Monday, 9 October 2017

Flotsam And Jetsam

Ever since I started playing Dropfleet Commander, I have wanted to make some three-dimensional Debris Fields. The card tokens that come with the Starter Set are fine, and works very well (especially given ships move through and over them), but I wanted more. I love painting and building terrain, and Dropfleet is simply not a game that uses a lot - Debris Fields, Large Solid Objects, Space Stations... and that's about it. I needed to do something extra!

The Model Exchange released a set of MDF Debris Field markers a fair few months ago, and my imagination was gripped - these would be the basis for my project. You may have already seen the clear acrylic Cluster tokens I use for my Objectives - these are also from the Model Exchange. I purchased them at the same time, and the MDF pieces sat in my project pile for far too long. 

It was after a recent tournament (Dropzone, funnily enough) that the project took the next step. I had won a handful of vouchers and picked up a marked-down box of ships from Halo: Fleet Battles. The ingredients were starting to add up. 

A pair of massive Epoch-class Heavy Carriers would be the basis for some of my Debris Fields - I wanted a nice mixture of human-looking vessels to wreck without having to buy any more Dropfleet miniatures. I had a lot of spare Frigates and some resin pieces from my Battleships and Battlecruisers that would add some UCM-specific pieces, while a couple of Firestorm Armada vessels from another never-started project would add some colour. The rest was random plastic bits from the bits box, liberally ruined with a Dremel Multi Tool. 

The focus of the fields would be UCM-related ships. I wanted a field that would be tied to my Battlefleet. The idea of adding PHR, Shaltari and Scourge wreckage was tempting, but I did not want it to be a messy, colourful soup. Instead, a variety of nondescript debris would be the running theme. This theme would quickly evolve as I wanted to add some colour, be it through coloured plating, or blazing fires. 

What feels like several weeks of drilling, sawing and slicing through pieces of plastic saw the Debris Field take shape, and a few more solid days of painting has seen seven tiles completed! Number eight is still on the painting table. 

These were not done simultaneously. Three markers were completed, built and painted to see how they would look, and the rest followed shortly after. It was the last stages where I decided to add a pair of recovery vessels - converted UCM Frigates with appendages for grabbing wreckage and repairing ships. One of these can be seen below, alongside my two Repair Cruisers. The second Frigate/Debris Field has not been completed at this stage. 

The orbit of this beleaguered planet is littered with the wreckage of a dozen space battles, testament to the violence of the Reconquest

Ancient wrecks dating back to the original Scourge invasion list in slowly-decaying orbits, disturbed now by new, still-burning debris

Who knows what lurks amid the scattered detritus?

The drifting hulk of a Taipei-class Missile Frigate 

Knocked out of orbit the great pre-Invasion vessel plunges into atmosphere, dragging with it the flotsam from the recent battle

Armour plating drifts, stripped away and still glowing from the effects of some great laser or plasma weapon

The UCM must maintain the impetus of their attack for the Reconquest to succeed, and the recovery of as many of their frontline vessels as possible is of paramount importance

This vessel is fitted with great caliper arms for pulling treasures out of the dense fields

Some great triple-hulled vessel of a lost age, perhaps a civilian vessel caught in the crossfire?

This immense hulk is a testament to the horrors of the original Scourge Invasion, dwarfing the efficient and utilitarian vessels of the UCM

Collisions with orbital detritus of this size would be a calamity

Some of the wreckage is rather more fresh. Here the "head" of an immense New York-class Fleet Carrier still burns as the bulkheads collapse and its precious atmosphere vents explosively

Nearby vessels would do well to avoid this entire area

Corvettes sweep through the dense field, passing dangerously close to the still-burning wreck of the UCMS Harman Dae-Jung

Ever-patient, the UCMS Rocinante lurks amid the debris, ready to launch the attack

The Prime Recovery Cruiser wrenches a drifting Toulon-class Frigate from the clutches of the gravity well, as the support vessel behind it attends to a New Orleans-class Strike Carrier

Fast Fleet Auxiliaries 

Great engines assist in the fast recovery of viable targets

The Prime Recovery Cruiser alongside the Secondary Recovery/Repair Cruiser

The two Auxiliaries bring valuable support for the frontline of fleet operations

Recovery operations amid the wreckage of a recent engagement

Deftly avoiding the massive hulk, the Prime Recovery Cruiser secures another target

Some ships are beyond repair

The UCMS Rocinante bears witness of the last moments of the UCMS Harman Dae-Jung
Next up, the eighth and final piece of debris!

Thanks for reading,



  1. I love your style, George. Your ideas are fantastic, the execution is top-notch, and the presentation is superb. I love the little blurbs at the bottom of every picture to add further character to what's being presented, as well as the staged shots like the recovery op. Keep up the good work!

    As well as they serve as debris, it's a shame about those Epochs, though. The way the secondary market is for Halo stuff right now, you could have financed several projects with those two!

  2. These are incredible! The fire effects especially! You'd get my vote for the Hawk painting competition. Out of interest, are they built in a way to determine fine and dense?

  3. This is very inspirational. Awesome conversions and painting.