Friday, 2 January 2015

15mm zombies

"Last Night In Zombieville" is our co-op game being planned for multiple players. This morning a small parcel filled with some 15mm zombies from Khurasan Miniatures turned up so we were keen to try a few out. Our thirty-strong horde looked great on the playing surface (though there's a very real possibility we're going to need about twice as many for a real multi-player zombie-fest!)

Having already tried a number of different painting methods for 15mm minis, and with about 30 zombies to try out, we decided to try the traditional white-undercoat-and-black-ink-wash approach, to see how it compared with earlier methods.

We'd already got a few soldier models painted up, but were surprised to find that these miniatures seemed much smaller - not just shorter, but far less "bulky". So what was going on?

It turns out that, much like the 28mm scale, 15mm miniatures are suffering from "scale creep". What this basically means is that manufacturers make their models a bit "chunkier" to make them easier to paint. But they're no longer the original scale (a 28mm model originally derived from a 25mm miniature - and 28mm models are now quite often 32mm, and up to 35mm tall).

Above - a supposed-15mm soldier measures 20mm from feet to top of head (the angle of the photo doesn't show it very well but we did actually measure from the top of the base - where the feet start - and did not include the thickness of the base in the measurement)

Our zombie miniatures, however, are about 16mm from feet to top-of-head. Still actually a little bigger than the 15mm "standard" but close enough. They're also much "skinnier" than the 20mm soldiers. It seems that we're going to have to be a little careful about where we source "matching" miniatures from in future. But for now, we've a zombie horde to paint!

Unlike what seems like everyone else on the internet is doing, we thought we'd try undercoating in white this time:

Then, just as we do with our 28mm models, added block colours to the larger areas

As with our other miniatures, we went one shade "brighter" than we wanted our final miniatures to be. But not to worry - the water-based Dark Tone will soon take care of those garish colours!

Now the miniatures are showing a lot of their detail, they're just a little bit dark - even for zombies. Painting over the darkened colours with the original shades (and, on occasion paler/brighter shades for extreme highlights) brought the models up to their final colour scheme.

(like most "tabletop quality" miniature painting, these zombies look fine from a few feet away - or when viewed in a small 480x320 image, but click on the image, or look at them up close and the illusion is shattered! These minis are painted to look good in large horde from across the tabletop - not individually up close)

Last stage - for the zombies at least - is a bit of gore around the hands and mouth. Blood red is far too bright for this, so we made a mix of red and black ink. The ink gives the darkened red a little bit of "sheen" to indicate fresh, wet blood.

(the black ink in the semi-translucent red gloss paint gives the illusion of depth - blood that is getting old and starting to congeal, with a bright, shiny red to indicate fresh blood from repeated wounds)

Where some of the models have "holes" sculpted into their limbs, these two got a generous application of blood/gore red. We also applied a messy red blob around the mouth (apparently zombies aren't known for their table manners and meticulous use of knives and forks) and a dribble down the front - zombies are really messy eaters!

(The flash on the camera shows the blood red to be far brighter in colour than it appears on the models, but picks up the glistening, wet-look of the blood effect quite nicely. Even at 15mm, you wouldn't want to meet these tiny terrors down a dark alleyway!)

A smattering of Tamya Clear Gloss Red finishes the gore effect and adds an extra bit of wet-look glisten to the final model. This is applied by dipping an old, short-bristled brush into the paint and shaking off the excess (a bit like when preparing a brush for dry-brushing, except keeping a little of the wet paint in the bristles). Then use a finger to pull the bristles back and flick a few drops of wet red paint onto the miniature from a distance of about three or four inches.