Hey all, Danny here with a quick and dirty unboxing of Hawk Wargames’ Dropfleet Commander kickstarter pledge. Almost a year ago, I took the plunge in a big way when I saw all the material for Dropfleet Commander. A ship to ship combat game from Andy Chambers? Oh hell yah! Of course, this is before the news that GW was going to re-release Battlefleet Gothic, but either way, I have been quite excited for this release. I love space battles.
First, it bears mentioning that this all supposed to be delivered sometime in June or July, so it is about 4 months late, but then by Kickstarter standards, this is early. There are definitely some in the nascent Dropfleet community who are upset by this, especially since retailers just got their initial orders last week, and this is understandable to some extent. I know Kickstarters, and I know their problems, so I really wasn’t too miffed as again, 4 months late is 6 months early in Kickstarter time when it comes to miniatures.
It is also hard to be upset when you get a package weighing 32 pounds of goodies at your door. Yep, the box below is massive, and it does indeed weigh that much. It was stuffed to the gills with sprues, accessories, and swag. What’s more, this is just package one. A few other resin upgrade kits and some acrylic tokens will come later.
The first layer of the rather massive box was full of mostly swag, smaller items, the rule books, and a few envelopes with all the necessary paper material like assembly instruction, quick start rules, stat cards for all the starters, punch-out tokens, and the like. This has definitely been one of the sticking points for some: the pledges contain no boxes for the fleets, so everything is just packaged together in clear plastic. The only box was the slipcover for the rule book to turn it portrait instead of landscape, so it fits better with your bookshelf.
The quality of the swag is high, and even the tiny tape measures and dice feel solid and have a strong finish to them. The resin pieces like the sector tokens and the civilian ship are clear, well-detailed, but with the usual flash that can be frustrating for someone impatient like me. Another smaller issue is that the build instructions included don’t actually cover the Kickstarter-exclusive battlecruisers, so putting them together requires staring at the sprue and rule book in equal measure.
Once I continued to dig, I found the mother-lode of plastic. That is a lot of damn ships. The plastic is much harder than GW, more like Wyrd than anything else, which is not inherently bad, but it does mean small, fiddly bits will break when cutting them off the sprue. The black plastics are the much anticipated bases, and we’ll have to see if turning the dials on them make precision play near impossible. It is a good idea, but real-world testing is needed. It does add some time to assembly though, but I suppose it saves you time in painting as you can’t do much to the bases other than paint the Narrow Front Arc and Side Arc markers.
Of course, I had to try and put them together, and for the most part, it wasn’t too complex. The models are much bigger and heavier than I had imagined as I never had the chance to visit any major convention where they were displayed in the past year. They are sizable models that feel good in the hand, and the detail on them is impressive. The Scourge go together incredibly well, and the UCM ships weren’t too bad either except they have a lot of small, fiddling pieces that are a somewhat of a nightmare if you have bear paws like I do. Be sure to have a file handy as these models are very modular but they require a clean, precise fit, so any extra bit of flash from the sprue will absolutely wreck the alignment.
When building, my big issue was that each clear plastic “pack” did not have the bases, stems, stickers, etc included. They were in a separate part of the box, and this slowed me down quite a bit. I understand that Hawk, a small company, had 4000+ orders to fill and ship, so I get why this was a bit rushed, but even a sticker or sharpie to label packs would have been a huge help.
Again, the models are much bigger than I thought, and I really look forward to painting them and getting them on a table. Even the smaller ships, the frigates, feel big enough to comfortably move without worrying about losing your grip on such a small model. Oh, and if you want to play unprimed, be sure to have bluetac on hand as the frigates will not stay well on the insert, and since the insert (where the flight stem will go) is also clear plastic, you can’t glue it in place until you’ve primed.
Overall, I’m very happy with my pledge, and I am really looking forward to getting a game in with Adam or anybody else as soon as I can. Maybe I can rope Travis or John into it as well.
If you are local to the LA metro area and either plan to play or want to try, hit me up. Hopefully soon, I’ll have a starter army of each faction ready to go, if not just about everything at least built. Granted, with work and baby, it’s not like my schedule is easy, but hey, worth a shot.