Outbreak City: Supply Run. An All Things Zombie Batrep

On 15th March I visited the Dereham Renegades Wargames Group where I ran my first larger scale All Things Zombie game. Three players, two Rep 4 survivors each and a simple mission. Rob and Tony, the club founders , from Stealthy Spider publishing and James, my long time Wargaming buddy joined me for some hard core zombie action. Rob and Tony are the brains behind Occult Wars. They normally run pretty big games at the club so I wanted to give them a chance to kick back and just play and with them being rather keen zombie fans they felt more than ready to face the onslaught. Rob and Tony were kind enough to provide some of their own survivors and add a horde of zombies to the mix. The sidewalks, street lights and barricades were also provided by the Dereham Renegades.

Outbreak City: 14:00
Outbreak City - 6' by 6' Layout

It had been less than 24 hours since the first recorded victim of the outbreak. The events of which had merged into a blur of frenzied activity, bloodshed and terror. The world had gone to pieces in a matter of hours. A bloody rage, a virus spread like wildfire and the dead came back to life to prey upon the living.

An unlikely group of survivors holed-up for the night in the upper floor of an ordinary office. They were from all walks of life, either lucky or capable. The office block was relatively secure and defensible but the loss of power meant they still had to take additional measured to keep those creatures out. According to the on-site engineer the generator should have kicked in immediately, but it was faulty and they were waiting for the repair shop to get back to them. They had a place down town, not far from here, and they would have the spares they needed. He offered to fix it, but he wasn’t going out there again. Somebody else had to pick up what they needed.

Of the twenty exhausted individuals just six volunteered. Ken, a police officer, he still had rounds for his shotgun, Lara; athlete, sportswoman, grave robber? She seemed to know how to handle herself. Mike. He was a businessman, hard-headed, quick on his feet and he could use that short barrelled shotgun he carried. Nobody asked where he got the thing, or why he carried it in a holdall. Lt. Brad Schwarz and Corporal Henry Azure, the two surviving members of an elite military biohazard containment unit. Containment? They still reeled from that irony. A whole army of them couldn’t contain what just went down. At least they still had plenty of full magazines for their assault rifles. Finally, Chris, long-haired and unshaven. He walked with a limp and spoke with assuming authority. He seemed used to people doing what he said. The others were either happy that someone had taken the lead or simply too exhausted to care.

The plan was simple. Make it down town to the generator shop, pick up the spares and get back to the block before nightfall.

“Chris. Take my car.” coughed an older man with a regulation buzz cut. The words came hard as he clutched a bloody rag to a wound in his side. He spoke with the reservation of a career serviceman who knew his number was up.
“I won’t be needing it any time soon.”

The journey in the Hummer was quick and they pulled up just short of the crossroads. They could see the repair shop on the far side of a makeshift barricade that spanned the entire width of the adjoining street. Just a few of those ‘things’ were shuffling around. They seemed far enough away not to notice. They stepped out of the vehicle as Lara stayed in the driver’s seat checking her weapons.

“Move. Now!” Yelled Chris and off they went.

Lara fumbled with her safety catches; she wasn’t ready to move this fast.
Lara lagged behind and they hadn't even started yet.

The things headed straight for the car.
They were halfway across the junction before those things finally noticed them. They poured out of the alleyways beside the Hummer, shambling and shuffling towards it. Lara dashed across the street and up with Ken who had thankfully slowed, just in case.

Moments later they grouped in the middle of the crossroads.

Staying together.

On the move.

Spotting a gap in the barricade and seeing the creatures head to the Hummer Ken and Lara picked up a sturdy barrier strewn in the road and dragged it across the street towards the opening.
Plugging the gap.

The others leaped over the makeshift barricade and headed straight for the generator repair shop. They stopped outside the entrance, peering through the filthy glass. There was something moving around inside, but what? There was only one way to find out.
The gathering storm.

“Stack up?” shouted Brad as he kicked the door inwards a rushed through with Kris hot on his heels.

The sound of gunfire came from the shop.

Out of the dark they rushed.

Out of the dark they rushed - tooth, nail and claw. Shots rang out, deafening in the enclosed space. Kris knocked one of the creatures down with a shot to the chest and Brad let fly on full auto - he wasn’t taking any chances.

“Let’s get what we need and get out of here.” spat Mike as he scooped parts of the shelves. The bodies convulsed then lay still.


“I think they heard us.” Henry yelled as he followed them into the building. “They’re getting closer. Are we ready yet?” he asked.
Brad scanned the workshop for anything else useful and picked up a set of keys. The fob read ‘Bioflex’. He guessed it was a corporate vehicle and pocketed them.

Mike pulled the holdall onto his shoulder and headed for a set of double doors at the rear of the building.
“I think that’s it. Out the back way?” Shouted Brad.
The doors burst open and a bloated corpse charged in headed straight for Brad. He jumped out of his skin, stumbling back into the workbench and opening up on the assailant. The body dropped to the floor, broken glass and engineering components scattered across the floor.

“I’m pretty sure they’ve heard us now.” said Kris. “Get moving.”

"They've heard us now."
Lara and Ken pulled the barrier into place and turned tail and ran. Seconds later one of the creatures piled into the barrier, clawing at them. The barrier held and they turned tail and headed towards the others. Lara sprinted. Ken moved slowly to cover the rear. As he scanned the street and turned to follow the others he came face to face with one of the recently dead, its mouth dripping with the blood of recent victim, dead eyes stared vacantly through his soul.

The report of his shotgun brought him back to his senses and he ran to the repair shop as the body slumped to the ground. He wasn’t sure where that one had come from. They must have been drawn by the shots being fired inside the shop. Another one of those things hit the barrier. He heard it creaking and cracking as he ran for the door.

The floodgates open.
The shop was empty as Lara stepped in, bodies on the floor, boxes strewn across them. She hoped they had what they needed. She crept into the rear workshop, peering out of a dirty, cracked pane. Shadows moved past the window. A shambling form placed a bloody hand-print on the glass. She fired instinctively. Glass splintered into the street as her ears rang and the creature fell.
Lara shoots through the window.
“You too?” Said Ken, patting her on the shoulder. She took a deep breath and headed for the exit.
Mike. (Painted by team Stealthy Spider)
In the shop’s yard they dashed to catch up with the others, narrowly avoiding a horde of the things as Henry lay down some heavy covering fire.

Out the back way.
“What kept you?” Henry asked.
“We’ll try to keep up.” replied Ken.

The dash across the street.
Kris slowed to speak to the others. There were less of those things out this way.
“Head towards the back of the nightclub and regroup before we head to the pharmacy. See if we can get anything else we might need.”

Halfway across the street Henry stopped dead in his tracks as the others ran as fast as they could. Out of nowhere one was upon him, there wasn’t enough time for him to react. Ken fired at close range, sending the creature sprawling, arterial blood sprayed the vinyl of Henry’s Hazmat suit.

“Thanks.” said Henry.
“Try to keep up.” Ken replied.

They rushed into an alleyway beside a theatre and came out behind a seedy looking nightclub. Shapes shuffled around on the roof. Bodies littered the ground. The place must have been packed when things went down.
Voodoo Jake's Yard.

“Try to stay together this time.” said Kris as they headed out across the street again. They doubled back on themselves, back towards the Pharmacy, back to where they’d left the Hummer.

Come on and do the conga!

As they crossed the street hordes of the recently deceased sprawled out of alleyways and doorways. They quickened their pace and raced to the other side of the road. As they headed for the front door of the Med-Stop pharmacy Lara held her hand out in protest. She gestured towards the door. It was wide open. Boxes of pills and potions scattered into the street.

"This way."
“This way.” Mike yelled. He scrambled onto a vending machine and hauled himself over the parapet wall onto the roof of the Med-stop. Henry followed closely behind and Mike reached back and hauled him up. Lara followed but Kris wasn’t sure if he would be able to make the climb and slowed to a trot.

The pause almost cost Kris his life. One of the creatures caught up with him, scrabbling and clawing at his face. He opened up and a fusillade of fire rained down from the roof of the pharmacy, hitting the monsters as they stumbled towards the building. He skirted the vending machine as Brad scrambled awkwardly onto it and headed with Ken to the rear of the store.

On the roof of the shop Mike popped open a skylight and peered into the gloom of the pharmacy, as he did and escape ladder dropped down into the shop. The floor was a mess, the body of a recently deceased teller lay in a pool of blood and the hollow eyes of three mindless predators looked up and moved towards the ladder him.

Up on the roof.
They just kept coming.
“I think it’s best if we give it a miss.” He slammed the skylight and ran towards Lara, joining her on the roof of the adjoining supermarket.

Kris and Ken headed around to the back of the store, they dispatched the adversaries lurking in the alleyway. Kris spotted a few of the creatures gathering around the Hummer, not far away. He shouted to Lara on the roof.

“You left the damn car running?”
“Just go!” She replied, firing into the growing crowd.

A cacophony of gunfire drew more of the things towards them.

"They're coming!"

Brad heard a groan behind him and turned to open up but the dead-heads were on him like a pack of wolves. The vending machine tipped, he fell and cracked his head as he fell. A twisting whirlwind, a jarring thump and the groping of a thousand hands clawed him as a darkness descended.

Brad didn't stand a chance.

“Brad”” YelHenry dropping his rifle and reaching down for his squad leader. Training took over, it was too late. He turned, ran and leaped over the wall to join the others.

Kris and Ken ran for the Hummer, blasting their way through ranks of the flesh-eaters to reach the vehicle. Kris almost ran straight into a shambling form but Lara proved herself to be a crack shot and cleared the way.

The Hummer was still running so as soon as Kris knew Ken was in it was foot to the floor. He wasn’t used to such a big vehicle and awkwardly skidded to a halt beside the supermarket, just inches from another vending machine.

“Come on!” yelled Ken,waving from the back seat. The noise of the vehicle and the gunfire was drawing more of those things out of the shops, side streets and office blocks. They rushed on, a relentless tide sweeping in on them lashing and biting at the occupants. They swamped the Hummer in such numbers that Kris wasn’t sure he’d even be able to drive through them.
Henry cleared the gap in one leap. Landed heavily on the roof of the Hummer and clutched onto the roof. Lara followed, agile as a gymnast.

A tide of decaying flesh.
“Now or never.” yelled Lara as she fired into the swarm. Mike and Henry opened up with everything they had. In seconds the vehicle was devoid of any of them, bodies piled around the wheels, their blood on the panels and windshield. The way was clear but there were more of them coming.
Badda, badda, badda, boom, blam, blam, peow!

Ken popped his torso out of the window and fired into the closest creature, they were getting nearer. “Where’s Brad?” he asked.
Henry ripped off his hood, throwing it down to the tarmac, sweat poured off him. He looked like he’d swallowed a gallon of engine oil. He shook his head.
Mike stalled. He looked nervously at the gap.

“The last thing we want is you falling down.” said Lara. Mike jumped, Henry and Lara caught him.

Lara banged the roof with her open palm and they held tight to what they could. Lara put her hand on Henry’s arm as Kris hit the gas and they roared away for the crossroads. Nobody said a word. She wasn’t sure if she was trying to comfort him, or just focus on something other than herself.
Pedal to the metal.
They reached the office as the sun set. At least they had what they came for, but at what cost? Somehow they knew this might not be the last time they’d loose someone to get what they needed to stay alive. 
Outbreak City: 18:00

Tons of fun as had by all. The game had some very close calls and some pretty scary turns where things could go either way. The cinematic climax brought a nervously anticipated end to the proceedings. Brad will be missed. James' comment -  "I should have known. Choosing the guys with no faces. No way to connect with them as people; zombie fodder." Rumour has it Brad wore a red shirt beneath his hazmat suit.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Rob, Tony and James for joining me for All Things Zombie and a special thanks to Rob and Tony for the free copy of Occult Wars the gave me. Having played those rules at the club previously I think they are a great set and  I'll be running a batrep with them sometime soon. So in the mean time...back to the man-cave.

Standby, Standby. Go! Go! Go!

The first public appearance of Outbreak City took place this week. As always, an exciting and nervous event for a new project. We played All Things Zombie, the game went superbly well and the whole play-set was well received by the players and other club attendees alike. The battle report is now under construction so expect to see that soon.

In the run up to the game I was, like always, frantically trying to finish as much as possible and fighting the demons of ‘do without and do it properly another time’ and ‘just stay up late and get it finished’. For the most part the former prevailed but I did manage to get a reasonable amount of things out of the workspace and onto the table.

I finished the Hasslefree Hazmat Squad. They were a pleasure to paint. I was also forced to buy a new bright yellow and their tanks received a coat of clear gloss varnish to help them ‘pop’ a little more.

Hasslefree Hazmat Squad. Tip of the spear. Bio-threat style.

"Zulu Down!"
"Stack up."
"Why are there no grey gloves left?"
"100% bada$$ and I still have to wear orange gum boots."

Andy’s Gunworks had its sign fitted at last, although I still need to finish his roof access and add some white garden funiture, a pallet and a barbeque to keep him happy.

"So What's the Bad News?"
I finally finished painting my original four Hasslefree survivors. They were usable before but I wasn’t satisfied with their bases and needed a final pass and highlighting before I could call them done.

Hasslefree Survivors - Ray, Ken, Suzi and Lara
Having spent a little more time on these miniatures than I normally would, and having enjoyed every minute, I am keen to explore acrylic mediums to help with the blending (the paint was drying out quite quickly as I blended). I also want to expand my pallet of tools and colours to help make the most of the models.

With Easter not that far away I decided to add this little nod to Zombielarp. Bioflex is a multi-billion pound corporation that dedicates a considerable amount of its focus on bio-technology and military grade hardware. Worried? Justifiably so.

"Delivery for a Mr P. Anderson?"

Finally, on Saturday the 5th March I attended Zombielarp: Evolution. The bad news is, the gun-cam footage was not captured. I’d like to blame a technical fault, but once the adrenaline-fuelled frenzy had subsided it was just as easy to point a finger at my own stupidity in the chaos of the moment. That aside, the good news is I captured enough footage during the night's proceedings to put this little ditty together.

Tamiya Clear Red X-27 - Bloody Marvellous!!

There have been a few comments circulating through the zombieblogosphere extolling the virtues of TCR, otherwise known as Tamiya Clear Red or X-27. Whilst X-27 sounds disturbingly like a viral compound to me, TCR was one of the first hobby items recommended to me when I started this blog. The recommendations came from Colin and Bryan, both of whom could not speak highly enough about this product. With support like that it seemed foolish to ignore such advice.

Once the X-27 virus spead there was no stopping them.
So what is TCR and what can it do? Tamiya Clear Red X-27 is an 'effect' paint. It is an acrylic paint, comes in a 'mini' 10ml pot, is packed with that nostagic Tamiya acrylic aroma and costs around £1.50 a pot. The most notable features of the paint are its translucency and the fact that it dries with a bright, glossy finish.

So how can it be put to best use by post-apocalypic zombie gamers? Simple...blood.

In short, TCR works like a glaze to brighten and enhance blood detailing leaving a glistening red which is, well...ooooh, shiny! It also allows a base colour to show through, so you can produce the effect of blood-stained clothing and retain the base colour of the 'fabric'. As with any application of blood on a painted model, less is more. A little goes a long way and if you are painting a more decayed style of zombie, you might want to avoid using it altogether.

The following images show a selection of before and after shots of a few of my early fresher zombies. The before pictures show how they previously looked (with a base of Miniature Paints 43 Plum Red and a layer of GW Blood Red) and the after shots show the same models with an additional top-coat of X-27 in all the red, mushy places.
Suit - Before TCR

Suit - After TCR

Neil - Before TCR
Neil - After TCR

Sk8r Dude - Before TCR

Sk8r Dude - After TCR
I have been aware of 'effect' paints for years but, being a typical wargamer, chose to ignore them in favour of simple 'get stuff on the table' techniques. The Outbreak City project has helpded me see this aspect of the hobby in a new light. With the exception of just a few pieces, each model is unique, and can now be afforded a little more love than it would normally have received. If you are looking for a way to enhance your painted blood detailing, Tamiya Clear Red is highly recommended.
Colin and Bryan, thank you for the recommendation. It has opened my eyes to new possibilites and I have already picked up some clear gloss and other colours I wouldn't normally have considered in order to explore what else can be achieved.

Tamiya Acrylic Mini Clear Red X-27

"Check out ma new car!"

My sister is awesome. Why?...cos she's the kind of sister that knows geek is chic and, whilst she is not a gamer, she knows I am and knows how much I enjoy my hobbies. I had a delightful surprise at a recent family get-together when she announced 'We've got a present for you.' and my nephew, 2 years old, offered me a broken toy. Copious amounts of 'mashing' had wrecked the drive mechanism and axle of a 1/43 (or thereabouts) Hummer and, as no amount of repair was not going to make it usable as a child's toy again, it was very kindly offered to the Outbreak City collection. As gamers we're all about the free stuff and copious amounts of superglue followed. The results speak for themselves. I am pretty sure this will be the chosen transport for my gang of intrepid survivors in my All Things Zombie campaign.

"That's how we roll"
I managed to get another of TommyGun's buildings completed. It is just a small one but a great addition and, considering that every band of survivors will at some point realise 'We need drugs, bandages and first aid supplies.', a rather likely objective destination.
Night Nurse, tampons, something for the weekend sir?

I've only played a few small test games on the set-up and now it is reaching a more substantial size I think it is high time for a 'reveal'. We have a club game planned for the week after next where Outbreak City will be making it's debut public appearance. I'll be starting work on the scenario this weekend and I'll be sure to post pictures and a battle report following the action.

Just in today; RPGNow have offered up this freebie in their latest newsletter, from the guys at AnCON, a complete card game in pdf. format. Zombies Attack! great for when you have some friends over and want to get your a zomb fix but don't have time to get the whole playset out.

Zombielarp: Evolution is this weekend. I managed to finish another side project ready for it, my most ambitious mod yet. Behold - the Nerf Stampede! The air restrictor has been removed and it has received a vinyl dye, plastic primer and acrylic paint job. I plan on strapping a video camera to the top of the gun. The footage could make for some interesting viewing.

Full Auto Zombie-slayer or hopeless security blanket?
Go Team Mactabalis!