Wednesday, 29 September 2010

West Wind Vampire Bikers

It is easy to forget that this blog is called Vampifan's World of the Undead and not Vampifan's World of Zombies! Not every figure I review is a zombie, even if it does feel that way. Anyway, this is a preamble to let you know that this week I'm going to review two sets of contemporary vampire bikers from West Wind's Road Kill range of 32mm scale figures. The two photos above show the four figures from set GRK001 Vampire Biker Gang (A). As you can see, you get mounted and dismounted versions of the vampires, which I think is an excellent idea.
At the left is the only female vampire out of the group. The dismounted version has her armed with twin pistols (they look like Glocks to me) and a combat knife, which rests in a sheath at the left side of her belt. To me, the most striking aspect of this figure is her hairstyle, which is very weird. I'm showing my age here, but the two clumps of hair sticking up on either side of her head remind me of Deeley Boppers, a hideous fashion craze of the 1980's! I had a lot of difficulty in getting the mounted version to sit on the bike with her feet on the pedals and left hand where it should be on the handlebar. It was her left hand that caused me so much grief. In the end, I decided to have her standing on the pedals as if she has stopped her bike and stood up to survey her surroundings. The pose works well and I'm happy with the way she's turned out.
The male vampire next to her is bare chested and his face is contorted into a feral snarl. His musculature has been well sculpted. I particularly like his bulging neck muscles. This guy is Mr. Aggression all over. He is armed with a pair of combat knives. Note how the blade extends over the fingers of his right hand. I had no trouble in fitting the mounted version to his bike. You can alter the angle of the front section when you come to gluing them together. Maybe this is why I had so much bother with the female.
The second set, GRK002 Vampire Biker Gang (B) contains a pair of vampire males. At the left is a punk vampire with mohican haircut and a totally silly goatee beard. Can goatee beards look anything but silly? He is armed with just a single pistol, which he holds in a two-handed grip in the dismounted version and by his side in the mounted version. I should point out that in each of the two sets the back two thirds of the bikes are identical. However, each set contains two different front sections. Both sets contain the horned skull versions that you see in all of the photos. The second version is not so sleek looking and lacks the fancy wheel cover and large horned skull. Instead, a human skull is perched atop the headlamp. What I did was make all four bikes identical by swapping two of the front sections with those from the two werewolf biker sets that I bought at the same time as these. This helps make both groups look uniform, thus tying them together as a coherent whole. You'll see the alternate front sections when I review both sets of the werewolf bikers next time.
The last figure of the group is dressed in a long leather duster and is the best armed of them all. He is surely the leader of this coterie of vampires. The dismounted version is armed with a sub-machine gun and a Bowie knife A pistol is stuck under the belt of his trousers. His hair is long and flowing and his stance is one of arrogance as if he's daring an opponent to come and have a go at him. On the mounted version, I love the way the coat tails are flowing behind him. It gives a great sense of movement. He fitted on his bike far easier than any of the others. When it came to painting the red on the bikes I used Citadel Blood Red with Citadel Red Gore for the shading and Citadel Blazing Orange for the highlights. They looked okay, but I gave them a coat of Tamiya Clear Red, which I use for all of my gore effects, and that really made the colours pop. It also helped give them a glossy look as if they were highly polished. I love my TCR!
These are among the best sculpted contemporary vampires on the market today. I highly recommend them. When you look at the current crop of vampire minis, most are designed with the fantasy gamer in mind. These vamps are unashamedly modern day and all the better for that. I just wish there were a lot more available. 
The sets cost £9.99 each from the West Wind website. My only criticism of them is that it can be a bit difficult to get the rider to fit on the bike properly. Novice modellers may struggle. Another potential problem with them may be their size. Although West Wind describes them as being 28mm scale, in truth they are closer to 32 or 33mm in scale. Not a problem for me but your mileage may differ.

12 comments:

  1. I got only one thing to say: HOLY COW DUDE! THESE ARE FREAKING COOL!
    You gotta get these into a batrep sooner rather than later!

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  2. Oh yes, I want to use these in my campaign. Sooner rather than later? I'll see what I can do, Willy!

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  3. Very nice. I like your alternate pose for the female vamp. Having her stand on the pedals is a very dynamic pose.

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  4. Bryan- How would you say that the Vampire bikers would work as Humans bikers for ATZ, been looking at the West Wind figures and debating whether to order some and waiting for them to arrive from your side of the Pond, the sucky part of being in the USA, all the good figures seem to be manufactured over in Europe, LOL.

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  5. I love your paint job on these Bryan, especially the use of the tamiya to make the bikes glossy, Very realistic.

    I am really impressed with Road Kill. Its really the only comprehensive line of modern horror icons I can think of. Plenty of zombies but all the vampires look like Dracula and the weres look like Confrontation wolfen. I would like to see more done in the modern horror realm than just zombies. Everyone and their brother has done Selene and Alice but lets do some more cool True Bloodish vamps! Either that or have roadkill expand their line.

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  6. @LuckyJoe. Thanks, LJ. The pose works rather well.

    @Eldorf. You could get away with using three out of the four as humans, the exception being the bare-chested vamp from the first two photos. His face is just too inhuman. Bear in mind, all of them have very pronounced fangs, but they could be hidden by a paint job. An alternative would be to buy West Wind's human biker gang, which consists of 10 mounted bikers for £20. Great value for money, I think.The downside is that the humans don't come with dismounted versions.

    I wouldn't say that all the good figures are made in the UK - just most of them! Alpha Forge and Zombiesmith in the USA are both very note-worthy companies.

    @Roger. The Road Kill range is a very impressive line. I'll review the werewolf bikers on Sunday - they are just as cool as the vampires. Oh. I totally agree that we need more contemporary vampires. The vampires from True Blood would be an instant best seller if anyone got the license to make them. Kev White from Hasslefree has just sculpted a figure called William, who is clearly Spike from Buffy/Angel fame. It's a lovely figure that I'll buy as soon as it's released, but I'm totally with you here - I want lots more modern day vampires.

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  7. Bryan- I already have the ZombieSmith Zombies along the Wargames Factory plastic Zombies. For my survivors its a mix between Reaper Chronoscape and the Last Night on Earth Humans with two Infinity figures. I have been looking at West Wind and Hasslefree over there on your side of the pond for other survivors and RAMF's USX line (RAMF is a Canadian Company) and Reaper's Chronoscape line (Reaper is an American Company) on this side of the pond for survivors. As for Zombies thinking Cold War and Studio Miniatures to for filling out the Zombie hoard even further.

    Another question for you, Big Sal is an em4 mini correct? How are the em4 figures in general? Thinking of ordering some for use as Gangers.

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  8. I don't think that Big SIL would appreciate being called SAL but I'll let you off. EM4 are a company I greatly admire. Their figures are predominantly old Grenadier stuff that was sculpted by Mark Copplestone. Indeed a lot of Mark's Dark Future range is based on his earlier work with just a few subtle tweaks. What I like about EM4 is that their figures are cheap (roughly £1.25 per figure) and they always post their stuff out very quick. I don't think I've ever had to wait more than two days for an order to arrive. Obviously, posting to America won't be as fast but I'd still recommend them to you, Eldorf.

    Speaking of Big Sil, Oliver recently mentioned that he'd bought some figures from Mirliton, an Italian company. I'd never dealt with them before but I checked out their website and was delighted to find a version of Big Sil riding a chopper bike. I had to have him. I'm busy painting him now. Look out for the figure making an appearance in a future batrep.

    West Wind do a great range of survivors, especially cops. I have some of the RAFM USX figures and I like them a lot but I didn't like our customs officers hitting me with a surplus charge when I ordered mine from Canada. Greedy bastards! You can't go wrong with Hasslefree for survivors although their stuff is a tad pricey but I guess you're paying for quality. I don't have any Reaper miniatures. They're not easy to get hold off in the UK. As for zombies, if you stick with Studio Minis and Cold War minis you won't be disappointed. I love their ranges. Look out for a review of Studio's latest zombie set - Tiny Terrors. That's zombie children to those who don't know. Well worth a look!

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  9. Bryan- Next time you order figures from Canada or the US there may be a way to get around the customs fees. Ask the company you are ordering a from to declare the contents of the package as gift. Granted this may not work, but its worth a shot. I wouldn't do this for every every order you make to the US or Canada, but then again you might only place one or two orders a year so if they do let them through no problem you may be safe.

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  10. Thanks, Eldorf, that sounds like a handy tip. It is true that I rarely place more than one or two orders for figures per year from abroad. Apparently if an order is ofver a certain amount (it used to be $40 but I'm not sure what it is now) our customs will slap a surcharge on. For that RAFM order I had to pay an extra £15, which I thought was a pure rip off. What I should have done was place two smaller orders instead of one big order. You live and learn. To be honest, I've never had any bother with ordering stuff from America but that one time I ordered from Canada I got stung.

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  11. The Canadian Post is so bad, one of the worst I deal with. At least as far as time goes. It takes me 4 days to ship to the UK and two weeks to Canada????

    BTW I found a few good survivors out of the Clix lines and Bobby Jacksons Thugz are always good, too.

    I haven't seen the HF Spike fig yet, very cool.

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  12. Holy cow, Roger! Two weeks to ship to Canada compared to 4 days to the UK. What are they playing at?

    The Clix line is a good source for cheap figures, whether it's survivors, gangers or zombies. I've got the Bobby Jackson Thugz. They're great for Gangers but also possibly Civilians and/or Survivors. Some of them will be appearing in an upcoming batrep as Gangers. Not the next one but the one after that.

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