Japanese myth and legend is populated with a wide variety of weird and wonderful creatures, from shape-shifting fox spirits to giant fire-breathing chickens. Unfortunately, as the majority of these beasts do not lend themselves to wargaming, they tend to be ignored by miniature manufacturers, who seem to think that slapping some Samurai armour on a goblin and calling it a ‘Bakemono’ is acceptable (it’s not).
Similarly, those who write rules set in Mythical Japan follow suit, possibly influenced by the figures available. So it came as a pleasant surprise when Craig Woodfield, author of the Ronin skirmish rules, released his Mythical Creatures supplement for the game, it was obvious that he had done his research properly, as all the creatures described were as they should be. Unfortunately, Osprey appear to have removed this from their website, but through the wonders of modern technology, you can download a Word copy wot I made of it here:
However, whilst you’ve now got the rules, you still need the figures. I did a rather lengthy post on my previous blog listing all the Oni, Tengu and Kappa miniatures that I was able to find (to read this scholarly work, go here), but wasn’t entirely happy with the Oni available. So in true Carrion Crow style, I decided to make my own…
My base figure for the conversion was a spare Heroscape Hulk that I had knocking around, as who needs more than one Hulk? (Unless you’re Marvel, of course, who have them in a variety of sexes and colours…a bit like M&M’s). This has to be one of the best 28mm Hulk sculpts out there, as it’s suitable imposing and looks like the Hulk is supposed to:
To change the Hulk into an Oni, however, we need to add, at the very least, horns and slightly more hair. My bits box provided me with; horns made from a GW Skeleton Horde bow, a length of wool for a twine belt, a hunk of meat hanging from the belt from the GW Kroot boxed set, a large mallet culled from a Mega Bloks knight and a mullet made from short lengths of pipe cleaner. A lick of paint, and this is where we are currently:
Not completely finished, but I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s starting to look a little more Oni than Hulk-i.
Now a confession – whilst I’d assigned August as Oriental Fantasy month, the siren call of Eternia is far too strong and I am only made from weak, weak flesh…
In other words, I’ve made a start on my Orko for the Masters of The Universe project, which started out as ‘He-Month’ on both this blog and Roger Webb’s – Rantings from Under the Wargames Table. Go there for superior sculpts of recognisable characters from the Masters of the Universe franchise, including the new additions of Teela and Evil-Lyn.
As for Orko, all I’ve managed so far is to butcher a GW skeleton and stick it to a flight stand, to act as an armature which I’ll be (hopefully) adding sculpted detail to, with the end result a semi-recognisable version of Orko. This is what it looks like so far:
Not particularly inspiring so far, but it can only get better…right?
Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.