Friday, November 22, 2013

Ninjas Caught On Camera!

The last of the three clusters for my Ten Thunders crew arrives!

After this it's just the leaders: Yamaziko, Misaki, and Ototo.

Torakage are quite clearly meant to be ninjas. Upon research, I have uncovered some neat information about true ninja garb. First, the myth; ninja did not wear all black, necessarily. That is a notion coming from kabuki theatre which, as you may have seen on the internet, uses people dressed in black, against a black backdrop, to render them 'invisible'. Of course, you can still see them, it is just customary to ignore their presence.

Imagine then, the horror and surprise of the audience when one of these black-clad, utterly ignored characters draws a blade, steps forward, and kills one of the characters! Perfectly they've managed to convey the idea of the ninja.

Why is this important to understand? Imagine if, in the future, we move beyond lead-firing guns, to energy weapons. People at the time still like to play-pretend soldiers from our era, and in doing so, imagine all guns to be the bullet hoses seen on so many movies (lookin' at you, Rambo) and spoofed on others (Evil Dead series, arguably.) That's about how true historical ninja would view our treatment of them these days.

"Well then, Reid" I hear you saying, "what DID they wear?" Much like many secret agents of today, they wore whatever would fit in the best. Fine kimonos at a party, dirty peasant garb in the streets, loincloth in a bathhouse, etc.

Circling back to Malifaux and our Torakage, now; their clothing is quite similar to what peasant garb could be, but with perhaps a couple of odd extras. The skirt-device, scarf, and of course face mask being the most notable. With their rule stating they can lose themselves in a crowd, it's clear their garb is meant to be mundane. For my part, this meant clothing that was both drab, and almost entirely undecorated. It's much harder to identify someone when you're only told "That guy with brown pants" as opposed to "the one with the lotus kimono in black and white with jade accents".

So first, the consistent things: all have red belts, and red kneepads: these are the things identifying them as part of the Ten Thunders faction. Originally, their headscarves were painted thus, but it was far too large an area, and made it too dominant on the model. I may yet detail their scarves as they earn noteworthy kills or achieve objectives. Furthermore, their bases are likewise the most mundane: Cobble roads, sidewalks, etc. These are not the Oiran in their gentle settings, nor the Archers in a full mix; these are folks who slink through alleys and dodge the light of Malifaux's lamps.

The masks of the Torakage are interesting. Despite the ninja feel of the rest, their masks are plain and flat, which is not a traditional Japanese style mask. The Japanese prefer carved masks that look like demons, or stylized forms of the warrior underneath. Luckily, the Chinese have a smooth mask tradition with beautiful painted details. I decided to attempt to emulate their patterns, and furthermore tried to keep black paint away from the eye slits, lest they be lost in the designs.

First up is the Torakage who gets the award for weapons most likely actually concealable. His outfit is a consistent blue, with green and brown on what I have to assume is their 'weapon smock'. For most of the colours on these, I started with colours inherently drab, and mixed up with a more grey tone than pure white, making them appear worn and dirty. He is also the only of the three to have decorated clothing, and even then it's a simple repeating three-dot scheme.

The Femme Fatale of the crew is channeling the schoolgirl from Kill Bill. Her mask was painted tiger-themed, and with my self-imposed rule of repeating colours throughout, shares the green border and blue on her smock of scythe above. Be warned when gluing her: I highly recommend getting a very thin pin drill, some modelling wire, and pinning her foot to the ground. It is a very thin join for a model this tall and thin!

The beefiest of the Torakage also has the least concealable (and perhaps least practical) weapons. This is, luckily, balanced by an absolutely awesome pose. As before, the brown and green on his smock is the same as the female Torakage, and the blue of his mask matches the blue of scythe's. Otherwise his outfit is very drab, and subtly painted.

Something else consistent across all three is the forearm covers. I figure their work up close with bladed or heavy weapons would probably end up with a couple hard-to-describe splatters on their forearms. The covers allows them to be quickly  shed to appear 'normal' if they get chased, and also, being white, can be  a mark of pride for the Torakage after a mission, and proof of their success. (It's also the only reason I can fathom this final Torakage has attached his blades to his arms: The weapon I think they're meant to imitate is one where flipping it around unconnected from the arm is how the weapon is used!)

With them finished, I must take a break from Malifaux for a bit to finish up a Panther force. I have been trying to make source-lighting work on Yamaziko's lantern, which may take a couple of passes before I'm entirely happy with it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! These are amazing! I just stumbled across your blog while looking for ideas on basing my Ten Thunders (I just started Malifaux in the last month) and I am blown away by the awesomeness of all of your Ten Thunders miniatures. Amazing ideas here!