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.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Orpheus Reborn: Hunters and Prey, Pt 2 (Zombie Fiction)

It was a little after midnight, and business had been slow.  It always was when a storm was rolling in.  They had just finished sweeping, and Mr. Kim sat behind the counter, mindlessly flipping through a sports magazine.  Suddenly the front door burst open.  Two young black men charged through.  Instantly, one of them had a large pistol in his hand, pointed at Mr. Kim.  He froze, not out of fear, but rather out of habit.  Being next to a rougher part of town, Kim's Liquor had been robbed 15 times in the twelve years he had owned it.  Only once had things escalated to violence.  Usually, there was just  lots of cursing and the loss of maybe a few hundred dollars and some alcohol.  Insurance paid for it all, and it wasn’t worth losing his life over.  As long as nobody did anything stupid, everything would be ok.

The one with the big pistol strode towards Mr. Kim, while his friend took up a position by the first aisle, looking like he was ready to bolt in an instant.  "GIMME ALL THE CASH, B'FORE I BUST A CAP IN YOU, GOOK!" he screamed.  Mr. Kim's hands came up next to his head in a sign of surrender.  He flashed a nervous grin at the robbers, trying to not look scared.  The man  repeated his command a second time and thrust the gun in Mr. Kim's face.  He reacted by moving to open the register.

James watched as Leroy threatened the clerk.  The man had a nervous grin on his face.  For some reason, even though Leroy had complete control of the situation, James felt wrong.  He shook his head, trying to clear his mind; everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.  Suddenly, James was jerked back into normal time.  The bell that went off when the door opened had  just chimed.  James whipped his pistol up and drew down on the man who had just entered the store.  Leroy and the clerk both stopped and turned their heads to look.  The Korean stood there with his mouth agape.

In the doorway stood a white man in pajama bottoms and a torn tee-shirt.  He stood there, unsteady like he was drunk; one hand holding onto the open door.  He was covered from head to toe in mud; leaves caked into the mud.  His hands an feet were cut open, yet there really wasn't a lot of blood.  Where there was blood was around his mouth and down the front of his shirt, as though he had been feeding on something, recently.  To James's surprise, what appeared to be the jagged end of a  bone protruded from his upper left arm, which hung limply at his side.  As horrific as that wound was, it wasn't what caught James’ attention.  What transfixed James's attention were the man's eyes and face. His eyes were clouded over, and his face showed no expression.  James froze as the man's dead gaze swung across the room from James, to Leroy, to the clerk.

"Holy, F***", Leroy said as he brought his gun to bear on the man.  "DON"T MOVE, CRACKA, OR I"LL BUST YOU UP WORSE THAN YOU IS!"  James saw the man's expression change.  It went from blank to one of feral viciousness.  The man stepped into the store, letting the door swing shut.  He raised is good arm; his fingers making a claw.  He let out a moan that sent a chill down James's spine, as he moved towards Leroy.  "STOP MOTHER F******!" Leroy screamed, panic starting to cross his face.  As the man stepped closer, Leroy pulled the trigger on his gun, three times in rapid succession.  The three rounds slammed into the man's chest, taking him backwards.  His right leg caught on the corner of a snack rack, and he toppled back.  His arms flailed and drug the rack down with him, spilled chips and crackers across the floor.

NO!, screamed Mr. Kim's mind.  Instinctively he ducked down behind the counter.  He saw the man thrashing around on the floor; looking like he was trying to get up.  The two robbers stared at man on the floor; mouths open.  Through all this, no one noticed the two swinging doors at the end of the counter part.  A black barrel poked slowly through the opening. Leroy swung his pistol back towards Mr. Kim.  It looked like he was ready to shoot, again.

BOOM! Flame jumped out, as the No.4 12 gauge round left the barrel poking between the doors.  In his nervousness, Mr. Kim’s son, Eric had aimed off his mark.  The pellets spread out and caught the gunman high across his right thigh.  Even so, he was knocked back into the end cap.  He half sat, half fell into the display; a look of astonishment on his face.  Mr. Kim's son stepped through the door and racked the slide on the shotgun.  Leroy raised his pistol and fired off a round.  It hit  Eric Kim squarely in his left shoulder.  Eric half spun under the impact of the round.  One handed, he managed keep the shotgun trained on the robber.  Simultaneously, Leroy and Eric Kim pulled their triggers.  Leroy's round entered below Eric's right eye.  As it exited, it blew the contents of Eric's skull all over the swinging doors.  Eric's head rocked back,  as he fell backwards.  Eric's aim was better the second time.  The pellets from the shotgun hit Leroy squarely in the chest.   Even though they were small, the force of them all hitting Leroy from the distance of about 10 feet lifted him off the  display and flopped him on the floor.

Through this all, James had stood transfixed.  It was just like watching a movie.  The second round of shooting snapped him back.  He saw Leroy lying on the floor.  The man with the shotgun lay on his back, half way through the swinging doors.  He moved quickly to Leroy.  As he knelt over him, he could tell that Leroy was gone.  His chest was a bloody mess and blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.  His eyes stared blankly at the ceiling. 

The crack of the pistol sounded like a cannon going off.  James felt the round pass by his head.  The pistol barked again, and he felt a tug at his hoody as he stood up.  James saw the clerk standing behind the counter aiming a revolver at him.  "YOU BASTARDS!!" the man screamed as he pulled the trigger a third time.  A jar of salsa exploded down the aisle.   James raised his pistol emptied all the rounds in the magazine.  Three found their mark and the Korean dropped down behind the counter.  Quickly, James bent down and retrieved Leroy's .45.  He moved to the counter.  He looked over and saw the Korean sitting, back against the bottom of the cigarette rack.  A blood spot blossomed on the front of his white button down shirt.  The man looked up at James.  James raised the pistol and fired one time.  After looking at the man for a second he  turned to leave the store; panic was setting in.  As he neared the door, he felt arms wrap around his legs.

He fell to the floor, just short of the door.  Rolling half over, he saw the bloodied man that Leroy had shot clawing his way up his legs.  The man bit him on his thigh, sending pain shooting up his leg.  James began to pummel the man's head with his hand and the pistol butt.  The man's arms flailed, trying to grasp James.  Suddenly, he got a hold of James's left hand.   He drew it towards his mouth.  In an instant, his teeth closed around the last two digits.  There was a sickening crunch as he bit down.  James screamed in pain and looked in terror as the man began to chew on what moments before had been his pinkie and ring finger.  He brought the pistol down, almost into the man's right eye, and pulled the trigger.  More blood and gore spread itself across the wrecked store.  The man went limp. 

Frantically, James crawled from under the man.  Dropping the gun, he clutched his ruined left hand.  In complete panic, all James could think of was getting away from the mad house the store had become.  He slammed into the door and into the night.   Through the pain, he pushed his legs forward.  All he could think of was getting home.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Orpheus Reborn: Hunters and Prey, Pt 1 (Zombie Fiction)

The body made its way clumsily through the underbrush.  The well manicured lawn had given way to scrub brush and saplings.   The creature's arms reached out, using trees as support, as it made its way through the woods.  Even so, it still fell forward on its face several times; cutting and gouging exposed skin.  There was no pain; there was no thought; only a hunger that pushed it forward.   The wind was blowing, making the trees rustle in the night.  The sound of distant traffic could be heard over the noise the leaves made.  The sound had no meaning to the creature, beyond an innate knowledge that food could be found where the noise was.  Soon, the twinkling of lights could be seen.  Shadows played through the woods, as cars passed by.  The creature felt what could only be described as excitement; food was closer.  Its movement became more purposeful and agitated.

The woods suddenly sloped downward.  The creature picked up even more speed.  By now the wind had picked up even more.  The creature strained through the darkness and could make out a pool of light at the bottom of the hill, with two figures huddled together under it.  Its mind had no recollection of what made the light; it only understood that food was at hand.   It picked up its pace even more, careening down the hill.  Suddenly, as it put its foot down, it found itself stepping into nothing.  Its weak grip on a sapling could not keep it from pitching forward.  The body tumbled down, landing in a heap in a shallow stream with a splash.  A snap, and a twist and the jagged end of a bone protruded from its left arm.  The creature ignored the damage.  It began to struggle to its feet.

Leroy handed James the small pistol, keeping the larger one for himself.  James looked at it under the flickering light on the side of the liquor store, then back at Leroy.  "We really gonna do this L-Roy?"

"Yes, we is", was the reply.  Leroy had to speak up, as the wind rustled the leaves in the nearby tress.  It smelled like rain.  A gust of wind almost drowned him out completely.  "Don't go soft on me, nigga.  We's gonna walk in there, and I's gonna stick this gat in the Korean's face and gits us the money.  You watch my back, and make sure nobody comes in while I is takin' care of  bizness.  Now come on."  Leroy turned and headed around the corner of the building, towards the front. 

As the body made it to its feet, it could see the figures standing not far away.  They huddled together, talking.  The creature’s mind could not make that distinction.  All it was aware of was that food was almost within its reach. It viewed the two individuals as nothing more than prey.  It clawed at the muddy bank, pulling itself out of the stream bed; always keeping an eye on its prey.  Suddenly, the two turned and started to move away, out of the pool of light.  They made their way around the building they stood next to.  As the first one disappeared from view, the creature's actions grew more frantic and it gave out a moan of frustration. 

James stopped by the corner of the building.  He thought he heard something in the woods behind them.  He thought that he had heard a moan.  The wind had really picked up, and rustling through the tree tops was loud.  James nervously swallowed, maybe Leroy was right.  Maybe, he was going soft.  He had no desire to go back to lockup, especially on a two bit armed robbery.  He looked at Leroy, who had made it to the door already.  He realized that at this point, he really didn't have a choice.  He was committed and to back out now would forever label him as a pussy in the hood.  Loosing cred was worse than doing time.  He swallowed hard, gripped the handle of the .25 auto in his hand a bit tighter and headed towards the door.

To Be Continued....

Monday, June 4, 2012

On The Workbench 6/12

May was one of those months that puts truth to the saying "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray".  I fully intended to go on a blitz last moth and finish a bunch of small projects. It didn't happen. Between the hobby cave flooding, due to torrential rains, family emergencies and obligations, and a temporary change in my work schedule not much got done.  When I did have time to paint, the motivation to do so was not there.  All month long, I managed to fully paint just 9 minis, with another 20 or so primed up with smatterings of paint on them.  Thank God for scheduled posts, or I wouldn't of even had any postings last month at all.  Oh well these things happen. 

The work schedule will be back to normal in a week, family emergencies are still happening (Mrs. FF is in Arkansas right now dealing with one), and the Hobby Cave has been (hopefully) water proofed.  I am going to try to get back into the swing of things this week (at least an hour a day), and see how things go.  The up side of it all is that I didn't lose anything in the flooding, I didn't add anything to the "pile o' minis" and I drank a lot of beer, and Caribbean rum (the Mrs. went on a cruise and came back with 5 bottles of the good stuff) last month.

The new items and projects that I added stuff to are denoted by an * next to them.

On the Workbench for June 2012:
(This is all stuff that is partially finished; in no particular order)
27 Gnoblar Fighters - After selling the metal ones, I decided to paint up the plastics to see what I could get for them.

21 x Khurasan Zombies - 21 excellent sculpts for 15mm zombie gaming
24 x WH40 Tyrnaid Termagants - I got these in trade for the Gnoblars I painted a couple of weeks ago.
10mm Ruins Project - I got a pile of old Epic plastic ruins, which are replacing the foam core ruins I was going to build and use for my Mech Warrior project. 
4 20mm Ruins - Plastic 20mm ruins I am building for resale. 
8 Acheson ATZ Minis - More minis for paint and review.
6'x4' Zuzzy Mat - Gaming Mat for my TEOTWAWKI project. 
15 28mm PA Survivors - 3, 5 man packs from Lead Adventure Miniatures 
18 Heroclix Figs - Figures for conversion into sci-fi and horror gaming minis
6  Pulp/Steampunk Minis - 6 figures left on the commission painting of some Fiendish Fabrications figures
20 Mantic Ghouls - Mantic Ghoul Regiment 
6 28mm Survivors - Obelisck Nighthawk gang
28mm Post Apoc Ruins Project - Ruins made from Gamecraft's Foamcore 6 story building.  This one is half done.
28mm Vehicles - 6-8 vehicles for my survivors
15mm Suburbia - Paper/foamcore houses for suburban Lazarus. 
50 20mm WWII Russians - Minis for a semi defunct NUTS! East Front project I planned
2 T-34/85s - Same As Above
Various Fantasy/Sci Fi minis - I have a box of old minis I use to try out techniques and hone my skills.  I have quite a few half painted figs that I'd like to finish

May's Finished Projects/Minis 
(I will be posting these up through out the month, as I get photos and such) 

4 x Acheson ATZ Minis - 4 down, 8 to go!
5 x GWFB Gnoblar Fighters - 5 down, 27 to go!

If you don't see the above posted here, now or in the future, you can check out Zero Sum Solutions for them.

Hedges - Quick and Easy Tutorial

Foam Padding - Electronic Packing material (free)
Woodland Scenics Course Turf (aka Flock) - From local Train Shop ($9.99/32oz Shaker)
Large Freezer Bag - Pilfered from Kitchen (free)
Spray Adhesive - From Hobby Lobby ($3.00)
Spray Matte Finish or Clear Varnish(not pictured) - From Hobby Lobby ($3.00)
Sharp Knife (not pictured)- For cutting foam
Disposable gloves (optional/not pictured) - Pilfered from work

Step 1 - Cutting The Foam
Start by cutting the foam into strips. The strips can be any size you wish. In this example, I am making hedges for use with 28mm figures. The foam strips measures roughly 4.5in x 1.25in x .5in. Cut them slightly smaller than what you want the final hedges to be; I will explain in a bit. Also, they don't need to be exactly the same size. Variation is good.

Step 2 - Texturing The Foam
Take your thumb and forefinger and start tearing chunks of foam off the strips. You'll want to do this along all the edges, and randomly across the flat sides. They should look as below:
 Step 3 - Applying the Flock
Now we need to turn the foam strips into our hedges. Fill the freezer bag about half full with the flock. In this case, I am using a 50/50 mix of Woodland Scenics Light and Medium green. One at a time, liberally apply each foam strip with spray adhesive. I wear the gloves at this point, because it can get rather messy, if you don't. It's up to you, though. Then take the foam a put it in the freezer bag. Give the bag a good shake, so the foam is completely covered with flock. This is where cutting them smaller comes into play. As it sticks to the foam, the flock will make the finished hedges that much larger than the foam. Place the hedges to the side to dry.
Sorry for the blurry pic. It's hard to get good help at 8AM on a Saturday around my house :-)

Step 4 - Finishing The Hedges
After the hedges are sufficiently dry (tacky to the touch is OK), liberally spray them with the Matte Sealer, or what ever you wish to use. I used Krlyon Oder Free/Clear Finish (the small can in the middle) that I had from a previous project. This will act to keep flock from coming off as the hedges are handled.

Basing the Hedges
At this point, the hedges are done, and ready to based as you wish. I usually base my on large craft sticks that have been finished as described in my Basing "how to" here on WTL:
Figure Basing - Basic Technique
The hedges can also be used as part of a larger display, if you wish
Finished Examples
Below, as some close of of some finished hedges (prebased) of different sizes:
w/ 28mm GW Space Marine
w/ 25mm Cowboy and 20mm Liberation Mini
All in all, it took me about 25-30 minutes (including drying times) to make the six hedges in the tutorial. This is a simple project, and is very quick and easy to do.

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