Sunday 31 July 2011

Foundry Bikini Babes 02

Following directly on from my last figure review I present Wargames Foundry's second set of bikini babes - set SV066 Gun Girls from the 28mm scale Street Violence range.
The girl who appears at the far left of the two photos above is Matty. I have decided to make her the leader of these girls and my previous set of Foundry Bikini Babes because she looks very different to the other figures in both sets. It's almost as if she was sculpted by a different person. Maybe she was. Her pose is far more dynamic than any of the others as she crouches down whilst advancing. Her weapon is a 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5KA5 Machine Pistol with a long silencer attached. To denote she was the boss, I gave her a gold bikini. Note that a) she is not a natural blonde, black roots are a dead giveaway, and b) she is the only lass to go bare-footed. I think if she wasn't crouching down so much, she'd tower over the other girls.
To her left is Lydi, a dark-skinned beauty in a yellow bikini and white strappy shoes. She is nonchalantly holding a 7.62mm Heckler and Koch G3 Assault Rifle in her left hand. I do like how the sculptor has made about half these girls left-handed. It's a good call.
The group's heavy weapon expert stands in the centre of the group. Effie has armed herself with a Hawk 40mm MM1 Grenade Launcher with a 12 round ammo drum. She wears a white bikini with red polka dots and white shoes. I simply had to paint someone with a polka dot bikini!
The girl in the purple bikini and pink shoes is Lulu. Her face looks Asian to me, so I painted her in bronzed flesh skin tones. Sadly Games Workshop have dropped Bronzed Flesh from their paint range. They have a bloody annoying habit of getting rid of useful colours! Lulu is armed with a 7.62mm AK47 Assault Rifle.
Finally, is Dodo, who is more civilian than ganger. She is armed with nothing more dangerous than a beach ball. With a name like Dodo, she'd soon be extinct if she got into a firefight! I've got nothing against the sculpting of this figure but I do question her inclusion. If she was part of a pack of unarmed civilian babes in bikinis that would be fine. But not part of a gang of well-armed women with military grade firearms.
It's an obvious thing to say but I'm going to say it anyway, if you liked the first set of Bikini Babes then you're bound to like the second set. If you're playing a scenario set on a beach these could prove useful. But, as Doug pointed out last time, you'll probably get far more use out of then if you use them as dancers for a strip club or a pole-dancing joint. This set costs £10.00 and is certainly not a must buy purchase unless you're collecting the complete Foundry Street Violence range, or if you have a specific need for the girls.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Foundry Bikini Babes 01

It's summer, or at least what passes for summer here in the UK. As I type this the weather is dull, cold and overcast with grey clouds threatening a downpour anytime. Anyway, it must be bright and sunny somewhere in the world, so with that in mind here is the first of three articles to celebrate summer. This figure review looks at the Wargames Foundry set SV052 Ballistic Beach Babes from the 28mm scale Street Violence range.
These five beauties dressed in bikinis and high-heeled shoes make up the first of two sets of Foundry babes with guns. Starting at the far left of the two photos is Babs. I painted her with platinum blonde hair, a pink bikini and white shoes. She holds a 5.56mm Colt M16 Assault Rifle in her right hand.
To her left is the much paler-skinned Val. Redheads tend to be pale-skinned so I didn't want her to have a bronzed flesh body. She was mainly painted using Citadel Elf Flesh, with a mix of Citadel Skull White for the highlights. Besides, giving the girls diffent skin tones provides contrast for the group. Her bikini is lime green and her shoes black. She is armed with a 7.62mm Kalashnikov AK47 Assault Rifle and she is the only one of the five girls to hold her rifle two-handed, ready to fire. Note that she is left-handed.
In the centre of the group is Twinkle. I didn't choose these names - they're the names given to them by the folk at Foundry. Twinkle's white bikini and shoes contrast well with her bronzed flesh and brown hair. She is also armed with an AK47 Assault Rifle.
Standing to her left is Latino babe Jo. Jo's dusky skin tone was achieved by painting her with Citadel Bestial Brown and highlighting with Citadel Snakebite Leather. Her pale blue bikini and shoes, once again, provide a nice contrast. She, too, is a fan of Mr. Kalashnikov, arming herself with the ubiquitous AK47 Assault Rifle.
Last in line is Carron, looking over her left shoulder. She wears a red bikini and black strappy shoes. She has chosen a different rifle to her colleagues - a 7.62mm Heckler and Koch G3 Assault Rifle. It is unusual for Foundry to produce a set of figures with no variety in the weapon types. All carry Assault Rifles, only the manufacturer differs, which makes no difference whatsoever in a game like ATZ.
Although I like these figures a lot, I just can't see much use for them. They are very well sculpted and what red-blooded male wouldn't want to be surrounded by a bevy of armed beach babes? I can accept the notion of streetwalkers arming themselves to form a gang but not a bunch of beach babes. They'd probably work in a one-off scenario like the Marsden Beach Massacre but I couldn't see them surviving in a campaign. Mind you, if you stray away from the world of horror, they'd be ideal as a group of bodyguards to an evil mastermind in a James Bond or Austin Powers type scenario! If you think you can find a use for them, they cost £10.00 for all five figures.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Foundry Street Girls 02

Moving on with my review of Wargame Foundry's 28mm scale Street Girls from their popular Street Violence range are two more sets - SV038 Mistress Medusa's  Dominatrix Coven and SV053 Mistress Olivia's Street Girls.
I'll begin with Mistress Medusa's Dominatrix Coven, shown above in the first two photos. Mistress Medusa Rowntree is the first African/American street girl we've encountered in these two reviews. She has a leather fetish, as she is dressed in a red leather cat suit with thigh length red boots, a red spiky leather backpack and a long black leather duster. She is armed with a 5.56mm M16 Assault Rifle. With her huge afro, which I'm sure I made larger with modelling putty. You have to think of 1970's "Blaxploitation" movies when you see her.
Her chief lieutenant, Pandora Jones, really stands out in her yellow lingerie, boots and gloves, which contrasts well with her brown skin. Equally striking is her blonde hair, which certainly isn't natural. She is armed with a more compact Assault Rifle than Medusa - a 5.56mm Colt Commando.
In the centre of the group is the third African/American Street Girl - Peach Sunday. With a name like that, I had to give her peach coloured hair, which she wears in two very striking ponytails. She is also armed with a 5.56mm Colt M16 Assault Rifle. In addition, she has a pistol in a holster on her right hip. Note her black mask worn around her eyes.
Fourth in line is the very cheeky Molly Mojo. She wears a blue rubber dress (with golden yellow admiral's cuffs and epaulettes), which has been styled to show off maximum cleavage, of which hers is most impressive. What really makes you sit up and notice her is when she turns round. Two panels have been cut out to reveal her back and her bum. Very nice, I say! Her choice of weapon is unusual - a 9mm M2 Benelli Machine Pistol.
Finally, is the group's submissive girl - Justine Markowitz. If you have dominatrices then you need someone for them to dominate. This is where the submissives come in. It is often said that it is really the subs who are in control. Justine wears nothing but a pair of rubber panties, with a zip at the front. She has been manacled at the wrists and ankles and a gag has been attached to her mouth. A chain hangs between her breasts from nipple to nipple. Her only use in a game of ATZ would be as bait, which would be a callous tactic but may be enough to distract a horde of zeds long enough to escape from them.
The fourth group of Foundry Street Girls (or second in this review) are Mistress Olivia's Street Girls. At the far left of the next two photos above is Mistress Olivia Tate, who to me, bears more than a passing resemblance to singer Beyonce, or as I call her, Bouncey! Mistress Olivia is dressed in a long, brown overcoat, a fishnet bodysuit, black lingerie, black boots and black gloves, topped off by sunglasses and a black peaked cap. She has a pair of pistols in holsters strapped to her thighs.
Standing to her left is Martha "Red" Berry, who wears identical clothing to Mistress Medusa, although her coat has a fur collar. She has a big shoulder bag slung over her left shoulder. In her right hand she carries a 7.65mm Model 61 Skorpion Machine Pistol.
In the centre of the group is the most heavily armed of all the Street Girls (including the ones reviewed last time). This is Pam Lebenzon, who wears fishnet lingerie and black leather boots, gloves, cap and choker. the most noticable aspect about her is her 5.56mm Colt M16A1 Assault Rifle with underslung M230 Grenade Launcher. "Say hello to my leetle friend!" as Al Pacino so memorably said in the film, Scarface. As a back up weapon she has chosen the 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5 Sub-Machine Gun. She has plenty of ammo pouches on her belt. This girl means serious business!
Next up is a Sarah Jane Reeves, a figure that has been remodelled from Molly Mojo. Sadly her sexy rear cutouts have been replaced. Maintaining the nautical theme I painted her dress white and kept the golden yellow cuffs and epaulettes. A backpack has been added to her and she is now armed with a 7.62mm Kalashnikov AK47 Assault Rifle.
Fifth in line and the final figure from these sets is Denise "Cop Girl" Cooper. She is a conversion of Rollergirl and Honey Wilde, whom I reviewed last time. Her Cop Girl outfit of rollerskates, hotpants, cropped shirt and peaked cap would appear to have been designed by a porn film director. Still I admire her choice of weapon - the 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5 SMG with scopesight.
If you combine these two sets with the previous two that I reviewed last time you'll have a company of 20 well armed and sexy fighting females... well 19 to be exact. Justine the submissive is hardly a fighter. Perhaps she's the club mascot!
My three favourite figures from all four sets are Fifi Lamour the French maid from the first set (a French maid with a Steyr AUG Assault Rifle - awesome combo), Molly Mojo (purely for her blatantly sexy costume) and Pam Lebanzon (an incredibly sexy woman with a fantastic pair of weapons (insert own joke here!)).
If you liked the first two sets it goes without saying that you like these two sets as well. Personally, I'm a big fan of all four sets and I'd like to feature them in my ATZ campaign.  I seem to remember a good while ago that Doug suggested I have Team Vampifan helping a madame and her girls to defend their brothel or strip club against a horde of zombies. Well, I've got the heroes, I've got the street girls, I've got the zombies. All I need is to build a brothel or a strip club. Sigh, I'll put it on my list of things to do!
The price for sets SV038 and SV053 are £10.00 each.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Foundry Street Girls 01

Wargames Foundry makes more sets of SWAT Troopers in their 28mm scale Street Violence range with five sets so far. (I've yet to review them but they will get covered soon.) Following close on their heels, with four sets are the Street Girls and it is them that I'll be reviewing today and next time.
The two photos above show set SV015 Mistress Trude's Street Girls. At the far left of the photos is Mistress Trude Lovemore, dressed in long leather coat with the sleeves rolled up, thigh length leather boots, micro-mini skirt, tight T-shirt showing her nipples, leather gloves and an SS Officer's cap. I'm going to assume she is a natural blonde of pure Aryan stock. Her weapon is unusual in that it is a 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5KA5 Machine Pistol with a silencer fitted.
Her stable of girls include Clare Faulkner dressed in red lingerie and white leather boots and white gloves. her hair has been tied in a ponytail. Her weapon is the same as Mistress Trude's but without the silencer. Note that she holds it in a two-handed grip to better control recoil.
Next up is black PVC leather-clad Cherry Goodnite. She has dyed her long hair a bright red and it hangs down to her backside. Her weapon of choice is also made by Heckler and Koch. It is the 9mm MP5 Sub-Machine Gun fitted with a large scopesight and a silencer, which greatly adds to its length. Check out her platform soled boots.
To her left is Fifi Lamour, an obvious alias, dressed in a French maid's costume. She's styled her hair in twin ponytails. She is the only person out of this group not to be armed with a Heckler and Koch weapon. Instead, she has chosen the 5.56mm Steyr AUG Assault Rifle. Nice choice!
Last in line is Rollergirl, whose real name remains a mystery. She has emphasised her considerable cleavage by wrapping her boobies in a tightly tied, short-sleeved cut-down shirt. Clearly she believes if you've got it, flaunt it. Her mini-skirt leaves little to the imagination either. Her ensemble is completed with grey sweatbands on her wrists, grey socks and a pair of roller skates. She is armed with a pair of MP5KA5 Machine Pistols, both of which are fitted with silencers. You must admit these girls like silenced weapons.
The next set, shown above, is set SV022 Fast Lucy's Street Girls. Fast Lucy Speed, the leader, can be found at the far left of the two photos above. She is dressed in a red jumpsuit and she has added two blonde streaks to her red hair. We're back to Heckler and Koch for her weaponry. In her right hand is a 9mm MP5 SMG, fitted with a scopesight and underslung torch. In her left hand is the 9mm MP5KA5 Machine Pistol with a silencer attached.
Dressed in a pink and black PVC leather costume, Penny Blanchart looks like she shops at the same place as Cherry Goodnite from above. Her black hair has been tied into two ponytails. She must be the group's sniper as she is armed with a 7.62mm Model 85 Parker-Hale Sniper Rifle.
Standing in the centre of the group is Tammi Gunn, dressed in redleather jacket and boots, as well as black mini-skirt, T-shirt and gloves. Like Mistress Trude, she's either feeling the cold (it's nippy outside!) or she's smuggling raisins. Yet again, we see a street girl armed with the MP5KA5 Machine Pistol and silencer. Did these girls capture a case of them?
Nikki Payne also wears a Nazi officer's cap. her rather saucy costume, consists of black basque trimmed with red, black panties, a red suspender belt and stockings trimmed with red at the top. She is the best armed girl out of these ten figures. As well as the 5.56mm Steyr AUG Assault Rifle with long barrel and bipod, she carries a whip in her left hand plus a holstered pistol on her left hip.
Finally, is Honey Wilde, another street girl who likes to rollerskate. She has swapped the mini-skirt, as worn by Rollergirl, for a pair of hot pants. She is armed with a standard 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5 SMG.
There is no doubt that these girls will add a great deal of sex appeal to your gaming table. I like them a lot. What's not to like about a group of sexy females with guns? Their weapons aren't too over the top, unlike the skinhead gangs I reviewed last time. One thing that might irk some of you is that the five girls in the second set are clearly alternate versions of those in the first set. I'm not bothered by that as I think the remakes are sufficiently different to warrant buying them.
In a world gone mad like a zombie apocalypse, I can see the sense of gangs sticking together for defence. I see no reason why a group of streetwalkers wouldn't do the same thing. Their pimps probably ran away at the first sign of trouble. Better still, maybe the girls fed their pimps to the zombies!
As usual these sets cost £10.00 each from Wargames Foundry's webstore. Next time, more of the same.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Foundry Skinheads 01

This post looks at the two sets of Skinhead Gangers made by Wargames Foundry from their 28mm scale Street Violence range - SV018 Yossa's Bonehead Skins and SV026 Gazza's Boot Boys.
First up are Yossa's Bonehead Skins, led by the man himself, Sid "Yossa" Hughes in his sheepskin coat. For many years I wondered what weapon he was armed with. All became clear when I bought GURPS High Tech, which showed the weapon and described it in some detail. It is the ATK-Heckler and Koch XM29 Objective Individual Combat Weapon, (OICW) a combination assault rifle with underslung grenade launcher. This joint American/German project was cancelled in 2008 due to weight, effectiveness and budget problems. James Bond used one at the start of the film Die Another Day. What on earth Yossa is doing with one is anyone's guess!
The blonde, overwight skinhead to the left of Yossa is Kenny Price. He is armed with a holstered pistol on his left hip and a Hawk MM1 grenade launcher with plentiful ammo slung over his back. He and Yossa can lay down a lot of explosive firepower between them.
Standing in the centre of this group is Jammy McGill. With a name like that, I'm guessing he's Scottish. He is armed with a 5.56mm Steyr AUG Assault Carbine. Note the reduced length of the barrel. I must admit that I really like the look of the Steyr AUG.
Next in line is Connie Harris, the first of two females from this group. She carries a pair of 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5KA5 Machine Pistols. Note her hairstyle, shaven over the skull but with a fringe at the front and back. I've mentioned this a few times, but for the sake of newcomers, I drew the fishnet pattern on her tights with a fine-nibbed Rotring pen. The ink dries slightly glossy so I gave her legs a coat of matt varnish. Her fishnets are dark blue.
Her colleague, Rachel Gascoigne, appears to be saying, "Does my bum look big in this?" It's a lovely pose she's in as she flaunts her sex appeal.She is armed with a standard 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5 Sub-Machine Gun. I gave her the surname Gascoigne to show that she is married to Gazza, leader of the next group of figures. Note that her fishnets are black.
The next two photos, shown above, show Gazza's Boot Boys and Gazza can be seen at the far left. Ed "Gazza" Gascoigne is armed with a 5.56mm Minimi Squad Automatic Weapon, showing he's not someone you should take lightly. Like, Yossa, he is extremely tall and muscular.
The Ganger in the green jacket to the left of Gazza is known only as Spog. Perhaps he's the gang's own version of The Stig! He comes armed with a 9mm Heckler and Kock MP5SD3, fitted with a scope sight. The MP5SD series come with integral sound suppressor but even a silenced firearm still makes some noise.
The third figure in line, striding purposefully forward is Shane Crombie. He also carries a variant of the 5.56mm Steyr AUG Assault Rifle, this time fitted with a much longer barrel and bipod. The scopesight has been replaced with a more powerful version.
Moving on, we come to the female contingent of this set. Nancy Jones is armed with the Steyr Aug Assault Carbine, shown earlier in the hands of Jammy McGill. Her pose is similar to Rachel's but not so blatantly sexy.
Finally, is Karen Metcalfe, whose blonde hair is showing its black roots. She stands at the ready with her 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5 Sub-Machine Gun. Note that all ten figures are wearing Doc Martin boots, which became synonomous with skinhead gangs in the 1970's and were often known as "bovver boots" back then.
I have no doubt that some of you will disapprove of the way these skinheads are so heavily armed and whilst this wouldn't normally bother me, this time I'd have to agree with you. These aren't a gang of thugs, they are a small army! I can't say that these are representative of skinhead gangs from the 1970's when the skinhead cult was at it's height. Nowadays, you never hear of skinheads. They have gone the way of Mods and Rockers from the 1960's. What do I think they should be armed with? Flick-knives, knuckle-dusters, billiard cues, baseball bats, a length of chain, tyre-irons, etc. and for the leaders, maybe, a sawn-off shotgun, either double-barrelled or pump action.
There is no denying that these are finely sculpted figures and they will probably work well in some alternative world to ours but I can't help feeling that their weapons are way over the top and inappropriate. Your Mileage May Vary. The two sets retail for £10.00 each from the Wargames Foundry webstore.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Foundry Looters 01

Wargames Foundry produce two sets of looters in their 28mm scale Street Violence range and I'm going to review them both today. Here are set SV055 Street Thugs and set SV063 Wrecking Crew.
At the far left of the two photos above is Harry, the first of two thugs armed with a wooden baseball bat. From his pose he looks like he could be the leader of this little group, pointing towards their next target.
Next to him is the second thug armed with a wooden baseball bat, Elvis. He doesn't look like an Elvis to me but that's the name that the good folk at Foundry lumped him with. He holds his bat in a two-handed grip. I'm no fan of his goatee beard.
The guy in the middle, Flamer, probably got his nickname from his love of setting things on fire. He is about to light a molotov cocktail with a cigarette lighter. A red bandana covers most of his face. His hair, tied in a ponytail reaches down to the small of his back. Surely that's a fire risk!
Next in line is Tony Mosley, one of the very rare Foundry figures to be given a Christian name and a surname. I wonder if he's a real person, possibly a friend of the sculptor. Anyway, I've painted him as an African/American to add some ethnic diversity to the group. He appears to be unarmed but who knows what he's got stashed in his backpack?
Finally we have a man armed with nothing more than a rolled up newspaper. This is Bets, fly killer extraordinaire! Bets and Tony could double as ordinary civilians, given their lack of any obvious weapons.
The next two photos above show the five figures from the Wrecking Crew set, starting at the far left with the appropriately named Crowbar. He wears his baseball hat back to front, which I always think shows a lack of intelligence. I wear a baseball hat myself, but always with the peak facing the front. As you can see, Crowbar is armed with a crowbar, which would make for an improvised weapon in ATZ.
To his left is bare knuckle fighter, Quiff. He has a good set of muscles on his arms so he's probably rather handy in a fist fight. On the other hand, he'll be a total liability in a gunfight!
Next up is another thug armed with a molotov cocktail. He's called Dutchy and he's holding a lighted molotov cocktail, which he's just about to throw. Note that his hair is almost as long as Flamer's from above. He wears a Burberry baseball cap, back to front, making him twice as thick as Crowbar. For those not in the know, Burberry baseball caps are prevalent amongst the loathsome Chavs in this country, so, not a good look.
Fourth in line is my favourite figure out of both sets , Dodger. You can tell in an instant that Dodger is a looter because he's making off with a portable TV set. A nice touch is the plug dangling from beneath the TV. I think he's an absolute gem!
Last of all is another skateboard fan, Linus. He's carrying his skateboard in one hand, whilst giving the finger with his other hand. Charming! On the plus side, he at least, knows the correct way to wear a baseball cap.
When I reviewed the Foundry Street Warriors last time a few people criticised them for being too heavily armed. Indeed this was a criticism aimed at many of Foundry's Street Violence sets. It's not something that has ever bothered me but each to their own. I mention this because there is no way you could level that criticism at these two sets. Not a gun in sight!
I've already used a lot of these figures in an ATZ scenario from my campaign, called, what else but "Looters" which you can view here and they are absolutely perfect for that role. It has to be said that these two sets are not your typical Street Violence figures but they are all the better for that. If you are looking for very lightly armed antagonists these are ideal. Each set costs £10.00 from the Wargames Foundry website.

Sunday 10 July 2011

Foundry Street Warriors 01

For this figure review (and quite a few upcoming reviews) I'm going back to one of my favourite ranges of figures, Wargames Foundry's 28mm scale Street Violence miniatures. The pack I'm looking at is SV035 Young Plugs. I'm not familiar with the word "Plugs" in this context, but no matter, here they are.
One of the things I like about the Foundry Street Violence range is that every figure is given a name. Most times I use that name for the figure but sometimes I'll change it. You'll also find that Foundry will give their figures a Christian name or a surname but rarely both. Such is the case with this set. Everyone was given a Christian name but no surname. However, I have given them all surnames to make them more rounded characters.
First in line, wearing the brown leather jacket, is Denny Townsend. He is armed with a sniper rifle that I cannot identify. Note that it has a pistol grip and it has a big scope sight on top of it. He is dressed in casual clothing, as are all of this set. He stands in a relaxed pose with his rifle pointing to the ground.
Next up, in the orange hooded jacket, is Les Kemper. He is also blond and bearded. He appears to be armed with a 5.56mm 33E Heckler and Koch assault rifle, which is not a weapon you see very often. His pose is slightly more alert than Denny's.
In the centre of the group is a Goth guy, typically dressed all in black. He is named Ronnie Hitchcock and I painted his skin tones a lot paler than the rest of the group. He is armed with a 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun variant that comes with a pistol grip handle next to the gun barrel. Note how his hair flows well past his shoulders.
Fourth in line is Tracy Moreno, who I made of Hispanic origin. This little lady (she is far smaller than the others) is a real danger, being armed with a disposable rocket launcher and a holstered pistol. She wears a mini skirt to show off her fishnet tights (drawn on with a tiny-nibbed Rotring technical drawing pen). She is full of character and very much larger than life. She is my favourite character out of this group.
Last but not least is Vicky Ross. She comes armed with a standard MP5 sub-machine gun and a holstered pistol. Vicky is a keen skateboarder and music fan. I love the portable CD player she's wearing, although it does rather date the figure as technology has moved on since she was sculpted. Even so, she is a beautifully sculpted figure.
This is a very useful set to use as Gangers or Survivors in a game of ATZ. They don't have any unifying features, which makes them a group of individuals. That's not a bad thing for using them in ATZ where groups form from people with very different backgrounds. A word of warning for those of you who hate scale creep, although they are described as being 28mm most of them are nearer to 32mm. The exception is Tracy who is exactly 28mm tall from sole of feet to top of head. This set retails for £10.00.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Deadline by Mira Grant

Here at last is the much anticipated sequel to Feed by Mira Grant - Deadline.  In a previous post see here I proclaimed that Feed was not only the best zombie novel of 2010 but one of the best novels I'd ever read. So as soon as Deadline, part two of the planned trilogy, was available for sale, I bought it.
I want to tell you the plot of the book but how much can I say without spoiling the events of Feed, especially the big shock near the end? In brief, Feed was about a group of bloggers, led by siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason, who were invited to report on the campaign trail of Senator Peter Ryman as he ran for presidency. The year was 2032 and the zombie apocalypse was over twenty years old. Humanity won but at a major cost to their freedom. Most folk rarely venture far from home.
Deadline kicks off nine years after the events of Feed. This time, Shaun Mason is the narrator of the novel. He and his team are still blogging. Blogging has replaced the major news media as the number one source of news and information. Shaun's life is given a new purpose when, right out of the blue, a researcher from the Centre of Disease Control arrives at his apartment with news of an earth-shattering conspiracy that will affect them all. The researcher is Kelly Connolly, who assisted Shaun and Georgia in Feed and was a close friend of theirs. After hearing what Kelly has to say, Shaun agrees to help her and from there the novel takes off. To say more would be unfair.
If book one was as much a political thriller with zombies then book two can best be described as a scientific thriller with zombies. I mention the "with zombies" because zombies appear infrequently in both novels but, nevertheless, they are a constant threat, just lurking in the background, ready to spring forth when least expected... which they do! There is a lot of science to be explained in Deadline, regarding the nature of the Kellis-Amberlee disease that causes the dead to return to life, but it is written in a way that is easy to understand, mainly due to the fact Shaun needs things explained to him in simple terms. This makes things a lot easier for us, the readers, to understand what is going on.
My verdict of the novel is that it is a good sequel that I can highly recommend but it is not as good as Feed.  Feed was a novel that got more exciting and more thrilling the more you read of it until it became unputdownable, well at least for me. Deadline  lacks that rollercoaster ride. Instead it has moments of frenetic excitement interspersed with long periods of inaction. Also, it has a shock ending that didn't come as a shock to me. I hope I'm not sounding over critical because this is still a well-written novel with characters who are given time and space to develop. When a major character is killed it has an emotional impact. Deadline may not be as good as Feed but it definitely sets up book three, Blackout, very nicely. There is a preview of Blackout at the back of the book that left me screaming for more. Blackout is due to be published next year but I want it now! It'll be interesting to review the trilogy as a whole.
Deadline is published by Orbit Books and retails at £7.99. I bought my copy from Amazon UK for just £4.99. If you've read Feed you're going to want to know what happens next. If you haven't read Feed, go buy it now, along with Deadline and experience the thrills of a major new force in zombie fiction - Mira Grant, winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Vampifan's Views 11 The Kindness of Bloggers

The heroes of Romero's 1978 Dawn of the Dead film. From left to right - Fran, Stephen, Peter and Roger.
I wasn't going to do an editorial just yet, but certain events this week have conspired to make me rethink and so instead of a review today, you're going to have to put up with me waffling on about something which I'm sure we all know already. And that is that my fellow bloggers are wonderful people!
This has been proved beyond doubt by what has happened to me this week. I'm going to nominate three zombie bloggers who deserve a bucketload of praise. First up is Adam aka Zombie Ad who runs a couple of blogs now The Lead Will Walk The Earth and  The Zombie Shop  Some of you may have seen Adam's recent announcement that The Zombie Shop is now open for business. On Tuesday of last week I had a look at his webstore and placed an order for the All Things Zombie boardgame. It's something I've been after for a while but I held back because I didn't want to get stung by customs charges if I ordered it from the USA. This is where Adam came up trumps, because he has imported a lot of ATZ products to sell from his store. This means UK customers can order safe in the knowledge that they won't have to pay an unwanted tax imposed by Customs and Excise. Plus, even bigger bonus, the package will arrive much quicker than having to fly or sail across the Atlantic. I found a slight glitch at the checkout and duly reported it to Adam. On the following day, Adam kept me fully informed about fixing the glitch, processing my order and in mid afternoon posting my order, telling me I should receive my parcel the following day. He even offered me a 5% discount, which was very generous. I'll admit I was sceptical about receiving the game within 24 hours of it being posted but sure enough, it arrived about 10.00am the following morning. Outstanding service! The cherry on the cake was that Adam had included a small packet of fruit sweets with my parcel, a move clearly inspired by Hasslefree Miniatures, who always send out sweets with their orders.
My next hero is Mikko Merilainen who runs the Dawn of the Lead  blogsite. Last year he sculpted a couple of 28mm scale zombies for Black Orc Miniatures and he offered free copies to the first five people to contact him. I was one of those five but as time went by I had forgotten all about Mikko's offer. So it was a double surprise for me when the two figures he'd sculpted arrived on the same morning as my ATZ boardgame. One of the figures, a naked, fat zombie can be used prone or standing up. I didn't realise this until Mikko pointed it out to me. He has offered a second free figure of that sculpt so I can use one prone and one standing. Again, this was a very generous offer that I greatly appreciated.
My third hero of Bloggerdom is Fran, known to many as The Angry Lurker  whose blogsite shares the same name. What Fran did for me goes above and beyond the call of duty. I received a jiffy bag parcel this morning, which perplexed me greatly as I hadn't sent away for anything. When I saw Fran's message on the back "from the lurker who is angry" I knew who'd sent it. Who wouldn't? But what was inside? First up, a 28mm scale resin cast Humvee, comprising body and four wheels. I have no idea who made it but it is crisply cast in black resin. Next, were four Eureka Miniatures 28mm scale zombies in barrels. Great figures! I had one already but he wasn't amongst the ones that Fran sent me. Serendipity or has Fran got psychic powers he's kept hidden? And there was more - a detective with shirt sleeves rolled up and carrying his jacket whilst pointing. I recognised him as being from Foundry's Street Violence range. Finally was a civilian type in a business suit looking very stern and pointing from the hip with his left hand. He stands roughly 35mm tall, which limits the companies who may have sculpted him. He has an integral circular base, rather than a slotta-tab. I admit I don't know who made him but perhaps Fran can enlighten me. I'm stumped as to why Fran made such a generous gift but I am exceedingly grateful and rather humbled. My father's explanation is that if you do good things and show kindness to others, it will be returned to you. To be honest, I can't argue with him, as I don't have a better explanation.
So, to Adam, Mikko and Fran, I say thank you. It just goes to prove that there is a lot of good going on in the world and that the Internet can be a place of good as well. We're quick to hear about all the evil and bad things that go on but rarely about the good things. I hope this post redresses the balance. It's not just Adam, Mikko and Fran I'd like to thank. We zombie gamers and fans of the undead have a friendly community going on here. I hope it never ends. Guys, you have restored my faith in human nature!

On a totally different tack, some of you may have noticed in my last batrep if you left click on a photo it does not enlarge to full page size. I am aware of the problem and the blame lies squarely at the feet of Blogger, who have been causing a lot of people trouble in uploading pics and photos to their blogs. I can only apologise and hope the problem is sorted real soon.