I’m a big fan of pre-painted plastic miniatures, as they’re readily available to buy as singles, easy to re-paint and convert and, best of all, they’re pretty damn cheap. However, as the majority of them are aligned to either fantasy or superhero gaming, you would think they would not provide much in the way of suitable figures for Oriental Fantasy month here at the Buffet. However, this is not the case…
As part of the Indy Heroclix range, several subsets were included depicting characters from various independent comics set in fictional ‘oriental’ realities, such as the Kabuki comic by David Mack and the Shi comic by William Tucci. Whilst the majority of these characters were female and display a little more flesh than is customary for medieval Japanese characters, they are still of use with a little ingenuity. Combine this with the handful of Oriental-themed characters lurking amongst the DC and Marvel Heroclix ranges, such as the Silver Samurai, Elektra, Hand ninjas, Katana, Samuroid, etc. and you have a good selection of cheap figures to populate your table.
As so far Oriental Fantasy month has been more Yang than Yin, it’s time to get in touch with our feminine side…
Our first figure, whilst still monstrous, is definitely female, being the Leech Troll from the MageKnight CMG.
Whilst I’m not completely au fait with the background for MageKnight trolls, from looking at the figure, I know that she’s big, muscular, horned and red. Pretty much the definition of an Oni, in my book. After re-basing and re-painting, including a reasonable attempt at re-creating tiger-skin for her clothing (as Oni’s are famous for wearing this), this is the result;
A touch more detailing and she’ll join my male Oni (see Oni the Lonely) as an additional threat to the human inhabitants of Mythical Japan.
Next we have Yukio from the Indy Heroclix range. It took me a little bit of digging to find out where this character came from – apparently she’s from the CrossGen title The Path, which is set in a fictional Japanese-themed world:
I had been craving this figure for a while, with no real idea what I was going to use it for. However, when the Mythical Creatures supplement for Ronin came out, I realised that to be able to use all the creatures listed, I would need physical representations of them. Yukio, with her monstrous right hand and spiky hair, seemed the ideal choice for the human form of the Jorogumo. For those of you not familiar with this creature, it is a giant spider that can assume the form of a beautiful maiden, in order to seduce, bind and devour unsuspecting mortals. The kanji for Jorogumo can be written two ways, the first meaning ‘binding bride’, the second meaning ‘whore spider’ – lovely.
As this is quite an unassuming figure, other than the deformed hand, I needed a way to indicate that this was a Jorogumo, so noting that the Jorogumo is also the name of an actual spider native to Japan (Nephila clavata) with a rather distinctive colour-scheme, I decided to replicate this on the kimono of the figure:
Next we have Lady Deathstrike, from the Marvel Heroclix Wolverine and the X-Men sub-set:
Whilst this is not the only version of this character released as a Heroclix miniature, it is the character’s most oriental-themed costume. Re-based and re-painted and she is Lady Deathstrike no more, but now a Kitsune:
Unlike the remainder of my female Orientals, who all have lustrous black hair, my kitsune has hair painted to resemble the fur of a fox, complete with white tip. This immediately gives a visual clue, along with the distressingly long finger-nails, that all is not as it seems with this female warrior…
Our final female hails from West Wind Productions, and is a female vampire from their Vampire Wars range, purchased for an aborted Victorian horror project. The figure was depicted wearing a long, low-cut dress and brandishing a cavalry sabre. The filing down of the hand guard and re-emphasising the fingers, along with the addition of a cord “sash”, transformed her from a Victorian vampire into a Katana-wielding Onryo, or vengeful ghost. Then I just had to paint her…
Now, this caused me a few headaches, as I wasn’t entirely sure the best way to depict her skin colour to emphasise that she was no longer one of the living. I tried white skin with grey, dark blue, purple and brown washes and pale green skin with a grey wash and they all looked rubbish. Reading up on the vengeful dead in Japanese myth and looking at pictures online, it appeared that shades of purple were usually used to depict the more demonic and monstrous female “undead”. So, a combination of a GW Mithril Silver base coat with a GW Purple Ink wash and we get this:
A little bit of GW Red Gore for the eyes, and this unpleasant female is ready to take vengeance upon those who have slighted her. I’m really pleased how this came out eventually, especially bearing in mind how many times I’ve repainted her skin until I got it right.
Join me next time, when we’ll finally be seeing my Tengu conversion, my progress on the Buntai and an oriental vampire who is refusing to hop…
Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.