Sunday, 7 April 2013

Test Batch

PHASE 1...

So after much sticking fingers together the first batch of zeds are ready for a paint job.

Following RebelWithACoz's masterful tutorial I set about priming the little beggars with GW black primer. This was followed with a liberal application of GW Doombull Brown as a colour base coat and then a light coat of Army Painter Skeleton Bone spray applied from above, a foot or so away to create a light sourced 'highlight'. Due to a mixture of impatience, spraying distance and cold weather there was some speckling from the spray application but these are zombies so a messed up complextion is surely a good thing!!

This was the initial result...

To be honest I'd be pretty happy with this finish alone!! A few washes over the clothing and hair would certainly bring these up to what I'd consider a table top standard, however I continued with the recipe.

The following stage was a wash with GW Ogryn Flesh. This certainly warmed up the flesh tone and blended the base coat and speckled highlight nicely. Although they now looked much healthier I liked the counterpoint of 'living' flesh with obviously 'dead' sculpts. I will be experimenting with very light washes of greens and blues on a few to see just how grimy they can be made to look but for this first batch I thought I'd 'keep it real'.

I was happy with the results of the first set and stopped at this stage, forgoing the final highlight spray of white for the nice dirty skin tone that the recipe had achieved thus far. 
This is the first experimental batch and I'll be messing with 'em as I go. The next batch will be different again, the variety of decay being the essence of the rotting horde.
I slapped on some muted tones of mostly Vallejo blues, greys and browns for their clothing and washed these in GW Delvan Mud to grime them up. So far so good....

I've been getting carried away with the raw joy of this dubious project however normal service will resume shortly ;) I'll be back to supplement this with decent photos a'plenty as this progresses. 

As I'm new to blogging I've managed to delete some content but am striking back with some basic html magick to manage the incoming posts and images.

PLEASE STAND BY... for a bunch of entries on the workshop page as well as a weighty pile of undead lead to document for your viewing pleasure. :)

The Lead Will Walk the Earth...

So here's the first all metal miniature in the horde. 

He's a simple conversion of 'Cult Zombie "Moe" from  Fenris Games
(He seems to have vanished from their website though)! 

Below is the 'Moe' torso with the (rather small) head removed and replaced with (an arguably too large) one from West Wind SotTR. 

I love the Moe torso with its dragging gait and especially for the limb being eaten! The horror of the cannibalistic nature of zombification is rarely explored in miniature so fair play to the sculptor! 

Moe would be great for a 'feeding' diorama with other limb clutchers gathered around a dismembered torso; probably on an 80mm base.

The Dead Rise...

So here are some of the first batch of the hybrid horde.

Each kit has a definite general dynamic feel:

Mantic - fast and reaching
Studio Miniatures - passive and lurching
Wargames Factory - awkward and lumbering
GW - vacant and static

These combine to a set of marvelously rich zombie archetypes that can (in my fevered brain) be loosely condensed into the taxonomic ranks of 'Walkers', 'Grabbers' and 'Shamblers'.

For example;
WALKERS...  (click on images for larger versions + parts breakdown).
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Lots more pictures, and no doubt taxonomies, to come!!

Theyre coming through the door!!

So the miniatures have started to arrive!!
The plastic glue and craft knife are on red alert and the green stuff's on standby...

I'm going to start throwing things together immediately, the excitement is too great!
I'll be posting images of the sprues and minis as I go.
Pass me the shotgun! :)
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Painting Strategy

Whilst waiting for the kits to arrive I've been scouring the net for an effective and efficient painting technique. I haven't painted miniatures for about 25 years and these 100+ zeds wont be painting themselves!!

The technique that I've chosen to roll with is one offered by RebelWithACoz in this excellent 3 part you tube tutorial.  I've seen a few examples of this technique used by gamers in their projects and it looks quick and simple with great results. It uses a combination of base coat, zenithal highlighting and washes to create a realistic flesh tone in the process of decay.

As much as I love the generic green and bluish hues of many low budget 70's horror movie zombies, I feel this lends a cartoony feel to the painted miniature (which can be great for fantasy) but I want a convincing portrayal of wretched, visceral undeath...

As we're dealing with a horde here I'd like to include a variety of states of decay. Part of the morbid fascination with the living dead and the dubious joy of painting zombie miniatures are the individual portraits of undeath each figure represents.

This wikipedia entry on decomposition details 5 states of decay:

1. Fresh
2. Bloated
3. Active decay
4. Advanced decay
5. Dry remains

 I could think of several movie equivalents for each of these!

As a point of interest the bloat stage includes 'Maggot activity, typically confined to natural orifices and masses under the skin, causes the skin to slip and hair to detach from the skin'.
I was wondering why the vast majority of zombie miniatures are bald!

This great tutorial by GirlPainting on how to paint a zombie uses light applications of blue, violet and black washes over a flesh tone base coat to create a blotchy, livid complexion.... perfect for the bloated and actively decayed.


Love zombies, love miniatures, love zombie miniatures...

At some point I had to crack and succumb to the indulgent joy of creating a zombie horde.

That point is now.

The aim is to create a contemporary urban zombie horde of 100 + zeds with a naturalistic colour palette and a grimy, bleak, realistic vibe. I want serious shambling horror here.

Having checked out the 28 / 30 mm plastic zombie kits currently available, a box of the following is on order as well as a selection of lead and resin zombie miniatures and heads, focusing on sculpts with detail and character.

Plastic Zombie Kits:
Mantic Miniatures - fantasy zombies and ghouls
Studio miniatures  - modern male and nazi zombies
Wargames Factory - modern male and female zombies
Games Workshop - fantasy zombies

Resin Zombie heads:
Puppets War zombies - 8 heads, 4 types.
Maxmini zombies - 10 heads, all different.
Maxmini evil heads - 10 heads, all different. These aren't strictly zombies but should make suitably sinister 'freshly turned' undead, some have punk style hair cuts which should add to the contemporary look of the horde.

Metal Zombie heads:
West Wind zombies - 8 types.

The plan is to mash up the 'best' elements of the ranges, legs here, torso there into a horrific and varied hybrid horde.

To maximise on thematic and narrative possibilities a variety of urban theme resin bases from various manufacturers are on order as well as some props, litter, bins etc

So thanks for looking and watch this space, this should be all kinds of rotten fun.