Sunday, 29 November 2009

Spinespur Zombies 02

A few months ago I reviewed the Torn, a set of three 28mm scale naked zombies by Comfy Chair Games for their Spinespur game. See here for my review if you want a reminder -
Shortly after I had reviewed them Rogzombie reviewed them on his blog site. See here for his review -  At first I thought he'd reviewed the same three figures as I had but a close look revealed that his three figures were very different to my three. It was Roger himself who solved the mystery. The three figures he had bought were pre-production castings and were withdrawn from sale when the powers that be at Spinspur deemed them to be too thin. So the ones that I reviewed are the official Torn figures and the ones that appear on Spinespur's website. I was rather disappointed that the figures that Roger reviewed were no longer available as I would have dearly loved to have added them to my collection.
So, you can imagine my surprise and delight when Roger recently e-mailed me with news that he had a spare set for sale and he wondered if I'd be interested in buying them. Naturally I was very interested and the sale went ahead. My first reaction upon seeing them in the flesh was that they don't look that thin. They are just as good as the new figures.
Looking at the figures in the two photos above, you'll immediately see that I've painted them with a greenish tinge, which is how I paint my toxic zombies. At the far left is a partially bald male with a huge gaping hole in his stomach revealing his intestines. He is staring up to space as if to curse the gods for his predicament. Note that these three figures are heavily pock-marked, unlike the other three Torn figures. This is especially noticable when you look at the back of the figures.
The figure in the centre of the group epitomises the name of the Torn, as he tears the flesh from his chest to reveal his rib-cage. He is also partially bald but I've painted his hair grey rather than brown.
The last figure in line is totally bald. He is also in the process of tearing the skin from his body, only this time he is mutilating his face. In the original set there was another zombie pulling the skin off his face but this guy is in a far worse state as he also has a massive stomach wound, similar to zombie at the left of the group.
As someone who loves painting gore effects on zombies, these were an absolute joy to paint. Also because they are all naked they got painted very quickly. No worries about what colour to paint their clothes! I like these three as much as the first three that I reviewed and in my opinion they are definitely not too thin. I wish that Spinespur would sell both sets.
It is usually at this point when I tell you how much the figures are but as these are now out of production that is rather a moot point. Obviously there are still some available and Evil-Bay might be your best bet if you really want a set. I'd like to offer a huge thank you to Roger for thinking of me when he had a spare set for sale. Roger, you made my day, mate!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Twilight: New Moon Review

It was my birthday yesterday and as a treat for myself I went to the cinema to see New Moon, the second in the Twilight series based on the hugely successful books by Stephenie Meyer. I reviewed Twilight, the first film in the series quite a few months ago. It is hard to escape the phenomenon that surrounds this series. In one way, I like it, as vampires and werewolves are now officially "cool" and a whole new audience is being introduced to the genre. On the other hand, what I dislike about this series is that it ignores the horror of being a vampire or a werewolf for a soppy love story firmly aimed at teenage girls. In no way can these books or films be called horror stories.
THE PLOT. The film opens with Bella Swann celebrating her 18th birthday. She wants a quiet affair at home with her vampire lover, Edward Cullen, but Edward's family of vampires have other ideas and so Bella is invited to a party held in her honour at the Cullen household. Things go badly wrong when Bella suffers a paper cut when opening one of her presents causing Jasper, the least experienced vampire to freak out and attack her. It is a pivotal point in the Bella/Edward relationship as it forces Edward to break up with Bella. He and his family depart, leaving Bella heartbroken. She finds solace and a new love with Jacob Black, a friendly neighbour. Bella sure knows how to pick them. It turns out that Jacob is a werewolf and his clan have a long lasting feud with all vampires. Bella catches glimpses of Edward, but only in times of great stress or danger. This causes her to become more and more rash as she becomes almost addicted to thrill rushes, putting her life in peril. One stunt, where she dives from atop a steep cliff almost ends in her drowning but for a timely rescue from Jacob. Alice Cullen, the vampire who can see the future, had a premonition of Bella dying because of the cliff jumping. She rushes back to find out the truth. Due to a misunderstanding Edward believes that Bella really is dead and decides to end his life by revealing himself to be a vampire in an Italian town ruled by the elite of the vampiric society, the Volturi. Cue Bella and Alice in a race to save him.
THE FILM. The cast of the first film all reprise their roles, with the leads played by Kristen Stewart (Bella), Robert Pattinson (Edward), Taylor Lautner (Jacob) and Ashley Greene (Alice). Michael Sheen plays Aro, the leader of the Volturi, who are the vampiric leaders and enforcers of their laws, of which there is only really one - keep the existance of vampires secret from humanity. Catherine Hardwicke passed the directing duties over to Chris Weitz and he does an admirable job with the material. With a running time of 130 minutes, this was quite a long film but never boring.
THE REVIEW. Whatever I say about this film won't alter the fact that it is going to do outstanding business at the box office. Twilight was a huge succes and this looks like it will be an even bigger hit. So my views amount to little but for what it's worth I liked the film in parts but found it lacking as well.
The good points include the introduction of the werewolves to the saga. They look suitably impressive when in wolf form. These critters are are about the size of a grizzly bear and even more lethal in a fight! Apparently, Jacob is the only werewolf who can transform in mid-leap, a very impressive feat. Alice continues to be my favourite character. I just wish she had more screen time. The Volturi were also a welcome addition and you do not want to mess with them, which probably explained why Edward wanted to fulfil his death wish on their home territory. The scenes with the Volturi at the end of the film gave a palpable taste of their true power.
The bad points are that not much really happens. When I saw Twilight for the first time, I hadn't read any of the books so I didn't know what to expect from the film. Now though, I've read the complete saga and in my opinion, New Moon is the weakest out of the four books. As a consequence, I did not have high hopes for the film. Bella and Edward continue to be annoying adolescents. Edward may be over 100 years but my God, he still acts like a pouty teenager. At times I just wanted to bash the pair of them together to knock some sense into their brains. The film sags after Edward departs but picks up when the werewolf clan take out Laurent, one of the three vampire rogues from the first film. This is the first time that Bella sees a werewolf pack but she runs away before witnessing Laurent's demise.
I'll certainly buy the DVD when it comes out and I'll go see the next installment, Eclipse when it is released next year. I rate New Moon 6 out of 10.

Team Edward
Team Jacob

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Cold War Miniatures Zombies 06

And so I finally come to the last of my reviews of the Cold War Miniatures range of 28mm scale contemporary zombies. Here are sets 012 Cop This and 013 Good God. The two photos above show the five figures from set 012 Cop This, and they are, as you'd expect from such a title, all cops, three of them being ordinary American uniformed cops and two being SWAT troopers. 
At the far left of the two photos is a female cop, leaning over to her right. I rarely ever use gloss paints on my figures but for my three uniformed cops, I gave their shoes, belts, pouches, holsters and cap peaks a coat of Humbrol gloss acrylic paint. Any brand would do, I just happened to have a very old pot of Humbrol gloss black in my box of paints. This gives the afore-mentioned items a highly polished look, which is what I was after. She suffers from a small bite wound to her lower right arm, a much bigger wound to her upper right arm and a couple of largish holes in the centre of her back.
Her colleague next to her is also leaning over to the right, but whereas she had her arms hanging loosely by her sides, this slightly overweight cop is stretching out with his right arm. He has quite an impressive bushy moustache. You don't see many zeds with moustaches, do you? He only has the one wound, and it's a nasty one. All of the flesh has been stripped from his lower left arm and hand.
The cop in the centre of the group has lost his cap. His head is thrown back and he is reaching out with his left arm. He sports a number of wounds - a chunk has been taken out of his stomach; there are holes in his upper left arm and left shoulder blade and his left knee has been scraped.
The first of the two SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) troopers shambles forward with his upper body bowed down as if he is totally exhausted. He has suffered a similar fate to the overweight cop in that the flesh has been stripped from his left arm, only his wound is worse as it is his whole arm that has been affected, not just the lower half. Notice that his goggles are missing from his helmet.
The second SWAT trooper stands with his arms stretched out to either side. Note that he has his goggles in place. Most of the time when I describe what wounds a zombie has suffered, it is pretty obvious to see them from my photos. But with these five, because of their dark uniforms the dark blood stains don't always show up so clearly. They are much easier to see in real life, I assure you. This guy has a nasty bite wound on his left thigh and a deep cut to his upper right arm. Blood has dribbled from one corner of his mouth onto his flak vest.
Set 013 Good God was accurately described by 6MilPhil, one of my followers, as religion, religion, religion, religion and Elvis. Whether you think Elvis is a god is for you to decide. I appreciate the figure but I'm not sure this is the right set for him to appear in. Again, 6MilPhil raised an interesting point with me - how come no-one makes zombie Muslims? Too controversial? Possibly, but no zombie is going to refuse to eat the flesh of anyone just because of the victim's religious beliefs.
Anyway, let's look at what is on offer here. Anyone who has seen George A. Romero's superb Dawn of the Dead film will appreciate the inclusion of the Buddhist monk in his orange robes, carrying a tambourine after Fran was memorably attacked by one in the movie. He appears to be bald but look closer, and you can see he has a small ponytail at the back of his head. He wears large "jam-jar bottomed" spectacles. I've said before that not enough zombies wear glasses, so this figure gets a big thumbs up from me. His two wounds appear at the front of his right leg and the back of his left leg. The more I look at his face the more he reminds me of Mahatma Gandhi!
The zombie nun came in two pieces, with her arms and a strip across her shoulder blades being a separate piece. I actually think her arms are too long and her head too big, making her one of the weakest looking figures in the entire range. There are no obvious wounds on her so I have added blood oozing from her mouth. I like the idea of a zombie nun, but I must say that Griffin Miniatures made a far better job in the sculpting department with their zombie nun.
Next in line, Cold War have once again come up with something truly unique - a zombie rabbi. His style of clothing and his beard readily identifies him as a member of the Jewish faith. Once the zombies got hold of him they made quite a mess of him. He stands lopsided because of a twisted ankle and large bite wound to his right leg. His shoe and sock have been torn off as well. He has also been bitten in both arms. He is a stand out figure!
Set 014 Survivors (reviewed here )
 contains a priest holding a cross and a bible. This figure is clearly based on him as both figures share very similar looking heads. The zombie priest has lost his cross and bible. He has wounds to his lower back, left arm and left leg, along with a couple of small holes to his chest and right arm. I like the idea of survivors and zombie versions of them. It is something I'd like to see a lot more of.
Finally, we come to the Elvis Presley zombie. Is he the real deal or just an Elvis impersonator? Well. that's for you to decide. He wears sunglasses and I've painted him in a white suit with lots of gold sequins. The white certinly shows off the blood stains to maximum effect. There is large gaping wound in his right armpit. His lower legs, especially his right leg, have been badly chewed. Finally, he has a deep hole in his left arm. This is one dude who is "all shook up!"
By now you must surely know that each set costs £7.00 and that you can buy each figure individually for just £1.75. As a reminder, you can buy all 14 sets for the bargain price of £80.00, saving you £18.00 over buying them separately. It's the option that I went for but I do appreciate it was a lot to pay in one go and not everyone can afford that amount. Plus, some folk might not want every pack in the range.
These are both very useful sets to own. Like doctors and nurses, cops are going to suffer heavy casualties when the zombie apocalypse kicks off. So dedicating a set to just cops makes a lot of sense. The religious set contains three unique figures - the Buddhist monk, the rabbi and Elvis. The nun is a disappointment but the zombie priest is a welcome addition. Don't let one bad figure out of this set put you off purchasing them. On the whole, all of the Cold War Miniatures zombies from their The Dead Will Walk range are extremely well sculpted and they fit in very well with other 28mm scale ranges. I heartily recommend not only both sets but the entire range.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cold War Miniatures Zombies 05

I thought I'd continue my review of the Cold War Miniatures range of 28mm scale zombies, seeing as I only recently finished painting the last of them. This time I'll be looking at sets 010 High School and 011 Undead in London, both of which contain five finely sculpted figures. High school is a good choice for a themed set. It is the site for for some great TV series (like Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and films (like the recent Jennifer's Body) and some utter dross (like the High School Musical films. No, I haven't seen them - the trailers were enough to put me off!). This set contains five student archetypes that you'd expect to find in a high school environment.
First up is the cheerleader, a natural choice. Seeing as I play all of my zombie apocalypse games in Mayhem City, I painted an "M" on her top for Mayhem High School. She has lost one of her pom-poms but seeing as she's a zombie I doubt if she cares! Her face is very thin, almost skeleton-like. She has a deep bite wound on her upper right arm and a small hole on her back that might have come from a low-calibre bullet or a knife. There is also a thin cut to her lower right leg.
Next up, is one of the bookworm nerds. He is considerably shorter than the other four figures in this set. His whole look just screams at you, "victim!" You can just bet he was picked on and bullied when he was alive. Some folk have criticised Cold War for making these figures too thin, but in this case it is very appropriate that he is so thin. It makes him look weak and ineffective... but of course, now he's a flesh-eating monster. He wears large glasses and carries something in his right hand that I just can't identify. It could be a small book, a wallet, a filofax, a pocket calculator or something else entirely. I love his stance as he has one shoulder hunched up and his trousers don't quite fit properly as the legs are too short for him. Both elbows have been scraped and he has bite wounds to his neck and both legs. A superb figure!
In the centre of the group is the beer-swilling slacker. He still holds onto his beer bottle but it won't satisfy his taste-buds now. There is a massive wound to his right side, where it looks a zombie has had a feeding frenzy on him. His jeans are badly torn on both legs, with the wound on his left leg showing the flesh has been stripped to the bone. Bummer, dude!
Almost as inevitable as the cheerleader, the geek and the slacker is the jock. He is dressed in his American football gear, which would have provided him with good head and upper body protection. However, when the zombies caught him they munched on his more vulnerable stomach, sneaky devils! He is supposed to be carrrying a burst football tucked under his left arm, but I painted it up as the internal organs of one of his victims. I know, I'm just a gore hound!
Last in line is a typical student. There is nothing particularly remarkable about this guy - he's just Joe Average, although he is very well sculpted. He is dressed in baggy combat pants and T-shirt. He has been shot through the heart, with the exit wound clearly visible on his back. A deep bite wound appears on his left arm. Not so noticable is a piece of his scalp has been ripped away from the back of his head.

Set 011 Undead in London will be a godsend for anyone setting a scenario or a campaign in England. Once again, Cold War have produced some totally unique figures for this set, starting off with the zombie Guardsman, so beloved of tourists to Buckingham Palace and the Trooping of the Colour. He is an iconic figure for any game set in London. His smart ceremonial uniform is marred by a gaping wound to his left thigh and bullet or stab wounds to his torso and right buttock.
Next to him is what I'd guess to be a football hooligan. To be honest, football hooliganism is no longer a big problem in this country but I doubt if it will ever be totally eradicated. I just don't see it as a uniquely English problem. At present, Italy, for example, appears to have a far worse hooligan problem. Perhaps, he's just a lager lout, and by God, we have plenty of them! Whatever he was as a human he certainly met his match when the zombies caught him. He sports a nasty wound to the left side of his head and a vicious bite wound to his right leg. I have smeared blood around his mouth, which has dribbled down to his T-shirt, staining the top. Also his left hand is smeared with blood.
Another figure that benefits from being so thin is the punk in the centre of this group. Just look how thin and spindly his legs are. I'm sure it is only his leather jacket that gives his upper body any bulk at all. He has a large spiky mohican haircut, which he has dyed blue. He has holes in both elbows and both knees, none of which would be fatal to him. However, he has also had his throat ripped out... and that would be fatal!
The British Bobby with the trusty truncheon makes a welcome change to all the American cops that so many companies make. English policeman are woefully under presented. I know that Hasslefree make some great English cops based on the film, Hot Fuzz. But, who else, apart from Cold War, makes English police zombies? This beat cop has been shot in the stomach. There is a large exit wound in his back. He has also been bitten in the right leg. Note that he has a radio clipped to the right lapel of his jacket.
Speaking of unique figures we come to what must be the most unique of all zombie figures - a zombie Morris dancer! I did a double take when I first saw this zed. Apparently, he must be quite popular with some folks as I see that Wargames Factory have Zombie Morris Dancers on their list of figures waiting to be produced. Just a word of advice to anyone who has voted for them - guys, it ain't going to happen! You'll never get enough people to vote for these to be go into production. If you really want more zombie Morris dancers just buy multiples of this figure and convert him. Being dressed all in white really makes the gore stand out on him all the more. His nastiest wound is the huge chunk that has been taken out of his left side. Lesser wounds are those to his right chest and right thigh.
If you've read my previous reviews of this range you'll know how much these figures cost, but if you're new to my blog or have forgotten their price, they cost £7.00 per pack. You also have the option of buying each figure separately for £1.75. I was wondering how much use I'd get out of set 011 Undead in London, seeing as I set my zombie games in America but I figured it out thus. Someone in Mayhem City was holding a London-themed fancy dress party that got gate-crashed by a zombie horde, hence London Undead in America! If you were thinking similar thoughts about how to use this set in a non-English based camapaign, don't! There is no reason not to buy them, wherever you set your campaign. Naturally, the high school zombies will see a lot of use in my games. My next post should complete my review of this excellent range of zombies.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Studio Miniatures Zombies 05 - Mob 5

It is always a pleasure to review a new set of Studio Miniatures 28mm scale zombies. Zombie Mob 005 is something different from Studio's previous offerings, this time concentrating on hospital victims. This is such a logical choice for zombies. When the zombie apocalypse kicks off the hospitals will quickly become overwhelmed with victims, many of whom will turn into zombies. These will inevitably create more zombies in the hospital. For the first time, Studio have gone with a 50-50 split between male and female zombies, a move I applaud. I'll begin my review by looking at the male zombies, shown in the two photos above.
Note that the three zombies in the hospital gowns are all a variation of the same figure. I know that this concerns some people but I have stated before that it does not bother me. There is enough variety in the poses to make them all different. The zombie at the far left stands with his arms hanging loosely by his sides and his mouth wide open. He is dressed in socks and slippers and an operating gown, that inevitably does not tie up properly at the back, thus exposing his bum. There is a hole in his right thigh and his left knee is badly grazed. I have added blood to his mouth, which has dribbled down to pool around his neck and stained the top of his gown.
The zombie to his left has had most of the flesh stripped from his right arm but not his hand. His head hangs loosely against his left shoulder. He has a bandage around his left wrist. Most worryingly of all for him, he appears to have been castrated. It looks like a zombie has feasted on his manhood. Now that just brings tears to the eyes thinking about it! It is amazing to see what disgusting new wounds the sculptors can come up with!
Next in line, the sculptor has resorted to that old standby - disembowelment. The zombie clutches his stomach in a vain attempt to stop his intestines from spilling out. He has a bandage wrapped around his head. His left knee is also badly grazed.
Last in line is something truly unique - a zombie breaking free from a body bag. He has somehow clawed holes in the bodybag so that his arms and legs are now free. This makes a lot of sense if you are playing any game where it takes time for a dead body to reanimate as a zombie. In the early days of the zombie outbreak paramedics will naturally put any corpse they find into a bodybag and transport it to the morgue, where inevitably it will rise as one of the undead. The first thing it will do is to try and get out of the bodybag. Ten out of ten for originality with this sculpt, even if it did remind me of the Honey Monster when I first saw it! "Tell 'em about the honey, mummy!"

Next up are the females and again, the three zombies dressed in the ill-fitting hospital gowns and slippers are all a variation of the same figure. First in line is a zombie clutching a bloody piece of meat in her left hand. She has a blood-stained bandage on her right arm. She appears to be chewing a piece of flesh or vomitting something from her mouth. I've gone for the first option and have stained the top of her gown in blood. Note that her right slipper has gone missing and her toes poke out of her sock.
Next to her is the zombie that I find the most disturbing out of this group. She is clearly pregnant. But look at the way she clutches her blood-stained groin. Something "very bad" has happened to her and her baby. We don't know what and it is left to the imagination what has happened to her. Horror left to the imagination can often be far more frightening than "in your face" gore. She creeps me out... and it takes something special to do that!
The third of the trio has her left arm in a sling. I've sculpted her right slipper back on as I did not want all three women to have lost one of their slippers each. Once again. I have smeared blood around her mouth to show that she has recently fed.
The final figure of this group and indeed of this set, is a female zombie crawling out of her bodybag. Her face is hideously ugly and she has wounds to her right shoulder blade, lower right arm and right breast. I suppose that you could paint her bodybag as a sleeping bag if you wanted to set a scenario at a campsite. She is an outstanding figure, however you decide to paint her.
Zombie Mob 005 costs £15.99 if you want white metal versions of the figures or £24.99 if you'd prefer resin cast figures. I always go for the white metal version. This is a very welcome addition to Studio's ever-growing horde and it is great to see the company producing so many fine quality sets on such a regular basis. Zombie Mob 006, which features doctors and nurses to accompany this set is already on offer and I'm eagerly awaiting for them to arrive through the post. Expect a review of them very soon as they'll be jumping to the head of my painting queue when they arrive. When it comes to making zombie miniatures I put Studio at the top of the pile and this set only enhances their reputation for being the best in the business. As if their figures weren't so good, just check out how they are packaged. They still come in the old-style video boxes that are such fun to receive.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

WWG Modular Gaming Boards

I am going to do something a bit different for my World Works Games scenery review. Instead of reviewing a building I've made I am going to show you the modular gaming boards that I use in my games when recreating Mayhem City. Each board measures 23 inches by 23 inches, which does seem like an odd figure, and not just in the literal sense of the word. There is a perfectly rational explanation for this. My original thought when I decided to make my gaming boards was to make them 24 inches square. But when I bought the foamboards that the ground tiles are glued to I discovered that it was A1 sized, meaning only 23.5 inches wide. That lack of half an inch was a bummer, I can tell you! When I began this project, the standard size for a Mayhem City ground tile was 7 inches square. If I put nine together in three rows of three that would fill an area 21 inches square. However, I wanted to widen all of the pavements on the tiles by one inch. So if I added an extra inch to each side of the 21 inch square I would end up with a 23 inch square. So, that is why my gaming boards are all 23 inches by 23 inches.
I planned each tile out on graph paper before printing out the relevant tiles. The road tiles come from the Streets of Mayhem set and the concrete tiles are from the Bits of Mayhem set. I used 3M Photo Spray to glue the tiles to the foamboard. With such a large area to be glued this is the best solution. The pavements were cut from the tiles and glued onto mounting card then stuck back in place on the foamboard. This raises the pavement from the road, as it is in real life. Most people would have left the pavements attached to the road tiles but my motto is "always go the extra mile!" Yes, it means more work but not only does it look good but it also helps stop the buildings from sliding about if they are accidentally nudged.
I should mention that before I glued any tiles to the foamboard I stuck strips of masking tape along each edge of the foamboard. This helped to protect them and made it easier to paint the edges so that they matched the tiles. All of the boards have had their edges painted in Games Workshop acrylic paints.
The first tile that I made is shown above and is simply a straight road section running across the centre of the board. I made a copy of the straight road tile shown and digitally removed the scrap newspapers. I used that road tile to cut and paste the extra one inch strips of pavement and the one inch wide ends for the road.

This next tile is very similar to the first but it serves a specific purpose with the two turn-offs from the main road. They lead to my Mayhem petrol station and garage. Those two buildings will always  go with this particular tile.

This tile is also similar to the first two but this time the road runs along one board edge. I knew that I wanted some tiles with the road running across the centre of the board and some with the road hugging one edge. Of course this means that the road sections of these boards don't line up but that isn't a problem as I made boards that will allow them to line up. Keep on viewing and you'll see what I mean.

This tile adds a T-junction to the road that runs across the board... does this board. This board is one that allows the boards with the road running centrally to match up with those where the road runs along one edge. See, I told you I had it covered!

After adding a T-junction, the next logical step was to create a crossroads.

And here I created another crossroads. Once again, this board will join the boards where the road runs across the centre to those where the road runs along one edge only this time there are two options for placing the board with the centrally placed road - top or bottom.

Next up on my agenda was curves. This board shows the road running along two sides of the board, leaving a large area to place a big building or numerous smaller ones.

This curved road is designed for the the boards in which the road is situated centrally.

Here we come to another of my tiles that allows the boards with the centrally placed roads to join up with the boards with the roads running along an edge. This is a right hand curve...

...and this is a left hand curve.

This is the first of three tiles that I designed using the two car parking tiles that came with the Streets of Mayhem set. I have modified the tiles slightly. The main change being that I gave the disabled parking bay a lot more space. It was originally the smallest of the parking spaces, which frankly, made no sense at all. My father is disabled but can still drive so I know only too well how important it is for disabled drivers to have extra space. Don't get me started on non-disabled drivers who park in disabled bays - inconsiderate bastards!

In this board I have placed the car park centrally.

And on this board the car park has been shifted across to the far right.

This is the last board that I made and is radically different to all the others. This was designed for the Mayhem Skateboard Park. The perimeter fence and two spectator stands are glued in place, so I have to be careful when storing it away. With the path running all the way around it, it still retains its modularity and if you look at my last two ATZ battle reports you will see how well it fits in with the other boards.
I'll be making more boards of this ilk in the future. Mayhem Junkyard and Wildwood Grove immediately spring to mind. Both sets will require their own unique boards. I haven't even thought about the Mayhem Mega-Mall. That will be quite a project when I do start it. I'm holding back until more expansion packs have been released for it. The initial set contains only three shops and a restaurant, which isn't much to fill a shopping mall. However, further expansions have been promised.
The other thing that has me pondering is how WWG's new TerrainLinks system will affect Mayhem City. At present TLX only covers fantasy settings but it is the way of the future for WWG and I know the designers will get round to catering to the contemporary gamers eventually. How TLX will fit in with the current Mayhem City sets remains a mystery.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Cold War Miniatures Zombies 04

Following quickly on the heels of my last review of the Cold War Miniatures 28mm scale zombies from their extensive The Dead Will Walk range I now present set 08 Run For It and set 09 All Dressed Up. As usual, each set contains five figures on slottatabs and separate 25mm diameter plastic slottabases.
The two photos above show the zombies from set 08 Run For It. Appropriately enough, I'll begin with the female at the far left of the group who was clearly a fitness fanatic before joining the ranks of the undead. She is dressed as if she has just stepped into her gym class with head band, vest, sports pants and trainers. Her hair has been tied back in a ponytail. She suffers from two injuries - one minor, a twisted ankle on her right leg and the other one major in that half of her face has been ripped off, revealing her skull. She is a great miniature.
Equally as good is the plump country boy dressed in dungarees and T-shirt. This guy is overweight, although by no means fat. Perhaps if he'd exercised more he'd have been able to "run for it" and avoided the zeds. Remember Jesse's first rule of survival in Zombieland - "Cardiac." Be fit and you'll outrun the zombies. This guy wasn't and now he's paid the price. He is relatively unharmed, apart from a few bites on his lower legs. I'm betting he died of a heart attack whilst trying to run away to safety.
In the centre of the group is Cold Wars' second child zombie, only this time it's a little girl. In her right hand she retains her teddy bear (missing one leg) and she points at something with her left hand. There a couple of holes near the hem of her dress but her once pretty face is now a complete mess. Her right eye hangs out of its socket giving her a very ugly look. She is an outstanding sculpture, in my opinion, as we see far too few zombie children.
Staying with the keep fit theme, that is obviously a part of this set, we come to the male body builder. This guy is even more muscular than the "Mr. Muscles" bro' that I reviewed last time in set 05 Downtown. He is dressed in nothing more than a posing pouch (I just had to paint it gold). He has gone down to a massive wound to his neck and has obviously bled to death. Also, note the way his left leg is twisted at the ankle.
I'm not sure what the last figure in the group has to do with the "Run For It" theme, but all the same, he is very well sculpted and perhaps, he was what the others were running from! He is a male of indeterminate age dressed in a polo-neck jumper and torn trousers. His wounds are extensive. His left eye dangles from a gaping hole in his face. In addition, he has bites to his stomach, arms and right leg. He wields a chewed off lower leg in his right hand. It's his trophy and no-one else can have it!

Set 09 All Dressed Up is a perfect complement to the country half of set 06 Town and Country in that all of these zombies came from the upper strata of society. Let's be honest, race, religion and class mean nothing to a flesh eating zombie. As always, I'll begin at the far left and move across to the far right. First in line is a gentleman dressed in a tuxedo, bow tie and shirt. Even as a zombie, he still looks down his nose at those around him! A clever bit of sculpting or just a coincidence? The hole in his chest is quite large and at first glance would appear to be caused by a high calibre bullet. I dismiss this theory due to the lack of exit wound in his back, so I think it is a bite wound. He has another big bite wound on his left thigh.
I would assume that the lady standing next to him was his partner for the evening. She is elegantly dressed in a LBD (Little Black Dress), long gloves, high heels and a pearl necklace. She holds her purse in her left arm. her dress has been badly torn and holed as her zombie attacker savagely bit her in the right thigh. The hole in her thigh is clearly visible. I think she is a terrific zombie, my favourite out of this set.
Holding centre place is a toff dressed in his summer garb of straw boater, blazer, shirt and casual trousers. Now this chap could well have been shot in the stomach as there is a massive wound in his lower left side, possibly the exit wound of a high calibre round. Or he might just have been bitten! One thing is for sure, he certainly suffered at the hands and teeth of the flesheaters, as there is a large bite wound on his lower left arm and most of the left side of his left leg has been eaten away.
I have mentioned before that one of the great things about this range are the number of unique zombies you'll never find anywhere else. Here is another case in point - a Scottish laird dressed in a traditional kilt and jacket. I'd take my hat off to the sculptor if I was wearing one, for his sheer originality. It brings a smile to my face when I see something so different that no one else has thought of making. However, this is not the best of sculptures, being rather flat and undynamic but it gets a big thumbs up from me just for being so unique. This zombie has a small bite/bullet wound to the stomach and a much bigger bite wound to his left thigh.
The final figure out of this group is a female dressed in her evening gown. We can see that she neglected to wear a bra as her dress has been pulled down to show a naked right breast. Tits out for the lads! Sorry, that was uncalled for! There are three large holes  that reveal extremely nasty bite wounds to her legs. By giving her a white dress, the blood stains really show up. Blood also trickles from the corners of her mouth. This is another extremely well sculpted figure.
Costing just £7.00 per set, these are very good value for money. As always, you have the option of buying each figure individually for £1.75 if there are some you don't want or perhaps you might need duplicates of some of them. I think that both sets deserve a place in anyone's zombie horde. Both sets contain outstanding individuals, which for me are the little girl from set 08 and the female in the LBD from set 09. Although a few others come close as well. Set 08 Run For It will probably see more use in a game then set 09 All Dressed Up but I'm quite happy to own both sets.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Cold War Miniatures Zombies 03

It seems such a long time since I reviewed any figures but in truth it's only been about three weeks. I'm going to continue my review of the the Cold War Miniatures 28mm scale zombies from their The Dead Will Walk range, this time concentrating on set 05 Downtown and set 06 Town and Country.
The two photos above show the five figures from the Downtown set and the first thing you'll notice about these are that they are all negroid zeds. I am all for ethnic diversity amongst zombies so this set gets a big thumbs up from me. I'll start off by looking at the figure at the far left. He obviously likes to flash his "bling" with his gold chains, necklace with huge cross, bracelet and watch. This group are dressed in the clothing you would expect to find coloured youths from any city ghetto wearing. This guy wears a bandana, a vest, cropped baggy trousers and the obligatory trainers/running shoes. His wounds consist of small bites to the right shoulder and lower left arm as well as a vertical line of bullet holes in his torso.
Next up is the only female of the group. She wears a sports bra and low-slung tracksuit bottoms that reveal her thong. I notice more and more young women dressed in low-slung pants that reveal a thong nowadays. On some women it looks sexy, on others it's a huge mistake! This young woman has suffered badly at the hands (and mouths) of the undead. She has two big bite wounds to her stomach and left thigh and a smaller bite to her upper right arm.
In the centre of the group is what appears to be a break-dancing zombie, given the way he's waving his left arm and crossing his legs. Perhaps he was one of the backing dancers from Wacko Jacko's Thriller video! His wounds are very minimal - a single gunshot to the kidneys. You must agree that he is very oddly posed.
Next in line is "Mr. Muscles" the body builder who likes to show off his magnificent body to impress the "laydees!" "Just look at my six pack!" "Feel my muscles," he crowed. Yeah, arsehole, and just look at the huge chunk of flesh ripped from your chest so I can see your ribcage. He too wears low-slung baggy trousers and appears to be "going commando." I like the sculpting but I'd have hated this guy in real life.
Finally, at the far right of the group is a shell-suit wearing dude with a hat and a shoulder bag. In addition, he wears a gold necklace. There are a couple of holes in the right leg of his trousers, which I left bloodless. However, he does sport one wound and it is a nasty one. The left side of his chest and stomach has been eaten away. That had to have hurt!

The Town and Country set comprises five figures from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Lower class meets high class. As usual, I'll work through them going from left to right and starting with the business woman. She is neatly dressed in a two piece suit that sports a number of tears, especially in her right arm. I have painted her with blood smearing her lower face and right hand as if she had just enjoyed a bloody meal. Apart from the few rips and tears in her clothing she does not appear too badly wounded.
Standing next to her is a gent in suit and tie, who reminds me of a dodgy dealer - a low life criminal out to make a fast buck. His stance is awkward as if he is struggling to remain upright, due to some unseen broken bones. His right eye has been plucked out and his suit is badly torn in places.
Next up, is a nicely sculpted hard hat worker, possibly from the construction industry. He wears a high visiblity jacket, T-shirt, jeans, boots and heavy leather gloves, which are a nice touch, and of course, his hard hat. His left leg has been twisted at the ankle and a large chunk has been taken out of his lower right leg. There is also a small wound to his left arm and I smeared his jaw and neck in TCR (Tamiya Clear Red).
Another town worker stands to his left. This particular zombie looks to have once been a mechanic, seeing as he is dressed in overalls and carries a wrench in his right hand. Another indeterminate tool is stuffed in his back pocket. Now when I see a zombie mechanic, I immediately think of "Big Daddy" - the intelligent zombie from Romero's Land of the Dead film. However, one look at this zed's face and you can see he clearly isn't "Big Daddy." (Personally, I'm hoping Studio Miniatures make him as one their special named zombies.) This zombie has had the flesh stripped from half of his face and his right eye hangs out of its socket.
At the far right of this group we return to the high society with another female, this time dressed up in equestrian clothing. She might have been one of the fox hunting brigade. I have no idea if that particular "sport" goes on in America or not. If not she'd fit in well in an English setting for a zombie campaign. Alternatively, she might just be a show-jumping rider.There is a large hole in the back of her jacket and a large piece of flesh has been bitten out of her right leg. She still retains her riding crop.
So there we have another two fine sets of figures, both containing useful figures for anyone's zombie horde. I'll just repeat the prices again - each set costs £7.00 or if there are some figures you like/want and others you don't like/want, you can buy them individually for £1.75. I like both sets, in fact I like all of the Cold War zombie figures. What I particularly like about their range is that they fill niches that other companies just don't cover or perhaps cover only sporadically. As far as I am aware, the show jumping female zombie is unique. Other firms make negroid zombies but it is nice to get a set that just features them. More so, if your campaign is set in a large urban area. Some people have commented on how thin these figures are as if that is a bad thing. I totally disagree. For sure, some of them are thin, but look around you. People come in all shapes and sizes. I don't see what the problem is. I'd say that they are more realistically proportioned. Your mileage may vary.