Welcome To Lazarus

Instead of a "BANG", humanity is passing away with the shuffling of dead feet, and hungry moans. Desperate men and women fight against the rising tide for the newly risen dead.Sometimes, though, the undead are not he most dangerous things out there. Civilization has failed the test; the only thing left is survival.

Lazarus is just one of many places where humanity holds on by a thread, and life and death come as easily as a roll of the dice.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Clicky Zombies

Every knows that HorrorClix has some great figs that can be used in 25/28mm zombie games.  They can be rebased and painted easily.  Others have posted about them; VampiFan has some great posts on his blog about converting all sorts of clicky minis, not just HorrorClix, for use in a zombie game.  While I've done quite a few rebase/repaints, these are the first zombie figs I've done.

Of the three, the Irradiated Zombie fig on the right of the first pic is my favorite.  The sculpt is great, especially considering it's a clicky.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fast vs Slow And The Pathology Of Zeds (Pt. 2)

Well, if you're back, then I haven't chased you off thinking I am a complete loon.  If you are just getting here, go back to the previous post, before continuing on; things will make a lot more sense, if you do...we'll wait.

Good, now that we are all on the same page, let me lay out my reasoning on why fast and slow zombies can coexist in the zombie genre in general, and in my zombie world specifically.  Mind you this all only in regards to the undead variety of zombies; even if some of the reasoning about speed and strength can be applied to the "rager" types.

The Pathology Of the Zombie Cycle

STAGE 1 (Infection and 1st Death): A person is infected.  Through whatever means a person "catches" whatever it is that will eventually re-animate them.  They are still alive, but usually just barely.  Eventually, the person dies; brain functions cease and the body starts to decay immediately.  The brain is the last to go, as it slowly dies from lack of oxygen.   Even if resuscitated, higher brain function can be irreparably damaged. 

STAGE 2 (Re-Animation):  The dead body is re-animated, usually within hours, if not minutes.  The reanimation agent, usually described as a virus, reanimates the brain first.  Higher functions are gone; due to brain death.  Reasoning, communication, and all the other skills that separate us from the animals are gone.  Base instinctual functions, such as locomotion, hunger, etc.are all that remain.  The body is clumsy and slow to respond; this accounts for the Romero-esque view of the newly undead shambling zombie.  They can attack quickly from short distance, usually from behind it seems, but can't chase prey down if they run away. 

STAGE 3 (Rigor):  For whatever reason decay is slowed down to a snails pace.  How else can we explain zombies hanging around, rotting, for years?  Rigor mortis will eventually set in.  The process can start before re-animation, depending on how long Stage 2 takes to manifest itself.  This accounts for the stiff legged, stiff armed zombies we see.  Eventually, rigor mortis will go away naturally.  How long this takes, seems to vary from person to person.

STAGE 4 (Evolution): After rigor mortis goes away, and sometimes before, the zombie "evolves", for lack of a better word.  Limbs become more pliable and the body's natural healing processes take over, as best they can. The brain begins to re-route signals and gain more control over the body.  Coordination increases and the instinctual processes become more focused.  This accounts for two types of zombies we see:

  • Fast/Strong Zombies - Some zombies will still suffer from rigor, or injuries sustain at or after death.  They may be slow, but the pack mentality of the horde manifests itself.  Others will not suffer from things that could slow them down.  The bodies can move, almost as if they were still alive.  Because they are dead, though, they have a distinct advantage over their human prey; they do not suffer from the regulation of pain.  As a result, the zombies who may have been average in life are super fast, or super strong, or both in death.  Even though they may be more dangerous, these types of Zeds tend to fall by the wayside quicker than the shambler type, as tendons are pulled, and muscles and ligaments are torn, as the bodies are pushed beyond all tolerances in the pursuit of prey.  Eventually, the bodies are unable to function; physically destroyed, because of the abuse.
  • Intelligent Zombies:  These are rare, but they do pop up from time to time.  These are Zeds whose brains were not damaged as badly as the normal type of zombie's is.  As the body tries to heal itself, some higher reasoning is restored.  These types of Zeds are extremely dangerous, because they can reason out the hunt and see potential dangers in their environment.  On rare occasion some have an intellect on par with the living; and even higher at times, as in the  "Monster Island" books.
In both cases, the key is the body's natural healing process.  The inability of the natural healing process to overcome the decay of death is also the ultimate demise of every zombie.

STAGE 5 (Decay and 2nd Death):  Despite the fact that the body will try to heal itself, it is dead.  Because of that, it is a losing battle.  Barring being killed by the living, or falling prey to environmental dangers, eventually, the body will decay to the point that it is nothing more than a pile of bones and ooze.  Remember the danger posed by these types of Zeds in the first person accounts in "World War Z"?  This decay may take years, but can apparently happen in days/weeks/months, as seen in "The Walking Dead".  Eventually, the body is unable to sustain any type of activity, and the brain rots away to nothing, bringing about a 2nd and final death.

There you have it, my explanation as to how the fast and slow zombie crowds can live in harmony, without completely destroying canon in any of the zombie worlds pop culture has brought us.  Now back to gaming the Zombie Apocalypse.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fast vs Slow And The Pathology Of Zeds (Pt. 1)

Ok, I am going to take a little time to bloviate, here, and give my views on the fast vs. slow zombie argument. We aren't talking classical voodoo zombies; we are talking about the celluloid "BBBRRAaaaains" type we all like watching on the screen and gaming with.  Since both All Things Zombie and Ambush Z have rules for the different types, I think it's something to discuss, plus I'm a bit bored right now.

I'm not really sure which is more geeky; the fact that there is fast vs. slow zombie argument, the fact that I am going to post my thoughts on it all, or the fact that you are actually going to sit there in front of your computer and read what I am about to post.  You are here to begin with, so you have already embraced your geekiness, let's continue on full speed ahead.  Back to the matter at hand...

Fast vs Slow

Proponents of the "fast" zombie, as seen in, say, "Dawn Of The Dead (2004)", think that they are much more terrifying, in that there is no getting way from them, short of being a track star.  Fast zombies also open the door for a broader interpretation of the genre.  The "rage" zombies from the 28 Days franchise are a good example.  They are  zombies in every aspect, other than they are not "undead".  No matter where you stand, you have to admit the idea of being chased down and being eaten, by anything, is an unsettling thought.  Especially true if you were a slow poke, like me, as a kid.  I wasn't fat, I was "husky"!

Purists say that the genre has no place for "fast zombies".  They point to Romoero's vision of zombies as slow moving husks, which are only dangerous if they surprise you, or overwhelm you, as the one true zombie arche-type.  Their terror is derived from their slow monolithic pace.  No matter what you do, no matter where you go, they are going to come after you and eat you.  Fast zombie supporter's argument against them can basically be summed up in a word..."BORING!".  Personally, I blame computer games and the instant gratification impulses of the youth culture...that's another issue, though.

I fall in the middle.  I think that both types fit perfectly into the genre, and can in fact co-exist; especially in zombie games.  From a physiological approach, my stand point makes perfect sense...well okay as much sense as can be had in this discussion.  Think about what happens to the human body when we die.  Immediately, the body starts to decompose.  Within hours, rigor mortis sets in, making the body stiff.  hours, sometimes days after that rigor goes away, and the joints are again easily movable. If we apply what we know about horror zombies to the process, we see stages in the life (death?) cycle of a zombie.

If you've stuck with me thus far, I'm gonna leave you hanging, until the next post in a few days.  In it, I'll lay out the "logic" behind my stance, and walk you through the pathology of the zombie cycle in the world that Lazarus exists in.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

15mm Post Apoc Riders - Rebel Minis

Again, more minis that I painted for RM's online store, so you may have already seen them.  I really like these.

It kind of sucks, painting these at times.  I can't post them immediately, because they are RM's minis after all.  I am trying to work it so that I can "sneak peek" images here, before they hit RM's online store.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Infamous Carolee in 54mm

Carolee is Two Hours Wargame's mascot, if you will, and she is a complete bad-a##. She is not only a zombie killing machine, but she was also, in a past life, a Gladiatrix, apparently. In real life, she's easy on the eyes, and creates quite a stir every time Ed posts her visage in a THW news post over at The Miniatures Page. She's shown up in 15mm, ready to kill zombies as well as dressed for the gladiatorial arena. She's got her own card in the All Things Zombies Risk and Rewards Deck (review coming soon). She's also been done in 54mm and there are plans to release a 28mm figure, as well. Here is my painted homage to the infamous Carolee in 54mm, enjoy:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Figure Basing - Basic Technique

This is a re-post of a tutorial I posted on a forum several years ago.  I thought I'd share it here, in the hopes of helping out people who may be new to the hobby.  

I am sure that this is a variation on how others do it.  This a a basic technique.  I was asked, though, so here we go:

1) Prep the figure
As part of the preparation process, sand the bottom of the figure with some coarse grit sand paper.  This removes anything that will cause the fig to not sit on the base flat, and gives the glue something to grab on to.
2) Glue Figure To Whatever Base You Wish.
Super glue the figure to the base.  I use Slotta style bases, fender washers, pennies; whichever suits the figure.  FWIW, pennies and nickels are more cost effective than using the same size fender washers, if you are buying them at the DIY store; at least in my area.
3) Build Up The Base
If holes need to be covered up on washers, or the base needs to be built up to match base on the mini, now is the time to do it.  I use a variety of things; JB Weld, Dry Wall Mud, and Sculpey to name a few.  You can press bits of other materials into the base, before it hardens to add character.  If you texture the base before it hardens, you can skip #4.  Alternately, you can skip #3 and just go straight to #4.
4)  Apply Base Material
Using an old paint brush, apply straight white glue, or carpenter's glue, to the base.  Keep it off the figure itself, as much as possible.  Once the glue is applied, dip the figure in a bucket of sand.  I have a plastic gallon ice cream tub that I filled with road sand last spring that I use.  I filtered all the big chunks and such out with a pasta strainer.  I have enough sand to last me for years, at this point.  Run your finger along the edge of the base to remove any extra sand that may have got on the edge.  You can use an Xacto knife to remove any sand that got onto the figure itself.
5) Base Coat The Figure
After the glue has dried, base coat the figure.  I use cheap Dollar Store Flat Black spray paint.  I paint the figure and base at the same time.  The paint will help adhere the sand to the base better than just the glue.
6) Paint the figure
Self explanatory, eh?
7) Paint The Base.
The colors I use vary, depending on the mini.  The color scheme is always the same;  Dark Color, Light Color, Dove Grey, Sand/Sable, Trim Color.  Example; Dark Chocolate, Moccasin Brown, Dove Grey, Sand/Sable, Black. Applying these colors is a 5 step process:

1) Water down the Dark Color, so it will flow into all the nooks and crannies on the base.  Apply it liberally to the base.
2) Once the Dark Color dries, heavily dry-brush the base with the Light Color. 
3) Once that dries, lightly dry-brush the Dove Grey on the base.  Apply it a bit heavier on larger bits that look like rocks, and such. 
4) Once dry, very lightly dry-brush the Sand/Sable to the base.
5) Finally apply your Trim Color to the edge of the base.  I use mostly Black, although it depends on the mini.

To speed things up at this point, I keep a cheap hair dryer next to my table that I use to dry the paint.  On high setting, it dries craft paints remarkably fast.

8) Finish The Base
Take white glue and apply it randomly on the base.  Dip the base into some Woodland Scenics Turf; basically finely ground foam; suitably colored.  Next apply patches of Woodland Scenics Coarse Turf;  ground up foam in bigger chucks, with glue and tweezers. The tweezers give you more control of how much and where it is applied.  You can also apply static grass; I got mine from Gale Force 9, although it can be found in most train shops.  I finish the whole thing off with a coat of cheap spray wood varnish, and then a couple of coats of Dul-Cote.  This helps seal the mini, and keeps the base material from coming off.

Here are some examples of bases finished this way:
On Pennies w/ Just Sand And Flock/Static Grass:
(20mm Liberation Minis)

On a Slotta Base w/ Just Sand And Flock/Static Grass:
(Reaper Chronoscope Pulp hero)

On Fender Washers w/ Textured Sculpey:
(Artizen Cowboys)

On Fender Washers w/ Added Bits
(MegaMinis Kanines; I think that's whose selling them now)

Follow by Email