Friday 27 October 2017

Zomtober: Wave Gone Bye

Back in April, at Salute, I'd bought all of the first wave of Mantic's Walking Dead game (along with Glenn, who's technichally Wave 2, but, you know, it's Glenn!) with the intention of painting them before I started buying more stuff. As detailed earlier in the month, I came to a bit of a grinding halt, and so for this Zomtober I wanted to make a dent in my backlog of Walking Dead miniatures. 

Suffice to say, I have succeeded in my goal. The end of Zomtober conveniently coincided with half-term, and due to Sheffield and Derbyshire refusing to admit that they are next door to each other, I've been on holiday whilst my daughter hasn't. Therefore I've been able to power through almost all of my remaining miniatures for The Walking Dead.

First up, the Atlanta camp. The tents and campfire are from Renedra and cheap as chips. They're not my finest work, but they don't have to be. The larger tents have been painted cream and green to all ow them to also be used as terrain in pulp games and Bolt Action respectively. The smaller ones were done brightly to make the camp seem suitably modern. Ideally, there should have been some different shaped tents in there, and there are several available (Crooked Dice, for example, do a dome tent), but for essentially two scenarios, I'm not going to worry too much.

Dale's RV is an MDF model from Mantic. I'm still not entirely convinced about MDF vehicles, as they are a bit flat and never quite match with the diecast cars I usually use as terrain. However, it's affordable (definitely a factor if you look at the costs of getting an diecast American style RV in the UK), fun to build (this one was infinitely better than the infamous SWAT van from Knight Models) and look fine in scenarios without loads of other vehicles - which is true of Dale's RV.

Glenn is a recognisable character from the TV show and is one of the characters who is most faithful to the comics. I like this pose as is suits his role in the game and the story in the early stages as a nimble and resourceful supply runner. Hist feet, however, are massive...which might explain why Maggie falls for him...

Allen is a character who doesn't really appear in the TV show in any recognisable form, although certain elements from his story-line (losing a leg in the prison, the twins) do pop up. This is a very simple sculpt, with an equally simple paint scheme.

Carl, or "CORAL!", Grimes. This is a cool little model from the starter set. I went with a black for his hoodie, rather than the more standard red, as I'd already given Duane a red hoodie and I did't want them to look like they're using the same shops. Although given that they're both from Cynthiana, that's not beyond the realms of possibility.

There are lots of nice details on the model which made it fun to paint. My only gripe (a small one), iis the fact that his hat, which is meant to be Rick's, is a different style to the hat on the Rick on a Horse model. I suppose this is more to do with models being taken from comic images, and so the mistake is more likely to be due to the artists (of different artists) than Mantic.

Jim is a character who is briefly in both the TV show and the comic books. He gets bitten before the group leaves Atlanta and in the TV show gets left tied to a tree to allow him to kill himself in his own time.

The colours I went for were inspired by the character Kenny from the Telltale game series. I still have the Lee and Clementine set which is based on the same game and Kenny is a significant character. Interestingly he not only looks a bit like Jim, but Jim's repair ability is a decent match to Kenny as well. My only slight issue that he's ended up looking a bit like Ted Glen from Postman Pat.

Dale, the unsurprising owner of Dale's RV, was another simple model to paint. Fortunately the comic Dale is more sedately dressed than the TV show version, who favours Hawaiian shirts. He comes armed with a scoped rifle (the equipment cards for which are also provided) which provides the opportunity to take out walkers from a safe distance.

Donna is Allen's wife, and as you can probably guess from her pose, things don't end well for her in the comics. Amusingly, in the game she's a low cost and low nerve character who almost seems designed to die as Allen gets a boost if she does.

Naturally there were more walkers to do. These four have been done as the inhabitants of an old people's home (it's also the third time I've painted the model on the left, as I keep getting it as a freebie at shows). It strikes me that in the early days of an outbreak there should probably be a higher proportion of old zombies appearing due to the inability of the grey vote to get away quickly, along with the proportions of people in hospitals, which are likely to be the source of any outbreak.

Speaking of hospitals...

I like the individuality of the Mantic zombies and each one tells a little story. Here are two first responders and a patient. The cop has clearly been bitten on the arm whilst dealing with what appeared at first to be intoxicated vagrants. The patient received a bite on the hand (which is now bandaged) and was treated in hospital before succumbing to the virus. The doctor appears to have been bitten around the mouth. Perhaps she was giving CPR to the patient?

Interestingly, the doctor is possibly the zombie with the least detailed face in the range. One of the nice features of painting zombies are that any sculpting or casting issues are easily covered up as wounds.

Finally, a slice of Americana. A punk with the strongest hair gel in the world. A plus-size walker who fell foul of rule #1 for suviving Zombieland: cardio. A hillbilly rocking what I can only assume is a mullet, making me want to call him Billy-Ray. Which means that the girl must be Miley. They both seem to be missing an arm which perhaps means they have had an encounter with a survivor wielding a machete, or even a katana?

So that's all of Wave 1 finished. The only Walking Dead models I have left to paint are Lee, Clementine and a Zombie from the show-only booster, Lacey Greene (she came with Glenn and will wait until I'm doing the rest of the Greene family), and a Hasselfree Michonne that I've bought to make use of the free game card that came with Tabletop Gaming Magazine.

I swore I wouldn't buy any more Walking Dead models until I'd finished Wave 1, and so I'm free to spend again...and guess who's going to Leeds Fiasco this weekend.

I've also started playing through the Days Gone Bye scenarios, so you can expect my comic battle reports to start popping up over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy them.

That concludes my Zomtober for 2017, and it's probably been my most successful for a while. Well done to all my fellow Zombtoberists who've been producing their own legions of the undead. We must do this again sometime...

Sunday 22 October 2017

Zomtober: I Hate Horses!

As promised, this week's offering for Zomtober is Rick, on a horse, from Mantic's Walking Dead game booster called, 'Rick on a Horse', which features a model of Rick on the aforementioned horse, and a zombie, one of the aforementioned walking dead. It's an example of extremely clear labelling from Mantic, something that other companies could possibly learn from.

Taking a similarly Ronseal-like approach to labelling, the post title for this week, 'I Hate Horses,' is because I hate painting horses, and Rick's horse is no different. I think it's because the smooth contours of miniature horses don't really suit my wash 'n' go style of painting, and I lack the inclination to become better at painting them because I hate painting horses.

My antipathy towards painting horses has caused many a wargaming project to falter in the past:
  • my Bretonnians for Warhammer never really got past 1500 points and featured far too much infantry,
  • I abanadoned my Bretons for Saga before I really started assembling them,
  • there have been some Napoleonic Dragoons for the War of 1812 sat in my lead pile for at least half a decade,
  • my Bolt Action Russians will never be joined by Cossacks, 
  • my 6mm ACW Union army is distinctly lacking cavalry or artillery (which are pulled by horses) for the same reasons.

And so you can understand why I approached this week's offering with some trepidation.

And I have to say, I'm still not happy with the horse. I think I need to go back and maybe put a bit more effort into highlighting it. However, I always reach this stage, where the horse is passable and any attempt to improve it, might actually make it worse and cause me to have to spend even more time painting something I dislike painting. Have I mentioned that I hate painting horses?

Also, looking at the pictures, I've not only noticed that I've forgotten to do the eyes properly, but there's an ugly mould line above the left eye that I'd not seen.

Gah! I hate horses!

What I don't hate, is Rick. Another cracking and characterful sculpt which I've painted to match the version on foot that I finished at the beginning of the month. I'm very happy with how he's turned out. So much so, that he probably does a good enough job of drawing my eyes away from the hated horse to make my not worry too much about it, especially as this isn't a model I can see myself using all that much. The horse only features in one of the solo scenarios, and in regular games I'm not sure how useful the horse would be, as despite making a character much faster, it also causes lots of noise and so will constantly be moving zombies towards it.

As well as hating horses, I also hate free-handing writing on models, it never goes well. Therefore I love it when models have raised text sculpted onto them, as it helps me out immensely. The lettering on the police bag is an excellent example, and adds a nice detail to what would simply be blank if it were left to my 'skill'.

And so there we have it it for another week. This coming week is half-term for me, and so I have plenty of time to work on what will hopefully be a decent finale for this year's Zomtober. I also hope to find time for a few solo scenarios now that I have the necessary models, and so there might even be a return of my comic strip game reports if you're lucky. See you then.

By the way, I am fully aware, that if they are reading this, my usual gaming group will now be plotting to get me some horses should they draw my name in our annual Secret Santa. Yes, they are bastards. However, so am I, and I am also plotting along similar lines. Mwahahaaaaaaa....

Saturday 14 October 2017

Zomtober: Equal Bites

After poor light last week, a sudden spurt of good weather has meant the I was battling with it being a bit too bright to photograph this week's offering. I got there in the end, but many pictures were taken in a variety of locations.

The observant amongst you will have noticed that all of the zombies I've painted are African-American, and this has been a deliberate choice for my week's painting for several reasons:
  1. Some people (actually, quite a lot) are black. Therefore, surely the same would be true of zombies. In fact, roughly 50% of the population of Atlanta (where the early parts of 'The Walking Dead' are set) is black, and although the demographics on the outskirts of the city (such as in Woodbury) would be different, I felt it necessary for the purposes of authenticity.
  2. The walkers I've already done for this game are all white, and games were potentially going to look like this short!
  3. Some of the models in the game are clearly meant to be black, and would look daft if this were ignored.
Interestingly, the lack of equal representation amongst the zombies is something that's been commented on about 'The Walking Dead' TV show. There's some interesting discussion about this issue which raises ideas such as unconscious bias in the casting process, acting (and therefore extra work as zombies) not being viewed as a viable career choice by the black community leading to more white extras being available, and even 'scientific' arguments suggesting that as bodies decompose, the skin would lose pigment leading to more zombies looking white.

Whatever the cause, I prefer a 'freshly dead' look to my zombies, and so, to cut a long story short ("Too late!" they cried.) I felt that there was a need for me to paint some African-American zombies.

This lady came in the Morgan booster and even though all the sculpts in the game are based on images from the comic series, Mantic have cunningly boxed Morgan and Duane with a walker who bears more than a passing resemblance to Morgan's wife in the TV show - she doesn't appear in the comics.

You may notice the use of a flash during daylight in this image. This is because that the bright day was causing me issues with picking out the details on the darker colours I used. You can't quite see, but he's dragging his mangled foot behind him.

This model, I actually have two of, and the first has already been painted. It's one of two zombies that Mantic were giving out at Salute in April, and my diversity project this week seemed a good way to avoid obvious repetition in my shambling horde.

I really liked painting this model. There's something almost cliche about the zombified waitress lurching out of the kitchen in an abandoned diner. I've actually already done a waitress in the same uniform when I painted my Wargames Factory zombies - I like to think that they both worked in the same diner chain, just in different locations (due to basing and sculpt size/style I'm not going to use my Mantic and WF zombies in the same games).

So that's this week done.

Next week you can look forward to Rick. Yes, I know I've already done him, but this time...he's on a horse!

Sunday 8 October 2017

Zomtober: The Walking Dad (and his son)

Ahhh...Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That can mean only one thing...

...crap photos start showing up on my blog because the light outside is rubbish.

This time the crap photos (severely adjusted to ensure that you can see anything at all) are of Morgan and his son Duane.

This is an odd pair of models as they were a booster set is was really keen to get my hands on. Partly because they feature in the earliest scenario from Days Gone Bye, but also because Morgan and Duane offer some interesting gaming opportunities as you can play out their off-screen antics whilst Rick is in Atlanta.

However, the reason why they're odd, is despite how keen I was to get them, I'm not keen on the models themselves. In fact, I think it was these two that cause my initial hiatus in painting my TWD collection.

Morgan is a bit of a dull pose in comparison with almost every other model in the range. He's just stood there (this also contrasts quite sharply with Duane's action pose). He just doesn't stir the imagination.

I think I may have gone for too much of a dark colour scheme and I can't shake the feeling that I'd like to repaint his shirt in white to liven him up. Overall, my impression is of a drab model painted drably. What's more, I feel I might need to highlight his skin a bit more, but I have a constant struggle with getting black skin right.

Despite the dullness, Morgan is at least well sculpted. Duane isn't. His face and head are distinctly characterless. I don't know if I've just got a duff one, but it's not good. You can't even say it's because he's a child and so smaller, as Sophia is probably my favourite TWD model I've painted so far.

Again, like Morgan, I may need to go back to highlight and brighten the model up a bit.

Anyway, they're done, and the gods of Zomtober are appeased for another month. At least I can start playing through the campaign now.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Zomtober: Give That Man A Hand

I'm back!

It's Zomtober!

It's Rick Grimes!

I've had a slightly enforced break from blogging due to being, well, busy. However, Zomtober is here and it's given me a bit of a kick up the backside to get painting again. Starting with my backlog of models for The Walking Dead from Mantic Games.

Rick, pre-amputation, is one of the models in the main game box and, obviously, features in most of the scenarios from the Days Gone Bye expansion, so it's quite important to get him done.

In all honesty, he was mainly painted back in May when I lost my mojo for the Walking Dead, and so he was an ideal candidate for getting finished for the first weekend in Zomtober. I've tried to make sure that his police jacket matches the one I did for Shane, so the can actually serve as partners, should I choose.

If you're wondering what the hell Zomtober is, it a little joint project a number of bloggers take part in each year where you commit to painting at least one zombie or survivor per week dueing October, with the deadlines being the weekend. If you're interested in joining in head over to Brummies Wargaming Blog to sign up.

I've already got Morgan and his son Duane in the pipeline for next week, with some Walkers shambling up behind them. My overall goal this month is simply to make a dent in my backlog, and I'll hopefully find time to do some solo games as further motivation.