Monday, 30 March 2009

Frothers Sculpt a Zombie Competition

The Frothers gang have a competition going at the moment to sculpt a zombie. Yay! To quote the website announcement: "The Frothers Unite 5th Pro-Am Sculpting Competition has begun, with the theme of "Zombie Apocalypse"! Whether its Undead Fred or Sally Survivor we want to see who you think will be running (or aimlessly meandering) around the streets when the frankly inevitable zombie virus turns 90% of the population into brain-eaters.
Once more we can offer you the kudos of having your miniature appear in the winners sets to be bought by your fellow frothers - and of course free copies of all the winning entries if yours gets made. So fire off your zombified bunnies, hockey-stick schoolgirls and chainsaw warriors today! Or, before May 31st anyway."
I certainly won't be entering but I'll be keeping a close eye on the entrants and will most definitely be buying the winning entry when it goes on sale. Best of luck to anyone who enters! I'll post another link to the competition when the winner is announced.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Lesbian Vampire Killers Review

I had the misfortune of watching this stinker of a film earlier this week. When the best thing about a film is the title, you know you are deep in turkey territory. It starred James Corden and Matthew Horne, along with Paul McGann and Emer Kenny. I have to admit that I am not a fan of Corden and Horne but I went in with an open mind, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.
The plot concerns two slackers, Fletch and Jimmy (played by Corden and Horne) who go on holiday to a remote Norfolk village, where they find its women have been tuned into lesbian vampires as part of an ancient curse. They think their luck is in when they discover a bus full of foreign female history students who just happen to be sharing the same cottage as them. An eccentric priest (McGann) believes that Jimmy is the descendant of a long lost vampire slayer. One by one the students succumb to the lure of the lesbian vampires, until only one remains (Kenny) and our heroes try desperately to save her.
You can see that this was trying to emulate the old Hammer horror films but failed miserably. The humour, and I use that word reservedly, is universally of the lads' mags type, which may appeal to some drunken half-wits but did nothing for me. Blood is in short supply, apart from a few trickles from neck bites. When the vampires die they explode in a welter of milky white fluids. Tragic! But surely it was worth seeing for the lesbian vampires? Sadly not. They all looked the same - fake boobs and plastic faces. Barbie doll lookalikes with about as much sex appeal.
It is a shame that my first film review for my blog turned out to be such a stinker. Heed my advice and avoid this at all costs! I rate it 1 out of 10.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Zombie Rescue Mission

This is an account of a rescue mission scenario that I played recently. I am a play tester for a new set of zombie apocalypse rules that are being developed. I can't give away any details of the game at the moment but it is similar in tone but not content to "All Things Zombie" by Two Hours Wargames and can be played either solo or with a group. For this game, I played solo.

Let's meet the heroes of the scenario. The four survivors I took were from left to right - Grant, an ex-Marine armed with a 9mm SMG and a Bowie Knife. Ashlee was a private from the National Guard. She was armed with a 9mm automatic pistol and a chainsaw. Jess, a former street-gang member, was armed with a hockey stick and a sawn-off shotgun. Next was Ken the policeman, armed with a pump-action shotgun and a truncheon. Finally, Alyx, the young girl who was the rescue victim, was armed with just a baseball bat. All five figures were from the Hasslefree Miniatures range of 28mm scale adventurers.
The setting for the game was in the centre of Mayhem City. Some readers might recognise that name as it is the one used by World Works Games (WWG) for their range of contemporary urban cardstock models. All of the buildings, scenery and vehicles that you see here are by WWG. I am a huge fan of theirs and somehow, Mayhem City sounds so appropriate for a zombie apocalypse game.
The scenario is as follows: The PCs receive an SOS call over their shortwave radio. There is a survivor not far away but she is surrounded by zombies. She has barricaded herself inside an old apartment building but is vastly outnumbered and with no means of escape it is only a matter of time before the zombies get in... that is, unless the PCs can reach her in time.

TURN 1. I rolled for weather and got a nothing out of the ordinary result, which was good, as I was going to have a busy time with all the zombies that the heroes would have to deal with. Each turn a variable amount of zombies would arrive on the board from a random edge. I also had to roll to see what edge the heroes entered. They arrived from the south and are just visible at the extreme right of the photo above. You can see a part of the box containing my collection of painted zombie figures in the bottom left corner. When this scenario took place I had about 200 zombies to choose from. No, I don't think it's too many!

TURN 2. The heroes slowly advance along Main Street, shooting a zombie tramp who had his back to them. You can just his head and shoulders in the bottom of the photo. The large brick apartment to the right was the building that Alyx was holed up in.

TURN 3. Here is much better view of Alyx's apartment. Four zombies are trying to break in at the front of the building, whilst three more try to gain entry at the back. Alyx is looking down from the second floor patio, hoping that the zombies won't notice her up there. She's wrong! The smell of fresh flesh is strong to a ravenous zombie.

Here we see zombie reinforcements arriving from the north. Meanwhile, Grant stood and fired twice, killing two zombies closing in on Ashlee and him. Ashlee remained stationary but scanned to the left and right and spotted two zombies approaching from the petrol station to the east. Ken and Jess advanced at a walk. Ken blasted an old zombie who was closing in on him from the gun-store.

TURN 4. A zombie bearing an uncanny resemblance to George A. Romero lead the four zombies from the front of the house to attack the heroes who were closing in on them. Ken walked up to the George Romero zombie and attacked with his truncheon. He hit but only scored a flesh wound. Jess walked towards the house and shot one of the four zombies that had been trying to break in. She killed him. Ashlee killed the next zombie in line with a shot from her pistol. Grant tried to kill the last two zombies but unfortunately ran out of ammo. Not good!

The zombies at the back of the house succeeded in breaking down the back door and a smashed a window.

TURN 5. Ken fought back, hitting George twice with his truncheon. The first hit caused a second flesh wound but the second blow killed George outright. I should have made George a zombie PC. He performed really well! Grant reloaded his SMG, then shot at one of the two zombies approaching from the petrol station. However, he only flesh wounded him. Ashlee and Jess faired a lot better. They shot and killed the last of the two zombies that were attacking from the front of the apartment. The coast was clear for them to get in. Ken joined them as they walked towards the front door.

The zombies at the back of the house had been joined by three other zombies. Four of them entered. Hurk (the Spyglass Miniatures zombie) clambered through the window, whilst the other three moved through the kitchen to the lounge.

TURN 6. An aerial view of the action with the upper floors of the apartment removed. Ken called out to Alyx to come downstairs and join him. None of them knew about the zombies at the back of the house! Alyx agreed to come down. A zombie Dragger (a zombie with one or no legs) approaching Ken had his head blown off as Ken stood and fired at it. His first shot missed completely but his second shot was fatal. Ashlee and Jess reached the locked front door. What to do? Should Jess thump it with her hockey stick or should Ashlee fire up the chainsaw? It was a no-brainer, wasn’t it? The chainsaw made short work of the door. Grant was in a lot of trouble but he didn’t realise it. There were two zombies closing in on him from the front... and the back. He had no idea that there were two so close behind him as all his attention was focused on the two approaching from the petrol station. His SMG felled them both. A female zombie, one of the two behind Grant, closed in on him and sank her teeth into his left shoulder, causing a wound. Another zombie entered the kitchen whilst the others moved into the lounge. Hurk advanced up the stairs to the main bedroom on the first floor.

TURN 7. Alyx reached the stairwell at the back of the second floor as she ran inside.

Grant retaliated against the female zombie with his Bowie knife. He killed her with ease, stabbing her between the eyes. Way to go, Grant! Ken fired at the second zombie (who was holding a crowbar) that was closing in on Grant, but alas, he had run out of ammo. He spent the rest of that turn reloading. There were four zombies in the lounge, packed close together. One blast from Jess’s sawn off shotgun killed three of them. Devastating shooting! Ashlee tried to shoot the fourth one but both her shots missed.

The zombie with the crowbar attacked Grant and scored a flesh wound result. Hurk arrived in the main bedroom, not far from young Alyx.

TURN 8. Alyx opened the bedroom door and came face to face with Hurk. Totally unfazed, she swung her baseball bat and crushed Hurk’s skull.

This time Ashlee’s aim improved and her pistol shot killed the last of the four zombies in the lounge. Jess walked to the kitchen door and from almost point blank range fired at the zombie approaching her. Incredibly, she had ran out ammo! Damn, those ammo rolls were not helping our heroes. Still, it made for some tense and exciting gaming!

Grant made two attacks against the crowbar wielding zombie. His first missed and his second only scored a flesh wound. He had hoped to do better than that! Obviously blood loss had affected his fighting skill! Ken walked towards Grant. He raised his shotgun to his shoulder and his well placed shot killed a small girl zombie rapidly closing in on Grant. A little boy zombie charged at Grant and his bite scored a second flesh wound. Even worse, the zombie with the crowbar scored a second wound on Grant. The ex-Marine was going down! Meanwhile, the zombie in the kitchen lunged at Jess and bit her, scoring a normal wound. Two more zombies entered the kitchen through the open back door. It’s not looking good for Grant or Jess, is it?

TURN 9. Three more zombies close in on Grant, one of each kind – a Dragger, a Freshie (Freshies are rare zombies who can run fast like those in "28 Days Later") and a Normal. He was almost surrounded by zombies! There was only one thing he could do – get the hell out of there. A run move towards Ashlee allowed him to spot a naked zombie who was almost upon her. He shouted a warning that alerted her to the danger. She spun and shot the naked zombie between the eyes, just before he could reach her. Ken also walked back to Ashlee but kept his eyes on the five zombies that had got so close to Grant. He fired at the zombie with the crowbar but just winged it lightly. Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Jess swung her hockey stick at her assailant and splattered his brains all over one wall and half the kitchen floor. She then calmly reloaded her shotgun. Alyx raced downstairs to the lounge. A zombie nurse in the kitchen tried to bite Jess but her attack failed. The second zombie in the kitchen could not reach Jess because of a lack of space. It was a tight fit with Jess and the two zombies in there. Six zombies closed in on Grant, Ken and Ashlee, ambling down Main Street.

TURN 10. Jess raised her sawn-off shotgun and blew away both zombies with a single shot. The kitchen resembled a slaughterhouse, with blood everywhere. However, the house was now clear of zombies. Time to get away. The heroes decided to head south, back the way they had come. Grant, Ken and Ashlee held their ground and open fired upon the six zombies heading towards them. Ashlee killed one but missed her second target. Ken also killed one. His second shot merely flesh wounded a Dragger. Grant’s shooting was immaculate. He killed three of the zeds, including the Freshie. Only the Dragger remained at the end of the turn, too far away to reach any of the survivors. Alyx and Jess exited the house by the front door.

TURN 11. Grant shot and killed the zombie Dragger blocking his path. As the other four survivors ran towards the south exit, Grant could only manage a walk.
TURN 12. As all five survivors moved at walking pace, Ken shot a Dragger, whilst Ashlee and Grant shot a Normal apiece. All three shots resulted in deaths. The end was tantalisingly close but there was still more zombies blocking their path. There were an awful lot of zombies marching down the north-south road that formed a T-junction with Main Street. If the survivors got held up in a protracted combat they would find themselves swamped by zombies.

TURN 13. Jess ran to catch up with the others as she was lagging behind. The others walked onwards, with Grant, Ken and Ashlee stopping to blast three more zombies out of the way. They each bagged a kill. Zombie reinforcements this turn were a massive ten. This could have spelt disaster but fortunately only one of the Draggers blocked the exit road.

TURN 14. Two zombies standing side by side as they emerged from the basketball court were killed with a single lethal blast from Jess’s sawn-off shotgun. Ashlee’s pistol laid waste to a zombie cop. Grant ran out of ammo yet again and was forced to reload. Ammo guzzler was certainly a good description for his SMG! Ken tried to kill the zombie Dragger who blocked their path home but missed twice. Alyx came to the rescue by charging it and staving its skull in. The exit was a mere 6” away.
TURN 15. The survivors ran off the board. Victory was theirs. Game over. What a lot of fun that was!
At the end of the game there were 58 zombies left on the board - 50 Normals and 8 Draggers.
Grant suffered 2 normal wounds and 2 flesh wounds. He killed 11 Normal zombies and 1 Freshie.
Ken suffered 1 normal wound. He killed 3 Normal Zombies and 2 Draggers.
Ashlee suffered no wounds. She killed 6 Normal zombies.
Jess suffered 1 normal wound. She killed 9 Normal zombies.
Alyx suffered no wounds. She killed 1 Normal zombie and 1 Dragger.
All heroes survived their wounds.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Hasslefree Zombies 01

These are the first batch of zombie miniatures from Hasslefree Miniatures that I bought. They are 28mm scale and are beautifully sculpted by Kevin White. Left to right they are HFW701a Zombie, HFZ201 Zombie Ray, HFZ200 Zombie Ashlee and HFZ203 Zombie Suzi. Any similarity between Zombie Ray and Shaun (Simon Pegg) from Shaun of the Dead is I'm sure, deliberate! Of all the minature companies, Hasslefree, are without doubt the friendliest and nicest to deal with. Apart from making great figures their customer service is second to none.

Vampifan's Views 01 Introduction

I have created this blog to share my passion of all things undead, particularly vampires and zombies, with a strong emphasis on miniature figures and gaming. Books, comics, films and TV will be covered as well, plus anything else that I think will be of relevance. Ever since I began college way back in 1975 I have been interested in the undead. One of the first films that sparked my interest in zombies was George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, which I saw at the cinema when it was first released in 1978. I'd never seen such a gory film before then and it had a huge impact on me. I loved it and it still remains one of my all-time favourite zombie films.
The start of my love affair with vampires is harder to pin down. The first vampire film that I can remember watching was Dracula with Frank Langella in the title role. However, I know that one vampire in particular has held a very close affection for me from the moment I first saw her in the early 1980's and she is the comic book heroine, Vampirella. It is no coincidence that my user name is Vampifan. There is something incredibly sexy about vampires and Vampirella is just sex on legs!