Sunday, 6 September 2009

Cold War Miniatures Survivors & Victims

If you are serious about collecting a horde of 28mm scale zombies I would recommend starting your search for minis with three companies - Cold War Miniatures, Studio Miniatures and Zombiesmith. So far on my blog I have reviewed the output of Studio Miniatures and Zombiesmith. It is now long overdue to turn the spotlight on Cold War Miniatures. If you want a horde of zombies these are the folks to look to as they produce 14 packs of miniatures, each containing 5 figures. Of these, 6 are survivors and 64 are zombies, which is quite a horde in itself before you start adding figures from other companies. The reason why I have delayed reviewing these for so long is that almost the entire range underwent an overhaul as the sculptor replaced the pins on the feet of the figures with slotta-tabs. For months and months all I read on their website was "coming soon" until eventually all of the figures were available for sale. Twelve of the packs now come with slotta-tabbed figures and slottabases. The two packs that have not been converted (yet?), sets 7 Victims and 14 Survivors are the sets I'm reviewing here.
So I'll begin with the Survivors set and first up in the photos above is an elderly priest, carrying a bible and cross. His faith in the good Lord clearly did not do him much good as Cold War produce a zombified version of him in one of their other sets (set 13 Good God).
To his left is a male in a baggy shirt and holding a tire iron in a threatening manner. This figure came in two parts, with the left arm being a separate piece. It's a nice dramatic pose.
In the centre of the group is the only female survivor. When I first saw her I was immediately reminded of Tulip, the girlfriend of Jesse Custer from Garth Ennis's Preacher, an excellent series of comics. This is my favourite figure out of this group. Note the way she is standing at a slight slant. I like that. The two handed grip she has on her pistol gives the impression that she means business and she's not a woman to be messed with - just like Tulip! Her arms had to be glued to the body but rather than cut them off at the shoulders, the sculptor has cut a groove across her back and sculpted her shoulder blades to the tab that slots into the groove. It's an unusual but ingenious way of attaching the arms to the body.
The fourth figure of the group appears to be a car mechanic by his dress of jeans, T-shirt and baseball cap. Plus, he is holding a tyre iron. I found it rather odd that two out of the five survivors were wielding tyre irons. This isn't a complaint, merely an observation. If you have to use an improvised weapon and you are a car owner, a tyre iron is a perfectly acceptable choice. It makes a nice change from the more usual baseball bat that a lot of figures favour.
The final figure of the group is well armed with a pump-action shotgun and a bandolier of ammo slung over his left shoulder. He wears aviator glasses to give him a high cool factor and he bears quite a resemblance to Kurt Russell (think of his Jack Burton character in Big Trouble in Little China, a film I absolutely adore).

I've grouped the zombie victims set with the survivors set because as well as being the second pack whose figures have pins instead of slotta-tabs it contains the only other human out of the range. But first, the zombies, and at the far left of this group in the two photos above is a zombie that has been set on fire. Fire is guaranteed to kill any zombie no matter what its origin might be. Painting fire realistically is an interesting challenge. I always paint my flames going from dark to light but I've read on some forums that they should go from light to dark. If I've got it wrong I don't care. It looks good to me and that's all that matters.
The next zombie in line is crawling along on his hands and knees and has his left arm stretched out, ready to grab someone. His injuries don't appear to be too bad but obviously something has forced him to slow down to a crawl pace. Make up your own story why this should be.
In the centre of the group is another crawler but this time there is no doubt at all why. His left leg has been ripped or torn off at the hip, severely hampering his mobility. You can see part of his femur poking out of the wound, which looks very messy. Getting two crawlers or draggers out of this set was a big plus for me as they feature prominently in the zombie rules I'm still playtesting.
Moving on, is a corpse with with a huge stomach wound, revealing lots of juicy entrails. I'd love to see lots more corpses made by various figure companies. Most times in zombie apocalypse games if a zombie is killed you remove the figure from the board. I think it would be cool to replace the figure with a corpse so that at the end of the game you get a true indication of how much carnage has been caused. It would make quite a visual impact. Lying a figure on its side just doesn't have the same appeal as the figure's base ruins the effect.
Finally, we come to the only human victim. I must admit that I did consider painting him up as a zombie but I couldn't think of a good reason why a zombie would be cowering in a such way. Anyway, this set is called victims, so why just limit it to zombies? As you can see this victim is kneeling down with his arms held up in a defensive posture to ward off a blow. This is a figure that could see uses in many types of games. Imagine him as a bank worker being threatened by a supervillain or as a hostage being threatened by a terrorist. Figures with multiple uses are always worth having in your collection.
So, verdict? I have read criticisms of Cold War Miniatures that their zombie figures are too thin. I disagree with that view. I have nothing but praise for their sculpts. I think adding slottatabs and slottabases was a good decision, although I had no problems in drilling a hole in an ordinary slottabase for the pins on these figures. Once stuck in place they were well secure. What strikes me about this range is the sheer variety of figures available and the high quality of the sculpting. Both sets that I have reviewed here are very useful for zombie fans and gamers. I will be reviewing the rest of the range in the near future.
So let's talk prices. Both sets cost £7.00 each, which at less than £1.50 per figure represents good value for money. Now if you only want part of a set you can buy the figures individually for the price of £1.75 each. Again, this is good value and how many other companies do you know that allows you to split packs of figures? At the other end of the scale you can buy all 70 figures for £80.00, which although is a big outlay is even better value for money. This is the option that I plumped for. Let me tell you about my order that I placed. I ordered all 70 figures from the Cold War website at about 3.00 on a Monday afternoon. Next morning at about 10.00, I received a parcel from the Royal Mail. I looked at it in stunned amazement. It was my figures from Cold War! In less than 24 hours I had them in my hand. Unbelievable service! Cold War, I salute you!


  1. Great blog. But an FYI one of the survivors has a tire iron the other I am pretty sure has a pipe with an elbow joint.

  2. Now that's an interesting point that I never considered! Tire irons, pipes - these are both way out of my area of expertise, so I won't argue with you. If you are right, then well spotted and score one to you.