Tag Archives: Zombie

Essex Miniatures Zombie 

Back in the mid 80s my old friend ‘L’ introduced me to Essex Miniatures via a couple of Medieval and Roman figures he’d picked up at a Wargaming Show.

I sent off for a copy of the Essex catalogue and spent far too much time flicking through it wondering just what the ‘Wizard in hood with magical staff’ or ‘Early Medieval Spearman in Scale Corselet and Helmet with Shield’ looked like. Back then, pre-digital, many small companies couldn’t afford to produce decent photographic images of their miniatures. You had to hope the imaginative descriptions applied by the manufacturers didn’t end in uninspiring lead blobs plopping through your parent’s letterbox 3 weeks later.

To be fair Essex did occasionally advertise in White Dwarf with photos. Although their products looked okay they weren’t strong enough to hook me in as I was preoccupied by Citadel Miniatures like a lot of kids in the hobby back then. Other manufacturers rarely got anything more than an annual request for a catalogue from me.

Come the early 90s my tastes had expanded beyond Games Workshop and I starting to get interested in historical wargaming with rulesets like DBA played with 15mm figures. Miniature Wargames Magazine occasionally showed Essex Miniatures in photos accompaning their articles and expansions for DBA. My interest piqued again.

I sent off for an Essex Miniatures catalogue and this time instead of just idly perusing I actually ordered a couple of ancient DBA armies in 15mm. I wasn’t disappointed. They were wonderfully sculpted, painted up beautifully and were inexpensive to boot. And then, for reasons unknown, I once again forgot all about Essex Miniatures.

Fast forward 25 years and a job lot of old miniatures purchased from eBay stirred my interest in Essex again. They’re still going and of course offer online ordering nowadays however somethings never change; not every figure has a photo, the Amazons are still dodgy (although none of them are portrayed as victims so there’s a minor plus) and not every sculpt is great – some could even be described as absolute howlers that were terrible even 35 years ago. After choosing a mix of fantasy and medieval figures I placed an order and it arrived very promptly.

Behold! Not a bad miniature amongst them in my opinion. Some of these figures were originally sculpted in 1981 whilst others are from slightly later – 1986. The keen eyed amongst you will spot the sculpting talents of Bob Olley here, pre-Iron Claw Miniatures. All came without problem mould lines or excessive flash which can often marr older sculpts and moulds. Splendid stuff. Please give Essex Miniatures consideration if their postage rates are sensible for you.

Here’s the Bob Olley Zombie figure from above painted up for use in my D&D game with the Cleric who enjoys the ‘Animate Dead’ spell a little too much.

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Frostgrave Random Encounters – Zombies

Oh Mantic, we’ve had our problems haven’t we? I can’t stay mad at you forever though. Come here and give me a hug…

I bought a single sprue of Mantic zombies as I needed a couple for Frostgrave. I have to admit I only bought these because I realised they looked very similar assembly wise to the ghouls I’d bought some time ago which were great and glued together perfectly.

The sprue arrived bearing the reassuring mark of ‘Renedra’ on it – phew! The moulding was great, as to be expected from a company as well regarded as Renedra, and the sculpting by Mantic was splendid too.

It’s been pretty much exactly 20 years since I last painted Zombies – the Autumn of 1995 in fact. Then it was a unit of 30 metal GW Zombies, mostly Kev Adams sculpts first seen in the Spring 1986 Citadel Journal. I’d bought them in a sale at the GW Beckenham Store (long gone!) in early 1993 during a big sell off of their older ranges.

I used a black undercoat on those zombies (unusual for me back then as I usually used white) and built the colours up leaving the dark recesses.

These modern Mantic versions are much more refined and “realistic” than the old GW sculpts so I tackled them with my usual approach.

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By coincidence Azazel painted up and displayed some of these on his blog here just as I’d assembled and undercoated mine ready for painting.

I’d commented on his blog about how these zombies are huge in comparison to other 28mm figures and he agreed. What I’ve spotted since then is that Mantic describe Kings of War as a mass combat game using 30mm figures. That’ll explain it then!