Note: At the moment these miniatures are not available to buy. I still wanted to review them for the simple fact that there is some brilliant stuff here, and some – hopefully most – of these will be picked up by one manufacturer or another.
The competition held by the Frothers Unite! UK web community, which was open to professionals and amateurs alike had Zombie Apocalypse as the theme. Needless to say, I couldn’t have been happier with the choice. While my own humble entry didn’t make the podium, I was more than happy to not only buy the winning sets but also pimp them. Actually receiving the miniatures turned out to be a bit more difficult than ordering them, with the sets finally arriving some two months after the ordering date. For all that juicy drama and gossip, feel free to browse through this thread.
Waiting for minis for two months instead of the usual week or two didn’t really get on my nerves that much. FU-UK is primarily a hobby community instead of a “true” miniature manufacturer, and I honestly have too many zombies on the painting backlog as it is. Even with that long long wait, I’m happy to say the models were worth it. There are lots of minis to review, so I’ll get on with it. This is the first part of the review, and includes the winning set as well as a few extras.
First up is the Winners set:
Model #1 – Intensive Care is a continuation of the popular theme of hospital zombies. These seem to have popped up all over the place, with companies such as Recreational Conflict and Studio Miniatures producing their own sets. However, I don’t think I’ve seen this good a take on the subject yet. The miniature is of a bald zombie in a hospital gown, leaning on his IV stand. The IV line is still attached to his arm, while a rat sits on top of the stand, adding to the feeling of corruption. The zombie is very zombie-ish, with a very emaciated – almost skeletal – appearance, an exposed spine, a missing cheek and strange pustules on his shoulder and buttock along with injuries all over his legs and arms. I almost forgot to mention, that he carries the severed head of a doctor in his left hand. By the poor doctor’s eye socket, no less. To make some room for the zombie’s fingers, the doctor’s eyeball is hanging on his cheek. Wonderfully gross! The model comes on a separate scenic base depicting a hospital floor with a rat crawling out from the floor drain. I unfortunately had to ditch the base to keep the basing consistent with my other zombies. The model is sculpted by Filin.
Model #2 – Zombie Girl is creepy, like children (and circus folk) in general. Child zombies are luckily making their way into miniature lines in growing numbers, which is a fine thing since their small stature helps to create a more varied zombie horde. This girl has pretty pigtails and a somewhat tattered dress. These combine with a seriously vicious look on her face to make a miniature reminiscent of Vivian, the horrible zombie girl from 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. The zombie sports very light injuries to her arms, legs and face. The model comes with a small oval slotted base, and is sculpted by Sylvain Quirion, who reigned in this year’s competition.
Model #3 – Male Zombiehunter with Axe is…well, a man with an axe, who I assume from the name hunts zombies. This model is one of those that manage to deliver a lot with very little. It’s very plain, with the man standing in a fairly neutral pose, wearing an open shirt with the sleeves rolled up, trousers and shoes and carrying an axe. There’s no extra clutter. No generic belt pouches, canteens, bags, bedrolls, anything. Just a regular guy with an axe, looking very very determined to survive a zombie apocalypse. In this case, less is more. The sculpt is wonderfully crisp and characterful and deservedly won the category for survivor miniatures. Like the zombie girl, the zombiehunter is sculpted by Sylvain Quirion and is similarly based.
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And the extras:
Model #4 – Colonel Marbles with Chainsaw is the favourite fat little fellow of the Frothers community. In his tweed jacket, waistcoat (complete with pocket watch) and deerstalker hat and wearing a monocle, he’s the perfect picture of an English gentleman. This makes an excellent contrast with the large chainsaw he’s starting up. Some zombies are really going to be sorry that they wandered on to the good Colonel’s estates. I absolutely love this miniature, it’s probably one of my alltime favourites. The model is really characterful and brought to life by the fine sculpting. Even the herringbone pattern on his tweed jacket has been sculpted. Colonel Marbles comes on a small integral base and is sculpted by Kev White of Hasslefree Miniatures. This model wasn’t originally a part of the ordered deal, but I believe it was added to compensate for the long wait. Since this model has been – and still is – available pretty exclusively, this is a very nice way of saying “sorry”.
Model #5 – Zombie Marbles is an unfortunate debunking of the myth of a chainsaw being the ultimate zombie killing weapon. The poor Colonel is staggering around with his entrails pouring out from his considerable belly, and his left arm has disturbingly been twisted around. There are rips and tears in his clothing and mild injuries to his face – which I assume is still keeping a rigor mortis stiff upper lip despite all this living dead tomfoolery. A wonderful, wonderful miniature. I also like the fact that while this miniature is by a different sculptor (Mr. Quirion, again) than the living version, it is easily recognizable and as such a skillful zombification of a model. This model is based just like models #2 & #3, above. The zombified Colonel was a special miniature offered to people who ordered both sculpting competition sets.
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This concludes part one of the FU-UK 2009 sculpting competition review. In part two we take a look at the runners up, and let me tell you, there’s some really good stuff up ahead. Stay tuned, dear readers!
Oh, one more thing. I’ve been thinking about my practice of splashing black ink on the models to bring out depth and detail. It sometimes tends to obscure some detail, however. From now on, do you want to see the reviewed models in clear metal, inked, or inked, but more carefully?