Sunday 29 December 2013

Vampifan's Views 44 - Monthly Musings 25

And so we come to the end of another year... and what a year 2013 turned out to be for me. The obvious highlights were meeting up with Mathyoo and Joe (aka Zabadak) in April. That was a great week and we sure did have a lot of fun. Mathyoo stayed with me for the week, prior to leaving for London to attend Salute 2013. In June my health deteriorated to such a point that I was rushed in to hospital for an emergency operation to repair a hole in my bowel. Four months later I was discharged. In October I made a life changing decision and enrolled with the on-line Dating Agency. I fell in love with the gorgeous Ashley and we have been great friends ever since. Even though my stay in hospital was a low point in my life I did pull through and I made many good friends with the staff who looked after me so well. I was only too happy to attend the Christmas party run by the critical care team of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital earlier this month. The chance to meet up with such close friends was one I was not going to miss.
So Christmas has been and gone. What did Santa bring for Vampifan? Well top of the list was this statue of a tooned-up Vampirella made by Sideshow Collectibles. It cost me about $150 (roughly £100) and I think she is ever so cute and adorable! Continuing the Vampirella theme, my mum bought me the Vampirella Archives Volume 8, an anthology of old Vampi comics when it was published by Warren during the 1970's. Naturally I have the previous 7 volumes, but this is all new stuff for me as I didn't start collecting Vampirella comics until she was published by Harris Comics much later. Mum also gave me money to spend as I wanted, so I used that to pay for my tooned up Vampirella statue. I also got my Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood calendars, which I buy every year. An assortment of sweets, toffees and chocolate, as well as socks and men's toiletries made up the rest of my presents. I had no complaints about what I got and all presents were gratefully received.
Looking to the future, what do I think that 2014 has in store for me? At some point next year I'm going to have to go back to hospital for another operation. Because my bowels are not functioning properly I have had a stoma bag fitted to my stomach. I've got used to it being there. I saw the surgeon who operated on me a couple of months ago and he wants to see me in April when we will discuss having my operation reversed. This is something I very much want to happen. Knowing the staff at the QE Hospital I have no fears in returning there and I have been told that it is a simple operation and I shouldn't be in for very long.
I will continue blogging. That is such a major part of my life that I just couldn't give it up completely. On the hobby front there is much to look forward to. 2014 will see the release of the following Kickstarter projects I have backed - Reaper Bones 2, Zombicide Season 2 second wave of figures, ATZ figures, Mars Attacks figures and 3D Forge Zombies, Survivors and Barricades.That's a LOT of figures I'm waiting for! Oh, check out these resin cast vehicles that have been added to the 3D Forge Kickstarter set. Nice!
3D Forge resin cast vehicles with metal extras
A few weeks ago I heard from Simon Hunter, another upcoming sculptor wanting to produce a range of zombie and survivor miniatures. I've seen the greens for five of his survivor types and very nice they are too. He's currently working on Zeke, an intelligent zombie, who will be his company's mascot. These 28mm scale figures are set for release in March 2014. I'll keep you posted on Simon's progress as and when I learn more.

I'll leave you with this extremely funny message and picture that Bob (aka Irqan) sent me. Enjoy!

Annual Apology
Over the past few months I have forwarded some inappropriate pictures and 
jokes to friends who I thought shared the same sense of humour.. 

Unfortunately this wasn't the case and I seem to have upset quite
a few people who have accused me of being sexist and shallow.. 

If you were one of these people, please accept my sincerest apologies. 

Looking to 2014 onward, I will only post or send e-mail with a cultural or 
educational content such as old monuments, nature and other interesting topics. 

Below is a picture of the Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris . It is the oldest bridge
in Paris and took 26 years to build. It was completed in 1604.
 I wish you all a very happy New Year. Peace and goodwill to all my followers.

Sunday 22 December 2013

My FFO Campaign - Robbery! - Week 2

After a long delay I recently managed to play another game of Final Fade Out. This "special" scenario is detailed on page 68 of the FFO rulebook. It is the Week 2 scenario, "Robbery!" The following special instructions were in place.
1. The party enters from sector 9 and must exit the table from sector 1.
2. When you resolve a PEF, roll on the Special PEF Resolution table (see p.68) as opposed to the normal table.
3. If you Fast Move at any time someone will report you to the police. The police will arrive in 1d3 + 1d6 turns and will be armed with BA Pistols and Shotguns.
4. If you have a gun and fire it, the police will respond as in 3 above.
This Encounter will use the rules from the FFO rulebook and most of my House Rules However, I am now going back to using the Risks and Rewards deck for searching buildings for humans, zombies and loot. As before, this batrep will be rules heavy for the benefit of new players. All notes relating to the rules will be written in blue text to differentiate them from the rest of the batrep. All page numbers will refer to the ATZ-FFO rulebook.
Encounter = Special (see p.68)
Location = Springvale, a Suburb of Mayhem City, USA
Time = Evening during Day 14 (Week 2)
Initial Encounter Rating = 3
Scotty "Vampifan" Bryant. Rep:5 Star Survivor with Born Leader and Slow Attributes.
  Skills = Drive:4, Melee:3, Shoot:4, Fitness:2, People:5, Savvy:3.
  Weapons = BA Pistol  and Katana (1HW or 2HW).
Angelina "Angie" Johannson. Rep:4 Co-Star Citizen with Free Spirit Attribute.
   Skills = Drive:4, Melee:2, Shoot:4, Fitness:4, People:3, Savvy:3.
   Weapons = Knife (1HW).
Niall "Big Sil" Sillito. Rep:4 Co-Star Citizen with Rage Attribute.
   Skills = Drive:4, Melee:4, Shoot:3, Fitness:2, People:4, Savvy:3.
   Weapons = Machete (1HW)
Robert "Gap" Thirlby. Rep:3 Co-Star Citizen with Runt Attribute.
   Skills = Drive:1, Melee:2, Shoot:3, Fitness:3, People:2, Savvy:3.
   Weapons = Baseball Bat (2HW).
None of the cast suffered from Lack of Sleep for this Encounter (see p.58). Hannah, Jamie and Billy were staying in Vampifan's house, guarding his property. They took no part in this encounter.
The encounter took place on a 45" by 30" game board made up of six of my 15" by 15" Stoelzel's Structures urban game boards that I'd made from Carl's Undeveloped Real Estate set. The top of the board in this photo indicates North. The board was divided into 9 sectors measuring 10" by 15" and going from left to right then top to bottom. Sector 1 is in the top left of this photo and Sector 9 is in the bottom right.
The above photo shows a view of the board from the west. The buildings are a mixture of models from World Works Games and Stoelzel's Structures. All vehicles are from my collection of die-cast models.
 This photo above shows the board from the east.
Next, I rolled for the placement and Rep scores of the three PEFs (Possible Enemy Forces) (see p.60). Rep is determined by rolling 2d6 and using the lowest number for the Rep. Either number can be used if both numbers are the same. Roll 1d6 to determine which Sector the PEF is placed in. If there is a building in that sector, place the PEF inside. If there is cover that blocks Line of Sight to the player group, place the PEF so it can't be seen. Otherwise, place the PEF in the centre of the Sector.
PEF:1 was Rep:6 and was placed in Sector 1 in the derelict building.
PEF:2 was Rep:4 and was placed in sector 6 inside the blue cabin. Just to help remind me where the PEFs were, I placed them on the roofs of the buildings they were in.
PEF:3 was Rep:5 and was placed in sector 5 in the armoury store. It could have appeared in either the armoury or the general store so I diced for its location and it ended up in the armoury.
 Team Vampifan made a diagonal move into sector 8, walking the maximum allowance of 8".
Next I had to roll 4d6 to determine how many zombies appeared at the start of the game (see p. 45). Three appeared by the blue cabin.
 Two appeared inside the wooden cottage in sector 9.
 Four appeared at the south-eastern corner of the office building.
And three appeared just ahead of Team Vampifan, giving a total of 12 zombies.

Things were bad. Vampifan saw police cars rolling through town but not stopping and just yesterday, he walked past a National Guard checkpoint where they had quarantined part of Mayhem City. It was not safe to be on the streets right now. Vampifan, Big Sil, Angie and Gap had to cross this part of Springvale to reach their homes. 
TURN 1.   Activation - Vampifan =5, Zombies = 2, PEFs =1
"Come on. Let's take those deadheads out," Vampifan said as he led his colleagues further up the street.
By moving forward another 8" Team Vampifan were in Charge range of the three zombies ahead of them. They had all taken the Zed Or No Zed test (see p.49) previously, so didn't have to take it. However, Big Sil, Angie and Gap had to take the Citizens' Brown Pants test (see p. 30) if they wanted to charge into melee. All three passed 1d6. Phew! I hate that rule!
Vampifan charged at the female zombie who had her left arm in a sling. He held his katana in a two-handed grip above his head. Big Sil moved off to the side to take on the zombie office worker. He held his trusty machete in his right hand. Angie and Gap took on the zombie biker. Angie wielded a sharp knife, whilst Gap kept a tight two-handed grip on his baseball bat.
Vampifan split the female zombie's head in two with a powerful downward slice from his katana.
Vampifan's Melee score of 3d6 was increased to 5d6 because he used his katana as a two-handed weapon. He scored 3 successes and the zombie female scored 1 success out of 3. All zombies have a Melee score of 3d6. I rolled 1d6 for Vampifan on the Melee Results table and got a 2. this gave him a score of "equal or less than his number of successes but not a 1." The zombie was Out Of the Fight, which against zombies counts as an Obviously Dead result (see p.49).
Big Sil was not as successful as Vampifan. His machete strike to the neck missed its target and struck the zombie office worker in his left shoulder. Even so, it was a powerful blow and the zombie staggered backwards and fell over.
"Tough bugger, aren't you?" Big Sil mused.
Big Sil had a Melee score of 4d6. To this he added 1d6 for using a one-handed weapon and another 1d6 for having the Rage attribute. He scored 3 successes out of 6, whilst the zombie scored 2 successes out of 3. Rolling on the Melee Results table, Big Sil could only manage a Knock Down result.
Angie thought she had done so well when she thrust her knife into the zombie biker's heart. He barely noticed the wound. His outstretched hands gripped Angie around the throat.
"Oh, shit!" she gurgled.
"No, Angie!" Gap shouted in alarm. "You have to hit them in the head!"
He swung his baseball bat and connected with the side of the zombie's head just above the ear. With a sickening crunch, Gap shattered the zombie's skull, killing him instantly.
Angie's Melee score of 2d6 was raised to 3d6 because of wielding a one handed weapon (her knife). She rolled 2 successes but so did the zombie biker. They were tied. This actually worked to Gap's advantage. He had a Melee score of 2d6, which increased to 4d6 because he held his baseball bat in a two-handed grip. He also gained a further 1d6 for fighting an evenly matched opponent (see p.32). So, he rolled 5d6 and incredibly, scored 5 successes! The zombie could only manage 1 success. Gap followed up this impressive display by rolling a 1 on the Melee Results table, killing the zombie.
The zombie office worker whom Big Sil had knocked down staggered back to its feet. Meanwhile the other nine zombies shuffled closer to Team Vampifan but were too far away to cause any trouble.
The door to the armoury suddenly swung open but it turned out to be just a gust of wind. It was a false alarm. 
"Christ, that nearly gave me a heart attack!" Gap proclaimed.
"Who's got the jitters?" Angie mocked. 
All 3 PEFs could move this turn, so I started with the one closest to Team Vampifan, PEF:3 (see p.60). Because it started indoors its Rep was reduced from 5 to 4. It passed 2d6 on the PEF Movement table (see p.60) and moved outside next to Team Vampifan. I rolled 2d6 on the PEF Resolution table (see p.61) but passed 0d6 against the Encounter Rating of the area (ER:3). This counted as nothing to worry about, so the PEF was removed from play.
The next closest PEF was PEF:2 in the blue cabin. This also had its Rep reduced by 1 for being in a building, which gave it a Rep of 3. It passed 1d6 on the PEF Movement table and moved 12" away from Team Vampifan. It reached the edge of the board in 4" and then had to roll to see if it moved north or south. I rolled for north and the PEF moved a further 8" (see p.60).
PEF:1 was the last PEF to move. Its Rep was reduced from 6 to 5 for starting off indoors. It easily passed 2d6 and moved 12" towards Team Vampifan. It passed 2d6 on the PEF Resolution table - contact!. I rolled 1d6 on the Special PEF Resolution table (see p.68) and scored a 1 for a Robbery attempt. That was rather appropriate given the name of this Encounter. I rolled a 4 on the How Many table (see p.62) for a result of PG+1. This meant that Team Vampifan would face 5 enemies (PG = Player Group, which in this case was 4). This could turn very ugly.
A gang of five Punks led by Johnny Rancid, (Rep:4 with the Rage attribute) who was armed with a BA Pistol and a length of chain, (a one-handed improvised weapon) ran out of the derelict building to confront Team Vampifan.
"Give us your weapons and valuables," Johnny Rancid demanded, "and we'll let you live."
His colleagues sniggered. They seemed to find Johnny's remark highly amusing. They consisted of Mongo Smash, a big brute (Rep:4 with the Dim attribute) armed with a pair of Desert Eagle BA Pistols, Drew Belchard, a teenager (Rep:3 with the Poser attribute) armed with a spiked club, (a one-handed weapon) Slash, a young female (Rep:3 with the Poser attribute) armed with an MP5 SMG and finally another young female, Kat (Rep:3 with the Greedy attribute) and also armed with an MP5 SMG.
The Punks were placed 2" away from Team Vampifan and the two leaders took a People Challenge. Vampifan had a People score of 5, whilst Johnny had a People score of 4. Vampifan could only manage to pass 2d6 but Johnny only passed 1d6.
A red mist descended over Vampifan. He narrowed his eyes and glowered at the tall punk with the Mohican haircut.
"You want my weapons and valuables, huh?" he snarled. "Come and get them, you miserable piece of shit!"
Vampifan had no intention of surrendering to the Punks so it was time to Walk the Walk and take an In Sight test (see p.17) with team Vampifan counting as Inactive and the Punks as Active. This meant that each punk suffered a -1d6 penalty to their Rep scores, giving Team Vampifan a big advantage. Vampifan and Gap passed 3d6 each (as indicated by the black dice), so they would react first. Angie, Johnny and Kat passed 2d6, whilst Mongo, Drew and Slash only passed 1d6. Big Sil did not roll as he was still locked in combat with a zombie. Angie and Gap only just passed their Citizen Brown Pants tests with rolls of 4 and 3 respectively.
Johnny Rancid stood stock still with his pistol still holstered and his length of chain hanging uselessly by his side. When Vampifan thrust his katana into Johnny's gut, the Punk leader looked so surprised. It was almost as if he hadn't expected Vampifan to attack him let alone wound him. Vampifan twisted the blade as he withdrew the sword and Johnny sank to his knees and pressed his hands to his wound.
"Well fuck me!" he murmured before crashing down onto his face.
This is what happened. Both men took the Charge Into Melee test (see p.29) with Vampifan adding +1d6 to his Melee score of 3 for being a Survivor and Johnny adding +1d6 to his Melee score of 4 for having the Rage attribute. Luck was on Vampifan's side as he rolled 3 successes to Johnny's 2. This meant that Johnny could not fire at Vampifan and that he would count as being unarmed for the first round of combat. Vampifan rolled 5d6 on the Melee Combat table (see p.31) gaining a +2d6 bonus for using his katana two-handed. Johnny's Melee score of 4d6 remained unchanged. The -1d6 he suffered for counting as unarmed was cancelled out by his Rage attribute. Again, Vampifan won by 3-2. When rolling on the Melee Results table he only managed a Knock Down result. However, Johnny only passed 1d6 on the Recover From Knock Down test and so was Out Of the Fight. This caused the rest of the Punks to take the Man Down test (see Ganger QRS). I rolled a 2 and a 3 on 2d6, so the Punks would Carry On.
As Gap charged at Kat, the young Punk managed to fire a single shot at him. However, she panicked and the bullet went high and wide. Gap didn't give her a second chance. He swung his baseball bat at her head and crushed her skull with such force that one of her eyeballs popped out of its socket.
Gap had a Melee score of 2d6 but having the Runt attribute reduced this to a mere 1d6. Kat had a Melee score of 3d6 and should have easily beat him but both sides could only roll 1 success each. A tie resulted in Kat firing once before Gap reached her. No reaction test would be taken. I rolled a 2 for her, which added to her Shooting score of 3 gave her a total of 5 - a miss (see p.26). For Melee combat, Gap's Melee score of 2d6 was raised to 4d6 for using his bat two-handed. Kat used her SMG as an improvised weapon (a club) and so her Melee score of 3d6 remained unchanged. Gap managed 2 successes to Kat's 1 and so Kat was Knocked Down. Alas, she passed 0d6 on the Recover From Knockdown test and was Obviously Dead. This caused the three remaining Punks to take another Man Down test but with a roll of double 1 they were determined to Carry On.
Next up was Angie. She decided to charge the other female Punk, Slash. Slash reacted slightly quicker and was able to get off a snapshot from her MP5, but just like Kat, she fired wide and missed her target. Angie pushed Slash's SMG to one side away from her and stabbed the Punk in the right eye. Slash dropped to the ground, screaming in agony as blood streamed down her face.
Angie's Melee score of 2d6 was reduced to 1d6 because she was a Civilian. Slash's Melee score of 3d6 remained unaffected but both sides rolled very badly on the Charge Into Melee table and neither of them scored any successes. On a tie, Slash was allowed to fire once before the Melee combat commenced. Sadly for her, she rolled badly and missed. Worse was to come. Angie scored 3 successes out of 3 and whilst Slash scored 2 successes, it wasn't good enough and she lost the fight by 1. Angie only scored a Knock Down result on the Melee results table but that was okay, because Slash only passed 1d6 on her Recover From Knockdown test. This put her Out Of the Fight.
"Dude, this wasn't supposed to happen!" Drew whined. "Let's get out of here!"
Mongo nodded in agreement and the last two Punks fled with their tails between their legs, utterly broken and humiliated.
With Slash going OOF, Drew and Mongo had to take another Man Down test. With rolls of 5 and 1 they passed 1d6 but because they now had more friends who were either Out Of the Fight or Obviously Dead, they were forced to Runaway (see Ganger's QRS). So they fled off the table.
With two shots being fired this turn (one each from Kat and Slash) the police would arrive in 1d3 plus 1d6 turns. I rolled a total of 6, so on turn 7 the police would come to investigate. The two shots fired also meant that more zombies may arrive on the board. However I rolled under 5 for both shots so no more zombies appeared. This ended a very eventful turn.
TURN 2.   Activation - Vampifan = 3, Zombies = 5, PEF = 2.
Big Sil finished off his zombie opponent by slicing off the top half of the zombie's head. Black blood and bits of brains sprayed in an arc away from him.
This time Big Sil rolled 7d6 in Melee combat. He gained an extra +1d6 for being in an evenly matched combat. He scored 4 successes, which were added to his one automatic success for fighting a zombie. The zombie rolled 4d6. He also received the +1d6 bonus for being in an evenly matched combat. The zombie only scored 2 successes so lost 5-2. I rolled a 3 for Big Sil on the Melee Results table, which was enough to kill the zombie outright.
Vampifan, Angie and Gap looted the bodies they had just felled, but only took their opponents' firearms - a .50 calibre Desert Eagle BA Pistol for Vampifan, a 9mm MP5A SMG for Angie and a 9mm MP5SD3 SMG for Gap. Afterwards, Vampifan would give the Desert Eagle to Big Sil.
PEF:2 rolled 2d6 on the PEF Movement table and gained a +1d6 bonus to its Rep score because shots had been fired last turn. It passed 2d6 and moved 12" towards Team Vampifan. This placed it inside the general store.
TURN 3.   Activation - Vampifan = 1, Zombies = 2, PEF = 4.
PEF:2 once again passed 2d6 on the PEF Movement table and moved outdoors right next to Team Vampifan. I rolled 2d6 against the Encounter Rating of the area and scored 1 success, which raised the Encounter Rating from 3 to 4. 
Nine zombies moved further up the street, attracted by the noise of gunfire from a previous turn.
"It's time to get the flock out of here!" Vampifan said. "Let's haul ass!"
All four members of Team Vampifan raced up the street to put as much distance between them and the zombies behind them.
I made four Fast Moves for the heroes. Vampifan only rolled 1d6 because he had the Slow attribute, but he passed 1d6 and increased his move of 8" by a half to 12". I rolled 2d6 for the others and applied the same result (a double 3) to each of them (see p.15). This meant that they all passed 2d6 and so their movement scores were doubled to 16". Remember that special rule about Fast Moves? Anyone who Fast Moves at any time during this encounter will be reported to the police. So once again I rolled 1d3 plus 1d6 to see when the police would arrive. This time I got a total of 4, so that meant that the police would arrive on Turn 7. That made me wonder if it would be the same police who were responding to the gunshots or a different group. I figured it'd be a different group but really, it was rather academic as the game was nearly over.
TURN 4.   Activation - Vampifan = 1, Zombies = 4
The four zombies at the side of the office block moved further down the street, moaning in frustration as the humans eluded them. However, they could smell freshly spilled blood nearby. Soon they would feast on the dead and wounded Punks.
As per the Zombie Frenzy rule (see p.45) zombies who have a line of sight to any human have their Rep increased to 4 for the purposes of Activation only. This meant that these four zombies could move this turn but the other five couldn't.
Once again, Team Vampifan ran as fast as they could along the street.
This time every one passed 1d6 on the Fast Move tests, which allowed Angie and Gap to exit the board and Vampifan and Big Sil to reach the board edge. I did not roll for police intervention again as it was totally irrelevant at this point in the game.
TURN 5.   Activation - Vampifan = 4, Zombies = 3.
Vampifan and Big Sil sauntered off the board at a walking pace. 
Only if Team Vampifan failed to activate for a number of turns could the game continue. As it was, they activated first and thus it was game over.  
AFTERMATH. To achieve victory, all Team Vampifan had to do was exit the board from sector 1. This they did, so all four were eligible for Rep or Skill increases.
Vampifan opted for a Melee skill increase and succeeded. His Melee score was raised from 3 to 4.
Big Sil attempted to increase his Rep but failed.
Angie also went for a Melee skill increase and she also succeeded. Her Melee score is now 3d6.
Gap went for a hat trick of Melee skill increases and he succeeded as well. His new Melee score was also 3d6. I must admit that I thought that Gap performed particularly well in this Encounter and I'd nominate him as my "Man of the Match."
In addition, because the next Encounter would take place after day 20, Big Sil, Angie and Gap would no longer be classed as Citizens but as Survivors. Oh, yes! Ditto for Hannah, Jamie and Billy, even though they didn't take part in this Encounter. So that meant that everyone got something out of this Encounter.
Finally, I had to roll on the Keeping It Together table (see p.73). However, because of the results in the previous encounter, Big Sil, Angie and Gap were exempt from this test for this Encounter. Vampifan had the Born Leader attribute which increased his People skill from 5 to 6. Remember, I use a house rule which replaces Rep score with People skill for the Keeping It Together test. He rolled 4 successes. Hannah could only manage 2 successes, which meant that not only would she stay with the group but that she was exempt from this roll next time. I did not roll for Billy or Jamie - they are just children and they do what their mum tells them. So if mum stays, they stay and if mum leaves, they leave.
That was a lot of fun with the dice gods being particularly kind to Team Vampifan. It could have all gone horribly wrong for them, particularly in the fight with the Punks. Anyway, this will be my last post before Christmas so I'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. It is unlikely that I'll post again until next Sunday. Stay safe and have fun!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Foundry Freelance Assassins

Here is another set of figures from the Wargames Foundry Street Violence range - set SV032 - Freelance Assassins. I bought these figures years ago as part of the Dark Heart of the City collection. This is a very varied bunch of figures whom I'd describe as five individuals rather than a team of five.
At the far left of the group is Kitty Starr, an urban cowgirl. You can tell she's a contemporary cowgirl as no woman in the 19th Century Wild West would ever dress like her. Her hot pants and crop top remind me more of a trailer trash lass. Maybe she is, or maybe she just likes to dress sexily. She is armed with a pair of revolvers kept in holsters on her hips. It is impossible to identify what type they are.
"Razor Ruth" Kressel is dressed as one of the Foundry Street Girls gangers and would fit in perfectly with them. She is dressed in black leather bondage gear with chains hanging from her belt. She is armed with a 9mm Glock 17 Pistol, so named because it holds 17 rounds.
In the centre of the group is Sachiko, a Japanese Yakuza assassin. This figure is really small, measuring just 25mm tall, and yet she seems perfectly in scale, given that Japanese women are quite often small. She is armed with the traditional two swords of an ancient samurai - the katana (long sword) and wakizashi (short sword). I really should have added some tattoos to her - an oversight on my part.
The two males are massively overscale for 28mm scale figures. Normally, with the Foundry Street Violence packs you get one overscale figure per pack, but here we have two. First up is a character known only as "Brute." He is a dead ringer for the actor Rutger Hauer. He stands 35mm tall and yet I don't think he is overscaled. His height and build just looks right. He is unarmed but one look at those huge hands of his and you get the impression that he could crush skulls with them! He is a truly menacing figure.
Last in line is Garth Bellamy, whose expression suggests he may be a simple minded soul. Ha! Don't be fooled! He is a stone cold killer. His weapon of choice is a 9mm P220 Sig Sauer Pistol. He stands at 33mm tall and once again, he suits that large size.
This is very much an eclectic bunch of figures. I can see them as individuals but not as a collective whole. Still, don't take that as a criticism, it's merely an observation. I like them a lot. Set SV032 Freelance assassins costs £12.00 from the Wargames Foundry website.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

3D Forge Miniatures Kickstarter Project

Earlier this week I was notified of a new Kickstarter project run by 3D Forge Miniatures. 3D Forge Miniatures are a new figure company run by Alan Dickinson from County Durham, not far from where I live. I got friendly with Alan earlier this year when he told me that he was going to set up his own miniatures company and that he wanted to concentrate on zombie sculpts. Having seen some of his previous larger scale work I knew that he was a very talented sculptor

You can visit his Kickstarter website by clicking on the following link -
To the left of here is a picture of the 12 basic 28mm scale zombies that will appear as a box set. If you click on the link you can see close ups of some of the individual figures and very nice they look too. These are all typical and iconic American zombies, which is fine by me.

As well as sculpting the zombies, Alan has also sculpted five survivors to do battle with them and they appear in the picture to the left of here. That guy with the crossbow is a dead ringer for Daryl from The Walking Dead TV series. I like the sheriff (a not-Rick Grimes) with his big bag of weapons slung over his shoulder. They all look hard ass. Note that whilst the zombies will be one piece castings the survivors will come in two pieces.
Anyone who makes a pledge before 24th of December 2013 will receive this special zombified Santa Claus. He couldn't care less who's been naughty or nice - he just wants to eat your brains!
As well as sculpting zombies and survivors, Alan is including an option for scenery items. To the left of here is his Dumpsters and Barrels set, comprising of a skip, a dumpster, wheelie bins, metal bins, metal barrels, tyres, a wooden pallet and sandbags. All very useful scenery items. They'll look good on anyone's gaming board.
In addition to the above fortification pack are a collection of walls and barriers as shown in the picture to the right.
I have made a pledge for £50.00, which will get me everything I have showed here. Having spent a small fortune on the Zombicide 2, Reaper Bones 2 and Mars Attacks Kickstarter projects earlier this year I did say that I was going to cut back on my figure spending. But this was one project that I simply could not ignore, especially as it is run by a friend of mine. I should point out that all the figures and scenery shown here will go on general sale after the Kickstarter project has been delivered. However, the prices will go up so it'll pay you to be an early bird and pledge soon. For example, my £50 pledge buys me £76.60 worth of goods. A damned good saving, I reckon. This project runs until 10th January 2014. To succeed, Alan needs to raise £6,000 and at the time of writing he is very close to that goal with another 30 days to go. Let's make it happen, folks. I really want this project to succeed.

Sunday 8 December 2013

World War Z DVD

When I was in hospital earlier this month I missed the cinema release of World War Z. Despite being unimpressed by the trailer it was still a film that I wanted to see. So when I got out of hospital I ordered it on DVD and decided to watch it with an open mind. I had read a lot of negative comments about it, especially by fans of the book. But as I always say, there is only ever one critic who counts and that's yourself.
THE FILM. The film is very loosely based on the novel of the same name by Max Brooks. I say very loosely because all they have in common is the title and the fact that both feature a zombie apocalypse. The big name attached to the film is, of course, Brad Pitt. He plays Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator who is coerced into returning to help lead the investigation into a world wide pandemic that has infected millions of people, turning them into flesh eating zombies. Mireille Enos played his wife, Karin. For me, the most interesting character in the movie was a female Israeli soldier, known only as Segen, played by Daniella Kertesz. Doctor Who fans may be interested to know that the newest Doctor, Peter Capaldi, has a small role as a World Health Organisation scientist. How ironic that the new Doctor Who is working for WHO! The film was directed by Marc Forster and had a troubled history with rewrites and a delayed release date. Ultimately, it was a box office hit and a sequel is in the works.
THE PLOT. Warning - Spoiler alert! The film opens with Gerry and his family (wife and two daughters) in Philadelphia when the zombie apocalypse kicks off. They are stuck in traffic but manage to leave the city and head for Newark, New Jersey. Gerry's old friend, UN Deputy Secretary General Thierry Umutoni contacts him and sends a helicopter out to bring the Lanes to a US Navy vessel somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Here, scientists and military personnel try to make sense of the outbreak. Gerry is flown to a military base in South Korea, where it is believed the outbreak started. He is accompanied by Dr. Andrew Fassbach, who doesn't last long. He slips when exiting the plane and accidentally kills himself when his pistol discharges. A dumb and stupid death! Why couldn't he have been killed by zombies?
Gerry learns that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service knew a lot about the virus before it went global, so he flies to Jerusalem, where a huge wall has been erected around the city to keep out the zombie horde. He meets with Mossad chief Jurgen Warmbrunn but is forced to leave quickly when the wall is breached and the city is overrun by zombies. Gerry, accompanied by Segen, a female soldier depart on a commercial airliner, one of the last to leave the stricken city. Gerry had helped Segen by cutting off her hand when she got bitten by a zombie. This drastic measure prevented her from succumbing to the zombie disease. He persuaded the pilot to fly him to a World Health Organisation research facility in Wales. Unfortunately, a zombie had stowed away on the plane and Gerry was forced to kill it with one of Segen's hand grenades. Naturally, this caused the plane to crash but luckily, Gerry and Segen were the only survivors and even more luckily, they were close to the WHO facility. Whilst in Jerusalem, Gerry noticed that the zombies ignored a sick old man and an emaciated boy. He surmised that anyone with a terminal disease was immune to the zombies so to test his theory he injected himself with a lethal but treatable disease. It worked and the scientists were able to produce a vaccine to render humanity immune to the zombie virus.
THE VERDICT. Oh dear! Where do I begin? This has to be one of the worst zombie films I have ever seen and believe me, I've seen some bad zombie films. There are so many holes to pick in the plot, right from the start when the zombies first appear up until the ludicrous ending. For a start, the zombies are not as described in the book - slow moving and relentless. No, these zombies are all Olympic sprinters spliced with the DNA of ants so that they can climb on top of each other to scale huge walls. I hate fast running zombies and I particularly hated the zombies in this movie. They just looked so silly and stupid. To me, what was unforgivable for a zombie movie was the fact that we never got to see a drop of blood spilled throughout the film. For fuck's sake it is a zombie film! Where was the gore? How can you cut someones hand off and not show any blood? If I had to describe the film in one word I think I'd chose the word anaemic!
I get the point of Gerry flying all over the world to show that this is a global event but how he gets to his destinations does beggar belief. Can a Hercules transport plane fly from the Eastern seaboard of the USA to South Korea without refuelling? It was established very early on that zombies react to sound so why when we travel to Jerusalem are so many refugees singing at the top of their voices just inside the city walls? Also, why have so many helicopter flights around the city? They're even more noisy. No wonder the zombies outside got so agitated and scaled the walls. Although how they did that left me shaking my head in disbelief! As for zombies ignoring the terminally diseased, what a load of bollocks! Zombies will attack and feast on anyone with a heartbeat! This so-called cure was never mentioned in the book, so why spoil the film with it? This monumental oversight made the ending even more of a letdown.
Oh, and don't get me started on the flight from Israel to Wales! How did the zombie stowaway in the first place? Why was Segen allowed to carry hand grenades with her? And what was Gerry thinking when he threw a grenade at the zombie? Also, are we really expected to believe that Gerry and Segen were the only two survivors of the plane crash? Come on, get real, folks! Credit the audience with some intelligence! I loved Max Brooks' book of  World War Z but I hated this film with a passion. As a result, I can only give it a 1 out of 10 rating. Avoid at all costs. Read the book or catch it on TV when it airs but don't waste good money on it. Don't let my suffering be in vain!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Eureka Kung Fu Schoolgirls 02

As promised here is part two of my review of the Eureka Miniatures 28mm scale Kung Fu Schoolgirls. This time they are all armed with guns. Once again, I have come up with their names. Note that these girls come from a different school to the first set of Schoolgirls that I reviewed. Also, every one of them has dyed her hair a different colour.
At the far left of the group of seven girls is Yukimura with the green hair. She is running along (or possibly dancing), whilst firing her pistol off to her right. That'll give her a negative modifier to hit anything!
Next up is Mari and she holds her pistol in a two-handed grip at the ready. Note her big eyes, a
prominent feature of Manga characters. She has dyed her hair blonde.
Purple-haired Sumika is in a cool firing pose. She is armed with a pair of 9mm pistols and is probably ambidextrous. The term "both guns blazing" springs to mind with her.
Moving on, we come to the four girls carrying substantially heavier firepower. Crimson-haired Tamashi, in the centre of the group has a 5.56mm M16 Assault Rifle slung across her back. She is about to pull the pin from a grenade. She is my favourite figure out of this group. I just think she is so cool!
Fifth in line is Asuka, armed with a 7.62mm AK47 Assault Rifle. She has turquoise coloured hair and she is standing on guard with her rifle in a relaxed pose.
Getting ready to fire her 5.56mm M16 Assault Rifle from the hip is pillar box red-haired Mikasa.
Finally, we come to Yuri, who is the heavy weapon member of the group. This blue-haired young lady is armed with a 7.62mm M60E3 Machine Gun with shortened barrel and pistol foregrip.
I like this set of figures a lot, and although they have been on sale for quite a while it is only fairly recently that I bought them and painted them. I did think of painting them in the same colour scheme as the girls I reviewed last time but eventually decided on a totally new colour scheme. I see them as coming from rival schools, one teaching Kung Fu and the other, Gun Fu.
Set 100FAN04 Kung Fu Schoolgirls with Guns retails for AU$20.00 from the fantasy figures range of Eureka Miniatures, making them AU$2.00 dearer than the first set that I reviewed. Once again, they are true 28mm scale figures, so they do look small when compared to some other ranges. But, as I said last time, this isn't a bad thing.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Eureka Kung Fu Schoolgirls 01

A couple of years ago I ordered this set of 28mm scale Schoolgirls from Eureka Miniatures, an Australian based firm. I remember at the time that some people took offence to them because they were overtly sexy, with all of the girls flashing their panties. Some folk commented that they were in poor taste. That certainly wasn't going to put me off from buying them. I like these figures a lot. You can make up your own mind about them. Anyway, here they are.
 First in line is Mikako, who is doing a side kick to her right. Unlike most of the girls, she is wearing pink panties, not the regulation white panties. Naughty girl! By the way, I came up with the names for all of the girls.
Next up is Keiko, who is doing a side kick to her left. She is the only girl to be wearing a headband. Her pose is more aggressive than Mikako's.
Third in line is Koumei. She is performing a right handed punch to her front. In keeping with the Mangaesque feel of these figures, she has huge eyes. Yes, I know it's not realistic but it is entirely in keeping with the genre.
In the centre of the group is Sousou. She is performing an overhead block with her left arm. She is in a nice defensive pose.
Next, we come to the katana armed girls. The first of these and number five in line is Chidori. She is charging her opponent with her katana held in a two-handed grip ready to slice her victim in two.
The penultimate figure in line is Tsukushi and she appears to be dancing with her katana held aloft in a one-handed grip. Perhaps she is taunting her opponent to come and have a go if he thinks he's hard enough!
Last in line is Sakura. She is different to the other girls in that she has dyed her hair purple. I did this to make her stand out as the group's leader. She holds her katana in a one-handed grip in a defensive posture.
They are indeed a sexy group of figures, with their very short mini-skirts and panties on display but if you know anything about Japanese Manga comics and films, you'll know that these are entirely in keeping with the genre. I think they are very well sculpted and very well posed. I could easily see them doing well against a horde of zombies, smashing skulls with feet and fists and decapitating zeds with their katanas.
These seven figures come from set 100FAN03 Kung Fu Schoolgirls, which can be found in the Eureka Miniatures 28mm scale fantasy figures section of their website. They retail for AU$18.00 for all seven figures. In case you are worried about ordering all the way from Australia may I just reassure you not to. I received my figures two weeks after placing my order and I have found Eureka Miniatures to be very reliable in my dealings with them. Note that they are true 28mm scale, although they do look small compared to some other figure ranges. Being schoolgirls, this should not be a problem. Next time I'll review their follow up set, Kung Fu Schoolgirls with Guns.