Review: Zombie Horde by ZombieSmith
When I first began to seriously collect zombies, I came across FatGoblin’s modern zombie page, which featured selections from his brilliantly painted collection of zeds by various makers from around the world. Prominent among them were photos of a wonderfully varied collection of zombies by a then-new American maker named “ZombieSmith.” Figuring that any company with such a name must know what they’re about in terms of making quality zombies, I sought out their homepage and ordered their “Zombie Horde.”
In a fairly short time the horde was on my doorstep and I got to grips with them. My first impression was that these were easily the goriest zombies I had ever seen. In most zombie sets you maybe see one with an arm or leg gone, and usually a severed torso. Other than that, only their pose separates most zombie minis from their still-living colleagues.
By comparison, the ZombieSmith crew have “seen the elephant” as the old Civil War soldiers used to say. Nearly all have some kind of visible injury, often horrible and obviously fatal ones. Guts spill from slashed bellies, skulls are cracked open, eyes dangle from sockets/ One poor sod has a hole blown clean through his torso. It’s an excuse for the enthusiastic painter to really go nuts on the blood spatter effects, and I’m just sorry that I painted these guys early enough in my zombie career that I vastly underpainted the gore factor.
Detail is good on the whole, especially in the exposed wounds that often show muscle fibers or looping coils of intestines spilling to the ground. The poses are mostly good to great, capturing the unsteady, stumbling walk that is the hallmark of the Romero-style “shambler.”
ZombieSmith was the first maker I ever saw that added a couple of celebrities to the ranks of their undead. There is a zombie bearing a striking resemblance to the King of Pop in his iconic “Thriller” outfit, and another that strongly resembles rocker and horror enthusiast Rob Zombie. Both are well-enough executed that anyone can spot the reference right away, and “Michael” has provoked chuckles and commentary from many bystanders.
Like most large collections, there are a few sculpts that are weaker than others. One of the two women in the set has an unfortunately froglike face, an odd, unnatural pose, and somewhat crudely-sculpted clothing that combine to make her the worst of the lot. There are also several awkwardly poses in the set that are either awkward or poorly-considered or both,
One zombie is headless, which makes no sense at all with any of the most commonly-accepted zombie backgrounds. One has his head turned around backwards, which is a cute idea but makes it difficult to determine which way the mini is facing on the tabletop (important for some rulesets).
The few problems of the set are massively outweighed by the many strong points. For $50 you get 20 unique minis, which is a pretty good value for such beefy 28mm figs. Gore fans (and there are a lot of them among zombie collectors) will be pleased by the bloody wounds festooning the ZombieSmith zeds. Plus, you get Michael and Rob to add a little “A-list” quality to your horde. To help seal the deal ZS even offers free shipping and a bonus mini for $50 orders. Mine was a neat fig of the company’s Head Zombie mascot, but I’ve sadly misplaced him, so there’s no picture of him.
Overall, these are the best zombies I’ve yet seen from an American maker, though I have yet to get my hands on the new collections from Blue Moon and King Zombie, so we shall see what the future holds.
Pros: Nice variety of sculpts, Brilliant “celebrity” zombies. Great “gore factor,” Good value
Cons: A couple of weak minis
Final Verdict 4/5
MSRP: $50 for a package of 20
Popularity: 16% [?]
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