Wednesday, 14 July 2021

All My Zombies

 Introduction

"All My Zombies" - it sounds like the title of a not-so-good sitcom, doesn't it?  No, I haven't entered the business of television script writing.  Rather, there is a completely different reason for this post.

A few weeks ago, someone asked on TMP (The Miniatures Page) "How many zombie models does anyone have?"  Glibly, I answered that I hadn't counted but that my collection must be at least several hundred.  Well, I was feeling a bit guilty about this lack of accuracy and so I decided to conduct an inventory to find the correct answer.  It turns out that I don't have as many as I thought - but it depends!

What Counts as a Zombie Model?


It might sound like a silly question at first, but I need an accurate definition of what constitutes a zombie model.  In many cases it is very obvious, I think - but before you start laughing at the question please consider these cases:
  • For a multi-base, do we count each individual figure or do we just score one for the entire piece?
  • What about ambiguous figures which might be zombies - or which might be humans pretending to be zombies?  Or indeed zombies pretending to be humans?  Do they count as survivors or as zombies?
  • Should we count figures which are lying down?  They might be truly dead - or they might  be zombies lying low and waiting to surprise some unwary survivor.
  • OK, if we're talking about my entire collection then what about medieval zombies based for mass battle games such as Hordes of the Things, or for fantasy skirmish games such as Frostgrave?
  • Do unpainted models count?  [I'd say a firm no to that!]

The Count



In this picture, I've arranged all my modern, zombie-apocalypse-style models in groups of ten, with a few "character" zombies and mini-dioramas at the front.  Here's how I count it:

  • 16 blocks of 10 = 160 zombies
  • 5 "left over" zombies (at the back) = 5 zombies
  • 6 "character" zombies (near the front.  One of these might be a human in disguise and another might be a voodoo spirit, but they'll still count for now) = 6 zombies
  • 1 diorama base of 6 dancing zombies (front, centre) = 6 zombies
  • 1 diorama base of an "oil drum" zombie = 1 zombie
  • 1 diorama base of a pile of corpses = 0 zombies (let's assume they really are dead)

If I've done my sums right, this gives a grand total of 178 zombies.  Note that this is not quite "several hundred", as I had initially claimed.  If I include my fantasy zombies as well then this must add another 20 or 30 at the very least (there I go again, making assumptions without actually checking!) - still not enough for "several hundred".

Conclusion


Well, the only possible conclusion is that I should check the facts before making vague claims.  This has caught me by surprise as I could have sworn that I had the numbers I had said.  Oh,well, I guess I was wrong.





So, let's sign off with another picture of the horde, this time from a different angle.  It may not include "hundreds" of figures but they still look scary to me!


Sunday, 27 June 2021

Saga: the Saracens

Introduction

It's been a while since I posted anything.  The truth is, I just didn't feel like blogging - either authoring or viewing other people's offerings.  It was always something I thought I might return to, though - I never gave up all hope.

So let's see how I feel after this: a straightforward cataloguing of my (as yet unbloodied) Saracen warband for SAGA.

The Warlord


The boss of this outfit is Iftakhar.  He's a subtle, refined character with many talents.  Just because he enjoys poetry and hawking doesn't mean that he's not quite capable in a fight as well!

The mounted model is from Perry Miniatures, whilst the bodyguard with the parasol is (if I remember correctly) from Eureka.

Cavalry


One box of Gripping Beast's "Arab heavy cavalry" has been used to make the Saracen hearthguard.  I've modeled most of them with shield and lance (or sword or mace) and a few with bows in hand.  However, many of the former also have bow cases and could be used as either missile or melee troops.

If anything, Saracen nobility are even more gaudy than samurai!  These have all been depicted with expensive, patterned clothes and horse trappings.  Thank goodness I only had a dozen of them to paint!




In contrast, the light cavalry (mercenary Turcoman archers) are much more drab.  Again, these were built from a Gripping Beast plastic box - which suggests that I must have another 4 models somewhere since the kits come as a set of 12 figures.  Hmm - I wonder what I've done with them?

Infantry


I have a substantial core of basic spearmen for my Saracen warband.  Again, these come from a box of Gripping Beast's plastic Arab infantry - apart from one extra metal figure which I think might be an early casting from Gripping Beast.



A dozen archers (the rest of the figures from the box of Arab infantry above) provide some missile power.  Mind you, these are probably less-than-enthusiastic levies and so shouldn't be relied on too much...



Finally, I have some naffatun - foot soldiers with fire pots or primitive flamethrowers.  Such weapons are mentioned in early medieval texts, but I believe they are not described in any detail.  Consequently, the inclusion of these in any game is somewhat conjectural, if not completely fanciful!  Still, they're usually given rules which make them as dangerous to the thrower as to his enemies.  I'll include them in my force because they add a bit of local "colour".

From memory, my naffatun models are a mixture of Perry Miniatures and Gripping Beast.

Pure Fantasy


So, SAGA has this supplement entitled Age of Magic.  It seems to me that the easiest way to play this (starting from my existing collection) is to add a few fantasy elements to an otherwise "historical" force.  Consequently, I've modeled a sorcerer, a roc and a genie (jinn).  Any before anyone points it out, I haven't yet obtained a model for the very obvious man-on-a-flying-carpet!

I haven't stopped to work out what part each of these might play in a game of Age of Magic.  The wizard is obviously a magician and I suppose that the genie could also be a magician.  I don't know about the roc, though.

All three of these models come from Shieldwolf Miniatures and can be found in their Araves range.

Conclusion

On the whole, I'm quite pleased with this warband.  I have another hero (on foot) still to finish painting and I might yet want to add some more fantasy elements, baggage & other objective markers.  But what I have completed is mostly well done - certainly good enough for my liking.

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Zomtober 2020, Week 4

<==  Missed week 3?  This way

Introduction

Well, I've managed to survive Zomtober for another year.  This is the last Sunday of the month, so with this post I have completed the challenge for 2020.  Doesn't it feel good 😁!

So, without further ado, here's another zombie/survivor duel.

Ritchie vs Dapper Old Zombie (DOZ)


This "duel" is between "Ritchie" - a survivor and "dapper old zombie" ("DOZ").  Now, I try not to judge, but I don't think that Ritchie is the sharpest tool in the toolbox.  For starters, he cannot spell his name correctly (or at least, using the more common form: "Richie").



For the first time ever in a Zomtober pairing, I realised that I mounted both of these figures on identical bases.  Too bad - when I noticed the duplication it was much too late in the month to produce another, different model for either or both participants.

Ritchie is one of Offensive Miniatures "Street Kids", whilst DOZ is from Studio Miniatures.  I think the latter may be from a pack of "celebrity" zombies rather than rank-and-file, but if so then I don't recognise the reference.



Ritchie is armed with a petrol bomb, which has been universally ridiculed by "experts" as a terrible anti-zombie weapon.  It's hard to light and throw accurately - and even if you succeed in this then flames won't necessarily incapacitate a charging foe.  Instead, you'll simply be mauled to death by a burning zombie.



I believe that Ritchie has added yet another level of incompetence to the mix.  It looks to me as if he's using a champagne bottle for his Molotov cocktail.  Such bottles are very thick-walled and strong (so they don't blow apart when full of "bubbly").  I wonder if it would shatter and ignite the petrol when it hit the target, or merely bounce off and lie smoking in the gutter?

This survivor does get credit for heavy clothing and a face mask, though.  These may slow down or impede zombie bites and protect somewhat against splashes of infected blood.

Conclusion

The question, as always, is this: what happens next?  DOZ seems quite fit and active (for a zombie) and appears to have the edge in awareness as well.  I suspect that Ritchie's only chance is to weather the initial onslaught, break free (possibly discarding his anorak to the clutches of the zombie) and flee...

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Zomtober 2020, Week 3

<== Go back here if you missed Week 2

Introduction

It's another Sunday in Zomtober!  [If you need help in understanding Zomtober then look up some of my earlier posts; I'm not going to explain it every time].  So, as is my custom, here's a "duel" between a survivor and a zombie.  Your job is to decide "what happens next?"

Bill vs Skateboard Girl


Today's pairing is a bit unusual (even for me), as the zombie has a name ("Bill") and the survivor doesn't.  In the latter case it's because I forgot to give her one; perhaps my readers could suggest a suitable name?

Anyway, for the rest of this article I'll call her "SG".  It's less of a mouthful than "skateboard girl".



So, I think the first question is this: is Bill a zombie at all, or is he a survivor who is posing as a zombie.  He might have reasons to do this, either to move more freely among real zombies or to scare off the less-determined surviving humans.



If it's just a ploy, I think it's a dangerous one.  SG appears to be lost in thought, or possibly is just humming along to whatever music is playing on her portable CD player.  Either way, she's about to be startled when she suddenly notices Bill's presence.  What will she do next?  She's heavily armed and seems strong and healthy (she's quite a big lass).



"Bill" is from Studio Miniatures; he comes from one of their slightly more specialised packs of zombies (as opposed to being one of the "horde").

SG is another model from the Street Violence range, sold by Wargames Foundry.


Conclusion

I'm quite pleased to be finishing some of my older Foundry models this month, after many years of neglect.  It's not much in material terms (the lead pile is still enormous), but mentally it makes me feel like I'm making progress.  Given another century or two I might even run out of unpainted figures, who knows?

So, questions:
  • What name should I give to SG?
  • Is Bill a zombie who looks somewhat like a survivor (healthy skin colour, no sign of wounds or ripped clothing)?  Or is he a survivor who is pretending to be a zombie (shambling walk, moaning)?
  • Will SG notice Bill before he "tags" her?
  • If she does, will her reaction be fight or flight?
  • Or will she do something else altogether, such as freeze in disbelief?  Or ask for an autograph?
Only you can tell...

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Dreadball: recently-finished figures

 Introduction

I've been working on some Dreadball figures recently.  As well as some MVPs and coaches/assistants, I'm experimenting with styles of painting for my mechanite/robot team.  See what you think.


The Mechanites


I have a mechanite team for Dreadball.  Indeed, I've had it for quite a long time.  However, until recently it languished in my "lead pile" of unassembled & unpainted miniatures.  This autumn, I'm trying to make some progress on these models and to date I've finished three of them: TRS-80, Commodore and VIC-20.



I'm aiming for a grungy, beaten-up look.  There are a handful of trivial conversions in my builds so far - for example, Commodore wears a yachting cap (who knows where the robot obtained that?).



These models are difficult to build, having a myriad of tiny pieces - all with some form of mould line that needs attention.  That's even leaving aside the game-affecting decisions on which arms/legs/torso/head to put together.

I'm finding them difficult to paint as well; there is a lot of detail on these models - but much of it is quite 'soft' because of the material from which they are made.  The paint jobs I have put on them took some time, yet I'm no happy with the results.  Are they too grungy?  Is the painting too sloppy?  Are the colour choices not good?  I can't quite put my finger on it...


Nightshade


In contrast, I painted Nightshade very swiftly.  From memory, most of the work was completed within a short evening (and alongside other work, at that).  He's a star player with a very shady past, so muted, sombre painting works well.  I'm particularly pleased with the eyes, which were something of an accident.  The whites add a tiny speck of light to what is otherwise a very dark figure.


Blaine


Now here's a coach/sponsor that I started a long time ago (painted the flesh) and then just stalled.  When I eventually decided to do him in a brown trench coat and metallic blue armour, the model was finished very rapidly.  I just wish I had done this long ago, instead of putting it off.  Now that he's finished, I'm quite pleased with the result.


Conclusion

I'm delighted with the way that Nightshade and Blaine turned out.  So why am I unhappy with the robots?  Ah, maybe I'm just my own worst critic, I dunno...

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Zomtober 2020: Week 2

Introduction

OK, it's Zomtober, it's another Sunday - I can do this.  It's no big deal.  Just put up pictures of another zombie vs survivor "duel", like I've done before.  OK?  Here we go, then...


Polly vs Prison Escape Zombie


This week's confrontation is between a young woman called "Polly" and a zombie who is possibly in prison uniform.  Did he escape from a nearby incarceration facility?  Perhaps; the broken sign over which he is stumbling would add weight to his idea.  Let's call him "prison escape zombie" (PEZ).



Polly is a classic example of the concept that there is no dress code during the zombie apocalypse.  All I'm doing to say about her costume is that it is (to my way of thinking) a very weird assortment of styles and colours.

So, are these her working clothes?  Did she choose to dress this way when leaving home in the morning?  Or were these the only items of apparel that she could find?  All these theories seem somewhat implausible and I'm not entirely sure that I want to know the answer.

Polly comes from one of Wargames Foundry's weirder packets in the hit-and-miss Street Violence range.  I'm happy enough to have one such model in my collection, but I don't think I want a whole load more "sluts with guns".




In contrast, PEZ is a fairly plain zombie, dressed in a ripped (more accurately, shredded) tee shirt with orange trousers and gym shoes.  He's moderately damaged, both on the face and the belly - but is still lurching along.  PEZ is a Studio Miniatures model.



So, who will win this duel?  Polly seems totally relaxed and confident, she has a potent gun and seems healthy, aware and fit.  Is this a slam dunk for her?  Can anything go wrong?  Does PEZ have a chance?  You decide...


Bonus Article


Some weeks ago, when I was contemplating how to tackle the Zomtober challenge, I thought that it would be nice to include a scatter terrain or objective piece with each week's entry.  Well, I failed completely to have anything ready for Week 1!  However, I had one large (70mm?) urban base left from my long-serving, assorted packet of Escenorama resin pieces.



I also had a packet of "corpses" from TT Combat, plus quite a few bits from various Wargames Factory zombie & survivor kits.  I decided that I could put these all together to build a pile-of-bodies model.  Note that several of the contributor models have been converted, mostly to reposition limbs.



If you think that this is somewhat macabre then I agree completely.  My only defence is that this is no more associated with real life than is any zombie movie or book.

So, for bonus points, what happened here?  It looks as if someone with a gun shot down several zombies, maybe because they were feasting on the fat man.  But one of the models (centre) has no obvious injuries.  Is he/she dead?  Indeed, is he/she a zombie or a human?

Final thought: maybe Polly is feeling confident because she knows that she can kill any number of zombies; she may have been the cause of this massacre!  Just like swatting flies...


Sunday, 4 October 2020

Zomtober 2020, Week 1

Introduction

It's been a while since I put any new items on my blog.  There are a number of reasons for this, some personal and some to do with the state of the world.  However, I never intended to stop forever.  So, here's a Zomtober post for 2020.

The rules of Zomtober can be paraphrased as this: "show at least one recently-completed zombie or survivor model every Sunday throughout October".  My self-imposed (and initially accidental!) extension to this is to show a zombie and a survivor, posed in such a way as to suggest an imminent conflict.  The question is then "what happens next?" - there's no right or wrong answer, but it's interesting to think about it.

By my reckoning, I've been putting up 'duels' for Zomtober for the past 8 years (I started in 2013).  It seems that the popularity of this event is waning, but still I'll post something for it, if only to amuse myself.

Here's a link to allow you to find all my Zomtober posts (old and new): https://colgar6.blogspot.com/search?q=zomtober


Denis vs. ILP Zombie


Why "ILP Zombie"?  Well, because he has a t-shirt with a logo that reads "I <heart> <pony>".  I don't know if anyone can make this out on his rather creased and folded shirt, but take my word for it - that's what the decal says.

ILP is a rather battered-looking zombie.  In particular, his face seems to be quite badly melted or otherwise damaged.  On the other hand (pun - geddit?), he is grasping what's left of someone else's forearm, so he is possibly more dangerous than he appears.



Denis is a youngish man who seems to be well-armed, fit and healthy.  He is, however, stuck in the fashions of the 1970s or thereabouts.  Does that matter?  Probably not - there's no evidence that his style of clothing or long hair would impede his ability to fight a zombie.




No, it seems to me that Denis' main problem is surprise.  He seems to be looking over one shoulder, as if the zombie has caught him at least partially unaware.  At the very least, his eyes and his gun are pointing in different directions and he might lose valuable time in correcting this.  But that would only matter if the zombie attacked immediately, without giving Denis time to react.  Right?



Denis is a Foundry "Street Violence" model.  I'm fairly sure he's from a packet of Russian mafia or hit men - something like that.  He's mounted on a resin scenic base from Escenorama.  "Street Violence" is a venerable range, but still in production.  I have quite a few unpainted pieces; some of them suffer badly from being wildly different sizes, but Denis is very reasonable in this respect.



ILP is an old Studio Miniatures zombie and is also on an Escenorama base.  I don't think he's the best zombie model I've ever seen - though not the worst either.  He'll do well enough as part of a horde, I imagine.


Conclusion

I don't think there is much doubt that Denis has the firepower to win a ranged fight.  So, will ILP just stand there and be gunned down?  Or will the zombie wrestle with Denis before he can shoot and chew on his sideburns?  What do you think?