Friday, 31 October 2014

Party Time!

Zomtober 2014 - post#7

Just time for one final 'Zomtober' post to mark All Hallows' Eve and what could be more apt than some zombified fancy dress, party goers?  These wonderfully bizarre creations are from 'Grekwood Miniatures' and were part of the very pack that made an appearance this time last year.  


Although not the same level of sophistication of sculpting as say the 'Zombicide' miniatures, they have a wonderful charm to them and as such are not reliant on over the top details.  Consequently I was able to get them done before the end of the month, which certainly rates as a plus in my book. 


Although originally slotta based miniatures, I removed these and pinned them to some 'Fenris Games' resin to tie them into the others in my fledgling horde.  However, in my usual heavy handed manner, I managed to wrench off the French Maid's arm!*  After a brief moment of remorse, I considered the possibility of surgery to stitch the offending appendage back on, but went for the considerably easier 'just severed look'; some carefully positioned Bostik Glue and lashings of Tamiya Clear Red completing the illusion.  


*not a statement that I envisaged writing when I awoke this morning! 

One final trick was gleaned from Kieron of 'Cheaphammer!!!' fame who, when painting a Catwoman miniature, used inks to give a shiny quality to the feline felon's PVC suit.  Rather than ink, I opted for gloss varnish painted on the the Witch's gloves and boots - wonderfully tacky! 


I couldn't resist posting a group shot of all my efforts from this month, some of which are standing on a rather nifty 'Warbases' zombie movement tray.  'Zomtober' has been just the tonic that I needed to get me back into painting and I've thoroughly enjoying wielding the paintbrush again after a month of self imposed abstinence.  All that remains to say is a huge thank you to Simon 'Brummie' Quinton for coordinating this year's event, well done Sir.






Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Zombicide Fatties

Zomtober 2014 - post#6

'Zomtober' may be officially over, but here at 'Awdry Towers' the undead refuse to lie down!  As I eluded to in my previous post, the half term break has afforded me some much needed hobby time and I'm thoroughly enjoying wielding the paintbrush again after a month of self imposed abstinence.  Like a good many, I have been bitten with the 'Zombicice' bug.  Although a late devotee to this collaborative board game, I have subsequently picked up the core set and add ons that are currently available, not to mention backing the recently funded Season 3.   Again, like a good many, I was taken by the quality and originality of the sculpts and have always wanted to find out for myself what they were like to paint.  


Having selected three of the much maligned 'Fatties' there was the simple task of tidying them up, removing some of the mould lines.*  The plastic used, is not so receptive to a file, but a scalpel or sharp craft knife will certainly do the trick.

*I say simple task, but I have noticed, on closer inspection, that I missed some - drat!


The next decision was what to do with the bases?  Some web based research threw up a myriad of possibilities, but being inherently lazy, I decided to keep the original bases intact and threw on some clutter to give them that apocalyptic feel.  This included some Vallejo Red Oxide Paste for a tarmac texture and the newly discovered Vallejo Mica Flake Gel to break the surface up a bit - I first saw this been used on James Wappel's truly inspirational site - James Wappel Miniature Painting.  


Resorting to my favoured black undercoat spray to prime, I was ready to splash some paint on them.  No when it comes to colours, I find it difficult to move away form previously established palettes and having seen so many examples of these very models wearing orange boiler suits or green and pink dresses it was perhaps inevitable that these were the colours I reached for when it came to working on my own.


I have to say that they were an absolute joy to paint with enough detail to keep me interested and being a little larger than a true 28mm scale there was plenty for my tired eyes to focus on. The paint seemed to adhere well, with no obvious flaking and the final application of gore helped to tie them in to the rest of the horde. This experiment has really opened my eyes to a seemingly endless array of possibilities.  To be brutally honest there is no way that I can lavish this much individual attention on the remaining zombies,** yet there are possibilities for conversion and perhaps this will ensure that a good many more of this relatively inexpensive source of undead plastic reach the painting table.


**There are just too many of them!  

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Defenders of Anarchy

Zomtober 2014 - post#5

The final weekend of 'Zomtober 2014', just where has the month gone?  Having successfully arrived at the half term break, and afforded a little extra hobby time, I'm delighted to have managed to finish off these savage schoolgirls from 'Crooked Dice'

These have been hugely entertaining to work on, really well sculpted and bags of character.  Having established a formula of sorts with my previous efforts this was just a matter of matching the colour palette and having a little fun with the details, one of which was the book cover of the Library Prefect.  The notes on the 'Crooked Dice' website read as follows:

 Then there’s the bookish one (don’t let her fool you, she’s reading A Clockwork Orange!) 
Well this reference to modern popular culture proved too hard to resist and so in a nod to the iconic front cover designed by David Pelham, Penguin's Art Director in 1972, the cover was duly painted red and yellow.



Although the official goal of presenting one zombie or survivor every Sunday in the month October has now been met, I'm hoping to take advantage of my blessed respite from the day job and get a few more miniatures painted before the end of the month, culminating in final review on All Hallows' Eve.


Now although the title to this post, 'Defenders of Anarchy', might have been a thinly veiled reference to the 'Girls Aloud' theme to the remake of St. Trinian's, there can only be one official school song - enjoy!:


Maidens of St Trinian's, gird your armour on.
Grab the nearest weapon; never mind which one!
The battle's to the strongest; might is always right.
Trample on the weakest; glory in their plight!

St Trinian's! St Trinian's! Our battle cry.
St Trinian's! St Trinian's! Will never die.

Stride towards your fortune boldly on your way-
Never once forgetting there's one born every day.
Let our motto be broadcast: "get your blow in first!"-
She who draws the sword last always comes off worst.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Dr. Kobalt's creation!


Zomtober 2014 - post#4


Just the briefest of posts to share a couple more characters that I'm hoping to shoehorn into the fun that is 'Zomtober'.  In fairness, not sure that I can claim this as a fully fledged 'Zomtober' post as Dr. Kobalt isn't really a survivor, but as the creator of the Tod-truppen he is often surrounded by the bodies of the recently re-animated.  Once again to quote direct from the 'North Star Military Figures' site:
The Count’s personal Artificer is Dr Kobalt, the twisted genius behind the Tod-truppen. He is short, balding and wears wire-rimmed glasses. Lightly armoured in a long, lined black leather coat Kobalt is nevertheless dangerous to face in battle. He carries both an Arc pistol and an Arc generator. In addition to providing constant power for his sidearm, this generator provides the energy to keep the Tod-truppen animated – so he is usually surrounded by them.
This was such a great sculpt and one I found too irresistible to put back in the box having discovered it.  Perhaps it was my infinity with the good Doctor's hairstyle that saw him promoted through the ranks to the head of the painting queue, but whatever the reason, I was determined he had to be painted next.  One effect that I was trying for with the painting was to give the illusion of a mysterious reviving energy held within the Arc generator on his back.  I wanted it to look as if it was bubbling and swirling, reading to bring the recently fallen back to life.  The same effect can be seen on the arms of the Tod-truppen themselves in a bid to link the troop together.


In order to legitimise the post I needed to find a bona fide zombie and duly came across this chap lurking around the periphery of the lead pile.  Dressed in his hospital gown this Lead Adventure Forum miniature had the elaborate title, 'Zed, Just Zed", A Failed Experiment' and was picked up at Salute 2013.  With the addition of a red stripe down his trouser leg he could pass as an experimental 'Tod-truppen' that, judging by the smeared and bloody handprints on the front of the gown, has recently run amok in Dr. Kobalt's laboratory of terror.  


Two more for the tally and with a bit of luck, we should still mange to finish some additional miniatures before Sunday's deadline.  






Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Rise of the Tod-truppen!

Zomtober 2014 - post#3


My word these Sunday posts come around a bit quickly, but I'm delighted to report that I've made the deadline again - albeit just!  Regular followers of this most humble weblog will have, by now, realised that I have the attention span of a small child in a very large toy shop - picking up and discarding projects with apparent gay abandon.  One such project was, 'In Her Majesty's Name' a steampunk, skirmish, wargaming rule set that was launched, a couple of years ago now, with some rather splendid miniatures available through 'Northstar Military Figures'.  Suffice to say, I bought heavily into this and having picked up my swag at 'Salute 2013' it has subsequently laid, unmolested, on the hobby shelf behind my corner of the dining room table.


Now getting to the point*, I was adamant that this year 'Zomtober' wasn't to add to the lead  pile, instead all offerings had to be pre-bought, one likes a challenge!  So whilst excavating the undead from the deepest strata of the mighty mountain of lead, I came across these chaps - the abominable Tod-truppen.
*Yes finally!

To quote from 'Northstar's own page:
The Tod-truppen are basically zombies. The Society’s J├Ągers go into battle psychically pre-conditioned and fitted with electro-chemical devices that re-animate them pretty much immediately after they go down, called a Revivifier. Provided, as noted above, that they are within the field of an Arc generator. In this animated condition they lose their human memories and skills but, in typical zombie fashion, are very difficult to stop with conventional weapons. A side-effect of the reanimation process is that the Tod-truppen decay much more rapidly than normal corpses, hence their grotesque appearance. This also means that they are rarely good for more than one battle. 
Splendid, thinks I, not only a legitimate 'Zomtober' entry, but one that makes a small dent in Mount Lead to boot.  Having only just rediscovered the thrill of wielding the paintbrush after my September break, these proved the perfect choice and hugely enjoyable to paint - just what was required.  In fact, I was quite surprised just how quickly I got on with them to the point where, depending how much time I'm allowed at the table this afternoon, I might be able to sneak in a mid week post as well - oh how I spoil you!



Finally, in other news, I received my 'Across the Dead Earth' Kickstarter through the post yesterday.**   I had recently been lamenting my involvement in Kickstarter - the world's largest funding platform for creative projects, particularly as my first pledge, 'Mars Attacks', where I allowed myself to get carried away with the moment and invested hugely, still hasn't materialised nigh on year later!  Yet receiving my rules and miniatures from Rich Chappell has rather restored my faith in the process.***   The whole package was really well presented, signed by Rich himself, who had even gone to the trouble of printing out a set of the event cards and tokens that are actually available as a download.  I'm not sure when the miniatures will ever see a coat of paint, but if you are interested in reading more about the rules then I would strongly advise you to head over to Simon Quinton's wonderful 'Brummie's Wargaming Blog'.  Simon, was heavily involved in the play testing of the rules and is certainly who I'm blaming for my involvement in the Kickstarter, not that I could ever hold that against him.    Coincidentally, Simon is also coordinating the myriad of entries in this year's 'Zomtober', which rather neatly draws this post to a close.

**Yes I know, another distraction.
***Just as well really as I have subsequently gone on to help fund Zombicide: Season 3 and Studio Miniatures latest additions to their Z-Clipz: Outbreak,;yes I know I'm weak!


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Imperial War Museum 2014



Every so often, I am persuaded to leave the perceived safety of my classroom and venture out into the real world and last week saw me lend my services to an outing to the recently refurbished Imperial War Museum.  Now I have to confess that I have always enjoyed this museum with lasting memories of the trench and blitz experiences, both with their tinned recordings, sound effects and mannequins, but all that has gone!

With the makeover complete we were treated to a fresher, more interactive experience with education at its heart.  Many of the old favourite static displays are still prominent, but there has been a great deal of thought given to the display of specific artefacts that help to illustrate the various conflicts in a chronological order.  I am sure that critics will bewail the almost superficial experience, but to me this still rates as one of the best museum in the country.  Certainly their education department and the gentlemen that took the session on First World War film making was superb.

It is clear that the face lift is not to everyone's tastes, I have certainly heard mixed reviews and even among the staff present there was a feeling that perhaps the Museum had moved too far away from the preservation of artefacts and was embracing the interactive experience at the expense of display and lets not talk about the ridiculous amount of souvenir shops they now have!

Gripes aside, I don't think I did the museum justice and will have to return before long, but perhaps without the seventy children who needed constant supervision!  Still what I did see has left a favourable impression and the museum is certainly continuing to flourish - it is simply too good not to.



For those of you who haven't seen the level of refurbishment, then do have a look at the official time lapse photography of the transformation - it really is quite amazing.  Back to report writing for me so that I can free up some painting time at the weekend.



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