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The Zombie Resistance Family Project

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Product #
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nycjadie writes:

I love the Connie figure. Nice paintjobs. I'm envious of your skills. Even more envious of the amount of time you give to your basing. Simply beautiful.

Revision Log
20 July 2006page first published

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R Strickland Fezian of Null Horizon writes:

Part I: Introducing the Family

This past April, Bill put out a call for painters for a large list of Modern and Near Future miniatures projects. I was immediately drawn to a set of Hasslefree figs, mainly because of the inclusion of the figure Amoy, obviously an homage to a certain guitarist of the band Gorillaz. I sent my proposal to Bill...

...and soon I was tackling the project. At the time, I was in the midst of launching my painting studio Null Horizon, and it was exciting to have my first commission be for TMP.

The brief was concise: Zombie Resistance Family. Beyond this, Bill handed over the creative reigns. I knew there was a mountain of potential here, and I was determined to have the finished piece live up to it. From the beginning I had no shortage of ideas, and the difficulty was cramming as much of it in as possible.

I set to work.

The Figs in Review

Five Adventurers from Hasslefree

The set consists of five figures from Hasslefree's Adventurers range, sculpted by Kev White. The figs are Grant, Signey, Amoy, Peter, and Katie.

First, the proportions are tight and exact. Proportions are a pet peeve of mine, and Kev White handles them expertly. These figs are true 28mm. Which means the kids are tiny. Those are 20mm bases they're on. You can tell just how skinny Amoy is. That's not easy in 28mm, where pudgy scale creep is the norm.

Amoy sold me on the project, and I think she remains my favorite of the bunch. As I said, she's a dead ringer for Gorillaz' Noodle. The knee socks, scooter helmet and mini-skirt give her a mod feel. Her face, coupled with a tilt of the head, give her a great, inscrutable expression. And she has sock garders: awesome!

Grant and Signey are spot on. They are both properly kitted out with paramilitary accessories and have all the right details. And I'm not one to rave about T&A in miniatures, but I had to see Signey up close to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into her anatomy. Her shaggy hairdo is ultra-hip, too! And while it's obvious she's an homage to Sigourney Weaver's Ripley from the Alien films, she seems to me more a composite between her and Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor from the Terminator films. Even better!

Katie and Peter are cute kids dressed up for a fight. Their obvious painting choice for their outfits are parochial school uniforms, but there is nothing to force your hand here. For instance, I opted for a different scheme, because the uniform idea didn't match the "zombie resistance" concept why would the kids wear their uniforms in a world with no schools? My point is, the figs are great either way. They come with a strong concept of their own, but can easily be adapted to suit other needs.

On the whole, these are definitely premium "collector" quality figs. Which means I can get in a few minor complaints. A few details are needlessly wrong, and they break the suspension of disbelief a bit.

For modern figs, there's not going to be a bunch of tchotchke hanging all over the fig, so details you do include need to be right. Peter has no belt loops. The hilt and handle on Amoy's katana are wrong, as is the skateboard. The trucks are unrealistic, and connected together by a metal bar that makes no sense and gets in the way of any design the painter might want to add back there. And a skateboard should have grip tape covering the whole top surface. These imperfections would make the skateboard useless in the eyes of any skater. Lastly, and this is purely my own fancy, but I would have preferred a more identifiable jacket on Amoy. I would have preferred either an MA-1 Buzz Rickson flight jacket or a fur-lined mod parka. The jacket on the fig looks a little like a composite of the two, and while it's definitely plausible and suits the fig, one of the above options (along with an improved skateboard) would have made the figure really sing.

The casting was precise, with no flash and minimal mold lines. There was a tiny imperfection on Grant's knuckledusters. More significantly, however, Katie's nose wasn't really there. I wondered if it was supposed to be that way, that maybe she just had a pug nose, but examining the fig in profile I decided that it was indeed miscast.

I made a new nose in greenstuff. I was a little leery of doing it, because I didn't want to jeopardize her "cute" factor - but bolstering my confidence, I whipped out the greenstuff and color shapers (God's gift!) and a few minutes later the job was done. I wouldn't know the true extent of my success until I painted up the face, but I needn't have worried still very cute! Much more so than if she'd had no nose!

The Angars: Zombie Resistance Family

Bill described these guys as a "Zombie Resistance Family." That prompted a host of post-apocalyptic imagery. I wanted a bright, dusty, sun-drenched feel to the project.

I went to John Blanche's illustrations for the game Dark Future (find them online, or in the incredible book Ratspike). I had to pull back toward realism, though. Those illustrations have a strong orange filter to them, which definitely speaks of nuclear disaster. Zombies are a different threat, so I couldn't justify all that orange.

First, I was going to put them near a hatch similar to the one in the Lost TV series, leading to an underground safe-house. I also thought of the movie Tremors, where Michael Gross and Reba McEntire's characters are ready for WWIII. These ideas didn't make it into the project, but they served to bolster my enthusiasm. The overriding idea is that mom and dad here were ready for the zombie outbreak all along. Their motto: I told you so.

I felt these figs, more than others, were suited to tell a story. To help that end, I named them. A former girlfriend of mine knew a guy named Russ Angar (pronounced "anger"), who told her that I should name a protagonist after him. Do you recall the Simpsons episode where Homer changes his name to Max Power? Anyhow, the Grant fig seemed perfectly suited to be Russ Angar. "Connie" seemed right for the mom, the Signey fig. Connie and Russ are both military. Russ is a captain in the Army Rangers, and Connie is an army helicopter pilot.

The Amoy fig from here on is "Priscilla." I continued the homage to Noodle that Kev started, and gave her a story to match. The zombie menace has destroyed many families, but gave birth to many new ones. The Angars adopted Priscilla after chance brought them together. But Priscilla remembers nothing of her former life. Who is this ten-year-old girl without a past? And where did she attain such mad skill with a sword? Or for that matter, her keen fashion sense? A clue to the former is her katana she quests to find it's maker, and thus learn of her past. And there's a clue for the latter as well: she carries with her a battered remnant, a memento she holds precious: a worn VHS tape of the film Quadraphenia.

The Katie fig I renamed "Lily." Ever since Priscilla showed up, Lily has been in awe. To be sure, Connie is becoming a little jealous of the easy rapport the two girls share. But she can't deny the benefit her daughter receives of all that martial arts training.

The Peter fig is "Tyler." And here's what you need to know about young Tyler: When Tyler says, "tell me a story, Dad," Russ begins, "Son, there was once a man; his name... was Ronald Reagan."