Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Zombie of the Month: Last Night on Earth Grave Weapons

Zombie of the Month

As a big lover of the cheap and convenient, every once in a while I just want to be able to go out to a store and buy me some zombies. No internet searching, no shipping and handling fees, just a girl out for a day of shopping, and come back with some zombie minis. Is that too much to ask?

Well, thanks to the nice folks at Flying Frog Productions and our friends at Top Deck Games, I got to live the dream. So here they are, the stars of the month of April 2014. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

The Zombie of the Month- April 2014- Last Night on Earth Zombies with Grave Weapons Miniatures Set

What’s so great about these zombies? Well, for one thing, they have weapons. Melee weapons, but still. Once in a while you find the need for your undead to be carrying weapons, but since that is not the main zombie stereotype, you can’t always find them when you want them. So it’s nice to run into them once in a while. This box contains some beauties that you want in your horde, but that not everyone makes: zombies with weapons, fatty bloaters, and crawlers. A great way to add some diversity to your horde.

Now, onto the basics:

Scale- The box doesn’t actually mention a scale, since these were officially just designed as an expansion set for the Last Night on Earth board game. I saw the box say “…or can simply be used to expand the player’s horde of Zombies…”, so I thought there was a good chance they would be miniature wargames sized. In retrospect, they probably just meant “expand the player’s horde of Zombies [for our board game]”, but I was in luck. I opened the box, and they came out a nice 28 mm scale. Specifically, 32mm tall (not including the integrated base), with a body ratio of 8 heads high.

Genre- Modern. I think. Although modern might mean 1960’s or something. I don’t know. They’ve got some weird things going on here with costuming. The fatty bloater is clearly in his jammies and bathrobe, two of the guys seem to be wearing polo shirts, and one of them a button-down shirt (he’s tangled up in barbed wire, anyway, so he has to be modern). Other than that, though, I’m not sure what they are wearing. It looks like a lot of the shirts are bell-sleeved (guys and girls), which nobody does anymore, and the one girl is wearing something that could just as easily be period fantasy clothes, especially if you were going with an Asian theme. The sickle doesn’t hurt that impression, either. All the weapon types are many centuries old, so most of them could probably be adapted to a medieval setting if you used just a little imagination and conversion.

Material- These guys are the kind of plastic you think they are: that kind used to make cheap figures for board games. So, there might be a little bending in the weapons now and then, if they got exposed to the wrong conditions. But they are solid enough, and lightweight materials are always a good choice for a horde- can you imagine having a thousand metal zombies?

Parts ‘N’ Bits- None at all, unless you strip them down for parts. Since they were made to be ready-made board game figures, there are no bits for conversion, no sprues, nothing. Just 14 whole zombies (two of each of seven styles).

Assembly- Again, none at all. They come fully assembled. If you want to do any customization, you’ll have to ad lib. If conversions/assembly aren’t your thing, though, you will love having them come out of the box ready to paint. Even the mold lines are mild enough to be largely ignorable.

Bases- Only what they are built into- small, oval-shaped things that don’t match any miniature wargame I’ve ever heard of. The only real problem with that is that they are already a full 32mm tall, so they don’t need any more height. If you need them to be on gaming bases, you will have to cut them off the ones they come with. The plastic is easy to cut through, though, so that’s really not a big obstacle.


Sculpt- 3 brains out of 5. Honestly, that’s not bad at all for what they are. Sure, there’s the occasional case of mitten hand, and the fact that I’m not sure what half of them are wearing. And a couple of the poses could just as easily be held by a living person, which is a little confusing since they are holding weapons. Oh, and 6 out of 7 sculpts have their left arm outstretched (the seventh guy is holding a two- handed weapon). Repetition, anyone? Repetition, anyone? But mostly those are design issues. The sculpts themselves are more than adequate. And the bathrobe idea and guy wrapped in barbed wire are nice, real-world touches. By the way, don’t let the box fool you. They show pictures of the figures on the box, but they are not flattering. Even when you first pull them out of the box you may be tempted to underestimate them as sub-par figures. But they clean up nice. Treat them to a decent paint job, and they won’t disappoint you.

Affordability- 3 brains out of 5. You can grab a box for $20-$25. And with 14 zombies included, that comes to about a buck and a half each. Not bad at all. If you have to pay shipping, that might go up to just over $2 each, but try your local independent gaming shop first if it carries board games. With zombies being really popular right now, you might get lucky.

Value- 4 brains out of 5. The product quality vs. cost ratio is decent but not spectacular. However, I have to give these guys extra points, because I really appreciate some of the less common figures in the set. I want more fatties, crawlers, and weapons in my horde, and they delivered. Bravo.

  Availability- 5 brains out of 5. I found them in my local gaming store. It doesn't get much more available than that.

Pros: Adds some nice variety to your horde at a good cost. There are seven figures; two of each in a box. In a whole horde, 2 of each kind is not bad, especially since some of them are things not likely to be replicated much anywhere else (how many guys do you have in your horde tangled up in barbed wire?)

Cons: No real capacity for customization, nothing for your bits box, and the unclear costuming choices might make it hard to decide how to paint them… or maybe not, since I guess you can’t get it wrong.

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