If you are collecting a horde of 28mm scale zombies there are certain companies you simply have to buy from. Studio Miniatures would top my list for the sheer quality of their sculpts. Cold War Miniatures (review coming later once I've painted them all - 70 figures is a LOT to paint!) is a serious contender, especially if you want quantity and quality. And when you have a company called Zombiesmith, you have to take notice of them. So, the question is, are their range of zeds an essential purchase? Let's find out in the first of a three part review. I'm splitting this review into three because Zombiesmith produce nearly 30 zombies and survivors, which I felt was too many to look at in one go. Hence, this review comes in nice bite-sized chunks!
So, starting with the figures shown above, Cheerleader (the names used to identify each zombie are taken from Zombiesmith's website to help aid you if you want to order individual figures) is sadly only one of three female zombies that they make. I'd like to see them make a lot more as I'm a strong believer of gender equality. I e-mailed Joshua Qualtieri, the head guy at Zombiesmith, about this oversight and he promised there would be more female zombies in the next batch he makes, so that's something to look forward to. This figure sports an impressive array of wounds - large bites to the left cheek, neck, left breast, right arm, right leg (knee and calf), left thigh and a massive stomach wound. All, I can say is, ouch! Note the cheeky (pun intended!) way her skirt has been partially pulled down to expose a butt cheek!
Next in line is Jacket, a mental patient in a restraining suit, who must have been easy meat when the zombies found him. They took bites out of both thighs and his left upper arm. This is an unusual figure and as far as I know, a totally unique zombie. I don't know anyone else who makes a zombie mental patient. He mightn't be able to grab you but his bite is still lethal.
In the centre of the group is King. Hmm, he does bear an uncanny resemblance to Rob Zombie, musician and film director, which when you think about it is a logical choice for a zombie figure. I applaud his inclusion in the range. Of all the Zombiesmith zombies he appears to be the most intact. There are a few holes in his coat and trousers but no obvious sign of death. There's no reason why you couldn't use him as a male Goth in a group of survivors but to me, Rob Zombie the zombie has a far better ring to it.
Another musician-based zombie stands alongside him - Pop. Yeah, right! We all know it's Michael Jackson from his Thriller video. Let me state that I am neither a fan of Wacko as a man nor as a musician. However, this isn't the place to mock him or praise him. I'm only interested in reviewing miniature figures. That said, I do like this figure. The sculptor has perfectly captured Wacko's iconic look. He also appears to be virtually intact, save for a few small holes in his clothes. I added the severed arm to the base from my bits box to make the figure stand out from the crowd.
Finally, in this group is Yield, a teenage zombie wielding a road sign. If your painting skills are up to it you can have a lot of fun deciding what to paint on the sign. I opted for a "Men at Work" road sign. He's dressed in T-shirt, shorts and running shoes. He is quite muscular, so was obviously fit in the days he enjoyed oxygen. A couple of wounds to his right leg suggest he probably bled to death. Zombies aren't generally renowned for their weapon use, and although he is waving the road sign aggressively, it is probably just a long lost memory of his misspent youth that has resurfaced.
At the far left of the next group is Skater. I think he may be called that for being a skateboard freak before he was turned into a zombie. He certainly looks the part in his T-shirt, shorts, trainers and baseball cap. It is not certain if the arm he is carrying is own or that of a victim. I decided it was his own and painted it accordingly. Apart from having his right arm ripped off, he has numerous wounds to his chest and bites taken out of both legs and lower left arm. The way his right foot is twisted also suggest a dislocated ankle. No more skate-boarding for him!
Standing to his left is the aptly named Gutshot. Something has blown a massive hole all the way through his midriff. You can see daylight through this wound! Whatever caused such horrendous wounds to some of the Griffin Miniatures zombies has obviously affected this guy as well. Personally speaking, I think he is one of the weaker looking sculpts in the range, although I quite like the shocked expression on his face.
In the centre of the group is Cell, so called because he is using a cell phone. Clearly a business-man from his apparel and briefcase, he must have retained some intelligence if he knows how to use a mobile phone. He suffers from a cut to the chest and an even bigger cut to his stomach as his intestines threaten to spill out. In addition, he has had bites taken out of his legs and right arm. Again, he is not one of the better sculpts.
Next in line is Crowbar, and it's clear to see why Zombiesmith called him that. He is holding a crowbar in his right hand, but does he know how to use it? With his bald head, he looks a bit of a hardcase. There is a cut across his upper back. His left arm has been ripped off at the elbow, a large part of his left thigh is missing and he has a few other small cuts and bites. However he died, it wasn't a clean death!
The final figure in this group is Boney, so called for holding a juicy bone in his right hand. When it comes to wounds this guy is an absolute mess, and of the ten figures reviewed so far, the most extreme. Working from top to bottom, he has had the top of his skull removed to expose his brain. Nasty! His right eye is dangling out of its socket. There is a large cut between his shoulder blades Both lower arms have been bitten; more than once in the case of his right arm. The whole of his midriff has been torn away, exposing his innards. Like his arms, both legs have been chewed on more than once. One can only assume that he lost his skullcap after he was turned into a zombie otherwise the flesheaters would have devoured his brain. Altogether now, "BRAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIINS!"
So, to answer my earlier question - are these an essential purchase? I'd say undoubtedly yes! They may lack the quality sculpting of some companies but they are more than a match for a lot of others. Each figure reviewed costs $2.75 but you can buy a horde of them for $50.00, which includes these ten and the ten I'll be reviewing in my next blog entry. Come back soon for part two.