First up, remember that I entered the Diorama of Doom 2009 for the first time with an entry that featured Vampirella beheading a chaos demoness as the demoness attempted a zombie summoning ritual. You can see it below if you've forgotten what it looked like. Well, it is now a prize winning Diorama of Doom. Yep, the judges awarded it fourth place in the competition. I was absolutely ecstatic. My first diorama in years and years and it wins a prize! Result! That was certainly a major highlight of the year for me as I did not expect to be placed at all. There were some excellent entries and the three that beat me deserved their placings.
I think for me, 2009 will be remembered as the Year of the Zombie! My 28mm scale zombie horde grew at the fastest rate ever and shows no sign of slowing down. Even though I have bought dozens and dozens of zombie miniatures this year I have kept on top of them by getting them all painted. That is quite an achievement in itself.
2009 saw the release of All Things Zombie: Better Dead Than Zed by Two Hours Wargames, which has been my favourite zombie game to date. Haven, the first supplement for the game was also released, although Ragers, the second supplement has been delayed, whilst THW work on All Things Horror, a game that is supposed to encompass a plethora of undead and supernatural types. I already own a copy of ATH:Origins, being one of the lucky few to get it as soon as it was released. I'm in somewhat of a quandary about reviewing it as shortly after buying it, it got pulled from sale due to some creative differences between THW and a third party. What I can say about ATH:Origins is that it is little more than a teaser for the main course. All of the good stuff will appear in part 2, if and when it gets released.
I began the year and indeed my blog by playtesting a set of skirmish rules featuring zombies that must still remain unnamed. I'm not sure if they will ever see the light of day. I'd like to think they will but that decision is out of my hands.
My greatest achievement of 2009 has undoubtedly been my blog. It has grown beyond my wildest dreams and it continues to be a labour of love for me. I now have 35 followers (thank you all for signing up, I truly appreciate it) and the numbers continue to grow. Even those who haven't signed up but still pop in to see what I have to say are welcome and again I appreciate you taking the time out. Likewise, the hit counter reached 10,000 far faster than I expected and then streaked ahead to pass the 20,000 mark in even less time. Remarkable! I made a vow to post regularly on my site, at least once a week and most times twice a week. I am pleased to say that I have kept that vow and it is a vow I hope to maintain for the next year.
The blog mainly concentrates on undead miniature figures and that will continue. I have concentrated on zombies because I wanted to show off my complete horde as well as showcasing new releases. 2010 should see more figure reviews of ghouls, vampires and werewolves. Yes, I know that werewolves are not undead but I'm still going to feature them. It just feels wrong not to.
My award for best figure manufacturer of 2009 goes to Studio Miniatures, manufacturers of the finest 28mm scale zombies on the market. They haven't been in business a year yet, but what an impressive debut they've made. Congratulations to all at Studio Miniatures. Worst manufacturer by far is FU-UK, who at the start of November announced that the winning entries of their zombie sculpting competition were available from their website store. I ordered them all immediately and I'm still waiting for them to arrive. Absolutely lousy customer service and a disgrace to the many people who placed an order in good faith. I have only been made aware of their monumental cock-up by checking the Frothers forum. There a lot of angry people on that forum!
I also like to review films, DVDs and books related to the undead. 2009 has been a good year for me with more crackers than turkeys. Best film of 2009 was undoubtedly Zombieland, which mixed comedy and gore to great affect. Worst film had to be Lesbian Vampire Killers. Great title, crap film! The best book that I read in 2009 was without doubt, Zombie CSU by Jonathan Maberry. In fact, I've yet to read a better book about zombies. The fact that Jonathan himself took the time out to thank me for my reviews of both that book and his excellent novel, Patient Zero, shows what a top notch bloke he is. The worst zombie novel that I read this year was Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It was unbelievably boring, which was a great shame, as his previous offering, Let the Right One In, a vampire novel, was a corker. As for TV, there is very little that I do watch. Most drama series that I watch nowadays tend to be DVD boxed sets. My last post saw me enthusing about True Blood, which has now become my favourite vampire TV series since the sadly missed Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, both classics of the genre.
So, enough reminiscing. What of the future? My next project that I'll be working on these Crimble holidays is to photograph my zombie horde in its entirety. That's over 300 figures, folks! 6MilPhil, one of my followers asked me if I'd do it a couple of months ago. I thought it was excellent idea. Veloci, another keen follower, suggested I put a figure of myself in the photos, either being chased by the horde or surrounded by them. I shall do both. I have a perfect figure of myself by Mark Copplestone. He used to lead my gang in Gangs of Mega City One. Expect to see the results very soon.
I'll continue to review zombie miniatures but as I said earlier in this post, expect to see more undead and supernatural figures as well. I'd love to do more gaming but sadly that won't happen as often as I'd like. I certainly hope that ATH part 2 and ATZ:Ragers get released soon, as I'd love to play them both. I am sure that a lot of the increased traffic to my blog came after I started reviewing my World Works Games scenery. There is still more lovely WWG stuff that I haven't shown you yet so look out for more reviews in 2010.
I know that I'm getting the Sookie Stackhouse series of 8 paperback novels by Charlaine Harris for Christmas. They are the novels that True Blood is based on, so I shall look forward to reading and probably reviewing them here. Amazon.co.uk are offering all eight novels for just £24 in a boxed set - fantastic value for money at just £3 per novel.
Well, I'll wrap things up now and wish you all a zombietastic Christmas and all the best for the new year. Take care and thanks for reading.
My prize winning Diorama of Doom 2009.