Sunday 27 September 2009

Copplestone Castings Zombies 01

I've got nothing new to review this week, so it's time for another blast from the past as I look at one of the earliest packs of 28mm scale zombies that I bought - Copplestone Castings' Future Wars pack FW4 Plague Zombies. These five figures have been on the market for many a year but still look good today. With these being such old figures of mine I was not too happy with how I'd painted them. The flesh tones and gore effects in particular were not up to scratch. So, I recently repainted them and I'm far happier at how they have turned out.
Let's take a closer look at them and starting at the far left of the two photos above is a near naked zombie wearing nothing more than a pair of Y-fronted underpants. With his long, straggly hair, bulging eyes and tongue sticking out of his mouth there is something disturbing about how he looks. He has been shot a few times in the back and right thigh, and has bite wounds to his left thigh and right arm. I have painted blood dribbling out of his mouth and smeared his left hand in the red stuff.
Next up is another near naked zombie, wearing shorts and training shoes. I decided to paint him in boxer shorts with lots of red hearts on them. They could just as easily be painted as normal shorts. You decide. This guy is a lot fatter, although I'd describe him as being overweight rather than fat or obese, and he is bald. He sports some serious injuries, the worst being a gunshot to the stomach with a large exit wound in his back. There are two smaller bullet wounds to his left chest, cuts to his right arm and back of his left leg and a massive bite wound on his lower left arm.
Centre stage is what I assume to be a former biker, dressed in tall boots, jeans and a sleeveless shirt. He waves a bloody thigh bone in his right hand. A bite has been taken out of his left check and left arm. His left knee shows through a ragged hole in his jeans. He is the most aggressive looking zombie in this set and if rage zombies exist in your game, he is just what you're looking for.
I painted the fourth zombie in line as a homage to Stephen (Scott H. Reiniger) from Romero's Dawn of the Dead, just after the zombies catch him in the mall lift. The zeds made a right mess of Stephen and they've made a right mess of this guy. That face bite is gruesome! His left eye hangs out of its socket and the left side of his face has been chewed off. He has also been bitten in the right upper arm, the right lower leg and most unusually, in the left buttock. I can't ever remember seeing any other zombie suffering from a backside bite but it does make sense. After all, there is plenty of soft flesh there, more so on some people than others! For that wound alone, he gets a big thumbs up from me!
The final figure of the group is an undead businessman, dressed in shirt, tie and two-piece suit. With his sunken cheeks and protruding tongue this zombie oozes hunger... hunger for flesh! His left sock and shoe have gone missing, no doubt lost when he was attacked and overcome by the flesh-eaters. His throat has been ripped out and blood stains the front of his shirt. There is a small tear in his right upper sleeve and his right knee is all bloody.
The heads of these zombies are grossly exaggerated, but that is not a bad thing. I've been a fan of Mark Copplestone's work ever since he began and I fondly remember receiving his packs of figures in little matchbox sized black boxes. The majority of his Future Wars figures come with integral metal bases not slottabases, but like Foundry's figures they can often be too small. When I repainted these five zombies I rebased them on 25mm diameter plastic slottabases so that they blended in well with the rest of my ever-growing zombie horde. I'd recommend rebasing them if you decide to buy them. The price for this pack of five figures is £8.00 on the Copplestone website. If you don't already have this set I can highly recommend them.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

WWG Mayhem Apartment

This week I am going to review a very early World Works Games building that I made - the apartment from the Mayhem Armoury set. Mayhem Armoury comes with three buildings - the armoury, a garage and an apartment. I've already reviewed the armoury and the garage. Those of you who have been following my blog from the beginning may remember that the apartment played a prominent role in my first battle report (see here ).

Like a lot of WWG buildings, the apartment is modular and can be made in numerous ways. This modularity is one of WWG's greatest strengths. Just to remind you that I print everything out on high quality double-sided 130g matte photo paper and then after cutting out the pieces I need they are stuck onto mounting board (or mattboard as it is called in America). This makes my models very robust but adds considerably to the build time. All windows are printed on transparency paper for added realism.

The photo above shows the front of the apartment. The model comes with seven different exterior walls and I have used all seven. The walls are 7" in length and 3" in height. The smaller wall up on the top floor was made by simply cutting the middle storey wall with the two windows in half. Note the air-conditioning unit sticking out of the window on the middle floor. That was part of the set.

This side wall was deliberately left blank so that I could place another building alongside it.

This photo above shows the rear of the building. The back door was not part of the model. It came from the selection of doors provided with the Mayhem Downtown set. Again, let me remind you that all of my doors open and close.

Note that the two windows to the right of this side view are boarded up. I suppose it would be an easy conversion to replace them with transparent windows but I decided to leave them as is.

Here we have an overhead view of the ground floor of the apartment. I have walled off one corner of the floor to create the kitchen. You will notice that the owners of this apartment are not houseproud. Note the magazine left strewn on the floor at the foot of the stairs. The peeling wallpaper throughout the apartment has seen better days.

The cooker and sink unit in the kitchen is a very useful piece of furniture that comes with the Mayhem Armoury set. Likewise, the battered and ripped black sofa in the living room. In the top right corner of the living room is a glass fronted cabinet from the Shellendrak Manor set.

The four chairs around the table also come from the Shellendrak Manor set. I did a rather clever thing with the table. It is the table that is supposed to be used with the garage from the Mayhem Armoury set but I have made the underside of the table the top. I simply painted the underside of this table a sandy yellowish brown. The tray with the bread and cheese on it came from the Fantasy Interiors set - Pubs and Inns. The fridge that is partially hidden behind the kitchen door is from the Mayhem Armoury set. Speaking of doors, all of the interior doors in this building are scratchbuilt. They are simply two thin pieces of white card glued back to back. The upper and lower panels, and the door knobs have been painted after drawing them on in pencil.

The TV set comes with the Mayhem Armoury set but once again I have replaced the picture with one of my own. For trivia fans, it shows the pivotal scene from the hilariously funny Father Ted episode called "Kicking Bishop Brennan up the Arse." Undoubtedly the funniest title of any TV show! The TV rests atop the wall cupboards from the Mayhem Police set. They work just as well on the floor as on a wall. I have taken the same wall cupboard (but darker coloured) and cut it in half. It sits in the corner of the kitchen alongside a washing machine from Jim's Printable Minis. (Check my list of favourite websites for the internet address. It's well worth a visit as all of his furniture is free to download.)

Standing alongside the staircase is a grandfather clock taken from the Shellendrak Manor set. The coats hanging on the wall in the kitchen were cut out and stuck onto a piece of mounting card, then glued back in place. Raising them from the wall makes them appear more three-dimensional. It is a trick I often do when an object is painted on a wall.

Moving upwards we see an overhead view of the first floor if you are from Europe or the second floor if you reside in America. This floor has been split into three rooms - main bedroom, guest bedroom and bathroom. I mentioned the A/C unit earlier. That originally appeared in the window to the left but I moved it across because it jutted out too far in the landing at the top of the stairs.

The guest bedroom comes with a fold-down bed. This originally was just printed on the wall, something I found wholly unacceptable. I cut the bed out and stuck it to a piece of foamboard after covering the edges up with masking tape. The masking tape hid the foam and made life easier when I came to paint the edges. I did consider making it hinged so that it really did fold down but decided against it. If it had not been partially covered by the red curtain I would have gone ahead and made it a real fold-down bed.

The large bed in the main bedroom and the big cupboard to the left of it both come from the Fantasy Interiors set - Castles and Keeps. The bedside companion to the right of the bed is from Shellendrak Manor. The two cupboards in the spare bedroom were scratchbuilt, utilising parts from the large bookcase in Shellendrak Manor.

In the bathroom are a sink and toilet taken from the Mayhem Police set. The shower unit is something I scratchbuilt. You may have seen it earlier as I used it in my Mayhem Armoury model.

You can get a better view of the shower unit and curtain from this photo. I added a couple of boxes to the spare bedroom. They came from the Ebbles Ambient Elements - Storeroom set. If you are making any card models, don't be afraid of mixing material from other manufacturers. WWG and Mel Ebbles have a good working relationship and support each other, which can only be a good thing.

This floor is half interior and half exterior, making full use of the apartment's patio elements. I decided to split the interior into two rooms - a large landing and a study.

A green and white awning covers the entrance to the lower of the two rooftop patios. On the patio is a wooden picnic table with two long benches and a large, colourful umbrella. My umbrella is attached to a cocktail stick for the pole. It was such an obvious choice!

The photo above clearly shows the entrance to the patio. Getting that door to hinge was tricky because it is nearly all glass and there is only a very narrow surround. My hinges are just masking tape, sandwiched between the inner and outer door and inner and outer walls. The cupboard in the corner of the landing is another one of my scratchbuilt cupboards and is identical to the pair in the spare bedroom.

The desk and computer in the study came from the office furniture of the Mayhem Industrial set. The small bookshelf in the study was supplied with the Shellendrak Manor furniture. The chair next to the desk is from the Ebbles Ambient Elements - Barracks set. You could easily replace it with any similar WWG chair.

The lower wall at the top of the staircase uses some offcuts from the wallpaper, of which I had many by the time I'd finished making this model. I've painted on a wooden rim along the top edges. In the study, the large drinks cabinet comes from the Fantasy Interiors - Pubs and Inns set. On the patio, a metal ladder leads to the upper patio.

This overhead view shows both patios, side by side. I decorated the upper patio with a couple of planters from the Bits of Mayhem set. However, I replaced the paper foliage with offcuts taken from a Citadel hedge. I painted some pink and white spots on the upper one and some yellow spots on the lower one to represent flowers. From a distance they look very effective.
As usual, all of the floors on the upper levels are reinforced with foamboard. Being glued to mounting board they don't need reinforcing but the foamboard helps keep the floor in place when it is stacked. This was a fun project to do and I thoroughly enjoyed going the extra mile on it. That is why I decided to make this the centre piece for my first battle report.

Saturday 19 September 2009

Hasslefree Zombies 03

Hasslefree Miniatures have recently released a new 28mm scale zombie figure, the zombified Professor Beattie. So I thought I'd lump him in with some of  their previous releases since my last review of their zombie range and get up to date with what's been happening at Hasslefree Central.
First in line in the photos above is the afore-mentioned zombified Professor Beattie (HFZ210). He has been sculpted by Warren Beattie and is based on his previous sculpt, HFN007 Professor Beattie. It is a simple but effective sculpt as he stands in a very static pose. A bandage around his right wrist has begun to unravel - a nice touch. He does not appear to be too badly wounded, although his coat and trousers have been torn. I particularly like the way his face has been sculpted - he looks very sinister. An excellent figure that costs £3.50.
HFA045 Joe is from the Adventurers range and is not a zombie. However, someone on the Forum of Doom had converted him into a zombie by drilling a few massive holes through him. I wasn't too keen on the conversion but the idea of turning him into a zombie was a good one. The pose of the figure requires no work to make him look like a zombie. I drilled a small hole in his upper right arm and added a cut to his upper left arm. The figure is supposed to be wearing gloves with a hole cut out of them on the upper hand. I made this hole a bite wound to his left hand and smoothed over the hole with Green Stuff on his right hand to make him gloveless. When I glued him to his slottabase I deliberately posed him slightly off centre so that he leans to the left. This is a very simple conversion and I'm happy with how it came out. The figure was originally sculpted by the awesome Kevin White and costs £3.50.
In the centre of the group is HFZ209 Zombie Mime sculpted by someone known only as "Ari". According to the blurb about this figure on the HF website, Ari is a minor. Much respect to him for sculpting such a fine figure at such a young age. He ought to be immensely proud. This is definitely a fun figure that brings to mind wacky comedian, Kenny Everett's Marcel the mime artist. Younger viewers and/or non-Brits probably have no idea who I'm talking about. Sorry! Those who do will see the similarity immediately. The figure is incredibly thin and his pose is deliberately exaggerated, which is why I find him so amusing. His wounds consist of a bite to his left thigh, a cut to his upper left arm and his ribcage is exposed on his left side. Instead of painting him my usual zombie grey I painted his skin white. Mime artists tend to paint their faces white. He only costs £3.00.
Finally is HFZ208 Zombie Surfer, sculpted by a good friend of mine, Philip Hynes. I bought two of this figure as I wanted one with the surfboard and one without. I am very impressed by the level of detail on this figure and it was a joy to see it finally get released after months of watching Phil's work in progress on him on the Forum of Doom. His wounds include a missing right eye (although I painted one in on the surfboard carrying zed), a couple of bites to his right arm and a large chunk taken out of the back of his lower right leg. Note the shark tooth necklace and the bite taken out of the back of his surfboard, presumably from a shark attack. I painted my surfboard carrier with the same flesh tones as most of my zombies but then I gave him a Citadel Gryphonne Sepia ink wash to give him a duskier hue. On the other zombie surfer I have smeared his left hand with Tamiya Clear Red (awesome paint for doing blood) as if it has been rummaging inside a victim's stomach. This figure costs also £3.50.
As I mentioned in my earlier review of the Matt Lord sculpted HF zombies, it is nice to see a company giving amateur sculptors a chance to sell their work. The figures by Warren, Ari and Phil certainly complement the Hasslefree range and are well worth having in your zombie horde. I highly recommend them all.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Studio Miniatures Zombies 04 - Mob 4

My favourite manufacturer of 28mm scale zombie figures, Studio Miniatures,  have just released Zombie Mob 004, a set that contains eight finely detailed and superbly sculpted minis. As usual, the set contains five males and three females. Notice anything that the four zombies in the photos above have in common? They are all bearded. Given that some of these figures have been converted by the sculptor from the first two sets, a beard is a good way to make a figure look different.
Let's take a closer look at these undead critters. At the far left in the photos above is a zombie who has been shot in the chest. Wounds to his upper arms could be bullet wounds as well or bite wounds. What makes this figure stand out from the crowd is the fact that he is dragging a severed leg. It's a neat but gory addition that I really like. He is a conversion.
Standing next to him is another zombie suffering from multiple bullet wounds (chest, stomach and upper right arm). He is also missing his right eye. It isn't a bad figure but there is nothing about him outstanding either. He is also a conversion.
The next zombie in line certainly has the "X Factor" to make him unique. Someone has rammed a sawn-off shotgun through his stomach, with the barrel poking out of his back. It doesn't show too clearly in my photos; I should have posed him sideways on. I wonder if he charged the shooter just as they pulled the trigger and he ended up impaling himself on the shotgun as it blew a hole in him. It's a possibility. He also has a large cut to his left lower arm. He is a very characterful figure albeit another conversion.
Last in line is what at first glance appears to be a zombie pirate. I say "appears to be" because these are, after all, contemporary zombies. With his bandana over his head and his hook replacing his left hand he could certainly be used as a pirate. However, I see him as a new age traveller. His shorts and sandals don't fit in with the pirate look, they are too modern day. His wounds are pretty gross. His intestines dangle from a massive stomach wound. He has been bitten in the left shoulder and a large chunk of skin has been removed from his back to reveal his spinal column. He is not a pretty sight!
The male at the far left of the next group of zombies is clean shaven. He also suffers from a large stomach wound. In addition, he has lost his right hand and his face and head reveals more bite wounds. There is, what appears to be a piece of flesh dangling from his mouth. It is too big to be his tongue so I can only assume it came from some unfortunate victim. He too, has been converted.
Moving on, we come to the trio of females. The woman in the orange dress will never win any beauty contest with the way she looks! Her lower jaw has been dislocated to give her face a strange look. There is a large stab wound wound to the centre of her chest. Note that her right shoe has gone missing.
In the centre of the group is a striking looking female with no obvious wounds visible on her at all. When painting zombies I tend to copy the colour schemes that appears on a company's website as I have done here. It is easier than thinking up new colour schemes. Yeah, call me lazy! Occasionally I will deviate from what I call the "official" colour schemes. Here is a case in point. The artist who painted these figures for Studio has painted her scarf from neck to her midriff. But looking closely at the figure, there is a strip of material on her skirt that looks like it belongs to the scarf. So, although I have copied the artist's colour scheme, I have made her scarf much longer than he did. In addition. I gave my zombie black hair instead of blonde as it contrasts better with her orange beret.
The final female in the group could have been a fitness fanatic. She looks like she's ready to sprint after a victim. She has a bandage on her right arm. Chunks of flesh have been bitten from her right cheek and lower left arm. This is another converted figure but I like her.
Those are the eight figures that come with set 004. However, if you buy sets 003 and 004 together, Studio will provide you with a free figure. They had a similar promotion with sets 001 and 002, in which the free figure was a zombified George A. Romero. This time the free figure is my favourite zombie from the movies - Bub, the intelligent zombie from Romero's Day of the Dead film. Any zombie fan worth his salt will want to have this little beauty in their collection. I was unbelievably happy to get hold of mine, especially as I didn't know anything about the offer until my parcel of figures arrived. You can see him at the far right of the two photos above. The sculpting of this figure is just exquisite but what particularly impressed me was the way the pistol has been sculpted. Notice how the slide chamber has been pulled back, indicating the gun is now empty. That is a detail you very rarely see on a figure.
Zombie Mob 004 costs £15.99 if you want white metal figures or £24.99 if you want resin cast figures. If you want to buy Zombie Horde 002, which consists of Zombie Mobs 003 and 004 plus the free Bub the zombie figure it will cost you £29.99 for the white metal figures and £44.99 for the resin cast figures. I must admit that I don't know anyone who buys resin cast figures and I do wonder how many Studio sells in relation to the white metal figures? Do I really need to say that you must buy these figures if you are a fan of 28mm scale zombies? No, I thought not! Despite the converted figures, which I know some of you aren't keen on, there is more than enough here to highly recommend to you, especially that figure of Bub. Getting hold of him didn't just make my day, it made my year!

Wednesday 9 September 2009

WWG Mayhem Small Park

This week's review of my World Works Games collection features another kitbash from the modern buildings section of their store, the Mayhem Small Park. This very simple model consists of a 7" by 7" ground tile with brickwork in all four corners and a path running from top to bottom and side to side. In addition, two concrete benches are included with the set along with eight small wall sections to occupy the corners.

To me, a park implies greenery of some description. I did not want a park that was just brick and concrete. So my first decision was to include some shrubs in my park. These came from the Citadel trees and hedges set of scenery designed for Warhammer. I used a set of wire-cutters to cut short pieces from the hedges and glued them atop the four corner walls as can be clearly seen in the photo above. Where the wire that formed the framework for the hedges showed, I painted it dark green.

I placed the concrete benches diagonally opposite each other where the paths meet. They can be used either as benches or perhaps as picnic tables. Nonetheless, I still wanted more seating for my park and I found just what I wanted in the Mayhem Rail set. The eight orange seats that I made came from that set and were ideal. Nothing too fancy or expensive looking but surely more comfortable than sitting on a slab of concrete. I placed two in each corner of the park. They blend in well with the brick walls because they orange-coloured but once you know what they are you can easily make them out.

Every park needs a litter bin (or more depending on size). The Bits of Mayhem set comes with loads of street furniture, which includes a litter bin, ideal for use in this project. The obvious place to position it was in the centre in between the two concrete benches.

Finally, I decided to add a streetlight. The Streets of Mayhem set comes with two types of streetlights and the smaller of the two with the light on the sloped arm could have worked here. But I wanted something less modern looking. Having bought the huge Citadel Warhammer 40,000 Imperial City boxed set I had plenty of streetlights that I could borrow from there. However, once again, I did not like the look of them. I did not like the light hanging from a pole - I wanted the light on top of the pole. What I did was to cut off the light from the pole, along with the arm it was on, the power cable and the spike at the top of the pole. I took the long light from the wall hanging light set (there are two wall lights - a long thin one and a squat circular one) and cut it from its arm. The top of the light now became its base as I turned it upside down and stuck it onto the pole. This makes the lamp pole a lot bigger and is just the kind of look that I wanted. It has a Victorian-era feel to it. If you have any of these streetlights, it is not a hard conversion to do. If you don't or if you don't fancy trying the conversion then use the WWG streetlight I mentioned earlier. There was only one place the streetlight could go, and that was diagonally opposite the litter bin.

What I like the most about this conversion of mine is the addition of the hedges. Not only do they make the place look more park-like but they are tall enough to allow any visitors to the park a degree of privacy as they relax away from the stresses of city-life. This little terrain piece adds a welcome splash of colour to the drab greys of my cityscape.

Sunday 6 September 2009

Cold War Miniatures Survivors & Victims

If you are serious about collecting a horde of 28mm scale zombies I would recommend starting your search for minis with three companies - Cold War Miniatures, Studio Miniatures and Zombiesmith. So far on my blog I have reviewed the output of Studio Miniatures and Zombiesmith. It is now long overdue to turn the spotlight on Cold War Miniatures. If you want a horde of zombies these are the folks to look to as they produce 14 packs of miniatures, each containing 5 figures. Of these, 6 are survivors and 64 are zombies, which is quite a horde in itself before you start adding figures from other companies. The reason why I have delayed reviewing these for so long is that almost the entire range underwent an overhaul as the sculptor replaced the pins on the feet of the figures with slotta-tabs. For months and months all I read on their website was "coming soon" until eventually all of the figures were available for sale. Twelve of the packs now come with slotta-tabbed figures and slottabases. The two packs that have not been converted (yet?), sets 7 Victims and 14 Survivors are the sets I'm reviewing here.
So I'll begin with the Survivors set and first up in the photos above is an elderly priest, carrying a bible and cross. His faith in the good Lord clearly did not do him much good as Cold War produce a zombified version of him in one of their other sets (set 13 Good God).
To his left is a male in a baggy shirt and holding a tire iron in a threatening manner. This figure came in two parts, with the left arm being a separate piece. It's a nice dramatic pose.
In the centre of the group is the only female survivor. When I first saw her I was immediately reminded of Tulip, the girlfriend of Jesse Custer from Garth Ennis's Preacher, an excellent series of comics. This is my favourite figure out of this group. Note the way she is standing at a slight slant. I like that. The two handed grip she has on her pistol gives the impression that she means business and she's not a woman to be messed with - just like Tulip! Her arms had to be glued to the body but rather than cut them off at the shoulders, the sculptor has cut a groove across her back and sculpted her shoulder blades to the tab that slots into the groove. It's an unusual but ingenious way of attaching the arms to the body.
The fourth figure of the group appears to be a car mechanic by his dress of jeans, T-shirt and baseball cap. Plus, he is holding a tyre iron. I found it rather odd that two out of the five survivors were wielding tyre irons. This isn't a complaint, merely an observation. If you have to use an improvised weapon and you are a car owner, a tyre iron is a perfectly acceptable choice. It makes a nice change from the more usual baseball bat that a lot of figures favour.
The final figure of the group is well armed with a pump-action shotgun and a bandolier of ammo slung over his left shoulder. He wears aviator glasses to give him a high cool factor and he bears quite a resemblance to Kurt Russell (think of his Jack Burton character in Big Trouble in Little China, a film I absolutely adore).

I've grouped the zombie victims set with the survivors set because as well as being the second pack whose figures have pins instead of slotta-tabs it contains the only other human out of the range. But first, the zombies, and at the far left of this group in the two photos above is a zombie that has been set on fire. Fire is guaranteed to kill any zombie no matter what its origin might be. Painting fire realistically is an interesting challenge. I always paint my flames going from dark to light but I've read on some forums that they should go from light to dark. If I've got it wrong I don't care. It looks good to me and that's all that matters.
The next zombie in line is crawling along on his hands and knees and has his left arm stretched out, ready to grab someone. His injuries don't appear to be too bad but obviously something has forced him to slow down to a crawl pace. Make up your own story why this should be.
In the centre of the group is another crawler but this time there is no doubt at all why. His left leg has been ripped or torn off at the hip, severely hampering his mobility. You can see part of his femur poking out of the wound, which looks very messy. Getting two crawlers or draggers out of this set was a big plus for me as they feature prominently in the zombie rules I'm still playtesting.
Moving on, is a corpse with with a huge stomach wound, revealing lots of juicy entrails. I'd love to see lots more corpses made by various figure companies. Most times in zombie apocalypse games if a zombie is killed you remove the figure from the board. I think it would be cool to replace the figure with a corpse so that at the end of the game you get a true indication of how much carnage has been caused. It would make quite a visual impact. Lying a figure on its side just doesn't have the same appeal as the figure's base ruins the effect.
Finally, we come to the only human victim. I must admit that I did consider painting him up as a zombie but I couldn't think of a good reason why a zombie would be cowering in a such way. Anyway, this set is called victims, so why just limit it to zombies? As you can see this victim is kneeling down with his arms held up in a defensive posture to ward off a blow. This is a figure that could see uses in many types of games. Imagine him as a bank worker being threatened by a supervillain or as a hostage being threatened by a terrorist. Figures with multiple uses are always worth having in your collection.
So, verdict? I have read criticisms of Cold War Miniatures that their zombie figures are too thin. I disagree with that view. I have nothing but praise for their sculpts. I think adding slottatabs and slottabases was a good decision, although I had no problems in drilling a hole in an ordinary slottabase for the pins on these figures. Once stuck in place they were well secure. What strikes me about this range is the sheer variety of figures available and the high quality of the sculpting. Both sets that I have reviewed here are very useful for zombie fans and gamers. I will be reviewing the rest of the range in the near future.
So let's talk prices. Both sets cost £7.00 each, which at less than £1.50 per figure represents good value for money. Now if you only want part of a set you can buy the figures individually for the price of £1.75 each. Again, this is good value and how many other companies do you know that allows you to split packs of figures? At the other end of the scale you can buy all 70 figures for £80.00, which although is a big outlay is even better value for money. This is the option that I plumped for. Let me tell you about my order that I placed. I ordered all 70 figures from the Cold War website at about 3.00 on a Monday afternoon. Next morning at about 10.00, I received a parcel from the Royal Mail. I looked at it in stunned amazement. It was my figures from Cold War! In less than 24 hours I had them in my hand. Unbelievable service! Cold War, I salute you!

Wednesday 2 September 2009

WWG Burned Down House 02

Continuing on from last week, I'm going to review the second of the World Works Games' burned down buildings. Like the first one, this is also a kitbash, as opposed to part of a regular set, but this time it is a two-storey building. The addition of the second floor makes it more difficult to build than the single-storey house but even so, this is still an easy model to make and a one that I'd recommend for beginners to the hobby to try out.
Note the addition of the planks of wood on the floor in the photo above. I'll mention where they come from later on in my review. It will probably come as no great surprise to those viewers who have been following my work on my WWG model reviews that I have added my own slant to how the building should look that differs with the instructions.

The major change that I made was with the walls and floor of the upper level. The original model comes with four walls and a U-shaped wooden floor with a big hole in the middle. I decided to make the floor an L-shape, running along the back wall and wall to the right as shown in the photo above. The main reason for doing this was to make it easier placing figures on the ground floor. With a big opening in the front wall and left wall I have plenty of room to get my hand in to move figures around. Although the hole in the original floor was big, I just felt it was too restrictive and it didn't fit in with how I wanted the model to look.

Another reason for doing this minor conversion is that a lot of bricks have gone missing from the walls of the ground floor. I was dubious about there being enough left to support all four upper walls and floor. In my mind the ground floor has taken far too much damage, particularly in the corner where my staircase is. However, I did include the fragments of two upper walls and a small piece of flooring in the corner diagonally opposite the two relatively intact upper walls. This piece of flooring is just big enough to support a single figure, a sniper perhaps.

As you can see from these photos my upper floor is reinforced with foamboard. I usually do this as an aid for the placement of upper floors of most buildings that I make. In this case, the upper floor is not removable. It is purely a matter of consistancy with my my other models that I added the foamboard.

Because I did not use all of the upper floor provided, I had a fair bit left over. So, seeing as it was a wooden planked floor I cut out some strips of planking to various lengths and glued them in place on the ground floor as bits of rubble and debris.
As with the single-storey burned down building, this has a timeless quality to it, allowing it to be used in countless time periods. I do have one criticism to make of this model. Notice that the outer walls on the ground floor get darker the higher up you go, until they are almost black at the top of the walls. This is fine, as smoke rises and the walls should look like this. But, all of the exteriors of the uppers walls are light coloured with no smoke damage visible at all. I find this particularly jarring. I'm toying with the idea of giving the upper walls a Citadel Badab Black ink wash to help make the transition from lower wall to upper wall smoother.
As an interesting aside to anyone purchasing this model, instead of (or perhaps, as well as) making it as a two-storey building you could make two single-storey buildings out of it. Worth thinking about, and the beauty of it is, once you've purchased and downloaded the model you can make as many as you want in whatever combinations you desire. The only conversion you would have to make on the upper floor is to cut out a gap for the door. Hmm, this has possibilities for a future project.