Monday, March 26, 2012

News Team 5 and EM4 Bikers

Hi, folks. I managed to finish some more survivors this week. These are from EM4 Miniatures Future Skirmish line and are very nice and very affordable. The News Team comes from the "Street People" section and the bikers come from the "Bikers" section. These were fun to paint, and I mounted them on some more of the cool Fenris resin bases I've been using lately. I think I've seen them all reviewed on Vampifan's blog in the past and finally got some for myself.
"This is Susie Dumbass for Action News 5. We're downtown investigating reports of Living-impaired Americans causing a disturbance."
"Eddie! What the hell is that?!!" Video feed lost at this point. :)
Pics below are a couple of the EM4 Bikers.
And there you have it. 4 more minis for the cityboard. Thanks for looking.

Got a new toy today. A Privateer Press Wet Palette. I was going to make my own, but got tired of waiting for my wife to pick me up some parchment paper. I was working six 12-14 hour shifts in a row lately and didn't have time or energy to get it myself. She was too busy and/or kept forgetting it so I finally just ordered one from E-bay. Looks nice, maybe I'll try it out soon and post about it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Want something from the shop?" Stoelzel's Structures Market finished.

Hi friends. Thanks for stopping by. Just finished my second Stoelzel's Structure. This time I did the Market. This is a great little model. I was captivated when I first saw this model by the cool looking merchandise shelves, which are cleverly designed to also hold up the second floor, besides being chock-full of goodies for your Survivors. :) All of the buildings in this series are designed to be printed out on cardstock and then mounted on foamcore. For my last build I used full page printing labels to print the graphics on. This time I used cardstock, but because my printer is acting up, I took them to the UPS Store where they were having a sale on color printing. The pages were printed on a color laser printer and came out great, really showing off the quality of the artwork Carl Stoelzel, the owner has made for these. I got a great deal at the UPS Store, they were very helpful and friendly and it only cost me 51 cents per page. Staples wanted $1.09 per page, after making me wait like 10 minutes for someone finally coming to help me. Bastiches. So, $12 later I was ready to start on this project.
Pic above shows "The Village Shoppe", using one of 4 different signs provided in the pdf. The name reminded me of Hot Fuzz, hence "Want something from the Shoppe?" I have a Hasslefree Nicholas and Danny from Hot Fuzz in the paint line. Guess I better hurry them up. For this build I decided to glaze windows with more of that clear plastic I used in the Gunshop build. The crosspieces in the upper windows are matchstick. The front door is a little scratch-build with the frame made from matte board ala Vampifan, using the same plastic for the glass. I was debating whether to add the awning or not, playability concerns mainly. Finally went with it because I love the way it looks. Naturally I glued it on too low. :(
Pic above shows the rooftop. I used a couple of the very nice rooftop elements provided in the pdf, and added a couple of Hirst Arts vents. The roof top elements are mounted onto solid blocks of Hirst Arts bricks for durability and strength.
Side view of the building. I think with the better quality print-outs I got from the UPS Store, it really shows off the excellent brick texture Carl was able to achieve. I'll add some signs to the building but wanted to use a pretty much unadulterated version for this post.
Rear of building. There's a nice Fire Escape as part of the pdf. All of the rest of the doors other than the scratch-built glass door are made using original pdf texture on matte board. They have cardstock hinges under the texture which extend into slots cut into the foamcore.
An interior view of the upstairs. 
Another 2nd floor interior shot. I glued some foamcore offcuts into the corners of the rooms to help level off the rooftop. Like a dumbass, I forgot that they would prevent me from being able to remove the second floor. :(
An interior shot of the ground floor from the front. There's 3 of the 4 shelf units, a fruit stand, sales counter and cash register. On the upper left the white spot is where I damaged the texture when I removed the foamcore supports pictured in the last shot. I'll have to go back and fix that later. Hey, it's St. Patrick's Day, guess what I've been drinking while finishing off this project? :)
Ground floor shot from a different angle. Note the glaring white evidence of my stupidity. Oh, well, easy to fix. I'll use this as a cautionary tale. If you drink beer, don't build terrain...
Last view of the ground floor interior. 
A not very good shot through the front door and windows. 

This was a very nice model to make, great detail and a cool design, with lots of nice elements. There are 3 pages of very nice crates I didn't include because I'm lazy and already have a bunch of resin Christmas Village crates and boxes. There's also a very cool Ooops page that has extra, slightly oversized doors and windows to print out in case the interior and exterior sides of the print-outs didn't line up correctly. I've never seen anyone do that before and I think that's a great idea. If I had one suggestion for improvement, it would be to add a little more instruction for the fire escape and the cash register construction. But's a really minor point, I think. This model is great value for 3 or 4 times the cost.

Thanks for looking. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A couple more Survivors

Hi, friends. Just finished a couple of Survivors. Both from Reaper Miniatures Chronoscope Modern line. Sly Withers, Street Boss and Mike Noe, Biker Boss. I mounted them on Fenris 30mm round DS city streets resin bases. 
 Sly first.
As you can see, he's a big guy. And putting him on the excellent Fenris base makes him tower above the other minis, especially since Reaper are kind of big, anyway.
Next up is Mike.
He's mounted on another Fenris base. I've got him stepping up onto the sidewalk. He's not nearly as large as Sly, but still very cool.
Mike will lead some EM4 bikers. I'll be posting them soon. I really love these Reaper Minis, and the Fenris bases are just wonderful. I was planning on doing more today, but ended up watching some episodes of Supernatural, Season 5 on Netflix.

I tried some more blacklining on these guys. I think it's working pretty good. Thanks for looking.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Hi, folks. A few days ago there was an ad on TMP about a new Stoelzel's Structure Firehouse. The Stoelzel's Structures are 28mm paper and designed to be used on foamcore. The thing I found most interesting is that they have interiors, also. You don't often get that with paper terrain. Also had plenty of interior furnishings. The price is great on them, too, ranging from $4-8. After looking at preview pics on Wargames Vault I ended up buying 3 of them and went back and bought 2 more yesterday. I will eventually be building and posting all of them.

I'm using mine as an old Firehouse which has been purchased by the "Occult Research Center" for their HQ.
The Occult Research Center or O.R.C. I guess I can have a "Man From O.R.C.". :) If you're younger than me, you may not remember the old "Man From U.N.C.L.E." tv series. I cut out the windows from the original design and replaced with 1/4" chicken wire. I also cut out the garage-type door and hinged it across the top. The windows on the garage door were also cut out and glazed with clear plastic. As you can see, the garage door is too small to accommodate a big vehicle, but I found something to fit.
This pic shows the partially open door and something happened to the address number sign. Something bad...
A view into the ground floor. That Pontiac Solstice fits in here fine. The urban camo wearing Man From O.R.C. is not gonna let some Undead scumbag eff up his car!
Side view of the O.R.C. building. Sister Maria confronts a Zombie. Sign from a model RR site. The rooftop vent is from a Hirst Arts Sci-Fi mold. I'm using it as a handle to help remove the roof. One thing I didn't mention about this build yet is that I printed the wall pages out on full page label sheets. Then you just peel off the back and stick them to the foamcore. That was one of the suggested methods for building this in the instructions. I had some label sheets so I decided to try it. The method has pros and cons. Pros: Quick, easy application (at least for outside walls) and not messy at all. Cons: They're not sticking too well in some places, even though I carefully burnished them. Fixable with Tacky Glue, though. Another con is that it is difficult to line up the print-out well for the interior walls. Hard to reposition. I think I'll just stick with Tacky Glue from now on, but it was worth a try.
Rear of the building. Sign added from another model RR site.

Other side of the building. As you can see the side door is hinged to open and close. I cut out the windows on the door, and applied some more of the silver puff paint for the doorknob. The sign is another from a model RR site.
Interior view of the first/ground floor. The 4 pillars support the next floor and have some nice graphics on them. I wrapped the paper for the pillars around some square basswood dowels for added strength. The stair at the rear of the build has been kit-bashed. I had a hell of a time trying to build the stair the way it was designed and decided to just keep the paper as a skin to apply over a frame I made from 3mm mattboard. (Using mattboard for these paper builds is something I learned from Vampifan). Basically the two stair sidewalls are spaced by some Hirst Arts 1" bricks. The stair treads are popsicle sticks cut to size and glued atop the risers. In the foreground is a firepole left in place from the building's origin as a Firehouse.

 View of the 1st/ground floor interior toward the front of the building. The firepole goes up all the way to the to top floor.
Here's a shot of the 2nd floor (1st story for our cousins across the pond). The stairway is designed to be open on the front so you can slide the front edge of a mini's base into the opening to help hold it in place. Sister Maria has a 30mm base and the stair can keep her in place. The firepole in the left foreground is coming through a hole in the foamcore that has a sleeve made from a black plastic drinking straw. That was done to strengthen the spot where the pole passes through the foamcore and to help hold it in place.

Pic above is just a different angle showing how minis can climb the stairs. If you make some be more careful on the heights of your risers. :)

An interior view of the top floor. I cut the hole for the firepole out completely to make it easier to get the pole into the building, because the 2nd and 3rd floor are designed to lift up and out of the building for access.
The 2nd floor has been removed in this pic and set aside.
Here's the removed 3rd floor.
I always have liked the notion of multiple level gaming.
The Zombie Ho' seems to dimly recollect something about poles. Perhaps she was once an exotic dancer. :) The Firehouse kit includes a nice texture for the pole, either brass or wood, but feeling lazy I just painted a piece of round wooden dowel with silver spray paint. You can see the rather crude base I made for the firepole. I took a piece of black plastic drinking straw, split the bottom into 4 sections which I used as flanges to glue to the wooden disk base piece. I then superglued a small metal washer on top of the "flanges" to help hold them in place, and to add weight and stability. Then I put some wood glue into the well made by the straw to fix the pole to the wooden base. 

My obligatory looking through the window pic. Something I didn't mention about the windows. They're not glued into place. The sides of the grid were trimmed flush with the edges. I left some longer chicken wire spikes on the top and bottom and stuck them up into the foamcore to hold the windows in place. 

Well, that's all of the pics. This is a very nice little kit and for only $5 you can't beat it. Not pictured in this article are some very nice exterior and interior furnishings. Eight pages of them. There's 3 different rooftop vents, bunkbeds, lockers, vending machines, picnic tables with benches, upholstered chairs, desks, tables, refrigerators, stoves and ovens. Only thing missing is bathroom stuff, which I found in the Hospital set I also bought. 

Another caveat I should mention is that I think with a better printer the texture of the print-outs would look much better. They certainly look better on my monitor before I print them, and even after repeated cleaning of the printer, I'm still having trouble the yellow.

If you're looking for some very nice, affordable terrain designed to be used with foamcore, and having nice playable interiors, Stoelzel's Structures really fits the bill. 

Thanks very much for looking. I hope you find some useful information here, and that you will check out Stoelzel's Structures. He has a total of 14 models, I bet you'll find something you'll like.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

All Things Zombie Solo Batrep, another one.

Hi, everyone. I actually used the cityboard today and some of my Survivors. Interestingly enough, not a single one of my new 200+ Zombie Horde made it onto the table. How you ask? PEFs I say. I decided to use the PEF rules from "I, Zombie" and as you will see, most of the PEFs were a false alarm. Was I rolling weird or did I just screw up? Read on and maybe you can tell me. I don't know. :) I put some questions for the experts in red.

I decided to use a simple rescue scenario. Luckyjoe is at home on Day One of the Outbreak. Most of his family is there with him, but his daughter Mary went to work that morning at the Curl Up and Dye Hair Salon. She's now trapped in the store. Luckyjoe and his son Stephen set out to bring her home.

Luckyjoe - Rep 5 (I used the suggestion to start with Civilian Rep 5 Star). X-bow, BAP, and Combat Knife. Attributes: Slow (I picked this one cuz I'm no spring chicken and am no longer skinny) and Stone Cold.

Stephen - Rep 3. Automatic Rifle, BAP, Combat Knife. Knifeman.

Mary - Rep 3. Pistol, Fire Axe. Athlete.

Narrative: Narrative sections will be italicized. You can skip these over if you don't want some crappy prose.
Joe and Stephen arrive at the small downtown area by car but are forced to proceed on foot because of jersey barriers blocking off downtown to vehicle traffic. They now must proceed just a few blocks down Main Street to the "Curl Up and Dye Salon" where Mary awaits them. It's bright mid-morning on a sunny, warm winter day. The downtown area is deathly quiet, there's some patches of  smoke drifting between buildings and many abandoned vehicles litter the streets, some of them Emergency Services vehicles. Then they start seeing bodies, some shot, others torn up as if by wild animals, some both. "What the hell?" Joe mutters. "Stay close and keep up your sitch, Stephen". Stephen just nods, knowing that by "sitch" his Dad is referring to situational awareness, the process of constantly checking all around you as you move, and carefully listening, looking, even smelling for danger. 

I decided to only use PEF rules to get my encounters.
Should I also have used the rules from BDTZ for generating Zombies?
Pic above is the numbered grid for PEF placement.

Anyway, I rolled for PEFs and their placement. Ended up with 1 Rep 4 PEF in section 6 and 2 PEFs in section 2, a Rep 1 and a Rep 5. I'm using the white dice number up to represent the PEFs. The number on top is their Rep so I don't forget.
Rep 4 PEF in section 6
A Rep 5 and Rep 1 PEF in section 2.

Humans entered the board from Section 7. 

Turn one.
Activation: Humans 1, Zombies 4. 

Zombies:  Activate 1st because they had a higher d6 roll.

The Rep 4 PEF in section 6 was able to activate because his Rep, (4) was equal to or greater than the 4 Zees had for activation. He passed 2 dice on the PEF Movement table which allowed him to "move one section towards the largest group of players". I moved him from section 6 to section 5, which brought him into sight of the players. I then resolved the PEF on the PEF Resolution table. There were 0 PEFs resolved previously and I rolled a 6. That was a "false alarm". PEF was removed from the table. 

Two PEFs in section 2. The Rep 1 PEF can't activate because the activation roll was a 4, therefore his Rep of 1 is too low for him to activate. Move on to next PEF in section.
Did I do that right? You have have to have a Rep higher than your activation roll in order to activate?
I then rolled on the PEF movement table for the Rep 5 PEF. I was pretty confident I would soon be putting some Zombies on the board. Rolled double 6s. Rep 5 PEF passed 0 dice - "PEF Doesn't Move". LOL

Humans: I did a normal 8" move forward. With "SLOW" as an attribute I didn't want us getting split up by a failed Fast Move. There were no PEFs in sight. 
Turn over. Roll for Activation.

Joe and Stephen slowly move up the street toward the salon, cautiously checking alleys and cars they approach. Joe is torn-up wishing he could run up the street but with the apparent recent shitstorm here, it's smarter to use caution. Periodically, Joe hears Stephen gulping to keep from puking, some of those corpses are pretty badly mauled. "Poor kid," Joe thinks, "this is some serious shit for a first mission."

Turn 2
Humans 2, Zombies 5. No doubles so no new PEFs generated.
PEFs in Section 2. Rep 1 again can't activate because Rep is lower than act. roll. Rep 5 PEF passed 2 dice and moved down into section 5. In LOS, so triggers PEF Resolution. 1 PEF previously resolved, rolled a 4 and got a Hostile NPC. Here's where I find one mistake I made, I went to the Involuntary Encounter resolution instead of the Encounter Awareness Test on page 115. By going down the wrong resolution path I ended up with "small feeder animal". Crap, could have been fighting Zeds.

Humans advance another 8 inches. 

A sudden sound brings both mens' weapons to bear on a small doe running noisily down an alley. "Damn" says Stephen, "I almost shit myself". "Yeah", his father says, "and you almost fired but you've still got the safety on. Take it easy, you gotta stay calm."

Turn 3
Activation: Humans 4, Zombies 3. No doubles.
Humans: Advance another 8 inches and enter section 5, no LOS to PEF in section 2.
Zombies: Rep 1 PEF in section 2 can't activate.

A big semi tanker truck is jack-knifed across Main Cross Street, with an empty Police interceptor next to it. "Looks like blood smeared on the rear windows of that Police car, Dad." "Yeah, keep going son." 

Turn 4
Activation: Humans 5, Zombies 5. Doubles mean a new PEF is generated. A new Rep 5 PEF is placed in section six.

Here's where I had a question. I couldn't find anywhere who goes first when doubles are rolled for activation. It's a tie, so I re-rolled Activation. Is that right?
Anyway, rerolled Activation to see who goes first.
Activation: Humans 4, Zombies 2. 
Humans: Advance another 8 inches. The red and white building in the distance on the right is the target.

Zombies: Rep 1 PEF in section 2 still can't activate. Rep 5 PEF in section 6 passes 2 dice moves into section 5 behind the Survivors. This could get ugly. A charge from the rear? Nah. PEF Resolution was "False Alarm". No Zombies on the board yet. :(
PEF went poof!
"We're getting close now, Son. Keep yer guard up". "Yup" says Stephen, clutching his AK tighter.
Turn 5
Activation: Humans 2, Zombies 1. No doubles but at least the Rep 1 PEF in section 2 should be able to do something, right?
Humans: Advance 8". You can see Joe just past the hood of the ambulance. PEF patiently waits. Still no LOS.
Zombies: Rep 1 PEF again fails activation.

"There's a dead lady leaning against that building, Dad!" "Yeah" said Joe, thinking about the news reports on the Chinese Rabies epidemic sweeping the planet. Let's hope she is he thinks to himself.

Turn 6
Activation: Humans 4, Zombies 1.
Humans: Moved 4" to door of Salon, but entered PEF's LOS. Got an Involuntary Encounter, outside Haven, went to Destination Encounter Table, got an "X", = no encounter. So far the group has been very lucky, but my poor newly painted Zombies ain't gettin no play. :)
Here's a shot of the awesome interior, below. Notice the 28mm hairdressing chair, mirrors, sink for washing and dying hair, cabinet, stool, clock, counter and computer register. Who else on the web has a fully equipped 28mm beauty shop? Nobodyz, that's who. :) Oh course, who really wants one?
We then collected Mary and headed for home.

Mary was waiting hidden behind the counter where she could use the mirrors to watch the windows and doors, without herself being seen. The boss had kept a pistol on a shelf under the register, and there was a small fire axe there also. She had grabbed both after hearing all of the shots and screams outside. A couple of times someone had tried to enter the shop, but the locked doors had turned them away. "I hope Dad gets here soon", she thought for the hundredth time. Suddenly there were shadows on the windows. "Mary" she heard Dad calling softly, "We're here, open up quick." Mary scrambled to the door, flinging it open. Her dad and big brother Stephen rushed in, both of them sweeping her into a hug. "Thank God you're safe", they all said at once, with tears turning to quiet laughter. "Listen", said Dad, there'll be time for this later, right now it's pack your shit, it's time to git". Carefully checking around the door, Stephen led the way out.
Turn 7
Activation: Humans 2, Zombies 2. Doubles! New Rep 3 PEF placed in section 4. That's what I'm talking about! :)
Re-rolled Activation: Humans 1, Zombies 1. Doubles Again! A Rep 1 PEF placed in section 4, also.

Humans: Moved 8" entering section 5 again, and generating LOS checks for both PEFs in section 2.
Rolled the Rep 3 PEF first - False Alarm. Rep 1 next - False Alarm. LOL!
"Did you hear something over there near that firetruck?" Mary asked. "Ah, you're just jumping at shadows" Stephen teased his little sister. "Stow it" Dad said. "Save that stuff for when we get home."

Turn 8
Activation: Humans 4, Zombies 2. No doubles so no new PEFS.
I went ahead and rolled Activation even though there were no PEFs left. I figured I might roll doubles and generate a new PEF. Was that the right way to do it? 
Humans: Move 8"
Mary: "Is that blood all over the windows of that Police car?" "Don't worry about that. Stay on task", grumbled her father.

Turn 9
Activation: Humans 1, Zombies 1. Yay! Doubles. A Rep 1 PEF placed in section 6.

Re-rolled Activation: Humans 2, Zombies 6.
Zombies: No LOS and Rep 1 PEF can't activate.
Humans: Move 8".
"Not far now" said Stephen. "Shut up and keep movin" Joe said quietly. "This is when missions get most dangerous. Stay focused and keep quiet, both of you. You're doin' good but we ain't safe yet." 

Turn 10
Activation: Humans 1, Zombies 3
Zombies: No LOS and Rep 1 PEF can't activate again.
Humans: Guess what? Move 8". (No, really)
"Man, almost there" Joe thought to himself, sweeping the area with his eyes for any sign of danger. "Lord, just let me get my kids home safe", he prayed.

Turn 11
Activation: Humans 1, Zombies 1. Snake-eyes! Another PEF generated, Rep 1 in section 5. Has a positive LOS from behind party. Could be trouble! NAH! "False Alarm" OMG! Again. LMAO.
Re-rolled Activation: Humans 3, Zombies 4.

Zombies: No LOS and Rep 1 PEF can't activate again. (sound familiar?)
Humans: Move 8".

"Did you hear that?" Mary said. "I swear something's following us." Stephen just rolled his eyes. His Dad, he noticed, did a quick 360 just in case Mary was right. "Don't see anything" Dad said.

Almost safe. Just have to make it off the board. That's why the table edge is cunningly evident in this shot. Can our heroes make it safety, or will LuckyJoe's infamous luck allow him to once more snatch defeat right out of the very mouth of victory? :) Stay tuned for next week's thrilling conclusion.

Just kidding. :)

Turn 12
Activation: Humans 5, Zombies 1. 
Humans: Haul ass off the board for the win. No shots fired, didn't even see a Zombie. Is that the most bloodless game of ATZ ever? :) From a mission standpoint it was a total success. Might have been a lot different if I hadn't screwed the pooch way back in Turn 2. Still a lot of fun.

Home, Sweet Home
They made it home safe. This is a little O scale Model RR house I'll be working on soon. It's similar to our real home.

Thanks for looking. I hope the non-violent nature of this report didn't make it too boring. I hope some of you will be able to straighten me out, too, on those questions.