Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Saturday 31 March 2012

Suits and Militia

First off, let me say that it has been quite remiss of me not keeping the appearance of my board up to date so to speak.  After the initial design template and the addition of  a couple of pages of my views on things I never really returned to "update" it.   Well I've made a start, I've added more links to my favourite links side-bar and there are still more to add. I've also updated my to view list of films - I didn't realise just how many I've yet to look at, but that's a problem we've probably all got, there not being enough hours in the day to do all we want.

This last week I've been very self-disciplined and put aside at least an hour each day to do some figure painting.  I didn't manage to finish all the figures that I started, as I've still got the final finishing touches to a dozen Warm Acre Civilians.  I have managed to finish ten Foundry figures though, five "Suits" and five Militia.  The latter  will probably be joining  my other five militia types (also Foundry) to be a "gang" of modern-day survivalists and will probably centre around a gun-shop, if I ever get round to making one !

Shown here are the two women from the Wargames Foundry set Sergeis Korporation.

The vehicle behind them is one of my recent purchase from Poundland, note the great split down the side of it (easily fixed), air conditioning at its worst !

The "Suits" will be used in whatever capacity I need, whether it's as  Detectives, Corporation Execs, Mobsters or whatever.
The photgraph on the right shows the remaining three figures from the above set, with the obligatory giant figure.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I'm still not happy with the bases, but it's on the list of  things that need doing.

The vehicle is another Poundland special.

The vehicles did look very large in the shop, but they're OK up against the figures.

These three are from the Wargames Foundry set Backstreet Militia and will be joining up with the set Mercenary Fire Team, giving them huge  amounts of firepower.

I've attempted to paint them in what I think is a British Summer Camo though I doubt it's the current one being used as I copied it from a friend's fatigues!

Last two of the Milita and as always my camera-work goes a little astray.  I've found what is called a Macro button and you know what they say, "A little knowledge...etc."

More reading of the blessed Camera Manual is in order (must find out what the little dial, with all the small lettering, on the top does).

Here is a shot of my four most recent purchases from Poundland en masse.

I'm not a great fan of all the "Stickers", (transfers ? decals ?) on them and will probably remove them in due course.  The stickers are not apparent in the photos above, but as we view our games from above most of the time I think they'll stick out like a sore thumb.

Final photo of all my recent finds and purchases from the last month.

The majority came from Poundland (of course), but not all of them.

 I think the most expensive was less the £2.50 and several of the least expensive were 10p (car-boot/tabletop sale).

Finally, comments are always welcome and if I haven't already welcomed you "Welcome !"

Saturday 24 March 2012

Zombie Horde

Well, my "horde" has increased by 19 figures and here they are!

I'm not altogether sure about the basing on them and I think I will be looking to add a little more texturing to the bases at a later date.

These three photographs show all but five of the 19, they are all Blue Moon figures, from Old  Glory UK, although I can't remember which particular set they're from.

The Blue Moon figures are not everyone's cup of tea, due mainly I think to the "ragged kilt" effect on many of them, but I quite like the effect.

This photograph is quite unremarkable, save for the figure in the back -right which is my first attempt at an African/African American zombie.  It's a bit indistinct and should probably stay that way !

I have mainly used a simplified version of Vampifan's technique for painting the zombie flesh.
I use a normal flesh colour, then apply a grey wash, which does the trick for me.

The eye sockets are of course painted black and the eyeballs white.  Blood and gore are added as one of the final stages (very satisfying doing that) using Tamiya's clear red.

 This group shows two of my favourite figures, the two males. The chap second from the left has an excellent head, somewhere between skull and normal (hardly noticeable on this photograph). The other male on the right I think is my favourite out of this batch. I really like figures that are not standard size, by which I mean they're either a bit fatter, or thinner or balding or some such, rather than "normal". 

He's obviously been recently zombiefied (that's a real word right ?), his clothing is hardly effected and other than his eyes, his head is almost normal (if balding).

So here's the entire group, including five that were missing a photograph (due to technical problems - that is to say I'm rubbish), in all their glory (?). I'm not the best painter in the world, but I'm happy with this group - My new spectacles, some better brushes, the longer daylight hours and my ongoing recuperation have all helped.

Lastly here's a couple of shots of my entire horde as it currently stands (or crawls, or shuffles).

  The older figures have all had a gloss varnish, whilst this latest batch have had a "silk" or "vinyl" varnish applied.

I feel this latter effect is far more satisfying than the pure gloss and will probably apply it to all my collection.

The basing on the first two batches is also noticeably lighter, this too will be addressed when I add texture to all my figures' bases.

Sadly, my photographic skills aren't improving much, if at all.
"Getting a Sunday newspaper never used to be this difficult."

Thanks to all for following my blog and comments are of course welcome.

Finally, if I haven't already welcomed you, "Welcome !".

Saturday 17 March 2012

Nipper's Newsstand

Here's my latest building effort, "Nipper's Newsstand".
Some of you may recognise the origin of this particular piece as being the small upper floor from  "The Horseman's Deli", the free downloadable  building from Microtactix,  which I've adapted into a ground floor building and extended somewhat.  Its footprint is about  4" x 2.5" (10cm x 6cm); I think the original was about 2.5" square, which to my way of thinking was a tad too small, so  I extended it a little using my newly acquired photo-shop skills. The height to the top of the roof parapet is about 2.25".
The photo above and these next two photographs show Nipper's in its closed mode with the shutter down.  The shutter was made to be able to slide in and out a sandwich of three pieces of thin card that makes up the front wall, the sides and back are made from 5mm foamcard.

Obviously the two side walls and the back wall are nothing to write home about and will have posters added to them when I print some interesting ones out. Though not obvious from the photo the window is of the "see through"  perspex variety

This next photograph shows Nipper's open for business, the shutter has been removed and the various hoardings and counter (all one piece) have been put in place. 

The various newspapers and magazines etc. have all been gleaned from the Interweb and reduced in size to what I thought looked right for the scale of figures being used - there was no scientific methodology involved, just pure guesswork. There are multiple prints of the newspapers and magazines, to give a more "3-D" effect though this isn't readily apparent from the photo.  The "plywood" texture was gleaned from goodness knows where and backs all the hoardings as well as the newsstand sign. In the back of the shop, viewed through the opening can be seen magazines and more newspapers on the wall. The counter may look a bit skew-whiff, but I can assure you that that is down to my ineptitude as a photographer, not modeller (I am reading the camera's manual though).

This photograph (a little out of focus) shows the inside of Nipper's with the inherent detritus of piles of old magazines and newspapers.  The slot for the shutter can be only vaguely made out at the tope of the photograph.

In the bottom right can be seen a box on top of which has been placed more rubbish.
The door just seems ajar but it does open fully to the
side wall if necessary.

Here's another view of the inside (slightly more in focus), showing the box, now in the top left corner, a little more clearly.  The box (and many others) was downloaded from "Tommygun's" site, which has lots of very usable card/paper downloads (free).  The slot for the shutter can be seen a little more clearly on this view too. The more astute amongst you may recognise that the box is a "Blue Sun" packing case; I intend to have "Blue Sun" as one of the suspects for the cause of the zombie apocalypse in my campaign.

All of Tommygun's freebies can be found here:
This final photograph shows the scale of the model along with some of my latest efforts at painting zombies. The zombies are Old Glory and are from a batch of 19 that are nearly finished, a bit of highlighting, varnishing and some work on their bases still needs to be done to finish them off.  I'm quite pleased with them though as they are, as I'm no great shakes as a figure painter.

Thanks for looking and if I haven't already welcomed you, then "Welcome"

All comments welcome too.

Saturday 10 March 2012

Book Views and a Book Review

Dog Art- "A night on the town"
          Firstly, a confession, I’m no great fan of fiction in printed form but when I started this zombie project I really had little background knowledge of the genre other than the generally accepted viewpoint of zombies – that they’re shambling, moaning, undead who can be killed with a bullet to the head.  So when I started to read zombie fiction I looked upon it as “research”, I wanted to know how the apocalypse could start (natural virus, prion,  man-made bacterium or otherwise etc.) and generally speaking I wasn’t disappointed.  I’ve come across the man made terrorist variety, an accidental world-wide food induced plague and a general natural occurring virus, plus many others.  I also gleaned from my reading possible scenarios for wargaming purposes that fitted well with the “All Things Zombie” rules and also as a bye-product I’ve quite enjoyed what I have read !

          What has been disappointing however is the quality of what there is on the market and I don’t just mean the actual content.   The quality of proof-reading and editing in a lot of cases leaves a lot to be desired, from the downright silly (three different spellings of the same word on the same page) to the ridiculous – “rogue” and “rouge” spring to mind.  Whilst I accept that typos will occasionally occur, with the best will in the world I don’t believe that the same typo can be made so many times.
          I think that I’ve been fairly lucky though, in that most of what I’ve read (or not) has come on recommendation from within the zombie community (mostly from http://vampifansworldoftheundead.blogspot.com/) which tends to be the way it is.  The few times that I’ve not gone on recommendation has been a bit of a hit and miss affair with better than about a fifty percent success rate.  It is interesting to see an author’s viewpoint of this (again on Vampifan’s blog site), which can be found here:
Scroll down to the comments to get the authors views.

            The zombie apocalypse scenario is such a limited genre that you would expect a lot of these novels to fall into clich├ęd formats and indeed some do.  A typical theme is that of a survivor finding their own way to a new community or gathering other survivors around them to form their own community and a hundred other variations in a similar vein. It is a common theme too that the central character has some “special” skill or other that sets them apart from the crowd and makes them a more likely survivor – such as armed forces experience, piloting skills and a multitude of others. I can think of one central character that could give Steve Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme and Jackie Chan a run for their money !

 There are though some notable exceptions that I’ve come across in my admittedly limited experience.
“Feed” by Mira Grant is set 20 years after the apocalypse and society is more or less functioning as normally as possible.
“Patient Zero” by Jonathan Maberry is a novel where the zombie plague is a terrorist plot but limited to specifically localised exposure.
There are others of course, but these two spring to mind easily and have obviously made an impression on me.

Outpost by Adam Baker - A Review

I was going to start to read Sean T Page’s “The War against the Walking Dead” but I had thrust into my hand a book by my eldest son with the instruction “Read this – It’s good” - so I did.

So, here’s my review of “Outpost” by Adam Baker, publishers Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, price on rear cover of paperback £6.99, first published 2011.
I haven’t given a formal book review before (there are so many others that do the job that much better and I read on the recommendation of others anyway), but as I haven’t found anyone that’s either read or reviewed this particular book ion the zombie community, I’ll give some brief viewpoints of why I liked this book so much.

Firstly, the setting is to my mind fairly unique; the book starts with a small already isolated community aboard an oilrig on the Arctic Circle. Limited reports of the world going to hell filter in to them sporadically, but nothing specific – this alone turns the scenario sort of back to front from the norm.

Secondly the central character is a female (nothing new there), called Jane.  If one imagines Dawn French in her role as the Vicar of Dibley then we have Jane, who is also a clergyman.  She has no special abilities though and unlike Geraldine (the Vicar of Dibley) Jane is losing or has lost her faith from page one !

The story romps along at a good pace, with good development of characters and whilst this is a book obviously in the zombie genre, the word “zombie” doesn’t make an appearance, even the terms “undead”, “walking dead” or similar don’t make it in until about half way through and even then the terms are only used in passing by the characters.  It may be bleak for the characters (as it mostly should be for the most part, in my opinion) but there are also times of light relief.

I don’t like to give away the story-line, there are many twists and turns to it, all fairly believable (given that we’re dealing with a world-wide zombiesque apocalypse) and it doesn’t always turn out for the best!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and given that I can pick up a book after a week and continue to read it without qualms, I couldn’t with this one – I read as much as I could each day over the course of this last week.  Had I had my new spectacles I think I would have finished it in two days (all 369 pages), I was that gripped by it.

All in all a good read, there were no off-putting typos or recurring spelling mistakes, the word zombie wasn’t used incessantly, nor was there any reference to Romero and the central characters weren’t superhuman.
So on my simple scale of 1-5, I give this book a 4, in my opinion its well worth a read.

In other news:

As mentioned above I have new spectacles, the world isn’t blurry anymore, I’m feeling a lot better and my medications have changed so I expect to have an increased production in both building and painting – just keeping my fingers crossed.

Thanks for reading and to those I haven't already welcomed, "thanks for dropping by".

Saturday 3 March 2012

Dog Art

Rising from the Depths

I was going to use this opportunity of having a monthly rant about one or other of the things that either have or do annoy me with our hobby.  I then decided to tone it down a bit and label it “Soap Box” or something similar, but again I had a re-think and decided that that was too restrictive, so I'll reserve my "Soap Box" posts when I'vev nothihng better to blog about.

I have done little in the way of progress in any of the many fields we need to be accomplished in. So, no new or finished buildings to report about; I’ve managed not to watch any of the back-log of films  I have recorded; I can’t remember reading anything of note (but I did take a swift look at the ATZ shooting rules) and I still haven’t managed to become a photographic wiz-kid !   I have managed a few hours of painting figures though, both civilians and zombies, although these are a good way off being presentable.

Newcastle Brown Ale
So instead this week I bring you some “Dog Art”.  

 By way of explanation “Dog” is a friend of mine who got his nom-de-plume after the North East beverage that he drinks (Newcastle Brown Ale).  I mentioned to him that I was producing a blog about my latest wargaming project on Zombies and wondered if he could produce some of his art for it, hence the familiar looking photograph heading the page !

Clown Sketch

The first picture that grabbed my attention from his Facebook albums was actually this one of a clown, in the thumbnail version of it I really did think it was a zombie, but as a clown it’s probably even more worthy of addition to this post.

When I asked him to produce some specific pictures for my blog, he asked what type I would like, cartoony, serious or other – I just went with the flow and told him to produce whatever he wanted, I like most of his Dog-Art, although some is a little eccentric.  The captions under the photographs are all his own.

 He does have a thing about sketching women with large assets, so I suppose it was a case of any excuse, as I'd given him
carte-blanche on the subject matter.

In my Sights
Last Stand

Scooby Doo Zombies

 I do have a few more bits of his artwork, but I'm saving them for future post when I'm again short of material to write about and I'm not in the mood for a good rant ! So here's Chris as a Zombie in the Newcastle Zombie Walk 2011.
Chris (Dog)
The Zombie walk Newcastle 2011

If  I haven't already welcomed you to my blog - "Welcome" - After only four weeks I've 20 followers and I originally thought I'd be lucky to get into double figures!

Thanks again to you all for taking a look here, I hope you'll have found something to interest you.