A Fistful of Yen

As this week’s post does not have a specific theme, other than a continuation of Oriental Fantasy month here at the buffet, and contains a handful of different figures, I settled on the above title.

Our first port of call this week is to check the current status of the Ronin Buntai that started the ball rolling on this whole project. When we first saw the Buntai back in July, they looked like this:

Buntai

At the end of July, due to a visit to Eternia, they only looked like this:

Chouda

Now that I’m focusing on one theme, I’ve managed to get some more paint onto them, and they’re almost finished and look like this:

Chouda2

A bit more detail, including the Clan Mon on the Ashigaru’s helmets, and I feel they will be done.

Now, on various threads on The Miniatures Page, I have been promising to show my Tengu conversion, so here it is:

Basan

Only kidding… This is actually a rebased and repainted plastic rooster, appropriated from a box of toys that my children no longer play with. What’s it doing here, you may ask, as surely it has no place in Oriental Fantasy month? Actually, it does.

As I have said in previous posts, Japanese Myth is full of weird and wonderful creatures, including what the figure above has been painted to resemble, namely the Basan. You can read more about this creature here, but basically it’s a giant, spectral fire-breathing chicken. When I showed this to a friend of mine, he burst out laughing, then decided it should be named Kerrogg the Basan, due to its resemblance to a certain corporate mascot.

Okay, having digressed slightly, this is actually my Tengu conversion:

Tengu

As I’ve opined in several threads regarding this, the commercially available Tengu figures do not convey what I think a Tengu should look like. Whilst I’m aware that Tengu can look like winged, long-nosed humanoids, I prefer my mythical beasties to look a little more beast-like. As the bird or birdman form of the Tengu are based on raptors, specifically the kite, this should be represented in the figures. Unfortunately, for some reason, the commercially available Tengu have beaks that resemble blackbirds or chickens. Not wanting a Tengu that looked like an Orientalised version of Foghorn Leghorn, I decided to make my own.

The observant amongst you will no doubt realise that the base figure for this is a GW Kroot. Once I’d selected the relevant body parts, to this was added a robe made from a piece of PVA saturated cleaning wipe, which gives a rough fabric look to his robe. A GW Tyranid bonesword supplied the blade to his katana and the wings were sourced from a plastic vulture, which I believe came with a 3 3/4″ G.I.Joe figure. A lick of paint and we have a Tengu that meets my vision of what one should look like. Needs a little more detailing to finish him off, but he’s almost there.

Our final figure is another re-purposed vampire from West Wind Productions. Amongst their Vampire Wars range is a pack called Ancient Vampire from Across Time. This pack contains 4 miniatures, each depicting a vampire from different periods of history. You get a Roman vampire, Egyptian vampire (both pictured on the site), a Colonial vampire and an Oriental Vampire, which is the one I’ve used. Here he is:

Kyonshi

Whilst Japanese myth doesn’t specifically have vampires, they have borrowed the Jiangshi, also known as the Chinese Hopping Vampire, from China and renamed it the Kyonshi.  Unlike the standard pose of these creatures, which usually have outstretched arms, this one has his arms crossed across his chest.

The problem I had with this particular figure is that, compared to my other miniatures, he’s quite short. So I decided to mount him on a transparent plastic washer, so as to increase his height, the idea being that this would make him appear to be floating. It didn’t – it made him look like he was standing on a perspex podium. My next idea was to use a dyed pipe cleaner to create a ring of mist, so it looked like he was rising from the fog. This, unfortunately, also did not work out how I’d anticipated. Luckily, I remembered an article I’d read on the Irrational Number Line Games site…

If you have a spare hour or so, go and browse the Idea Archive on this site, as it’s well worth a visit and you will no doubt pick up a few ideas that are worth…borrowing…for your own projects. The specific article I’d read was this one,  detailing various pose conversions of the character Hellboy. However, I was more interested in the scenic elements he’d used for his ‘fire-walking’ variant.

Long story short, the mystical green flames surrounding the base of the vampire above was created using translucent silicone bathroom sealant. A thinnish ring of the stuff was piped around the base, which I’d already painted in a pale sickly green. Using a toothpick, I then teased the sealant up into flame-like shapes, being careful not to get any of it on the figure. I then left it to dry overnight, then dry-brushed the resultant rubbery flames with the same colour I’d painted the base. And voila! my Kyonshi now looks like he’s rising from a ring of mystical green flame.

I was quite surprised how well this came out and am now considering what else I could use it for. A couple of broken toothpicks painted to resemble a campfire, with a blob of this teased up and dry-brushed with regular fire colours is the first thing that sprints to mind, but should anyone else try this technique, I’d love to see what you come up with.

Thanks for visiting – comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

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11 thoughts on “A Fistful of Yen

  1. Great post Jez and inspirational re-usage or “up-cycling” (word of the month!!) of figures. Love the ring of fire, I saw a video on you tube a while back when someone used bathroom sealant (clear) to make a scenic water base for a battleship model, but this I think works even better than that.

    Cheers Roger.

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    • Thanks Roger. As I’ve accrued a variety of figures over the years, it’s always good to finally find a use for them. It also keeps my wife happy that I’m not “wasting money buying toys”, which means she tolerates the odd couple of hours I spend painting them. I think that the whole of “Frostgrave Mo’vember” will be upcycled figures, including another I’ve just come across which requires stripping of both varnish and a particularly childish paint job. If I’m successful, my warband will gain a particularly well-known and iconic member. But you’ll have to wait and see who that is… 😉

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  2. Great stuff Jez. I’m particularly taken with your Tengu as I have both a weakness for the Kroot minis, and Bruce Wayne wore the mask of tengu during the “Knightfall” trilogy (when he reclaimed the mantle of the bat from Jean-Paul Valley) – not that I’m superhero obsessed or anything!!! I also like the killer chicken too and couldn;t help feel somewhat wistful about the excellent “WestWind” Vampire you posted as I’m sure I used to own that miniature at some point, but like so many its now lost within the attic somewhere. You really do cover an awful lot in your postings, which always makes them well worth the read.

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    • Thank you very much, Simon, most appreciated. There will be one final post in Oriental Fantasy month, in which I will hopefully show ALL the figures I’ve managed to complete during this period. Unfortunately, as I’d set a specific time-limit on this, not every figure that has been assigned to the “Oriental Fantasy” project will be completed, so I may need to revisit it at some point in the future, as there are more samurai, ashigaru, Onmyoji and Jez Goodwin skaven and rat-ogres re-purposed as Nezumi to paint. But, like you, being a little bit superhero obsessed (since Omega the Unknown #5 in 1976!) I have been pining for my supers, probably influenced by your posts, so will be returning to my first love in Sepetember, along with some more He-Man action (which sounds a little suspect…) which I believe I’ve tempted Roger into. He’s so easily led…lol

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