Sunday, 28 April 2013

Vampifan's Views 37 - Monthly Musings 21

Vampirella and scary giant bat by John Bolton
The highlight of this past month was having fellow blogger Matevz aka Mathyoo stay with me for a week, prior to him going to London to attend the Salute 2013 convention. We met up with my good friend Joe aka Zabadak and we had a few great days out, including a memorable trip up the North Eastern coast to Blyth.
Mathyoo and I played a lot of zombie games but sadly, we did not get to play ATZ-FFO. We both agreed that it would take too long to set up and play. In a way, this was a shame as i am sure I could have persuaded him what a great game it is, but on the other hand, we did play a lot of Zombicide games, with both of us becoming addicted to the game. We managed to play eight of the scenarios in the rulebook. We also played a few games of Zombie Dice by Steve Jackson Games and Car Wars the Card Game, also by Steve Jackson Games, both of which could be played quickly in a matter of minutes.
I plan on doing a lot of posts about Zombicide next month, including a detailed review of the game as well as lots of photos and reviews of the figures that I've painted for the game. May will be Zombicide month.
By the end of his stay, Mathyoo had become an adopted Geordie (a resident of Newcastle) thanks to the teachings of Joe and me. He now knows what plodging is and what a stottie is!
On the painting front, I am currently painting the fourth and final batch of 25 zombies from my Victory Force 28mm scale zombie horde set 1. These have been waiting to get painted for far too long. Once they are done I'll be able to fill quite a few posts as I review all 100 figures from this horde.
I have started making my Stoelzel's 28mm scale Brummie's Burgers fast food restaurant and I suspect that will take me a couple of months to complete. Incidentally, Carl has just released the first set of his shopping mall project (see picture to the right). Sensibly, the mall will be modular with each section measuring 30" by 30". You can then add further sections to the sides or on top or both. This is something that I have been waiting for a long time. WWG made a fair attempt at making their Mayhem City Mega Mall but dropped the ball by not releasing any expansions to the starter set. Carl's version beats the WWG set in every aspect and it is his version that I'll be making. The only problem I see with making a shopping mall is the amount of time needed to build it. Making this will be a long term commitment. I can see storage being a problem for some gamers but fortunately, that is not a problem for me.
In other news, Ed from THW has announced that he is going to do an ATZ crowd funding project. Initially I was sceptical about this as he was offering zombie figures, survivor figures and buildings in 15mm scale, which immediately put me off. But I received this notification from him recently -
"Just an update, looks like a May 1st launch. Will include humans, their zombie counterparts, smart zombies, ragers, city deck, zombie deck, supplement for ATZ and rumors of vampires, werewolf, and mages plus rules for them."
Extra rules for ATZ, vampires and werewolves has me very interested, so I'll probably end up funding it.
In my Monthly Musings for 2013 I haven't mentioned any films I have seen at the cinema and I haven't said too much about what novels I've been reading. The reason for the lack of cinema news is that I haven't been to the cinema this year. I've missed a few films that I wanted to see due to being snowed in. Have I mentioned how much I hate snow? I am hoping to see the remake of The Evil Dead and possibly, Iron Man 3 next week. As for my reading, I have read a lot of crime thrillers recently, which were not worthy of mention in a blog dedicated to the undead. However, I have started reading A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison. This is volume 10 of her Rachel Morgan series and I am a huge fan of the series. Rachel is a witch who lives with a female vampire and a family of pixies in Cincinnati. Supernatural creatures live openly alongside humanity in this world. I have little doubt that I shall enjoy reading Rachel's further adventures, as the series is going from strength to strength.
That's all for this month. Take care, folks.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Foundry Miss Heaven and Miss Hell

Here are a couple of 28mm scale Foundry figures that I suspect very few of you will have seen before. They are Miss Heaven and Miss Hell and they were a promotional freebie given away to anyone who bought all eight sets of figures from the second batch of Street Violence figures, which were collectively known as "Down on the Killing Floor." Sadly, the offer is no longer in effect, and just like SWAT Sergeant Hall from the first batch of Street Violence figures and three of the Slippery Dwarfs from the third set, Miss Heaven and Miss Hell are out of production.
Miss Heaven is dressed in a skimpy white costume. Her wings are purely decorative. Note the blonde streak in her hair. Her halo is just a metal ring that she wears on her head like a pair of "Deeley Boppers" (who remembers them?). She is armed with a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, also known as the FN MINIMI, the most widespread LMG at the dawn of the 21st century.
Miss Hell wears a sexy red devil's costume with horns, wings and tail. She is wearing a fishnet body suit underneath her devil's costume. She holds a 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5KA5 Machine Pistol in her right hand a small trident in her left hand.
These are two lovely figures and it is a great shame that they are no longer available. I use them as part of my large gang of Foundry Street Girls, where they fit in perfectly well.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Mystery Maker Zombies

Last time I mentioned that David/Darkoath had sent me a package of out of production 28mm scale zombie figures. I reviewed the five John Jenkins Designs Communist Party Zombies that he sent me. Also in his parcel were these three zombies. I have no idea who made them and neither did Darkoath.
At the far left is a male zombie in a two-piece suit. He has a large bite wound to his upper left arm and a smaller wound to his right arm. There are numerous bullet wounds to his back but no exit wounds on his front.
From the front, the zombie in the centre of the group looks unharmed. However, when you see him from behind that is certainly not the case. He has a massive wound to his back that reveals most of his spine. As if that wasn't bad enough, he has lost a large chunk of his hair as if he had been partially scalped.
Third and last in line is a zombie biker in faded denims and black leather jacket. His stomach is just a gaping hole with internal organs spilling out. There is a long diagonal cut to his back. His left hand, chin and neck are smeared in blood.
These are not particularly good sculpts. There is a crudeness to them that you rarely see nowadays. Their heads are too big for their bodies and their legs are too short. Their hands resemble a bunch of bananas. They are slightly overscale with each one being 30mm tall, from the soles of their feet to the tops of their heads. They do remind me of the sculpts from a figure company called Hero Miniatures who were active in the i990's before they closed for good. However, I don't ever remember seeing these three in their catalogue. They came with integral bases rather than slottatabs, but there was no identification marks on the bases. If anyone can identify who made them please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

John Jenkins Designs Communist Zombies

Today's figure review is something of a rarity. Earlier this year I was sent a parcel of out of production zombies from David aka Darkoath to add to my zombie horde. Amongst the figures he sent me were these five 28mm scale figures from a company called John Jenkins Designs, whom I had never heard of. The figures are classed as Communist Party Zombies and are surely amongst the most unusual zombies I have ever seen.
The zombie at the far left is holding a little book in his right hand and a pamphlet in his left hand. No doubt they are Communist Party propaganda. He has a wound to his lower stomach and blood is spilling from his mouth.
Next in line, this zombie also holds a little black book in his right hand. He has a long cut in his right leg. These zombies are quite intact with none of them showing horrific gaping wounds.
In the centre of the group, this zombie is carrying his little black book in his left hand and he holds an empty bottle in his right hand. He has minor bite wounds to both upper arms and his right leg.
Next up is the most comical zombie of the group. He has managed to wrap a red balloon around his neck and he appears to be choking himself as his tongue is sticking out of his mouth! He has a bullet wound in the centre of his back.
Last in line is the group's accordion player. I couldn't find any obvious wounds on him, so I painted him with half his face chewed off.
These are really off the wall figures that I must admit, I never knew existed until David told me about them. They could be Chinese soldiers or Russian soldiers or who knows what. They are mildly amusing, especially the balloon zombie. Will I use them in my ATZ campaign? Of course I will. If I add them to a large horde, they'll just blend in with the rest. As I said in my introduction, these are out of production figures, so if you do want to get them, I wish you the best of luck in your search.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Stoelzel's Derelict Commercial Building

Last week I finished making my latest card model from the Stoelzel's Structures 28mm scale range of contemporary buildings. This is Carl's derelict commercial building.
It is a two-storeyed brick building with a flat roof and parapet. My figure of Vampifan appears in the first six photos to give a sense of scale. The building has a footprint of 7.5" (19cm) wide by 10" (25.5cm) long by 5.5" (14cm) tall.
Access to the roof is via a ladder leading to a hole in the roof. This should be covered by a trapdoor, but do remember, this is a derelict building. The hole is behind and to the right of Vampifan.
This is the front of the building. Most, but not all, of the windows are boarded up. Please note that transparencies for the windows are not included with this model.
I got round this problem by printing out the four outer walls onto transparency paper and then I cut out the windows to glue in place. 
The back of the building is the only side that is secure from break-in on the ground floor.
This side wall has a door towards the back of the building. I used my transparency paper to make the glass portion of both doors.
This is an overhead view of the ground floor. As you can see the building is devoid of any furniture or props apart from the staircase. The newspapers and bits of rubbish that litter the floor give a sense of abandonment and dereliction. Likewise the cracks in the floor. It is a very good touch.
This is the view towards the front door. The front and side doors were made out of thin card. A piece of masking tape is sandwiched between the front and back of the door to give me a hinge so that I can open and close the doors.
The staircase was quite easy to make. The side away from the far wall is reinforced with mounting board. The stairs themsleves were made out of foamboard. The back piece of the stairs and the side that abuts the far wall are reinforced by thin card.
When I printed the stairs out, they were almost black. So I lightly brushed over them with Foundry Bay Brown 42A so that the stairs matched the colours of their side pieces.
Here you can see that the doors do open and close, a feature of all of my card buildings.
Here is an overhead shot of the first floor (second floor, if you're American). Note that as with almost all of Carl's buildings, the walls and floors are reinforced with 5mm thick foamboard.

I glued the boards covering the windows to thin card, then cut them out and glued them in place. This was quite fiddly and very time consuming but the end result was well worth the effort.
I cut out the ladder that leads up the roof and glued it to a piece of mounting card to reinforce it and to give it a 3D aspect. It is in the top left hand corner of this photo but is hidden by shadows and hard to see.
The hole in the floor for the staircase gave me a slight problem as I had to extend its width and length because I'd made my stairs slightly bigger by reinforcing them. No problem to a man with a sharp craft knife and a steel ruler!
This floor is also littered with old newspapers and pieces of rubbish, although not as badly as the ground floor is. I am highly impressed with this model for a number of reasons. First up, it is a decent size. The texturing is up to Carl's usual high standards and you can see he is improving his textures all the time. It is a very useful building for a number of gaming periods and genres. If you don't go for the level of detail that I include in my models it is a very easy model to make. Finally, the best thing about it is that it is free. Yes, you read that right. You can download it for free from Go on, you know you want to!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tengu Models Zombie Dogs 01

This is my third and final review of the new stuff recently produced by Tengu Models for their contemporary 28mm scale zombies range. This time I'm reviewing not human zombies, but zombie dogs.
Iain has sculpted three zombie dogs and they are shown left to right from smallest to largest. At the far left is BH04C Zeus, a bull terrier. Not being particular au fait with dog breeds, I used Google Images to look up appropriate colour schemes for the three breeds depicted. Zeus has been bitten on his left side and in the centre of his back. He is the only dog out of the three to be wearing a dog collar.
In the centre of the group is BH04B Toby, who is a Rottweiler. Toby has numerous bite wounds to his body. He looks like he is about to leap.
Last up is BH04A Scube the Great Dane. The reference to Scooby Doo is obvious but I have not painted him like the famous cartoon dog. The huge wound to his left side clearly shows the bones of his rib cage.
Zombie dogs do appear in some films, books and games but have never been mentioned in ATZ. As such, I'm rather reluctant to use them in my campaign. However, never say never. They may appear way down the line. They are beautifully sculpted figures. I should point out that they do not come with slottatabs. Instead each figure has a peg attached to two of their paws. I drilled a couple of holes in my slottabases and then glued the figures in place with superglue.
Each figure retails for £3.50 from the Tengu Models webstore. They may not be to everyone's taste but if you do want zombie dogs in your game, I can highly recommend them.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tengu Models Zombies 05

Here are some more new 28mm scale zombies from Tengu Models, which are a mixed bag of shambling zombies and mutant zombies, male and female.
At the far right is BH0x Harry, a very characterful, obese zombie. The website describes him as once being a mechanic and who am I to argue with that? He sure looks the part. He reminds me of Uncle Jesse from The Dukes of Hazzard TV series. He has some very deep and nasty bite wounds in his arms. Look closely at the rear view of him and you can see his elbow bone sticking out. He also has wounds to the right side of his face, his lower back and his left leg. He is quite easily my favourite Tengu zombie.
The zombie standing next to Harry is even bigger and fatter. He is BH05E Mutant Bloater A. Clearly, he is no ordinary run of the mill zombie. The Bloater part of his description suggests that he has spent time underwater, whilst the Mutant part refers to his nasty skin complaint. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near him if any of those spots explode. He is one very frightening looking zombie. Oh, and he's quite a hefty chunk of metal, which is reflected in his price.
Moving on, we come to the three new females. Sticking with the theme of mutants, first up is BH05D Mutant Psyker A. Note how abnormally long her arms are, a clear sign of her mutation. The fingers of her right hand are fusing together to form a club like appendage.She suffers from the same skin disease as the Mutant Bloater. I'm not sure about her psychic abilities as I am not a big fan of psykers. I think that is something I am happy to ignore.
Next in line is BH02E Kelly and I must admit to really liking this figure. What I particularly like about her is her shape - she looks like a proper woman and not some stick thin supermodel. She has curves, and praise the Lord for that. Yes, her bum does look big in that bikini bottom and yes, her boobs are starting to head south. That is precisely why I love her. She seems so real. Her only wound is a large bite to her right thigh.
Finally is BH07E June. June is a young, slim woman with short-cropped hair She has taken a bite to the left thigh and one to the lower right leg. I like the way her head is slightly leaning to one side.
The last batch of Tengu Models zombies that I reviewed were all good but none were outstanding. Not so with this bunch. I think the first two and the fourth figure (Kelly) are outstanding and the other two merely good. The prices for these figures do vary. Harry costs £4.50; Mutant Bloater A is the dearest at £6.00; Mutant Psyker A is £3.50 and Kelly and June are £3.00 each.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Tengu Models Zombies 04

A few months ago, Iain at Tengu Models released a batch of new 28mm scale zombies, which included normal shambling zombies, mutant zombies and zombie dogs. Over the next couple of weeks I intend to review them all. I'm going to start by looking at five of their normal male zombies. Note that they are all named by Iain, not me.
At the far right of my two photos is DF07 Prof. He is part of Tengu's 1920's Cthulhu range, but he also fits in well with their contemporary zombies range. With his three-piece suit and trilby hat, Prof appears to be a city gent of some renown. His suit has been holed in a few places and his worst wound is a bite to his upper right arm.
Next in line is BH01C Hal, wearing the overalls of a car mechanic. He has a cut to his forehead, bite wounds to both arms and his left leg. Note the yellow rag/duster sticking out of his left side pocket.
In the centre of the group is BH01D Barry. He appears to have been shot in the back and bitten in both arms and lower left leg.
Fourth in line is BH015 George and he has been badly wounded. His left cheek has been bitten. He was shot in the chest, causing a big exit wound in his back. He has also been bitten in the upper right leg.
Finally, is BH01A Paul. He differs from the others in that he is a two-piece casting. His right arm is a separate component. He has bite wounds to his right cheek, left lower arm and upper right leg.
Tengu describe these as shambler zombies on their website and it really is an apt description for them. Whilst none of them are outstanding, they are all beautifully sculpted. They are great rank and file zombies, ideal for filling out a horde. Each figure costs £3.00.