics).
  • IMO, the drone base is the ugliest model in the UCM inventory! Enough so that I'd hesitate to field it no matter how good a unit it is... So far I'm thinking proxying it wit the hangar hull chopped of BM AmRep carrier with a couple of spare tank hulls mounted underneath, no to sure if I could make it work... For the drones themselves, Ground Zero Games Mini Aero Drones looks the part to me!
Air Vehicles
Gunships are just dropships with weapons instead of cargo, so I'll handle those in that section, which leaves me with just the interceptor and strike fighter...

BM Squadron Commander Germans range has one of each that fits the general configuration of their official counterparts:

Picture from manufacturer website.
Dropships
Last but not least... 
  • Looking at the general configuration of the HWG Condor medium dropship I've selected BM Modular Container Ship as its proxy... With just a little handwaving about the scale, it looks to me like the containers could be carrying troops and I haven't to much trouble imaginating a vehicle hanging underneath...
  • From there on, using BM Light Container Ship as the HWG Raven ligh dropship flows naturally...
  • Replacing the containers with pods kitbashed using a pair spare miniguns from the AD units will make a nice HWG Falcon gunship.
  • Not sure what to do with the larger dropship yet... 

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