Monday, September 23, 2013

Review of the Wargame's Factory Apocalyptic Survivors: The Women

I’ve just finished painting my first batch of female survivors from the new Wargames Factory kit and I thought I would do up a review similar to the male set as the boxes have quite a bit of similarity and a certain amount of crossover possibilities.  The female survivor kit is very similar to the male set.  In fact they are near mirror images of one anther in many aspects, so I won't go into quite as much detail.  Here is a link to my review of the male set:  The Males

 I’ll hopefully follow shortly with a separate post showing some scale shots with survivor miniatures from other ranges.

The kit “Apocalyptic Survivors:  The Women”  follows the release earlier this spring of the male set and represents female civilians in modern dress ranging from lightly armed with melee weapons up to heavily armed with assault rifles and even an RPG.


Box photo courtesy of Wargames Factory

Even more so than the men, plastic female civilians have been tough to come by and for me this kit is a welcome addition to my collection of ATZ figures.  Also, if you are a fan of the Zombicide games and missed out on some of the promotional figures, you could put together some reasonable proxies from this kit as well.

Each kit comes with three frames containing ten sets of bodies, bases and arms.  There are also fifteen sets of heads as well as a couple of pouches and even a spare set of high heels. 
Sprue Photo Courtesy of WGF
The casting is generally good, however I did notice that on some of the bodies there is a distinct mold offset line that will need to be taken care of.  It’s not serious enough that you’ll lose detail, but given the large amounts of cloth and flesh,   I did need longer to clean the figures up than on the male set.   Be wary, there are numerous small parts such as the arrow, golf club, compound bow and finger tips that will need to be handled very carefully during cleanup lest they bend or break.  Also, I had a casting defect on the golf club shaft.  This would have been a delicate part regardless, but the way the plastic flowed through the mold, it met in the middle of the shaft and didn’t bond.  The part fell apart for me just cutting it from the frame.  I solved the problem by replacing the entire shaft with a straight pin which might have had to be done just for strength anyway.

Sprue Photo Courtesy of WGF

As with all recent kits the top and bottoms of the frame come with a set of pegs and holes so you can stack them with space in between.  This is nice as it prevents delicate parts from rubbing and potential breaking as you slide the frames in and out of the box.  Also, the frames match the dimensions of the male set so they can be stacked together.  The bases are the same 25mm, round bases with straight sides and the WGF logo on the bottom.  They are perfectly serviceable but I chose to go with 30mm round lip bases to match my other survivors.

There are no instructions, but the body and arm combinations are labeled.  Unlike the male set which had letters and numbers, the female parts are only labeled by letters.  That means for body “A” all of the arms are also lettered simply “A” as well.  There are at least four arms for most sets between the body sprue and the weapon sprue, so you will need to be careful and dry fit parts to make sure you still have the right combinations of left and right arms.


 There is a single weapons frame included that has a wonderful set of alternate arms for most of the figures as well as a large assortment of extra weapons and equipment.  There is still a distressing proportion of assault weapons to standard fire arms and a notable lack of enough improvised melee weapons, but there is enough variation that it is worthwhile.  Unfortunately, like the male set the artist had the same tendency to copy and paste the weapons designs.  As an example, there are five spare pistols on the frame, they are all copies of the colt 1911.  No revolvers or other types of semi-automatics included.



Once the clean up of the parts was complete, the figures went together well from the neck down. Once you get to the head, things got came to be a bit of a challenge.  I found that few of the neck joints lined up very well with the heads.  That coupled with the fact that many of the heads had hair below the collar line meant that you need to dry fit the heads before any gluing.  I would estimate that I had to either trim the collar or the hair on at least half of the heads.  Even then, I couldn’t get the joints to look quite right and there were gaps that needed filling.

You will also end up with gaps on the bare armed figures at the shoulder as well, so I had to come back and use green stuff on many of the shoulders and all of the neck joints.  Unfortunately the spaces are smaller than my sculpting tool and the shapes awkward so many of my neck joints look a little wonky even after filling.

With the male set I just dove into construction right away without any planning.   I ended up using a lot of the arms from the spare weapons sprue.  This ended up being a mistake as there is usually one or two copies of the arms on the weapons sprue versus three copies from the body sprue.  With my first set of male figures I ended up coming up with combinations I wanted to retry but didn’t have the arms.  For the females I played it safe and I started out my first batch of ten figures using just the arms off of the body sprue, so I can better plan out how to use the rarer arms from the weapons sprue on future figures.


Here are the first ten figures I’ve put together with some thoughts on each body:


 First up is an angry gal wearing slacks and a sweater vest, in a swinging pose.  The intended set of arms has a golf club and it’s a good sculpt of her teeing off.  As I mentioned above, the shaft of the club is abysmally thin and I ended up replacing it with a straight pin.  Unfortunately I didn’t measure well enough and the shaft is maybe one millimeter short, but at least I got it straight.  If you don’t like the golf club, there is also a truncheon or baseball bat you could use.  Just like the male figure swinging the cricket bat, there isn’t another good set of arms for this gal, so I don’t really see making all three of these bodies.  Unlike the males, I added a satchel with a water bottle to the figure.  Unfortunately, without a strap, it looks a little big and silly on her.  If I use the big satchel again I think I’ll add a green stuff strap.


The next figure is one of my favorite bodies in the kit.  She’s got cargo pants, combat boots and a loose jacket.  She’s got a nice neutral stance so almost all of the arms with sleeves will fit her.  For the first figure I used the M-16 and gave her a satchel of pipe bombs a canteen and a combat knife.  This gal looks like she’s ready to face the apocalypse.

This is the “kid” figure for the kit and represents a little girl in a frilly dress.  I would have preferred a more casual dress like the boy from the other set, but this is well sculpted for what it is.  The head in the Kevlar helmet is a nice touch, but it would have worked better if it was more obviously over sized.  This one looks like it fits too well.  The scoped revolver is a nice weapon and I will probably use the other copies as weapon swaps on other figures.  Also, I’ve dry fit the head on other bodies and it should work to make an adult as well.


This figure is another sports fan wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  This is the one figure where I cheated and used a part from anther kit.  The intended weapon was a tennis raquet.  I really didn’t like the look so I nipped a baseball bat I had left over from the male kit.  I gave her a head with a ball cap so she must have been at softball practice when the apocalypse came.   I’m not a big fan of the pose of the left arm as it makes it look like she’s fencing instead of whacking zombies though.  On the plus side, the figure is versatile enough to take most of the sleeved arms from the kit.


Now we get to the controversial bit.  This figure is obviously overweight and she looks a bit sloppy to boot with sagging shorts and visible butt crack.  I’m kind of late to this review, so I’ve seen a number of reactions to this figure ranging from some wishing for more figures that reflect “real world” people to one being truly offended by it (link), stating that it was an attack on overweight people. 
I suppose there was no “right” answer for this but WGF making nine “fit” figures and one token overweight one certainly highlighted the difference.  Interestingly I didn't read any such reaction pro or con from the overweight male figure.  From a practical matter though I don’t like it because there is really only one set of arms in the kit that fit the figure.  The large attachment point at the shoulder and wide shoulders mean that the RPG is the only set of arms that fit and I really don’t need three of these.  As a consolation though, the arms for the fat male figure fit well so I can give her an AK-47 (or pistol & machete) and give one of the RPGs to the one of the overweight male bodies.  At least she’s not wearing a muumuu.

Another issue for me is that while there are spare RPG’s on the weapon frame, there are no spare warheads or the carrying satchel, so this gal is now carrying a one shot weapon.   If I were less lazy I’d try to throw one together with some green stuff, but life is too full right now as it is, so I just let it go.  Also, in hindsight I should have given her a holstered weapon or a rifle slung over her shoulder, but that would have taken more effort and greenstuff than I had time for.

Another reaction I’ve found interesting is that a number of people have scoffed at the way the sculptor has chosen to show the figure holding the RPG.  Assuming the model is an RPG 7, this is indeed the wrong way to hold it, but the idea that anyone who has not used one before would intuitively know the correct way is overestimating the ergonomics of the weapon and underestimating the ability of people to get things wrong.  During a tour in Iraq with the US army I had the chance to both fire an RPG and train some Iraqi recruits in firing them.  During that mission I saw people holding and RPG just about every wrong way you can imagine, so the idea that a civilian with no experience could pick up and hold an RPG wrong is perfectly believable to me. 


Here’s a figure in a suit coat and short skirt.  She’s at least sporting a two handed grip on a pistol and might actually be able to hit something.  I gave her a head with sunglasses and painted her up in black.  I’ll team her up with the suit figure from the male set and they can be Mulder and Scully FBI types.  This body is also a little tough as the neck joint is a little wonky and as you can see that I’ve goofed up the joint a bit.  On the plus side this is another versatile figure that can take a number of different sleeved arm combinations.


This figure is an interesting juxtaposition.  You’ve got a girl in bustier and miniskirt sporting a fancy schmancy compound bow with all the bells and whistles.  She’s also bare foot, which is no way to face the end of the world as I imagine there will be plenty of broken glass.  Unfortunately, the bear shoulders and the stance don’t leave much in the way of other good arm options for her.


Here is another bear shouldered figure this time sporting double pistols.  I know that WGF needs to sculpt a certain amount cinematic flare to their figures, but I’m always bothered by the pose.  On top of that, she’s running too.  In fact this pose is the surest way to not hit anything more than five feet away.  The only other arm choice is a chain saw, which with the running pose is even sillier.  I tried out some of the smaller pouches on her and they work, but are a little too over sized to really work in my opinion.

Git along zombies!
Here’s another dual gun toting chic, this time it is a cowgirl type.  Yeeha!   She’s sporting a pair of Uzis, so she might have a better chance of hitting something than the last figure.  Another figure with bare arms, so swap options are limited.  I went with the smaller pouches on her back which looks more natural than the large satchel on the golfer.


Last up is another figure with lots of options.  The intended set is a semi-automatic shotgun, but again the neutral set of the shoulders means that most of the other sleeved arms will fit.  This is also another figure where the neck shape and high collar interfere with most of the heads, so the joint is a little off of what it should be.
As I said above, this set is almost a mirror image of the male set with mostly the genders changed up, so If you liked the male set, you'll most likely enjoy this set as well.  However, most of the flaws from the male set show up here as well including mono-pose bodies, limited options as to arms and weapons and too many copies of the same weapons on the accessory sprue.
That being said, the price is still right.  Assuming that you pay full retail price and only build ten of the figures, you are still only paying two dollars a figure and getting a ton of useful extras for other conversions.
Me, I like the set and think they'll make excellent additions to may growing hoard of survivors.


  1. Another brilliant review - thanks!

    I agree completely with the over-supply of firearms, though it is possible to swap parts with other Wargames Factory kits to produce unarmed women. I've done a little of that here:

    1. Thanks! I've actually been working on some plastic kit mash ups myself pretty much along the same lines as yours(men & women survivors, Vixens and Studio miniatures zombies). I've also had a couple of other donor kits as well. The WGF WWII americans have some good arms and the Mantic zombies fit pretty well onto the WGF men bodies.

      I got as far as building some when my big old zombicide package showed up and everything went to the side. Hopefully I can get back on track here soon.