To say that JAMES NICHOLS has the "chops" for becoming an inductee into the Builders' Lair is an understatement, to be sure. In fact, from what we've seen him chop, slice, and dice at his wretched worktable, we're convinced that he sets about his unusual endeavors without hesitation...or remorse!

Now, we won't go so far to say that James will kick a guy while he's down. No, on the contrary, it seems he's willing to kick a girl who's down, too. Well, such is the role of Monster Scenes' own Victim. She's endured four decades of being snatched up, locked up, tied down, and generally put upon. Even so, nothing has tested our unshakable heroine like this. 

It might seem our Victim has reached the end of her mortal battle with this creepy creation from James.

Then again, she might finally be ready for some post-mortem payback!

"I asked myself, 'what else could I do to the poor girl?' It seemed the only thing left was to 'zombify' 
the poor lass..." 
James Nichols


Premeditated mayhem... 

We'll refrain from passing any judgment upon James in regards to his treatment of our beloved Victim. In fact, we'll let him dig his own grave, so to speak, as he explains how he dispatched the Victim to the netherworld...and back. By his own proud proclamation: "I present to you...THE ZOMBIFICATION OF VICKI."

"I'm sure we're all very familiar with the kit in question," James begins, "but for those coming in late, it is, of course, the Monster Scenes Victim from Dencomm and Moebius Models. 

I came up with the idea for this new approach on her and did up a drawing detailing what I could do to the poor lass.

Next, I began to work on the hands and arms. I puttied the seams on the arms and inscribed deep scratches on her palms. Then I Dremeled a gaping wound in her right arm, showing exposed bone. Last, I Dremeled her index fingertips down a bit also. Ouch!" 

I sculpted the interior of the leg wound and the intestines using Aves apoxie-sculpt. The intent would be to get a lingering look at Miss Vicki's left lung, stomach, and large intestinee. And, since I had removed the original ties for her top, I determined to resculpt those later, just prior to beginning painting. Oh, and since the Dremel was still spinning, I decided to create an open wound on her left cheek.

After puttying and sanding the seams on the parts, I glued the torso to the legs. Then, more seam filling and sanding, including a bit more sculpting with Aves to blend her hair. 

With all the drilling, cutting, and re-sculpting completed, I gave her one more look to see I had inflicted enough damage upon her - and I had."

"After further consideration, I determined that some of the planned mutilations either wouldn't be done (such as the hatchet wound to the forehead) or would be more gruesome than originally intended (instead of the sunken pit of a stomach, I opted for exposed innards). 

With a revised plan, it was time to get to work. My first step was to use a Dremel tool to open wounds on the leg and belly. I also cut away the ties on her top for easier sculpting of the gory goodies. At this point, I backed the openings with Loctite epoxy putty to give me a better base to sculpt on.

The prime of Miss Vicki...

James' next step was to prime his semi-vivisected Victim to ensure all seams were properly filled and sanded. He also inspected his custom sculpting to ensure he had achieved the wretched reality he sought.

"Now I can begin slinging paint. I laid down base colors for the eyes, mouth, innards, and some detailing done on that lovely open forearm trench.

Lovely emerald eyes for Miss Vicki as well; too bad they won't stay that way. Let's be realistic - no self-respecting zombie would ever be caught undead with such clear, vivid eyes, so further...uh..."deadification" required. A thin wash of blue mist is applied to her irises."

A "mottled" citizen...

As James approached giving an undead pallor to the zombified Victim, he began with a fiendish foundation.

"I used a grey-purple color, the same as I had mixed for one of my Nosferatu builds, to give Miss Vicki a nice, nearly-dead look. Incidentally, I had found a young adult's book on the human body at work that proved invaluable for this project (and I expect it will serve me well for a couple more projects I have in mind).

Next, I tried something a little different with the skin tones to get that gruesome, semi-freshly-dead look. I chose to stipple some complementary and contrasting dead skin colors using a stubby, soft bristled brush. The first layer was thinned-down maroon for subcutaneous gore. After that, I applied another layer of skin, this time consisting of a mix of fleshtone and yellow ochre.

Continuing, the next layer of zombie skin was that of my own patented zombie flesh color - it's a mix of Ceramcoat fleshtone, Americana yellow ochre, and Folkart soft apple. I then added veins using thinned-down Folkart red violet. Then I began some shading with a mix of Folkart red violet and Ceramcoat burnt umber. I created the "tears" of Freak Flex Dried Blood Red, as well as a trickle of same from the corner of her mouth. The deep scratches on her hands were also detailed with Dried Blood Red.

And, looking at the results, I decided to stipple a bit more maroon on the feet to simulate a livid appearance."

Dressed for distress! 

With all the attention paid to a ghoulish fleshtone, it was time for James to outfit his outlandish creation. Given he had taken such a departure from the classic look of the Victim, he decided to adorn the Zombi Vicki in an ensemble no girl would want to be caught dead in...

"To make a visual impact, I went out on a limb. I decided upon a Folk Art Spring Green top and Americana Licorice shorts, these with Spring Green stripes. The silver belt would complete the look.

And, as I had made a statement with her clothing, I decided she also needed a silver streak in her raven locks to solidify the shock effect of her zombification." 

Next, it's time to besmirch my lifeless lovely's pristine wardrobe...

I added a tattered a fragment of her top's ties and painted that Spring Green. I then added some nasty soiling washes. I created a mix of Calaveras Soil and Burnt Umber.  After that was applied, I added a touch of Black Green over it. And, I also applied some of the muddy-colored wash mix to her hair. 

Finally, I needed to add the "goo element" to the open wounds. I used a mix of Tamiya Clear Red, Tamiya Clear, and Future - they work together for a perfectly slimy look. After I applied this, I topped it all off with a dab of Tamiya Clear Yellow for a semi-infected pus look. Tasty."

Dawn of the Dread...

Finally, James saw it fitting to give Miss Vicki some solid ground to stand upon ... a small cemetery base seemed the most logical choice.

"Here's the headstone, sculpted and Dremeled...hopefully I got close to one of the typefaces used in the old Monster Scenes comic book ads. 

I sculpted the actual base piece to include indentations for Miss V's feet and the headstone. I also included a small "well" at the front of the headstone area to serve as a container for flowers."

"I painted the headstone with a basecoat of Folk Art Licorice...I wanted to go with a darker stone than I would normally use. I'm painted the headstone with one of my favorite techniques - stippling with an irregularly-torn makeup sponge. The first coat I stippled was a Charcoal color. Next, I followed with layers of Pewter Grey and Dolphin Grey, with a bit of Vineyard Green stippled around the bottom of the stone. 

For the ground, I chose a custom color for the ground - I call it Calaveras Soil, a mixture of Terra Cotta and Country Tan. I added lighter hues to the Calaveras Soil base, using a new mix of Country Tan and Oyster White. I then stippled areas using Vineyard Green and Leaf Green. Next, I like to add something organic to my work whenever possible and appropriate. Therefore, I spread some Elmer's Glue strategically and then gently sprinkled actual soil from Calaveras County, CA. 

I added the headstone then applied a couple different colors of Scale Model Underbrush for the clumps of grass. The dead tree and branch are from an actual oak tree limb in my front yard. The small plants came from a living plant at a nearby house. Like I said, I like to incorporate organic materials whenever appropriate and wherever possible.

And, for that final bit of realism, I'll confess to you that I decorated the base with dirt from an actual grave and had graveyard dirt in the base itself, kneaded into the Sculpey before I textured and baked the base. It makes me smile knowing that this unusual take on the Monster Scenes Victim is actually 'grounded in reality.'"


Born in 1960, James grew up in a small town, population a mere 750. And even though the nearest store to carry model kits was some 20 miles away from his home, he nonetheless managed to build an impressive collective of Aurora monsters.

In 1971, at the age of 11, James discovered Aurora's gift to creative model makers: Monster Scenes! The boldly proclaimed features, snap-together and customizable meant no more glue bombs on James' workbench. He received the Dr. Deadly kit as a birthday then used some birthday cash to purchase The Victim. He wasn't sure if the Nabisco backlash hit his sleepy little town but, for whatever the reason, the Monster Scenes kits quickly disappeared from local store shelves within a few months. He was able to add Gruesome Goodies to his modest collection, having had more fun with those three kits that any others in his miniature monster museum. Alas, eventually all of his Aurora kits were met with parental disfavor and disposal though he never forgot those three incredible and inspirational Monster Scenes gems.

Fast forward to the late-1980s and James would awake from a two-decade suspension of modeling. Like most genre modelers, he discovered vinyl and resin figure kits though he again longed for some good old fashioned styrene satisfaction. Polar Lights stoked his creative coals but never quite recaptured the Aurora mythos. Then, along came Moebius Models and the unexpected announcement of the return of Monster Scenes! After more than 30 years of accumulated modeling skills, James could now unleash on his beloved kit series like never before. Naturally, he purchased multiple of each Monster Scenes kit, enjoy out-of-the-box build-ups just to reacquaint himself with some old friends. Conversion was on his mind, however, prompting his creation of the zombified Victim.

James is thankful to Dencomm and Moebius for reuniting him with his most favored kits of all time. He's also hopeful that a new generation can also enjoy some of that old magic that still has the power to enrapture creative minds. By his own efforts here, James is hopeful that his unusual renditions will add to the revered (and sometimes reviled) Monster Scenes history.

2010 Dencomm.  No content may be reprinted or re-purposed, in whole or in part, without express written permission.