I recently had a chance to chat with Joshua Qualtieri of Zombiesmith.
Chuck Platt: I like to start with a bit of background. How did you end up in the wargaming hobby?
Joshua Qualtieri: My father was a hex and counter wargamer before I was born. When I was old enough to understand the concept of “game,” but not really old enough to play one proper, we would play Squad Leader by using our fingers to push counters against each other. Whomever’s would flip away was the loser and we’d move to the next “combat”.
As I got older I continued to play wargames with my father. Mostly tactical games and a lot of air games: Air Superiority, Flight Leader, etc. Somewhere in there I discovered Battletech and Rogue Trader and from there developed my love of miniatures.
I used to spend a lot of time and money on wargames and miniatures. Now that I have started my own compan,y I still spend a lot of money, but not much time on other games and systems!
CP: So, where does the Zombiesmith name come from?
JQ: When first starting out our goal was to make modern zombie miniatures. There were very few out there. You basically had the GW plastic zombies, which weren’t modern enough for us and a couple of random one-offs here and there. I thought we’d make some figures, mostly for us, sell some to pay off the costs of creating them and be done with it. Boy was I wrong! Now I have hundreds of different figures from Horror to Sci-fi.
So, anyhow, the name came from the fact that we thought our one and only product would be some modern zombies.
CP: Your line of zombies is one of the most original I have seen. Which is your favorite? Were there any you planned or designed that never saw the light of day?
JQ: Thanks! I’m not sure I have a favorite. I have always liked Chubs and Jawbone I suppose!
There were a few more that were designed but haven’t seen the light of day yet. They may, eventually. I did just release the wedding party zombie hunters, those might count, sort of. I’m just too eclectic and easily distracted. Plus these days there’s a lot of great zombie figures out there from a lot of manufacturers.
CP: Quar is the flagship product in your line. For someone unfamiliar with Quar, how would you describe the aesthetic and the rules system?
JQ: The Quar have been described as The Wind in the Willows meets WW1 by a customer of mine. I think its an apt description. The Quar are an ant-eater-like race with a 1920s level of technology. Its a sci-fi setting but there are no rayguns or nuclear hand-grenades or spaceships. Just bolt-action rifles, clanky vehicles and trench warfare.
There are currently two rulesets for the Quar, one skirmish and one mass battle. This Quar’s War is the mass battle game and handles fifty or so figures plus vehicles on each side. Songs of Our Ancestors is the skirmish ruleset and supports 5-15 figures per side. There is a third book about to be released, Of Spats and Pedrails, that adds two new factions, bringing the total to five, as well as new vehicle rules and other optional rules for both systems. Should be out in the next few weeks!
CP: Is there any plan to explore the world of Quar in other media, besides on the tabletop?
JQ: We did do a short animated “teaser” for the Quar here (Be sure and watch it in HD!) It’s been a great commercial for the Quar and certainly gets people to come to the booth at conventions. Will there be more? You’ll just have to wait and see!
CP: Both Quar and your Fantasy line bring to mind the late 70s fantasy of early D&D and Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards. What would you say your inspirations as an artist are?
JQ: Sequoia (my artistic partner in crime) and I are roughly the same age and were into the same things as kids. While not directly trying to copy anyone’s style I think we were both hopelessly influenced by Bakshi, Miyazaki, Seuss and a dozen others.
I’m also big into history and probably own every Osprey book ever published and any uniform book I come across. Sometimes real life is the best inspiration.
CP: Where do you see Zombiesmith heading in the next couple of years?
JQ: We’ll continue to support the Quar line pretty heavily. The rule set is pretty complete now for both systems, so we can concentrate on getting all the troop and vehicle types out. Any additional units we’ll cover with PDFs. There is an idea floating around for a ruleset for the 15mm quar, we’ll see where that goes.
Next summer we’ll be releasing our first fantasy ruleset. All new ruleset, all new fantasy races. Just finishing up master molds for the first two races. Right now we’re calling it “Shieldwall” in-house until we figure up the correct name for it. So far its working pretty well from twnety figures on up to a couple hundred. The core of the ruleset is done and now we are balancing out the first four races.
Beyond that, well, it’ll be a surprise! Probably even to me!
CP: I like to offer the floor to the interviewee for the final question. What would you like to say to anyone considering buying your minis?
JQ: Buy them! Lots of them! The more you buy, the more of them I’ll make!
Seriously though (Well, not that that first part wasn’t serious, do buy them all) I’m not very good at the marketing-speak so I’ll just say in the near future there are two new Quar factions coming out, lots of vehicles and next summer our first fantasy game with a complete line of miniatures!