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Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Dropzone Commander Monorail

Today we're going to take a look at Hawk Wargames upcoming Monorail scenario expansion for Dropzone Commander.

In the package, you get:
  • seven resin monorail support pillars
  • seven steel bases for the pillars
  • roughly seven feet of plasticish track
  • four resin monorail cars - one "engine" and 3 "cars"

There's not a lot of assembly to do. All connections to track require gluing a piece in that forms a "U" shape that grips the track. This is kinda neat, as it gives you some control as to how tight the cars and pillars grip the track, and avoids and issues of miscasts making for an unusable piece. It is kind of a pain to get just right, though.

The track itself is a semi-stiff, glossy, black plastic. It's flexible, and doesn't entirely hold it's shape, but it's not so strong that you can't curve it. It's hard to describe, and I don't know exactly what type of plastic it is.

You can see how thin it is in comparison to some Legionnaires. 

Assembly simply consisted of gluing the "U" shaped connectors to both the pylons and the cars, and then gluing the pillars into their heavy steel bases. The connection to the steel base is a round joint, so you could angle them if you wanted to - I kept all of mine at right angles.

The train cars sit pretty firmly on the track on their own provided you glued that "U" connector well, but they also can attach to each other via a simple tow hitch system.

I painted them pretty simple - The bases, pillars, and the cars were sprayed Vallejo London Grey and drybrushed white, and the monorail cars were sprayed Vallejo Black Metal and drybrushed with the Citadel Necron Compound Dry paint (I love that paint by the way!). I then picked out a few details such as windows on the cars and traffic control lights on the pillars, and washed everything with a very thin black.

As you can see, seven feet of track is plenty to cover a 4x4 board with some generous curves and some overlap off the board. It should even go across a 6x4 board diagonally with slight curves.

It sits roughly 4-5 inches off the table, which puts it at about the height of the Hawk flight stands. If you're cool, you'll make your fliers hit the deck and go under the monorail. Only lame people will fly over top of it.

Even the tallest ground models can comfortably walk underneath the track.

As far as moving the train on the track, it's pretty easy to slide it with two sets of hands, but it is gripped enough that it won't slide just from bumping the table.

Some scale shots show the pillar in relation to infantry and an AFV, as well as show how massive the Hades would be in comparison.

My monorail didn't come with any scenarios included, as they're still being playtested, but ultimately, the kit is likely to come with some scenarios. We've been making up our own, including one where infantry must get out in the open and set bombs on the pillars, but not until the train has moved on top of them! You could also do a Firefly inspired train heist!

I think the Monorail kit is a great addition to any reconquesting tabletop. Even if used for nothing more than scenery, it's sure to draw in much attention. I don't think a final retail price has been set, and whether the final product will include scenarios (or maybe they'll be put up as downloads on the website?) remains to be seen.

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