Sunday, 9 June 2013

Exquisite Corpse

As surely as infection spreads... the horde has grown again, around 90 zeds and rising!

To have so much material to kit bash provides an obscene potential for variety however the different scales and levels of detail naturally present limitations in compatibility.

Each kit has its qualities and flaws but overall their disparate elements compensate for each other when the parts are well mixed. In my humble opinion the inevitable scale and stylistic mis-matches add to the chaotic and disfigured dynamic of the mob.

Here are a few examples of some basic kit combinations.

Click on  an image for a description of the parts used.
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The heads inevitably present the main scale issue, from Games Workshop gigantism to proportionate but comparatively pin headed Studio miniatures. Having said that the GW heads on Studio minis bodies (top right image) have a certain chibi charm to them, their large heads give them a juvenile, almost cute quality! The lower jaws were removed to balance the head:body ratio, they should mix into the horde just fine.

The Mantic heads provide an ideal middle ground scale wise and have excellent detail and character, from proper 'evil dead' demonic nastiness to slack jawed, brain dead idiocy. These were the most versatile size, not too big for the Studio and Wargames Factory torsos and passable on GW.

The addition of the resin and metal heads add bags of character and compensate for the lesser variety of torsos. The Maxmini and Puppets War heads really are spot on, so much character and gribbly detail, I'll gladly swap out anatomical correctness for personality!

Torsos and legs seem generally universal with most kits mashing up comfortably with others. Both Wargames Factory and Studio Minis provide the essential contemporary wardrobe with Mantic and GW bringing the topless rotting flesh. The only issue here is the slightly smaller scale of WF and SM compared with GW and Mantic resulting in a crowd where only the big guys have their tops off, but such is life. GW and Wargames Factory legs provide plenty of trousers in a pleasing variety of zombie locomotion. The fantasy cut of the GW trouserage should blend in with a muted paint job.

The all important arms presented a potential compatibility checkmate in scale, genre and detail with the added complication of an overall lack of basic right arms! The GW arms mostly carry fantasy weapons and are comically disproportionate with hands like foam fan mitts. Mantic torsos have their left arms sculpted on with only 1 spare free handed right arm per sprue of 3 zombies and Wargames Factory torsos also have fixed left arms with rather small and softly detailed right arms. Of course a little conversion can even the odds but with 100+ contemporary zombies to chug there's a limit to how much plastic spear removal / green stuff sleeve tailoring one can tolerate! Thankfully Studio Miniatures provided the solution. The Studio Minis arms come in pairs and are fantastic; incredibly detailed with well defined, proportionate hands, no weapons and a good variety of sleeve length and arm pose. They're great matches for Wargames Factory torsos and a touch small but workable for Mantic and GW. You get 6 pairs per sprue of 4 zombies so you have plenty to graft.
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Inevitably there were parts that didn't fit.

Mantic's legs in fantasy rag / loin cloths didn't really suit the modern horde (although this blogger has a brilliant solution for this) but their suggested agility and speed put me off using too many. Games Workshop's aforementioned arms fill my bits box due to the face hugger hands and the fantasy weaponry, although the arms holding the leg and bone are useful. Some of the GW heads sport odd hair and head wear, fair play it's a fantasy kit, a little cosmetic work could bring them in. Studio Miniature's heads were also problematic, despite some classic and finely detailed zombie faces they have little definition at the sides and are ultimately dwarfed by the other ranges. Wargames Factory's heads were the worst offenders, compared to the really useful and solid all round components in their kit, the heads were the weakest of the lot with soft detail on a small surface. I don't think I've used one.

This wastage shows that there are critical weaknesses in each of the ranges and for different reasons. Mixing the kits allows one to discard inferior or unsuitable parts and replace them with better but also creates compatibility issues in quality and aesthetic. The kits difference in scale presents a new issue of anatomical correctness but ultimately it's fun to flip the bird on scale and build grotesque parodies of the human form.

What to do with the remains? I'm considering some kind of Chapman brothers monstrosity...


  1. Just found this. Hugely enjoyable so far, I'm guessing that there will be papier mache and kit kat wrapper rendition of "The Winchester" appearing at some point ?

    1. Ha! Thanks Zzzzzz, glad you're enjoying the pandemic :)
      I haven't turned my hand to terrain as yet. I do have a generic post-apocalyptic table consisting of a 'Broken Blacktop' Zuzzy Mat and a bunch of GF9s gothic ruins liberally seasoned with Pegasus barrels and AT43 shipping containers (all from my pre-paint junkie days). Perfect for mech combat and auto-duelling but a bit too 'post' for a zombie apocalypse.
      Really what's needed is a dilapidated council estate made from milk crates and cereal packets. I'll see what I can do...