Monday, 22 August 2016

Zombicide: Black Plague - Dork Tower Survivors

Back in 2015, I posted a rather unusual review of four cartoon Survivor figures I wanted to use in some games of Zombicide. You can check it out - here.
For those who can't be bothered to check it out, here's a pair of photos of the four figures from that review.
They are from left to right, Matt, Gilly, Igor and Carson from the Internet cartoon strip, Dork Tower. These were specifically designed for use in Zombicide. I said at the time that I would review my Zombicide: Black Plague versions of them, plus two of the characters, Ken and Kayleigh, who were missing from the contemporary set. Well, here they are. I have had the fantasy versions of them for nearly a year now and painted them as soon as I got them. I was just waiting for the right opportunity to show them and that time is now.
There is a story to tell about how I came to own these six figures. Steve Jackson Games made a boxed set of six 28mm scale Dork Tower figures. When I went to purchase this set last year I discovered to my dismay that it was out of production. Bummer! So, I instigated plan B and luckily found one eBay seller who had a set for sale at a very reasonable price. The box art was correct and he included a photo showing the three heroes, Carson, Kayleigh and Ken, who you can see after these three directly below (Matt, Gilly and Igor). His description suggested it was a full set of figures but when I received it I found it was missing Matt, Gilly and Igor. This was not good. Should I return the parcel, claiming I had been mis-sold due to the set being incomplete? That was kind of a grey area. Sure, his photo showed the three figures that came in the box but there was no warning that three figures were missing. Plus, no one else was offering a set for sale. In the end I decided to keep them and I bought a second set of the contemporary Dork Tower Zombicide Survivors shown above. Once they arrived I set about converting the figures of my missing trio. I based my conversions on the box art of the Dork Tower fantasy figures set and a few photos from the Internet of the missing trio.
At the far left is Matt McLimore, an every-gamer, and the person most likely to be in the middle of things. Gaming is in Matt’s blood — he was born to live La Vida Dorka, and worships the game, Warhamster. Still, he tries to reconcile his love of gaming and popular culture with a desire to function in Society. Society appears to be on the losing end of that proposition more often than not. Friendly, unassuming, and sometimes personally insecure about his role in the world, Matt will thus always manage to be at Ground Zero for the fanboy excesses of his Mud Bay pals. His fantasy character is a Ranger. His conversion had the most work done to him. I kept his head and part of his upper body. Everything else was discarded. His bow and quiver of arrows came from my spare parts box. The rest of him was sculpted out of Green Stuff modelling putty, which effectively meant his hat, body, arms, legs, belt and dagger. He turned out okay and I'm quite happy with him, although, obviously, I'd have preferred to have the metal version of him.
Next up is Gilly Woods, who is Goth by design and perky by nature, a combination which is a constant embarrassment to her brother, Walden, the Dark Lord of Mud Bay’s Goth community. Though close friends with Igor, it was a long time before she actually got to meet Igor’s buddy, Matt. Once they did encounter one another Matt was immediately smitten, and the pretty Perky Goth and the shaky but sincere young gamer appear to have a great deal in common — including chronic datelessness and a feeling of not quite fitting in. Timing is everything, however, and Matt’s was characteristically bad, meeting Gilly only days after hooking back up with his ex-girlfriend, Kayleigh. Gilly has taken on the role of a Magician. She was the easiest of the three to convert. I cut her in half at the waist and removed her twin pistols and her pigtails. I gave her a long dress and let her hair down so it flowed all the way down her back. I remodelled her left hand. I think she has come out really well. I'm very happy with her conversion.
To Igor, anything worth doing is worth overdoing. He throws himself into every new game, comic, craze, hobby and pastime with an overwhelming enthusiasm that has made him the official poster boy for Reckless Abandon. As the Power Gamer’s Power Gamer, Igor Olman is a die-hard, take-no-prisoners action junkie. He is in love with Apollo Smile. He is a god to min-maxing RPG munchkins everywhere, and a games-master’s worst nightmare. Igor had to be a fighter, although I am somewhat surprised he is not very heavily armed, although  I bet his sword is probably the best magic sword in the game. He was easier to convert than Matt but not as easy as Gilly. I cut off his arms and all of his weapons, and I carefully removed his headband. His sword arm and sword originally came from an old GW plastic Skeleton, I fleshed out the hand and the arm. His shield came from my spare parts box. His tabard and chain-mail armoured arms were made out of Green Stuff. I am happy with this conversion. It is interesting to compare my conversions with the original trio just to see how much they have changed. This is another reason why I included those two photos at the start of this review.
These next three are the official Dork Tower fantasy figures. From left to right are Carson the Muskrat, Kayleigh Hardcastle and Ken Mills. Let's take a closer at them and their backgrounds. These figures are made of metal and came with small integral bases. I glued them to 25mm diameter MDF bases.
Sweet-natured and easygoing, Carson is everyone’s friend and seems to fit in everywhere — which is somewhat surprising in itself because Carson is a muskrat. He is equally at home rolling dice in Matt’s various role-playing games, playing the latest console combat extravaganza, or just surfing the web. More a follower than a leader, Carson trustingly goes into role-playing situations secure in the knowledge that his boon companions will probably end up using him for a battering ram or attracting the attention of a hungry beastie who will suddenly develop a craving for Muskrat Surprise. He has a job as a part-time worker at the local Internet cafe. Carson has chosen the role of a Thief to play as his fantasy alter ego. He appears to be unarmed but he could be hiding anything in his robes.
If there was ever an Odd Couple for the new millennium, it is Kayleigh and Matt. Kayleigh Hardcastle is prim, sensible, conservative, and can’t understand what Matt sees in games, science fiction, pop culture — and, especially, his dorky friends. Nonetheless, she’s decided to give it a chance, joining Matt’s gaming group. Ken is amused. Igor is appalled. And Matt is stuck in the middle because Gilly has joined the group, too. Torn between his commitment to Kayleigh and his attraction to Gilly, Matt’s only remaining refuge is in the friendly confines of the local games shop, Pegasaurus Games, run by Bill Blyden. Being a woman of virtue, Kayleigh chose to play a Paladin. She is heavily armoured in full plate armour and shield and she carries a sturdy sword. Against all the traditional conventions of heraldry she has painted her shield pink with a white female symbol.
Ken Mills is the Thinking Man’s Fanboy, often providing a much-needed Voice of Reason. Nonetheless, Ken is 110 percent Dork (and I mean that in the nicest way), as capable of exceeding the legal limit for pop culture in-jokes and marathon game-and-junk-food consumption as anyone in Mud Bay. Even so, he appears to be closer to what Society deems Normal. Ken has opted to play a Cleric character and he is armed with a studded mace.
Here is a group shot of all six Survivors grouped together. I think they fit together as a unit very well and I wonder how many of you would have guessed that three of them were conversions if I hadn't told you? I will be using them in Zombicide: Black Plague but I have yet to create their character stats. I won't be using their contemporary Zombicide skills as some like Helicopter Pilot are not relevant in a fantasy setting. With their character archetypes of Cleric, Fighter, Magician, Paladin, Ranger and Thief, they have all the bases covered and they should work well together. Well, that's the theory!

14 comments:

  1. By far your most bizarre assortment of minis posted this year Bryan. Which is no bad thing I assure you. They're not admittedly my cup of tea for "Zombicide", which is why I've always steered clear of such minis. But that certainly doesn't take anything away from how impressively characterful (and colourful) I think your paint-jobs are on them. Clearly a labour of love, and there's definitely a hint of Chibi about a few of them.

    I think the group shot probably shows these toony figures off best, and lets one appreciate their different sizes and sculpts. Terrific posting of a subject which whilst not my cup of tea, still entertained me enormously - and that is surely the true test of an article ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Simon. I certainly agree that they have the "Marmite" factor about them, but I love them and they just appeal to my sense of fun. yes, converting and painting them was very much a labour of love. Normalcy will be resumed next time :-)

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    2. "I love them and they just appeal to my sense of fun" - and that is very much the point why I enjoyed seeing you post about them, your enthusiasm for them leaped off of the posting :-) besides I'm sure many are finding my devotion to Nurgle equally as Bovril ;-)

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    3. Well said, Simon. I'm not a fan of GW, Chaos armies in general or Nurgle in particular, but I do love your posts, simply because your enthusiasm for something you so obviously love is very much in evidence. Don't ever change, my friend!

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  2. I like 'em Bryan. Not a chibi fan as you know but these appeal to the silly side of me.... ;-P

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    1. Same here, Andy, regarding the silly side. They are similar to Chibi characters but they are not true Chibi characters, as they lack the huge eyes you find on proper Chibis.

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  3. A great little comic group there Bryan and some inspired conversion work (I do like a good conversion!), I've never really read "dork towers" so I'm afraid they are a little lost on me, but as Simon said the love and attention you have obviously heaped onto these little guys shines through.

    Top work my friend!

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. I like converting figures, Roger, which was just as well in this instance. A lot of work went into converting Matt, Gilly and Igor. Incredibly, Dork Tower has been running since 1997. It is something of an acquired taste but I love it. Many thanks for the kind words.

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  4. I A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y adore these minis.... oh GOD I do I do. I`ve not seen anything quite like them before. I covert them mightily... oh how I want them on my chibi shelf hehe. Not sure about Zombicide hehe, but SDE, oh god YESSSSSSS.

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    1. Wow, thanks, Steve. That's high praise indeed. I can easily get you the contemporary heroes shown in my first two photos but the fantasy versions are well nigh impossible to get.

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  5. No, I want them even more than you do.

    Bryan I think these are incredible.

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    1. Gosh, Tarot, now I'm blushing. Bless you, my dear. If I could find you and Steve a set I'd get them for both of you but that seems highly unlikely to happen. I think you'll have to plan a ninja stealth raid on Chateau Vampifan to "borrow" my figures! *Chuckles!*

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  6. I remember reading Dork Tower strips in Dragon magazine, so am familiar with the characters. Impressive conversions, Bryan = I would never have guessed they weren't the originals. And it's reminded me that I still need a 28mm Groo the Wanderer...

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    1. Thanks, Jez. Dork Tower was a regular feature of "Dragon" magazine. Now I get my fix from the Interweb.

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