With the Feral Vampires complete and now roosting in the Ruined City, I move on to the terrestrial denizens from Dropzone Commander. These creatures originally appeared in the Fauna rules in first edition. TTCombat then revised and reintroduced Fauna for 2nd edition. With enough extra rules floating around and Fauna becoming a viable option for regular army building, it was time I finished them up.

First up are the Daggers. These are hidden “infantry-type” units that lie in buildings and ambush occupiers. They are wicked little pests that dodge roughly half the damage they take in. Any damage that they do take potentially damages back the attacker.

I fully admit to half-assing a lot of these critters with some cheap painting techniques. Most of these were primed black then given an overly heavy dose of zenithal white shading. After that, I painted them all with either GW Contrast paints or GW technical shades. Finally I finished with either a Nuln Oil shade or the Earthshade. Finally, I picked out the eyes and made them all red.

It worked out OK, if not a bit pedestrian. I just wanted to get these things out of the painting queue so my patience lost out.

For basing, I also cheated by cutting up more scraps of my Ruinscape set and gluing them to black-primed bases. To my surprise and approval, a standard hole-punch is the exact same size as the infantry base holes. That made the process extremely simple as I did not relish trying to cut out all those holes.

Next I moved to the Maulers. These are like roaming organic main battle tanks. They come in squads of 1 to 3 and go around chewing up terrestrial squads. Like most fauna, they don’t deal much damage can be tough to remove armor as thick as all but the most advanced vehicles.

I like the way these turned out over the Daggers as the simple shading and drybrushing worked out on the larger models. Since these units aren’t just hanging out in buildings all day, I gave them my standard clear base treatment.

Now here is a second set of Maulers. Unlike the models above, these are not official models from TTCombat. Instead they are these hounds from the CMON miniatures game, Wrath of Kings. The models are all going on clearance fire sales and I thought the little set would work for Frostgrave.

The figures are way to big for Frostgrave but it wasn’t a total loss as the little beasts made for a perfectly sized Mauler proxy. And the set on clearance was still less than picking up another set from TTCombat so it worked out.

Back in October 2018, I finished up the fauna king, the Apex. This guy has always been an interesting piece and makes for very cinematic scenes.

The new fauna rules showcased by TTCombat also introduced a new unit, the Bullhorn as well as a digital sculpt of the model they hope to produce. Obviously, I don’t have the model yet and haven’t seen a suitable proxy yet. I’m not totally sold on the sculpt but it is better than what they’ve previewed in the past. I’ll have to wait and see how I want to include this denizen of the Ruined City. Until then, I’ll keep my eyes out for cheap proxy alternatives.

The last item isn’t a true fauna unit but rather Scourge Razorworms. The normal rules for these guys treat them almost like directed fauna since they are infantry but can’t search/hold objectives and must always attack if able. The biggest difference is that they are controllable by the Scourge player. Given all that, I wanted to pick some up to use as random fauna as well.

The big question in all of this is why. Why have a bunch of fauna, some I can’t even legally take in my army? And the answer drives to the reason I’m pushing to complete my dream Dropzone board: solo play.

Even though I started all of this well before the current social upheaval started, the drive to make a solo option for Dropzone Commander has been made more relevant and useful. While I’ve had or seen similar ideas for solo gaming in the past, Joseph McCullough’s latest Frostgrave supplement, Perilous Dark, really galvanized my thoughts on how to prepare a solo Dropzone experience.

In the book, McCullough goes through various ways to create random events, goals, AI enemies and board layouts to make for meaningful solo experiences. What’s even better is that you see not only the theory behind the scenario creation but also how McCullough executes the ideas into compelling scenarios. The theories are almost system/game agnostic so could be easily pulled into almost any miniature game you play.

With all of this, I plan on building some solo scenarios for dropzone using all the various critters I created to make for some interesting missions. Of course, I’ll be posting this journey as it comes along. But first, I’ll need to wrap up a few last items in the Ruined City. More on that tomorrow.