With Dropzone Commander, as with most minis games, there are a lot of extra tools players use to help the game go smoothly. This can be things like laser lines to accurately check line of sight or one innocuous little tool that Dropzone players have been using: the stitch counter. This little device is a great way to track the damage done to large items that have a high damage value like buildings. With building destruction common in Dropzone and buildings having damage points as high as 40, a concise way to keep track of this was needed and the small footprint of the stitch counter worked perfectly. You can pick them up at hobby stores or find them in bulk online.
The counter on the left is straight from the package and they usually come in a variety of bright red or blue colors. While extremely useful, they aren’t particularly attractive. A year or more ago, I remember a late night conversation with one of our Dropzone players and he was also lamenting the out of place nature of the counters. Brian went on to describe a possible fix for this by disguising the counter as a building water tower. Colton was also in on the discussion and we batted around some ideas and some other options like HVAC pieces but the water tower idea really stuck.
I took several stitch counters apart and primed them up. I started thinking about the next step and how to create the water tower structure but soon got distracted and ran out of quick/simple ideas. I shelved the project and there it languished for months.
Fast forward to last week and with Reese’s 3D printing of all the building templates, I went to Thingiverse for a water tower that could revive this project. We found one and tested it but it came out awful. Since I knew that this would be the way forward, I decided to flex my own fledgling 3D modelling muscles and try out a sample myself.
The model was easier than I anticipated mainly due to the small scale of Dropzone and the fact that I can cheat and not add any textural details. With the support structure out of the way, the tower roof was even easier. Reese did a few test prints for me and they worked very well.
I did only some minimal cleaning on these to remove obvious burrs and string artifacts. The weather cooperated and I primed them up as well.
The stitch counters have a hole running through as I assume you can thread them on the string you are counting. We’ll use this hole and an 1/8th wooden dowel to create a stable unified piece. I needed to drill holes in the center of my roof and support. A 5/32 drill bit was just big enough to allow for the dowel without being loose or wobbly.
Running the dowels through and everything tested up great. Off to quick paint and see how it all turns out.
I’m not totally satisfied but they seem to work out well. I think I need some variety in my water tower paint schemes but luckily I have more to build so the variety will come. I’ll work up the paint a little more until I’m happy with the final results but for now, I’ll call these good.
After I seal them, I can remove the inside tape covering the numbers and then they’ll be ready to go.