Zombie Apocafest 2009: Strategy, Tactics, & Logistics

BrickCon 2009 starts in exactly two months. That means it’s time to start getting down to details on all the collaborative displays being planned for the con, starting with our very own Zombie Apocafest 2009. (We’ll be doing a roundup about all the other displays soon.)

Like last year’s zombie apocalypse display, Zombie Apocafest is sponsored and organized by The Brothers Brick, with additional sponsorship from the generous humans at BrickArms. Look for more information about prizes and giveaways here on the blog between now and the con.

Got builder’s block? Not sure what the heck we mean by “apocafied”? Unsure what the standards are? Read on…

Inspiration for the LEGO zombie apocalypse

Popular culture is full of inspiration for a LEGO zombie apocalypse. Our collaborative display is largely inspired by the book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks, also author of The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.

There’s plenty of inspiration for your LEGO creations to be found in movies like George A. Romero’s Living Dead series, the hilarious Shaun of the Dead, and the harrowing 28 Days Later.

Personally, music inspires a lot of my LEGO building. Here’s my personal soundtrack, heavy on metal and light on funny novelty songs. Hey, this is serious stuff! Also, the only convergence of AC/DC, W.B. Yeats, zombies, and LEGO in the history of the human race.

zombie apocalypse music playlist

Zombie literature and films are full of social commentary — a dystopian reflection of our present or near future. In other words, the real world we all live in is unfortunately full of examples of the things survivors would encounter in a zombie apocalypse.

Improvised fighting vehicles — civilian or non-combat military vehicles with armor plating and weapons systems tacked on — are the archetype for the chained-up, cage-encased, spiky bad boys we all know and love from our favorite ApocaLEGO builders.

Not cool in real life, but good against zombies.

Finally, here are a few ideas we’ve had at The Brothers Brick — we can’t possibly build them all ourselves in the next two months.

  • A commuter train on fire that streaks around the perimeter of the layout. (9-volt would probably be easiest to power over the weekend.) Bonus points for smoke effects.
  • Helicopters on rooftops evacuating survivors. Bonus points for motorized rotors. Extra credit for hovering action.
  • A security wall. Again, not at all cool in real life, but effective against the 90% of zombies who can’t use ladders.
  • Elevated highway.
  • Boats. Lots of boats.

Building and vehicle standards

LEGO zombie outbreakAs silly as it probably sounds, realism is one of our primary goals for this display. What would it look like if zombie minifigs invaded the Town display?

No giant robots to sweep through the streets, no deus ex machina with laser cannons and railguns.

Buildings follow the “Cafe Corner standard”:

  • Building stands on one or two Baseplate 16 x 32 with Square Corners.
  • Two connectors on each side of the building: Technic Brick 1 x 2 with Hole placed on studs #10-11 and #22-23 (from the front of the baseplate).
  • Floors can be any height (though 9 bricks high appears to be the standard).
  • Curb at edge of baseplate built from 1 x n light gray tiles, and sidewalk built from dark gray tiles, seven studs from the curb to the building (curb + sidewalk = 8 studs).
  • Building can be any size (though 16 x 16 or 16 x 32 appears to be the standard), built eight studs back from the front of the baseplate with an eight-stud “alley.”

LEGO S&S Wildland Ultra XT zombie defense platformVehicles should be minifig-scale, though look for details about opportunities to build zombie apocalypse vehicles at other LEGO scales in September.

For the Zombie Apocafest display, though, most vehicles should probably be in the 4 to 10-stud-wide range (construction vehicles excluded).

How it’s going to work

Remember, the Zombie Apocafest display is only open to registered attendees of BrickCon. We won’t be able to accept contributions or drop-offs from the general public.

Doors open on Thursday morning at 9:00 AM on October 1. I’ll be there with Thanel soon afterward, helping out with the con in general, and keeping an eye on early additions to the display. The man, the myth, the legend, LEGOLAND Master Model Maker Gary McIntire has generously agreed to add his artistic vision and organizational skills to the display, so look for him as well.

Andrew LeeWe’ll give out prizes on Saturday night (or whenever the rest of the prizes are awarded). There will also be giveaways aplenty again this year. However, quantities of each item will be limited, and we’ll give them out with fairly specific requirements. We hope everybody leaves BrickCon with something, though.

As a reminder, here are the four prize categories:

Okay, enough reading. Get building!

14 comments on “Zombie Apocafest 2009: Strategy, Tactics, & Logistics

  1. ry

    How timely: I just cracked open World War Z again for inspiration :)

    Side note: I thought it was interesting you didn’t drop a reminder about the prize categories into this post. If I hadn’t read the other Apocafest 2009 article recently (and I do see you linked it here,) I wouldn’t know. Just a thought.

  2. Creative Anarchy

    I’m frothing to do this man. I’ve actually been thinking about zombie stuff since last year’s Brick Con. I’d really like to make a movie theater for the display as well I’ve got an appocrafied vehicle in the works.

    I noticed you guys have zombie-heads without number. Do you have a list of needs for the display?

  3. novus

    Might I suggest adding: “When the World Ends” by the Dave Mathews Band to your song list? The Oakenfold remix is awesome too.

  4. Andrew Post author

    @ry: Good point. I’ve copied over the prize categories.

    @Creative Anarchy: A movie theater would be awesome. Good question, but I’ll need to think about it. We can always use more zombies, of course, but we have a much bigger horde this year, so don’t worry too much about it.

    @novus: Good suggestions. :-)

  5. kunert

    Re your playlist: Perhaps too obvious since it’s in the title sequence for the Dawn of the Dead remake, but with Johnny Cash, I definitely would have gone with The Man Comes Around instead of your pick.

  6. skippy_magoo

    I am surprised you left “Brain Eaters” by the Misfits off this list; especially considering Glenn Danzig is in minifig scale IRL.

  7. Creative Anarchy

    I’m also somewhat curious about the streets. Is it going to be a similar layout to last year’s? Or are we doing something different.

  8. Andrew Post author

    Regarding roads & streets, we’ll be using standard road plates that Gary McIntire will be bringing. We’d definitely like to see more variation in height and more water features, but the underlying “infrastructure” will be the same.

    We considered doing a brick-built road last year, and we’ve also considered raising the buildings by a couple of plates (like the Train/Town builders do in their displays), but both options are more brick-intensive and complicated to explain to Train/Town newbies like myself. ;-) It seemed easier to just go with the “Cafe Corner standard”.

  9. tedward

    When you say there will be boats does that mean I can stuff my ferry with fleeing survivors etc and find some “water” to drop it in?

  10. fonebone933

    I am a new Member to Brothers-Brick, half because I am attending Brickcon… huh… I thought about making a big road with a barricade to a base at the end, and a dock behind the barricade… I refuse to use stickers or “decals” and I found myself slowly running out of darth vader heads for zombies, LOL. I found myself using those new Castle Skull heads, and the Orc heads… I am not an adult… so I won’t blow 100 bucks to make trucks like last year’s guy, I’ll use whatever I have already. I’m getting off subject. I made Half-tracks with drills and 50-cals, And I’ll take the reccomendation of security walls, I have Black Hawks getting vackees out, I have a question, do our zombies follow resident evil/NotLD standards? Doom Standards(can equip guns)? or Iamlegend/Doomed standards(can run, use simple melee weapons like hatchets and knives)?

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