Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Demo's MDF Hippo APC WIP

In my last Monthly Musings post I made a cryptic reference to a new project I was starting involving Team Vampifan. Well, wonder no more what it is. I recently purchased this stunning 28mm scale model from Demo's Laser Cut Designs of a Hippo Armoured Personnel Carrier. Here it is in all its glory in a couple of photos taken from the Demo's website.
 It is an absolute monster!
The roof comes off and there is loads of space inside for figures. The one and only thing I don't like about it is the machine gun at the front. It is rather naff and I know I'm not the only one to criticise it.
This is the first MDF model I have ever made and I was so impressed with it I know it won't be the last. The level of detail on it is staggering. All the wheels turn, the back ramp opens and shuts and the machine gun moves up and down. Speaking of which, note that I have replaced the wooden gun with a metal Minigun from my spare parts collection and I'm sure you'll agree it is a vast improvement.
 So, just how big is it? It is 8.5" long (21.5cm) by 3.25" (8cm) wide by 3" (7.5cm) tall.
There is a LOT of space in the back for placing figures. You could fit 15 figures on 25mm diameter bases in there! The instructions were clear and precise, although there were two omissions. First, the rear interior wheel covers had been omitted from the instructions. That was no big deal, as it was obvious where they went. Secondly, there was no mention of the front headlight arrays but by referring to the website photos I could see where they were meant to go.
Here you can see the headlight arrays in place. You have the option of buying the model with a large front shield wall or, as I chose, a front knee-breaker ram plate. As these are just work in progress photos I have not glued the front cab window and roof in place. I am unsure as to whether to add interior detail to the cab (seats and control panel) or just leave it bare and paint it black. Hmm, decisions, decisions. Any thoughts?
I'm thinking of painting the model a mid grey colour as in the two photos from the Demo's website.
The connection with Team Vampifan is this - I want the group to find and acquire this battle-wagon. Obviously, it won't be easy to come by. I'm thinking of having it parked in the garage of the Prosperity Corporation, the bad guys from the ATZ-FFO scenario, High Rise To Hell. This would be a worthy prize if they successfully completed that mission. I even know what Vampifan will call it - the Vampivan. Come on, what else could I call it?
The price of this fine model is a very reasonable $13.00. I must admit that this has been a real eye opener for me as to the viability of MDF models. I'll post more photos as soon as I finish painting it. I was so excited by this model that I wanted to show you it as soon as possible. I've  never shown any work in progress photos before but in this case, I felt that they were warranted.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Recreational Conflict 4-of-1 Figures 02

As promised, here is part two of my review of the Recreational Conflict 4-of-1 sets of 28mm scale figures, this time concentrating on the females. So without further ado, here they are.
To start off with, here is the Asian businesswoman. In her civilian form, she is speaking on her mobile phone. I'm not too sure what she is holding in her left hand. It could be a pager or even a second mobile phone.
With the survivor version, she is armed with a 12 Gauge Pump Action Shotgun. KACHING! This lady means business!
The zombie version of her is without doubt, the most extremely disfigured of all the zombies in this range. She has been cut in two and has had her left arm ripped off. She'll still be able to drag herself along the ground with her one good arm, but her progress will be very slow. She could still surprise an unwary passerby by hiding under a vehicle.
Richard Brooks, the head of Recreational Conflict, told me last time that the corpses had all been left intact so that you could decide how they died. So, I gave this corpse a cut to the forehead and a bite wound to her left cheek.
Next in line is the waitress. She has a napkin draped over her right arm and she holds a silver tray aloft in her left hand.
In her survivor guise, she is armed with a frigging huge revolver, most likely a Magnum. I'd definitely class it as a Big Ass Pistol in All Things Zombie.
The zombie version of the waitress has lost her left arm, resulting in massive blood loss. Also, notice that her ponytail has come undone.
I painted the corpse version with a gaping cut to her throat. I must admit to a certain ghoulish pleasure in deciding just how the corpses had died.
Moving on, we come to the chav shopper. She is dressed in typical chav clothing - jogging pants with faux gold belt, hoodie top, crop top T-shirt showing her midriff and belly button and of course, a pair of designer label running shoes. Her bottle-blonde hair has been tied back in a ponytail. She has been out shopping and holds a shopping bag in each hand.
The survivor version has swapped her shopping bags for a pair of 9mm Pistols.
From the front, the zombie version looks unmarked but from behind you can see she has suffered appalling injuries. most of the skin from her back has been flayed off and she has a deep bite wound at the back of her calf on her right leg. Just like the waitress, her ponytail has come undone.
The corpse version got shot or stabbed in the right eye.
What I really love about this set of figures is the individuality of the figures. They are not all average sized Caucasians and are all the better for their different sizes and ethnic origins. This female is clearly overweight, bordering on chubby. She could be a tourist reading a tour guide or maybe she is the tour guide. She is well-tanned, so obviously spends a lot of time outdoors. I also deliberately painted her with grey hair to acknowledge the fact that not every survivor will be young, fit and healthy.
In her survivor guise, she carries a 7.62mm Model 85 Parker-Hale Bolt-Action Rifle with fitted Scopesight - a very good sniper rifle.
The zombie version has suffered a massive stomach wound and her intestines are just starting to spill out. Gross!
Her corpse has blood coating her lips, chin and neck.
I'll finish off with a better view of the four corpses. As with the males, I am a massive fan of this complete range of figures. I must give a special nod to Brian Cooke, who sculpted them. He has done a superb job on capturing them in their various forms. Every one of these figures looks as if he or she has a story to tell. I'm now looking for an excuse to introduce them to my ATZ-FFO campaign set in Mayhem City.
So, by now, you are probably wondering how much they cost? Every civilian, survivor, zombie and corpse can be purchased separately. The civilians, survivors and zombies cost $2.50 each, whilst the corpses are cheaper at $2.00 each. However, it is better value to buy them in groups. The 8 civilians (4 males and 4 females) cost $18.00. Likewise for the 8 survivors and the 8 zombies. All 8 corpses will cost you just $14.00. You can also order the Gearing Up set, which consists of all 8 civilians and all 8 survivors for $36.00. You can find all of these figures under the Lead Bones heading of the Recreational Conflict webstore.
These are amongst my all-time favourite zombie apocalypse figures and I give them my highest recommendation.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Recreational Conflict 4-of-1 Figures 01

Over two years ago I reviewed a set of 16 Recreational Conflict 28mm scale humans, featuring 8 civilians and their 8 survivor counterparts. I really raved about these figures and the whole concept of making "before and after" figures for a zombie apocalypse game just appealed to me so much. I made a plea with Richard Brooks, the head of Recreational Conflict, to extend this range further and add zombie and corpse versions of the 8 figures. Well, to my absolute delight he took my suggestion on board and late last year he very kindly sent me the new figures free of charge to review on my blog. My heartfelt thanks go out to Richard and I can only apologise for taking so long to getting round to reviewing them. In this post I shall review the male figures and on Sunday, I'll showcase the females.
Although I have already reviewed the civilian and survivor types I felt it just made sense to show all four variants together so you can see a natural progression. I start off with the basketball player. as befits such an athlete, he is the tallest figure in the range. He has his basketball tucked under his right arm and in his left hand he holds a bottled energy drink.
The survivor version sees him armed with a 9mm Ingram MAC11 Sub-Machine Gun with fitted suppressor. Joe and I recently had a discussion about how the word "silencer" is a misnomer. It does not silence a gun, it merely minimalises the sound.
I wasn't too sure if the zombie version should come before the corpse version as a person has to die before they become a zombie but from an aesthetic point of view it looks better to have the three standing figures grouped together, followed by the prone figure. Here, the zombie version keeps a hold of the energy drink in his left hand. However, he has lost his right hand, so I think we can assume he bled to death from that wound.
The corpse, however, is intact and shows no obvious signs of wounding. Hey, it's not unheard of. He might have suffered a sudden heart attack or a blow to the head.
Moving on, we have another young African/American, only this time he is a skate-boarder. He is quite tall, as well. Note the silver chain hanging on his right thigh.
The survivor version is armed with a 12 Gauge Double-Barrelled Sawn-Off Shotgun that has had both barrel and shoulder stock cut down, making it more like a big pistol.
The zombie version has certainly suffered. He has lost his left arm and the lower half of his face has been bitten off, although his jawbone is still intact and in place.
The corpse version is curled up as he has suffered a gaping wound to the stomach.
 With so many ethnic minorities in this range of figures I was able to make full use of my extensive range of Foundry flesh colours. The business man shown here is another African/American and although he is darker skinned than the skateboarder, he is not as dark as the basketball player. All three are brown skinned but not the same shade of brown. The civilian version is depicted talking on his mobile phone whilst holding a briefcase in his other hand.
The survivor version is armed with a 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5 Sub-Machine Gun and a baseball bat. Rather foolishly, he looks like he is about to fire the MP5 one-handed. All I can say is, "recoil!"
The zombie version retains the baseball bat, but because of the way he is dragging it behind him is probably unaware he is still holding it let alone realise it can be used as a weapon! The MP5 has gone along with his right arm.
The corpse version clutches his stomach in a vain attempt to stem the flow of blood from either being shot or stabbed.
Finally, we have a Caucasian figure, although he is nicely tanned. The civilian version shows him as a cameraman. Given that he is wearing a multi-pocketed waistcoat for storing lenses, he is most likely a professional. He must be filming somewhere hot seeing as he is wearing T-shirt, shorts and a sweatband on his head.
He is probably used to "shooting" people at long range, which would explain the choice of weapon for the survivor type - a .50 Calibre RAI Model 500 Sniper Rifle with Scopesight.
The zombie version has lost the waistcoat and both arms. I'll resist making the joke about him being 'armless. Oops, sorry, it just slipped out! The front of his T-shirt is almost black from the congealed blood that came from him having his jaw ripped off. Note that his tongue is still intact. Actually, with no arms and no jaw, he can't be that much of a threat, can he?
The corpse version is still whole but he has been cut across the neck and has obviously bled to death.
And finally, here is a better view of the four corpses. I mentioned in my last Monthly Musings post that I was going to review what I thought were the best zombie apocalypse figures currently on the market. Well, that accolade goes to these sets of  figures. From a narrative point of view you have everything you need to play a campaign here - civilians, survivors, zombies and corpses. Now I have painted each group of four with the same colour schemes but there is no reason not to paint all 32 figures in the range as separate individuals. This would give you more bang for your buck.
I'll give you the details of their prices and reference codes next time, when I review the 16 females of the range. All I can say now is that I give these figures my highest recommendation. Once again, a HUGE THANK YOU to Richard for not only producing this range but for sending me the figures soon after I returned home from hospital. That gave me a massive boost.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Not Yet Dead Miniatures Survivors 01

Earlier this year, Toni Morey, the talented sculptor behind Not Yet Dead Miniatures, a German-based company, sent me six 28mm scale survivor figures to review. I recently finished painting them and here they are - three females and three males.
The first figure in line at the far left of my photos is my favourite out of the set and as soon as I saw her on the Board of the Living Lead forum I contacted  Toni to see if he would consider making her in 28mm scale. You see, Toni is unique in that he sculpts his zombie apocalypse figures in 1/35th scale. This means more detail on a figure and fortunately for me, Toni scaled down some of his sculpts to produce smaller-sized versions. It surely goes without saying that this schoolgirl survivor will join the ranks of my St. Trinian's schoolgirls. I love her pose with her hockey stick resting on her shoulders behind her head. Slung across her stomach is a 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun - perfect for killing zombies. Incidentally, Toni has sculpted a wicked conversion of her, with a battle standard replacing the hockey stick and a cricket bat replacing the shotgun.
Next up is trailer trash girl, dressed in trademark denim hot-pants and a pink boob tube. She is armed with a pair of very small pistols. I'm not sure what the item is that is sticking out of her shoulder bag. It looks like a wooden club. Her bottle-blonde hair has been tied in a ponytail.
The third female in line is possibly a cosplayer. Most unusually, she wears a respirator mask. She wears a black basque, purple mini-skirt and purple and white hooped stockings. Her most obvious weapon is her machete but notice how she is trying to hide her 9mm Pistol in her right hand behind her back. Crafty!
Moving on to the male survivors, the guy in the pale blue shirt and sandy-coloured trousers is well armed with a 9mm Pistol in his right hand, a machete in his left hand and a 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun slung over his back. He's clearly dressed for summer.
The penultimate figure in line is a young tough guy wearing a hoodie top and combat pants. He has a 12 Gauge Sawn-Off Pump-Action Shotgun in his right hand and resting on his shoulder, whilst in his left hand is a flaming Molotov Cocktail. You don't see many figures brandishing Molotov Cocktails.
Finally, is what I assume to be a military pilot, judging by his overalls and aviator glasses. He is bare-handed but has two nifty weapons slung over his back - a 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun and a katana.
These are all beautifully sculpted. When Toni sent them to me he felt they were a bit too small but I disagree. These are true 28mm sized figures, meaning they will look slightly smaller than a lot of other so-called 28mm scale figures but this has never bothered me before and it doesn't bother me now. Toni told me that he was thinking of scaling them to 30-32mm scale. Whatever he decides, I can highly recommend them. I'm afraid I can't give you any price details or when these will go on sale. I know that Toni is working hard to get his figures on sale as soon as possible. As soon as I know, I'll let you know.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Vampifan's Views 48 - Happy 5th Birthday

Oh. My. God! My blog is five years old. I almost missed my blog's birthday. I began this blog on 18th March 2009. I should have mentioned this in my last Monthly Musings post but for some reason I thought its birthday was in April. It is only when I checked the dates I realised my terrible blunder. So. a belated happy birthday to Vampifan's World of the Undead.
In the past five years I have received 9,033 comments, have gathered 373 followers and have received just short of half a million hits. This will be my 473rd post. The five most popular posts of all time are as follows -
My Zombie Horde part 1
30 Dec 2009, 11 comments, 5959 views

23 Oct 2011, 20 comment, 2175 views

2 Jun 2013, 137 comments, 2060 views

14 Oct 2012, 32 comments, 1541 views

11 Sep 2011, 23 comments, 1495 views
That my zombie horde post still remains the most popular does not surprise me. I really must get round to showing it again as it slowly approaches the 1,000 mark. The reason why the Foundry Yakuza Gangers post was so popular is that it coincided with my long stay in hospital last year and most people were checking it out for progress reports and to leave messages of sympathy.
It is not often (if ever) that I have posted twice in two days but I'm sure you'll agree, this is a special cause for celebration. I wanted to post this in March, the month when I began blogging.
If you were to ask me why I think my blog has been so successful I could list a number of reasons for its popularity. First up, is my unfaltering enthusiasm for all things undead. My enthusiasm for my blog is as high now as when I first started out. I have so many ideas for future posts that I can't ever see me stopping my blog.
Secondly, I post regularly. This ensures continuity and followers now expect to see my blog every Wednesday and every Sunday. Okay, so there was a horrible blip last year when I was away in hospital for four months, but even so, my brother still kept it going with updates on my progress.
Thirdly, I seem to have hit upon a  winning combination of reviews and battle reports. My batreps are always hugely popular and it saddens me that I can't do more as I have so many ideas and plans running around in my head. Being a miniature figure collector since the 1970's I have a vast collection of figures I can review. You've seen a lot of them but there are still many that remain unseen. This is great fodder for the future. Plus, I am always buying new figures despite my halfhearted efforts to cut down on figure purchases.
Fourthly, another source of great joy to me is my card modelling, which help to make my games come to life in a way I could never have imagined before my blogging days. Once I discovered the world of card-modelling there was no turning back.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, my blog succeeds because of its enthusiastic and faithful followers, many of whom have become very close friends of mine. Even if you have never left a comment, by viewing my blog, you have helped to make it the success it is today. I'd like to thank each and every one of my followers and casual viewers. Without your continued support, kindness and generosity this blog would have died at birth. I salute you all. God bless you!