Sunday 30 May 2010

Mega Minis Zombies 06

And so we come to my final review of the Mega Miniatures' range of 28mm scale zombies with a look at the eight figures supplied with set 6.
The little girl at the far left of the two photos above may once have been a beauty queen - Miss Junior Mayhem City perhaps - as she is wearing a sash over her right shoulder. When she was alive she may have been as cute as a button but now she is holding someone's brain in her tiny hands. "BRAAAAAAAINS!" Sorry, couldn't resist it! She is a fantastic figure and my favourite out of this set.
The second child zombie in this set is almost as good. I had to do a Google search to check up on the colour scheme for the uniform of the Boy Scouts of America. I had no idea what colours they were, being more familiar with the English Boy Scouts. This little chap has had his left arm ripped off and blood has soaked the left side of him as he bled to death.
The zombie farmer is an unusual figure and I did ponder whether to keep his scythe or remove it. As you can see, in the end I decided to keep it in place. He has been bitten in the left cheek and I am assuming he is gripping his stomach with his left hand to prevent his guts from spilling out. He looks quite emaciated and once again, is a great sculpt.
At the far right of this group is an elderly gentleman still holding on to his walking stick and about to take a big bite out of a fully intact human brain, held in his left hand. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that two figures in this set are holding brains. I love this figure but my one criticism of him is that his head is too big for his body. Maybe the beard makes it look bigger but to my eyes it just doesn't look right. The only wound to the figure is a small bite on his right leg.
The figure at the far left of the next two photos is another zombie jogger. There was a female jogger in set 5. I painted this guy as a silver-haired old timer whose fitness puts many a younger person to shame. He has a couple of appalling injuries to the right and left sides of his torso, with the one to the right being the most horrific. His intestines are spilling out of the huge gaping wound. I smeared blood on his hands and chin. He was a lot of fun to paint when it came to adding the gore effects!
Next up is another zombie SWAT trooper. He is just an averagely sculpted figure. He has had a large chunk of flesh taken from his right thigh. I also added a cut to his forehead. I have been desperately disappointed with all four of the zombie SWAT troopers from this range.
Moving on, we come to a young zombie male that I've painted up as a goth rocker. He has an odd-looking haircut - very long on the right side and cut very short on the left side. It reminds me of Phil Oakey from the Human League way back in the 1980's. His only wound is a horribly mangled right arm. He is not one of the better sculpted figures but he's passable.
Rather bizarrely, the final figure in this set is a swap of the previous figure. No, it's not a mistake by whoever packaged this set - you really do get two of the same figure. Why, I ask, and why this particular figure? This was clearly unacceptable to me as I want all of my zombies to be individuals so I was left with only one choice - conversion. The easiest way to convert him was to cut his head off and replace it. I had a lot of spare heads from my Wargames Factory plastic zombies, so I chose one of them and pinned and glued it in place. It's not a bad fit and a very simple but effective conversion. Note that I have also bent his left arm slightly. I painted him up as a much older gentleman with grey hair going white at the sides in the style of Reed Richards from the Fantastic Four.
So there we have it. Buy all six sets anf you'll have 47 unique zombies and 1 swap, which can easily be converted. You could just paint him differently if you feel you're not up to converting. Initially, I dismissed this range as being rather inferior and not worth buying but I'm happy to be proved wrong. They retail at a very reasonable price of $9.50 per set, which roughly equates to $1.20 per figure. For sure, there are some bad apples amongst them but don't let them put you off because there are some absolute gems as well. On the whole, there are a lot more good and great figures than bad or average. I think they'd be a worthy addition to any zombie horde and scale-wise, they fit in well with most other ranges.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

WWG Old Style Sedan Cars

Last time I reviewed the old style roadster from the Shellendrak Manor set. This week I'm staying with the theme of vintage cars and looking at the two sedan cars that come with the WWG Mayhem Bank set. To me, these seem to come from a later period than the roadster, possibly 1930's or 1940's.
The body of the car looks very thin when you see it constructed, however, once you add the four wheel cowlings it suddenly becomes a lot bulkier. Appearances can be deceptive.
The wheel cowlings give the car its distinctive look, but they were a devil to make. Very fiddly critters, more so if you reinforce them with mounting card as I do. Even the main body was a little harder to make because of its many angles. Just look at the roof - it has four folds to it; front, back and two in the middle.
Note how the rear of the car is almost curved, making construction that much harder. Also, note the absence of number plates again. I'll put that down to an oversight. A lot of people wouldn't notice unless it was pointed out to them.
As with the old style roadster, the most obvious use for these would be in a Roaring Twenties gangster campaign. However, I'll be using them in my upcoming ATZ campaign, which I'm hoping will kick off in a couple of day's time. Yippee! I should point out that the Mayhem Bank set also contains a taxi variant of this car, coloured yellow, of course. I could see no use whatsoever for the taxi in a contemporary setting so I didn't make it. Even these two that I've made would be classed as rareties or oddities in modern times but no matter, I still think they were worth making and adding to my vehicle pool.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Mega Minis Zombies 05

Here I go with another set of Mega Minis' 28mm scale zombies to look at. These eight figures come from set 5. Don't worry, just one more set to review after this and then I'll move onto something completely different.
At the far left of the two photos above is a zombie mum holding a large pair of scissors. The idea for painting the handles of the scissors orange came about very easily. I have a large pair of scissors with orange handles on my painting/modelling table. Although the figure has no visible wounds I added a stab wound between her breasts. I'm of the opinion that anyone wearing an item or items of clothing coloured white deserves to be covered in gore! She is a very nicely sculpted figure and with a different paint job could be painted as a survivor.
Next in line is a beautifully sculpted child zombie, possibly a paper delivery boy, as he holds a folded newspaper in his right hand. It's just a minor point, but I like the way his head has been tilted to one side.  He has a small bite wound to his left leg and I smeared blood around his mouth.
The zombie biker is no more than an averagely sculpted figure. He is holding some unidentifiable body parts in his hands. Whatever is in his left hand is big and may well be a few internal organs that he's ripped out from a victim. He has a large tear in the right leg of his denims, revealing a bloodied knee.
The final figure in this group is a female jogger. However, seeing as her left foot has been bitten off I fail to see how she can still be running, much less standing up! In addition to the obvious missing foot she has bite wounds to her left arm and right side of her torso. Despite my misgivings about her pose, she is nicely sculpted.
We start this second batch of zombies with what has to be my favourite figure from Mega Minis' complete zombie range. This is a child ballerina who has suffered the ultimate loss - her legs! Her left leg has been chewed off above the knee, whilst her right leg is gone from below the knee. What a cruel fate to befall an aspiring ballet dancer. The sculpting of her is simply superb and she comes with my highest recommendation. If you only ever buy one Mega Minis' zombie then buy this one!
Standing next to her is another high quality sculpt and yet another zombie child - three in this one set! That gets a big thumbs up from me. He's had both arms ripped out at the shoulders. For a long time now, I've been meaning to paint a zombie in a Gap T-shirt. I'm not a fan of the company at all so he became a fashion victim in more than one sense!
The SWAT trooper zombie is another disappointing sculpt. Whoever sculpted the four SWAT trooper zombies in this range has a poor grasp of anatomy. Yet again, I had to add modelling putty to his upper back to show that he does possess shoulder blades! It was any easy thing to do but it's not something that should need rectifying. The figure has suffered very little - just a bite to his left cheek and another one on his left leg. I smeared his hands with blood.
The final figure out of this set is a young looking female. The sculpting of her is good apart from her arms, which are slightly too long. A large amount of flesh has been bitten from her left leg. Nice figure, shame about the arms!
As usual, what we have here is another mixed bag, although there are more good sculpts than bad or average in this set. The three zombie kids are superb. Given how few there are on the market, I'd recommend buying this set for the kids alone. Of course, if you visit the Mega Minis' online store, you have the option of buying all the figures in this set individually. If you wanted all eight it is cheaper to buy the full set but if, for example, you just wanted the kids that would be the option to go for. Individually, they cost $1.43; collectively, they cost $9.50.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

WWG Old Style Roadster

Last time I promised you something different for my WWG vehicle review, and here it is - an old style roadster. This very spiffy car comes from the Shellendrak Manor set, making it perfect for a 1920's or even 1930's gangster campaign.
The instructions mention that two headlights mounted at the top of the front engine grille are optional, due to the fiddly nature of their construction. Hah, as if that was going to put me off! Of course I added them, although I will admit that I glued them in place using Cyano-Acrylate superglue, instead of the Uhu glue I normally use.
It has to be said that this a much more difficult vehicle to make than most modern day vehicles. The running board and wheel arches, in particular, were challenging. This is where patience becomes a virtue. Take your time and don't try to rush things.
Do you notice something missing from this car? Yep, no number plates! An oversight, I'm sure. It could be easily rectified by using a spare from one of the other vehicle sets, or if you're up to the challenge, making one yourself using Photoshop or a similar graphics program. Or, you could just leave it as is and hope no one notices!
I ought to point out that if you purchase the Return to Shellendrak Manor expansion set you get three variants of this car. They are all the same design but are painted black, green and red and all come with white roofs. I have not made any of the variants and I'm not sure if I will. Although I use my WWG models almost exclusively for a contemporary setting, I could still see this car fitting in. To me, the most obvious use for it is as a bridal hire car for those seeking some old style nostalgia or maybe a vintage car enthusiast has restored it. Whatever the reason it still looks good and is a very elegant design. It is certainly not the easiest of vehicles to build but I welcomed the challenge.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Mega Minis Zombies 04

This week's review of the Mega Miniatures' zombie range of 28mm scale figures features set 4 plus some bonus stuff. So, on with the review.
Starting with the four figures in the two photos above, at the far left is a zombie businessman. His suit and tie and the briefcase he still retains mark him out as a businessman. His right arm has been bitten and I added a cut to his forehead. I must admit that I am not very impressed with the sculpting of this figure. For starters, his head is way too big for his body. His hands are very poorly done and I think the briefcase is slightly too small. Stick him in a large horde and he might just blend in. Otherwise, he gets a thumbs down!
The zombie baseball playing kid is much better, although not as good as the roller-skater coming up soon. He has a small hole in his back and a much larger one in his chest, suggesting he was killed by a bullet to the back. He was probably classed as collateral damage by the trigger-happy mook who shot him.
The zombie mum with the rolling pin looks like a fearsome adversary. She exudes a "don't mess with me" attitude. She comes with no obvious wounds so I gave her a slit throat. Nasty! I also smeared blood on her rolling pin as if she has used it to bash someone's brains out. I like this figure.
I also like the zombie male holding the length of two by four. This time, I resisted the temptation to smear blood on his length of wood. As with the previous figure, there are no obvious wounds on him. I decided to leave him unbloodied. After all, not every zombie has to be soaked in gore.
The zombie SWAT trooper shown at the far left of the two photos above suffers a similar problem to the other SWAT troopers in this range, namely that he appears to have lost his shoulder blades! I have corrected this oversight by adding a small amount of modelling putty to his upper back. It just goes to show that the quality of the sculpting in these sets vary from the poor to the excellent. This is a consequence of Mega Minis employing four sculptors on this range. The wounds on this guy are quite hoffific. He has been bitten in both arms and his has been disembowelled. His body armour is failing miserably to contain his internal organs.
Now we come to the zombie roller-skater that I mentioned earlier and she is easily the pick of the bunch in this set. From the front it looks like she is wearing a red T-shirt, but she's not. It should be white but because both of her arms have been ripped off her t-shirt is covered in blood. The quality of the sculpting on this figure is just top notch. She is an absolute gem!
Next up is something unusual - a zombie ninja! His kung fu skills were not enough to defeat flesh eating zombies. I painted him black, as you'd expect, but I have dry-brushed on a mix of black and red to give his highlights a reddish brown tint. I once read that historically speaking, ninjas never wore black, they wore dark reddish brown.A large part of his right side has been chewed away and a coil of intestine is escaping from his stomach. He's an average sculpt but I'm not sure why he has been included in the set.
The final figure in this set appears to be some sort of delivery man, possibly a postman. His right leg and left arm have severe bite wounds. A chunk has been taken from his left breast and finally, his left knee is bloodied. Like the ninja, he's no more than an average sculpt.
Now we come to the bonus material. First up is Grosso the Clown. He is one of four personality zombies that Mega Minis make. The others are Filthy Harry (an absolutely dire Dirty Harry zombie), Scary Potter (a passable Harry Potter) and Thriller (a passable Michael Jackson). Grosso was the only one that piqued my interest. His costume has been holed in the right elbow and right knee. He sports a cut to the top of his skull. I am one of those folks who think that clowns are scary and evil. So a zombie clown must be doubly scary and evil!
The two kid zombies I've shown here are the two samplers that Rogzombie sent me. After buying the six sets I was left with swaps of these two so I decided to do a bit of converting. With the football player I added modelling putty to his hair to make it frizzier and painted it ginger. I also drilled a big hole through his upper chest, showing that he'd been shot by a high calibre bullet. You can see all the way through this bullet wound! If you look at last week's Mega Minis zombies review you can see what the original figure looked like. This kid wears the same uniform - the Mayhem City Maulers.
The obvious thing to do with the roller-skater was to give her her arms back. So I drilled a hole through her upper chest from the side and inserted a piece of metal, cut from a paperclip, through the hole. This gave me a solid frame to add the modelling putty. I added a bite wound to her right arm. It was a relatively simple conversion. I painted her very differently to the little girl featured above.
The four personality zombies retail for $2.00 each if you order them from Mega Minis' E-bay store. However, if you order them from Mega Mini's online store they only cost $1.89 each. They are very much a mixed bag. I liked Grosso the Clown a lot. Scary Potter and Thriller were okay but in the end I decided against purchasing them. Filthy Harry is alas, one of the worst sculpted figures I've ever seen. He doesn't look remotely like Harry and worse still, he doesn't even look like a zombie. Be warned, avoid! As for set 4, this too is a mixed bag with two poor sculpts (the businessman and SWAT trooper), two average sculpts (the ninja and delivery man), three good sculpts (the baseball kid, the mum and the guy with the two by four) and one outstanding sculpt (the girl roller-skater). See last week's review for price details and remember, you can buy the figures individually from the online store if you want to avoid some of the poorer sculpts from this set.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

WWG Recreational Vehicles

This week's World Works Games vehicle review looks at the RV (Recreational Vehicle) - a kitbash submitted by Slymoon. The kitbash is clearly based on the vans from the Bits of Mayhem. You have a choice of two colours for your RV - black or red.
There are two noticable things that differentiate this design from the normal van. First of all, it is a lot taller. Note how the sloping sides have been extended upwards, giving any occupants in the passenger compartment ample space to walk around without having to bend over.
The second difference, clearly visible in the photo above, is that the van has been elongated. Again, this gives far more room in the passenger compartment.
I've pulled off my usual trick of making the spare wheel an actual 3-D prop rather than just part of the artwork. One more change to the van, which is not so clearly noticable, is that the wheels are a lot thicker.
It's a good kitbash and one that I greatly welcome. There is a red van in the Bits of Mayhem set but not a black one, so making one of the RVs black was a good choice. It gives mysterious Men in Black agents a cool vehicle to travel in. Lord knows what gadgets they could fit to it!
Next time, I'll be looking at something very different in the vehicle line. Keep watching!

Sunday 9 May 2010

Mega Minis Zombies 03

This is set 3 of the Mega Miniatures range of 28mm scale zombies, comprising as it does of eight figures. Let's have a look at them in closer detail.
At the far left of the photos above is what the Mega Minis website amusingly calls a zombie organist! I guess that is purely down to the way his arms and hands are positioned. Actually, joking aside, I think this is one of the best sculpted figures out of the whole range. The way his emaciated face has been sculpted is superb. You really couldn't mistake him for being anything else but a zombie! His clothes are ragged and holed in many places. His most serious wound is the gaping hole in his stomach, but he has also suffered bite wounds to both arms and right leg as well.
Next up is a zombie goth girl. She doesn't have to be a goth, I just painted her up as one. She is the first of the zombie kids to be sculpted by a new sculptor, and I wish I could credit him as I think his sculpts are great. His kids are very finely sculpted and detailed. I know they are only kids but they appear to be a lot slimmer than the other figures. This girl's face is practically obscured by her hair. She has been wounded in the lower chest and has scraped the flesh from her left knee. In her left hand is her lunch box.
The black dude in the badly torn white T-shirt is a welcome addition as I like to see non-Caucasian zombies. It looks like he has been shot by a high calibre bullet through the chest and out his back. The style of his sculpting would suggest he was sculpted by the guy who did the zombie organist. I like him a lot!
The final figure out of this batch is the zombie hippy. He holds a severed lower leg in his left hand and from the way his mouth is smeared he's clearly been feasting on it. With his long hair and beard I had to paint his clothes in lurid colours. Pink and orange suits him well.
We start the second batch of four with a zombie hooker. She's no Pretty Woman this one. She may be ugly from the neck up but as someone once said, "you don't look at the mantlepiece when you're poking the fire!" Speaking of zombie prostitutes, I'm reminded of a short story by Joe R. Lansdale in the Book of the Dead anthology that mentioned a tawdry bar that offered the clientele zombie whores. All of the zombies had their hands chopped off and were muzzled so that they couldn't harm anyone. It's the kind of sick venture that a gang of criminals might want to consider in ATZ. They could hunt the neighbourhood for suitable female zeds to use in their brothel. Any takers? Getting back to the figure, she's relatively intact with just a few cuts here and there, and is quite well sculpted, despite her lack of good looks.
The zombie male next to her is lurching forward as if ready to pounce on a victim. He almost looks like he is running so he'd be useful if your game uses fast zombies like those found in 28 Days Later or the Zach Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead. This guy has suffered! His right arm is covered in bite wounds; a chunk of his right cheek has been chewed off and he has deep cuts to his back and right leg.
The zombie American footbal player was sculpted by the same guy as the goth girl and it shows. I painted him up as an African American kid because I have so few of them. He has managed to keep a hold of his helmet but it offered no protection when the zombies caught up with him. They ripped his left arm off at the elbow and gutted him, causing his intestines to spill out. I was very impressed with him when I first saw him. He was one of the two sampler figures that Rogzombie sent me. You'll see what I did with the swap in my next Mega Minis review.
The final figure out of this set is zombie mum carrying a victim's left arm. Although she is wearing a hoody tracksuit, I don't think she was an ardent sportswoman as she is rather plump. Remember Columbus's rule from Zombieland - Cardio? He was right. The fat folk will get eaten first. She too has suffered grieviously once the flesheaters caught up with her! Her left arm has been yanked off. Interestingly, a bite has been taken out of her bum. You don't see that very often! Her right arm has been badly bitten and she has been wounded in the right side and belly. It looks like the zombies fed well off her! Again, she is another nicely sculpted figure.
This third set is a big improvement over sets 1 and 2 with no bad figures to speak of and a good smattering of outstanding sculpts. The price for set 3 varies depending if you buy it from the website ($9.50) or from the E-bay store ($10.00). Alternatively, you can buy the figures individually from the Mega Minis website for just $1.43 each. I must admit to rating this set very highly.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

WWG Gold Bullion Van

Last time I reviewed the WWG ambulance and police van models. This week I'm going to review the gold bullion van from the Mayhem Bank set. You'll notice straight away that this is the same design as the ambulance and police van, although without the flashing lights on the roof. For a security van you would want a solid design and this has just that sturdy, robust feel to it.
The number plate is made up of numbers only - no letters here. Being a Brit, I'll admit to not knowing how the rules apply to American vehicular number plates. Also. I do not know if the fact that the red background to the plate is significant or not.
The bank that this van belongs to is called "Bronks" - a corruption of the word "Bronx." Bronks Banks rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Very alliterative. I like it.
Just note how wide the tyres are. I reinforced them with two pieces of foam board sandwiched between two pieces of mounting card/artboard. I was recently asked in the WWG forum how I get my wheels to look so round? I really ought do a tutorial some time.
In a zombie apocalypse setting, where money has lost its value, there would be no need for banks or their gold bullion vans. However, the idea of riding around in such a van has quite an appeal to me. It will surely be armour-plated, offering good defence against the zeds but more importantly, against hostile humans. I'd much rather ride in this than say, the Mystery Machine as used by the Scooby Gang! For those playing Heroclix or some other superhero RPG, this would make a tempting target for any supervillain.

Sunday 2 May 2010

Mega Minis Zombies 02

Here is set 2 of the Mega Miniatures 28mm scale range of zombie figures, which comprises 8 figures. I mentioned last time that the figures shown on their website were painted by Rogzombie. For roughly two thirds of the figures that I painted I have copied Roger's colour schemes. What can I say - I'm lazy and it's easier than thinking up my own!
Looking at the four figures above I loved how Roger had painted the logo SK8R on the T-shirt of the boy holding the skateboard. I thought it was a really neat touch. As regards the sculpting of the figure, what I particularly like about him is that his right arm is in a plaster cast. Now how often do you see that on a figure? Hardly ever! The zombies have left his wounded arm alone (probably couldn't bite throught the plaster!) and have ripped half of his face off. There is a large hole where his left cheek should be and blood has soaked his T-shirt and trouser leg. I like this figure a lot as he is so characterful. Plus he gets mucho brownie points for having a plaster cast!
Next up, could be a police patrolman but for me he is Paul Blart - zombie Mall Cop, lol! The zeds have really done a number on him. His left arm has been ripped off at the elbow and he has a massive stomach wound from which his entrails are slopping out. Messy! That'll teach him for starring in such a crap film!
Third in line is another zombie child. This little mite was playing hockey when the zeds caught up with him. Apart from a bite wound to his right arm, he is relatively intact. I pondered on whether to paint his hockey stick coated in gore or not for quite a while. In the end, I decided it looked too plain without it so it was on with the TCR (Tamiya Clear Red).
Last in line out of this group is the zombie fireman, whom I have painted completely different to Roger's version. He holds his fire-axe defiantly above him. He has also had a large chunk bitten out of his left cheek. In addition, his left hand appears to have been cut off. It is far too smooth a wound that it could not have been bitten off. Whether he cut his hand off with his own axe or someone else did remains a mystery. He is a very nicely sculpted figure.
The figure at the far left of this second batch of figures is one of my least favourites out of this group. He appears to be dancing, which rather puts me off him. On the plus side, he sports an impressive array of wounds, starting with a long and deep cut to his right arm. The flesh has been stripped from the right side of his back, revealing his ribs. Finally, he has a very nasty wound to his left leg. I painted a lot of blood coming out of his mouth and pooling around his neck area.
The SWAT trooper is the first of four that Mega Minis have included in this range and they all suffer from the same sculpting problem. Whover sculpted them forgot to give them shoulder blades! I have rectified this problem by adding modelling putty to their upper backs to make them bulkier. To be honest, this is a very poorly sculpted figure all round. The arms are far too long. Note how his left hand is level with his left knee! His legs are too short as well. The only thing that I do like about him is the fact that he is eating someone's entrails. I want to see more zombies doing this!
Next to him is the pointing zombie. Perhaps he has just spotted a new victim and he wants his fellow walking corpses to go attack them. If he could do that then that would qualify him for intelligent zombie status! His right arm has been so badly chewed that bone is now visible. His second wound is not so severe - a chunk has bitten out of his right cheek.
Roger painted the last figure of this set as a cop, which makes sense. I have gone down a different road and decided to paint him up as a survivalist in autumn woodland camouflage. It's the first time I've used this colour scheme and I like how it came out. He is holding a pump action shotgun in his hands (upside down admittedly but what do you expect from a zombie?) and he has a pistol in a holster at his right hip. His only visible wound is the bite to his left cheek, making him the fourth zombie in this set with a cheek wound. I see a pattern emerging here! I have added blood to his stomach to indicate he has either been bitten or stabbed in the belly. The shotgun barrel is hiding the actual wound.
Mega Miniatures employs four sculptors for their zombie range and some are clearly better than others. All six sets in the range are a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. Personally, I think there are more good figures in the sets than bad or ugly. The price tag of $10 or roughly £6.50 per set from their E-bay store makes them worth checking out if you're on a tight budget. Check out my previous review for further price options.