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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Painting Zombies

Since May is Zombie Awareness Month and I have a few unpainted zombies left on the workbench, I figured I'd fishish this batch off step by step to show how to quickly paint a horde of zombies.  This horde happens to be part of my Weird War II Zombie collection.  Most are from West Wind / Grindhouse Games Incursion minis.  The others are some US Airborne Zombies from What The?! Miniatures.

First of all basecoat your zombies with a good flat black spray paint.  Then take lighter shades of flesh you wish to use.  In this case I like to use Reaper's Master Class series of flesh colors where there is a Shadow, Flesh Color, and Highlight.  Rather than start with the Shadow, simply go to the flesh color, in this case I used Pale Flesh, and dry brush over all the exposed flesh areas.  It's OK to have some black splotches in the cracks.  Then lightly drybrush the lighter Highlight shade over that.

Next is to mix up some flesh wash.  I use P3 Flesh Wash from Privateer Press, and thin it with Acyrllic Floor Wax.  Rather than using a normal flesh wash I add a little Reaper Pale Olive and Ultramarine Highlight to the mix to give a bit of a dead blue-green look to the skin.  Apply the wash over all the exposed flesh areas.  When you want a patch of unnaturally sick colored flesh add a dab of the Olive or Ultramarine colors to the area and let the wash distribute it around.

Once the flesh wash has dried, then you can do the fun gory stuff.  Normally one would want to do the blood after all the clothes have been blocked in.  However, I tend to come from the school of thought as to finish the face and flesh first before doing the clothes as that tends to be the focal point when looking at models. 

Start with a good blood red ink.  I used to use the old Citadel Red Ink but that is long OOP.  I have found Kohi Nohr makes a red ink that is very close to the Citadel Red Ink that I was able to get at Micheal's Craft store for a lot less than the Citadel stuff.  Thin some of that on your pallet with some acryllic floor wax and then add a drop to the side of your pallet of some black ink, I use Reaper Master Class Black Ink.

Darken some of the red ink with the black ink and run this around the edges of the open wounds, in the mmouths and in the eyes. 

Gradually add more of the pure red ink to the open wounds, mostly to the lower sides of the open wounds as blood runs out and down.  Also add some to the mouth and fingertips, to simulate a zombie that just got some fresh lunch.

Next stipple some red ink under the mouth and around the chest and hands for some gory blood spray.

Paint in the eyes with white, or perhaps a yellow-ivory for a more sicklier diseased look.  A quick tip to painting eyes is to use a Micron 0.05 mm felt pen to dot the eyes.  For zombies, try to make the dots somewhat smallish compared to the whites, as to making the eyes look bulging.  Furthermore, position the dots in ways the head is not facing.  Looking up is a good way to position them.  This gives the model a bit more of an unattentive 'zombie'ish' look.  If you really want to go a bit further, try using a red pen first and then filling in the center of the red dot with the black pen.  This sort of gives the zombie a sort of sick or possessed 'rage-zombie' look. 

Paint in the teeth and any exposed bones using Reaper Yellowed Bone and Ivory.  This really makes the zombie look more threatening as you can see the jagged and broken teeth from the dark and bloody mouth.

Next block in and paint the rest of the figure as normally, clothes, details and base.  Shade and highlight normally as well.  Weathering worn and ragged edges of torn clothes with some lighter shades.  Be wary of worn clothes and damaged metal parts.  Add some metallic colors to edges of scratched and dented metal parts.  Don't forget to add some rust colors to exposed metal.

Finish off the bases as you would a normal figure, including any other details.  In this case many of the Incursion Sturmzombies are fitted with some crude blades, metal patchwork and some devices that pump the chemicals that keep them up and running around.  For the blades I generally give them a work metal look by using some Reaper Scorched Metal over Shadowed Steel. Then adding some splotches of black and rust colors.  The patchwork and the cyber gear I sometimes give a similar treatement, or if I feel it's stainless steel I go for a brighter color like Honed Steel or True Silver.  Some of the piping I will give it some flourescent green to indicate this is the zombie chemical.  Sort of a reference back to the old movie, The Reanimator.  I'll even add some of it trickling out of an open wound.

The Sturmzombies are used for the game Incursion, which takes place deep within a secret lab buried within the island of Gibraltar, where the Nazis had captured it and the evil Professor Von X has been experimenting with creating super zombies to fight the allies.  It's played on a board which looks sort of a dank dungeony look to it.  So I used a lot of bases that sort of fit in with the style.  For this batch I used a bunch of the Malifaux Sewer and Morque base toppers from Wyrd Miniatures and some Bio-Tech bases from MicroArts Studio

Finish the clothes off with blood stains by using some of the same red and black ink.  First start with using a mix heavy with the black ink around the stained areas.  Remember that the stains should work themselves downwards.  Then follow up with some more ink with more red mixed in.  Add some splatter marks with a fine brush around exit wounds from bullet holes. 

After some finishing touches and blackwash, using thinned Reaper Black Ink with Future Floor Wax, I then applied some Tamiya Clear Acyrllic to some of the bases to simulate water.  While the clear is drying I'd add some thinned red ink and thinned flourescent green to simulate some of the zombie ichor dripping into the water.  Also a few swishes of Citadel Gryhpon Sepia and Delvan Mud glazes to give the water a bit of murkiness.  You will have to add more of the clear acyrillic to some of the deep sections as it really shrinks when it dries.

After finishing up the models and flocking the bases of the Airborne Zombies, I then gave them a coat of Testors Dullcote.  The Future Floor Wax in the black wash give the model a glossy appearance.  After Dullcoting, I'd then take a little Future Floor Wax and dab some on with a small brush in areas where there are some open wounds to give it a moist glistening look to it.

Here's what some of my finished product looks like.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Union Loki-Class Gunship

Vor the Maelstrom is another great game that I've had a great time playing.  Unfortunately the game died before it's time due to the closure of it's parent company FASA.  Because of this there were lots of units that were not supported by models.  This poses some great conversion possibilities. 

One of which was the Loki-class Gunship.  This was a vehicle in use by the North American Union, a new superpower formed in the late 21st century by a merger of The United States, Canada and Mexico to counter the threat of the Neo-Soviet Union and it's rampant spread of communism around the world.  This occurred just before the Earth was engulfed into the pocket universe known as Vor the Maelstrom. 

The fluff described the Loki as being built from old AH-64 Apache gunships being fitted from anti-grav technology in which Union scientists were finally able to reverse engineer from alien technology kept at Area 51.  The gunship was obviously upgunned with much more powerful weapons to take on the horrific mutants of the Neo-Soviet Empire.  These weapons became very useful when going up against the alien threats encountered within the Maelstrom, like Growlers.
So I started with a Monogram 1/48th scale AH-64 model kit (which 1/48 is perfect for the slightly larger 28mm figures of Vor).  Next I removed engines from the fuselage and dug up something that would look totally alien, and change the appearance from a conventional helicopter.  I found the engines from a Star Wars Micro Machines Fleet Action Sebulba's Pod Racer to work perfectly for this.  The majority of the other parts I used were components from RoboGear, these are some modular snap together toys that are used for 28mm gaming from a Russian toy company.   I took the original front landing struts and moved them outboard within the new engines.  The hole left in the fuselage for the rotors was replaced with a GW Tau Drone to work as a radar dish.  The counter-rotation rotor housing molded into the tail now mounts a rear facing camera and countermeasures package.  The original FLIR turret is now upgraded with new sensors, made from I think a 1/25th scale power steering pump from a model car kit. 

For the maingun, I replaced it with a much bigger autocannon from Robogear.  I just couldn't think of this thing hunting down Growler bulls with original 30mm chaingun.  Removing the sight and ammo magazines I found this gun fit perfectly within a RoboGear frame that is similar to the original turret frame.

The project has been sort of stalled for some time.  The next step I wanted to do was to make some special decals for this to represent markings of the NAU.  Based on the cover art of the Union Forcebook, I was able to recreate the Union's flag.  From this I can make insignia for the model and print them off for decals.  I'm sure when I get caught up on my other projects I'll get back to getting this guy finished.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Zombie Gallery

You probably didn't know this but May is Zombie Awareness month.  Are you aware of zombies?  Well you should be.  And it's probably about time to get aware of just how many zombie models I have.  I love zombie movies and I love zombie games.  Zombies are a great scenario in miniature wargaming, hordes of difficult to kill units who take no morale tests and who's numbers increase as the kill the living.  In fact, just about any game is more fun with zombies in it.  Typically zombies are not much of a threat on their own or in small numbers.  Just about any yahoo with their wits about them can dispatch a few zombies with a baseball bat, even cut through swaths of them with a chainsaw.  However when in large numbers, zombies really become a serious threat.  So naturally I needed lots of zombies, and in my collection of zombies I've tried to get a zombie for just about every walk of life, just like in the movies.  I pretty much have zombies in several different genres.

Fantasy - Your typical D&D Monster Manual Zombie.  These are zombies are Celtos zombies from Brigade Models.

Weird War II - What's Weird War II withouth Nazi Zombies?  Well, that would be AE-WWII but I digress.  However I do use these for Incursion and Secrets of the Third Reich.  Many of these are West Wind figures for SotTR and Incursion, some of the others are from Reaper's Reich of the Dead line.

Weird West - Yep, the typical Walkin' Dead and Harrowed types seen in the Deadlands RPG series.  These particulary undead gunfighters are from Foundry Miniatures.

Pirates - Got to have undead pirates.  That would be like Pirates of the Carribean without Cap'n Jack Sparrow.  Sadly, I do not have any completed undead pirates to post up yet.  I'll have to post up the Booty n/ Brains craving zombies up in a later article.

Sci Fi - Gun toting undead cyborgs.  These particular nasties are members of the Undead Legion from Warzone.

Contemporary Zombies - Your modern to near future zombies that inhabit most of the sci-fi horror movies you see these days.  Today, I'm going to focus mostly on these zombies.

At my last count I had completed painting over 100 contemporary zombies.  Enough to flood the streets of any 28mm 4'x4' gaming table and send survivors running to the nearest S-Mart for shotguns and chainsaws.

I just finished up some more contemporary zombies recently.  These are from Victory Force Miniatures line of zombies, B-Ball Zombie and the Chicken and Dinosaur Mascot Zombies.  In fact right now Victory Force is running a Zombie Awareness Month Sale with some new zombie mascot releases too!

Studio Miniatures makes some excellent contemporary zombies.  I picked up these two sets.  Both are hospital related, because just like in the movies zombie plagues seem to start there.  In fact the Zombie Survival Guide recommends that you stay well away from these places during a zombie outbreak.

I particularly like the Body Bag Zombies.  I was able to find some biohazard decals from Hasslefree Miniatures which worked really well here.

I've been picking up an eclectic collection of zombies from all sorts of manufacturers.  Reaper Miniatures came out with these not too long ago.  Some just have some rather tongue-in-cheek humor sculpted into them.

Zombie Strippers, probably inspired from the movie.  I love how the one has a severed hand with cash in her hand, and no I have not seen this movie....yet.

RAFM Miniatures makes some neat minis.  The Zombie Crossing Guard and Zombie Schoolkid,

as well as Zombie Plus-Sized Lingerie Model munching on someone's foot and Zombie Stephen King Look-A-Like (which sort of reminded me of that scene from the Dawn of the Dead remake where they were sniping celebrity look-a-like zombies).

Hasslefree Miniatures makes some great zombies and even has some zombiefied versions of their Zombie Hunter line.

One of my favorites is Ashlee Campbell (a sort of female version of Ash from Army of Darkness, played by Bruce Campbell.  Get it??).  I really like how Kev White modelled the pistol dangling in her hand with the slide retracted like she just ran out of bullets before getting overrun by zombies.

Another being a zombiefied version of Simon Pegg's cricket bat toting character from the most hilarious movie Shawn of the Dead.

To build up the bulk of my zombie horde, I've even resorted to some cheap sources of zombies.  Wizkids Horrorclix line has many zombie figures that are quite useful and although OOP can be still found fairly cheap.  If you're not familar with Horrorclix, or Heroclix for that matter, they are randomly packed prepainted miniatures.  I find the prepaints poor quality and in most cases not worth the price they're asking for, especially when they're some super rare figure with super powered stats on the base for the game.  However, I'm only interested in the figure for other uses, I was never impressed with Heroclix or Horrorclix.  Some of the more common figures I've been able to get as low as $0.15 a figure online.  These I simply pop off the clix base and remount on a standard 25 mm base.  In some cases I have even bent or cut off and repositioned the limbs or head to vary them a bit.
Zombie Patients, to go well with my whole hospital overrun with zomibes theme.  I've accumulated a horde of these things.  I had fun varying the blood splatter from the severed hand.

Zombie Construction Worker - This guy lost an arm, but really doesn't care.

Zombie Ventriloquist - Well, part of my 'a zombie for all walks of life' project. 

Zombie Cheerleader - Of course, got to have a zombie cheerleader.  Those aren't pom poms in her hands, those are human entrails! 

The there's the Attack of the Zombie Laywers!!!!

And of course the Zombie Cops!  These I was able to vary the poses quite a bit to keep my horde from looking too 'cloned'.

Any fan of the Resident Evil movies, has to have some Zombie Dogs!  These Frothweilers had some spines sprouting out of the back.  I removed them and repainted them to look like the RE Zombie Dobermans.

Anyways, if you wish to see more of my zombie collection check out my Picassa Gallery of Zombies here.