Monday 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween!

Although my official entries for this year’s ‘Zomtober’ have been completed, I was keen to get one more post done this month to celebrate all Hallows Eve.  The inspiration for this came to me whilst setting about a large squash, with a ridiculously sharp knife!  Having removed all evidence of the pumpkin flesh from the kitchen sink, and checked to see that the requisite number of fingers and thumbs were still in place, I went in search of what I thought would be the perfect offering, a pumpkin headed scarecrow!    
As with my previous effort, ‘If I only had a brain’ this lovely piece of resin is produced by ‘Ristul’s Extraordinary Market’ and is available in the United Kingdom through the wonderful ‘Bad Squiddo Games’.
I followed the exact same process as before, cutting a piece of coir matting to form the field with the addition of another Ristul scenic element in the shape of the pumpkin.  All of this was fixed to a 30mm ‘Warbases’ MDF disc and given a suitably sombre paint job.
So having put away my Walking Dead toys for the moment, it seemed like a good opportunity to post a group photograph of my ‘Zomtober’ offerings and once again offer my congratulations to all my fellow contributors for making this another memorable year.

Sunday 30 October 2016

The Walking Dead: All Out War

I wasn't planning on doing a post today, but then the postman arrived with a rather splendid box of plastic goodness!  Mantic's, The Walking Dead: All Out War was yet another Kickstarter and one that proved too irritable to resist.  As huge fan of the television programme, I have recently been enjoying the comics and when it was announced that antic had secured the rights to the comic book franchise, I knew this was going to a 'must have'.
Having backed Mantic's Mars Attacks, I was more than a little worried about the miniatures themselves and what they would be made of.  These worries soon evaporated when I exposed the first tier of the special Kickstarter edition box to reveal really good, hard plastic sculpts - phew! 
The second tier contained the cards, dice, some rather lovely vehicles and useful terrain pieces.  There was a handy, almost idiot proof, tutorial which I have run through this afternoon and I am confident that I should be able to get the hang of it.  There would appear to be plenty of scope for using it as a solo play venture, but I imagine the real fun would be playing one faction off against another in a two or more player game.  I like the threat level indicator that slowly rises through each turn making life that little be more difficult for the survivors, not unlike the experience bar in Zombicide.  Another thing to take into account is the outnumbering mechanic for the Walkers, which sees the dice they use for melee multiple alarmingly as their numbers rise - avoid being  swamped at all costs!
The sculpts themselves are pretty good and those who have enjoyed the comic books will really get a kick out of seeing the characters transferred from the page to the table.  So my first thoughts are positive, I'm not sure that it will replace the playability of Zombicide, but it seems to want to bridge a gap between wargame and boardgame and as such could be really enjoyable.  I have no doubt that those who play 7ombieTV or ATZ, will probably not see the need for another such game, but it might just be just what I need to get my zombie hoard on to the table top.

I suppose I should briefly mention the other Kickstarter that arrived before the half term break, Conan!  After backing this back in February 2015, this massive game finally arrived and I have to be honest that I was completely stunned by it.  The sheer scale of the game and the amazing amount of stretch goals meant that there was a little more than the usual raised eyebrow when the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' spied me trying to sneak this into the house!  Having had a good look, I have decided to pack this up and have a look after Christmas when I hopefully have a little more time.

A quick comparison shot with some Zombicide miniatures.


Friday 28 October 2016

Mir Ghouls

Zomtober 2016 - post#6
This is my last scheduled post for 'Zomtober 2016' and I must start by thanking all my fellow contributors for their mutual support and appreciation.  It has been another great year and wonderful to see so many undead miniatures shuffling of their respective painting tables.  A special mention should, of course, go to Leon, Rob and Simon whose original collaboration and coordination has made the event what it is - thank you!    
These unusual offerings are hapless zombie Cosmonauts from the Mir Space Station and were bought from 'Black Army Productions'.  One of those, 'Oh go on then', purchases as I was actually trying to track down a suitable Solomon Kane miniature for my 'Moon of Skulls' project when I came across them.  Never one to leave a shopping basket half empty they were added on a whim and have subsequently sat and waited for their turn on the table.
Having now finished them, I'm wondering if I missed a trick with these and perhaps they should have been based as if they were still abound the Space Station, destined to spend their time as zero gravity zombies - Zeds in Space perhaps?
So that's me done for another year, but I hope to have a sneaky Halloween post for Monday and a group shot of this year's miniatures if all goes to plan, but I shall need to tackle a couple more chores from the 'to do' list before the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' grants me some more hobby time! 

Sunday 23 October 2016

And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Zomtober 2016 - post#5
Having finally made it to the half term break it has been wonderful to find the time just to sit down and put the finishing touches to this latest 'Zomtober' post.  With The Walking Dead due to return to our television screens tomorrow* it seemed appropriate to mark the occasion with a couple of 'not' characters from 'Studio Miniatures'.  These, then, are Andy and Chandler and could perhaps pass for a certain father and son, as portrayed in the hit television series.
*I shall need to avoid the internet chatter in the morning as the programme with have already aired in America!

I am a big fan of the 'Studio Miniatures' range and have backed far too many of their Kickstarters, the most recent, Monster Madness, finishing only last week.  These latest examples mark a move away from the comic book characters and have taken a more rugged, survivor feel, perhaps more akin to the television characters.  
I couldn't resist digging out the earlier versions of the same characters that I painted back in 2013, under the title, 'A Post Apocalyptic Family'.  Again from 'Studio Miniatures' you can see what I mean about having a more comic book feel to them, especially the 'not' Carl Grimes.  Of course it, hopefully, won't be too long before I have another version of America's favourite post-zombie apocalypse father and son team to paint when my pledge for 'Mantic Games' The Walking Dead:All Out War game arrives!

Thursday 20 October 2016

Book Review#22. - Phil Watts, Zombie Killer

A very brief post today just to log the most recent addition to the ‘Awdry Towers’ library of frivolous and ridiculous literature.  David Allen's 'Phil Watts, Zombie Killer' is an appropriate title given that we are in 'Zomtober', but this is really only to be read by those with an unhealthy interest in all things undead.  

Quoting from the official blurb:

Imagine one day you are a paramedic trying to bring people back from the dead, and the next day they are coming back from the dead by themselves, then trying to bite you. This is what has happened to Phil Watts. Now he is holed up in a looted superstore, besieged by thousands of zombies. Knowing he is probably going to die Phil writes his Last Will and Testament although the only possessions he has are the clothes he is wearing, a Glock pistol with two rounds of ammunition and two blow up sex dolls he has promised to rescue.

This is a mercifully short edition, but it does have some genuinely funny moments particularly if, like me, you have any prior knowledge of Plymouth.*  The unusual premise of contacting the emergency services, in Phil Watt’s case the Ambulance Service, to dispatch any shambling, undead menace in your neighbourhood is novel, but the situation gets decidedly more complicated for our hero as events unfold in an often brutal and bloody manner.  Silly, cheap and quick to read.
*I spent a thoroughly enjoyable year there in my dim and distant past.

Sunday 16 October 2016

if a job's worth Dylan!

Zomtober 2016 - post#4
It's been another one of those weeks at work and there is now a real sense that winter is drawing in with shorter days and a noticeable drop in the temperature.*  So as the nights draw in and thoughts start to turn to 'The Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' there is still the small matter of completing 'Zomtober 2016'.  To that end allow me to present my latest offerings who are, one in the same, Dylan the Handywoman.  
*Thank you to all my Antipodean Blogging friends that have been posting pictures of BBQs and even parrots in the garden!
Dylan is a Zombicide, Paolo Parente, Special Guest Expansion Pack and comes in both Survivor and Zombivor, a zombified survivor, variants.  This was another one of those 'moment of weakness' purchases and has been idly gathering dust since the pledge arrived.  It was a fun exercise trying to keep a sense that these two were, in fact, the same person and in the end it was just a simple matter of painting each corresponding area using the same colours across the two miniatures.  As with all Zombicide characters, Dylan comes with a back story and hers, lifted directly from the 'Guillotine Games' official site, reads as follows:
“Measure twice, cut once!”
Dylan was working as the on-stage assistant for a popular home improvement show sponsored by a major power-tool company. Mainly on the set for eye-candy, she was, in fact, handier than both the star and his bearded assistant. When the zombie apocalypse hit, she was on stage, watching the star do his usual grunting comedy routine while trying to keep him from losing a finger by mishandling a circular saw. By the end of the first day of zombie apocalypse, she discovered fighting off coworkers’ grabby-hands with power-tools had been perfect training for battling against groping undead hordes. Now she roams the streets using her construction skills to help other survivors. She is still always thrilled to meet a fan, provided they keep their hands to themselves!
Taking inspiration for the colour palette from the original character cards all was progressing nicely until it came to the checked shirt, which I'm afraid I bottled; the eyes and the unsteady hands were just not up to the job on this occasion.
The Zombivor version is just ridiculously good fun and in this putrid state, Dylan has ditched her cordless drill for something a whole lot more industrial!  Once again favouring the decaying green skin option the pair were completed with a little addition to the bases to give that 'oh so apocalyptic' feel.  
So two more additions to the good and with half term, thankfully, looming into sight we are hopeful that we might safely negotiate to end of another themed month.  More zombies next week and then a couple of survivors to see out the challenge.

Sunday 9 October 2016

Where are you, you spongy, yellow, delicious b@st@rds?

Zomtober 2016 - post#3
With two zombies to the good already, I thought it was time to even up the sides with a couple of survivors. Memphis & Ohio, from ‘Studio Miniatures’ would surely make wonderful proxies for Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson and Columbus, Jesse Eisenberg, both from the hugely enjoyable Zombieland. I have touched on this little gem of zombie movie in a previous post, 'So do you have any regrets?' and so it was inevitable that these two characters would eventually see the brush.
Both perfectly serviceable sculpts, although the shotgun toting Ohio feels a little awkward in his stance, which I suppose does reflect his film version's character.  The dual Uzi wielding Memphis is much more substantial miniature and when it came to painting, I simply referenced the film for the colour palette, although felt that Tallahassee's snakeskin jacket was a little beyond my abilities.   
Whilst preparing and painting these two it was inevitable that my mind would wonder to their respective scenes in the film and for some reason I became fixated with Tallahassee's search for Twinkies.  Now I was familiar with this particular brand of American confectionary from other celluloid outings, Die Hard and Ghostbusters to name but two, but had never tried one myself - so began my own search for the last Twinkie!  As luck would have it, I didn't need to battle the legions of undead as a very nice man dropped of a box with our next grocery delivery - God bless online supermarket shopping!
Now I have to tell you that these are strangely addictive, in a ghastly sort of way; cloying sponge cake filled with a synthetic cream, what's not to like?  So before the last Twinkie vanished from 'Awdry Towers' I managed to gather together my other 'not' Zombieland characters for a quick photoshoot, not that I needed an excuse to get the toys out! 

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Looking for Love in Alderaan Places.

Zomtober 2016 - post#2
'Zomtober 2016' is off to a flying start with some wonderful examples already posted across the many splendid blogs of my fellow contributors.  Having progressed a little further along with my first post that I thought I would last weekend, I am now in the fortunate position of being able to submit a sneaky midweek post - how I spoil you!  This, then, is a Zombicide Kickstarter exclusive V.I.P.*,  a Princess Leia cosplayer.  
*Very Infected Person
Being somewhat of a Star Wars geek devotee, this cracking little plastic miniature got bumped up the painting queue, but was a little more challenging than I had initially thought.  Although the plastic was reassuringly firm, not too flexible, some of the detail seemed to be lost around the face.  I couldn’t decide if this was intentional, as a wound, or just poor casting?  In the end, some liberally applied gore helped to cover my uncertainty and the final result was pretty close to what I had hoped for.
With the Princess slowly shuffling off the table, chain clanking as she goes, I am hopeful that I will have a couple of survivors, again inspired by the silver screen, to join the fray at the weekend.  Until then I just had to share this image by Joe Wight from the 'Graphic Lab'; not only a fabulous Return of the Jedi pun, but a timely reminder that The Walking Dead will return to our television screens on the 24th October here in the United Kingdom - Oh Lucille, what have you done? 

Sunday 2 October 2016

Hasslefree Weeping Willow

The first weekend of 'Zomtober 2016' has left little time to submit the first offering, but fortunately I had this rather splendid sculpt, from 'Hasslefree Miniatures', already prepared and base coated.  Weeping Willow had been intended to be part of my 'Are you Lonesome tonight' vignette, another female zombie vying for the attention of my Elvis tribute act, Bubba.  Although I ran out of time then, I was able to complete the job here to give me my first contribution to this madcap, monster month that we call 'Zomtober'.
Requiring almost nothing in the way of preparation, Willow was pinned on a 'Fenris Games' resin base, before resorting to a fairly familiar palette for her decaying skin.  The mutated hands were given several thin washes of gore, which was later added to her feet having stumbled on some reference that suggested the sculpt may have been inspired by a witch character from the Left 4 Dead computer game franchise. 
So week one safely negotiated and I have managed to get more done today than I had planned so I might be in a position for a sneaky midweek post, time will tell.  In the interim do pop over to Leon's wonderful 'Eclectic Gentleman Tabletop Gamer' blog for a recap of the rules, such as they are, and a list of all the other likeminded souls that a trying to rid their workstations of shuffling hordes of undead lead and plastic. 

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