Eventually, I reach the focus of my Frostgrave project, the magic users Mizuki and Ryuhime.
Frostgrave is all about the Wizard in charge.
Even the Apprentice, unquestionably the second most important figure in the game, is an extension of the Wizard, rules mechanically speaking. Every other character on the board is an expendable mook.
It was suggested to me that the Frostgrave “Illusionist” would suit a ninja Smoke Out vibe, so I decided to go with that.
I figured that I have played very many games where magic users are glorified weapons platforms, so a style over substance type would be also more memorable, so Mizuki and Ryuhime are illusionists.
As most of my Shonen Knives models are old Citadel miniatures I had originally planned to use old Citadel figures as my Wizard and Apprentice. None of the Citadel figures that I coud get my hands on currently were as good a match as I had hoped though.
Conveniently, fellow Scale Creeps Antipixi and Captain Crooks each supplied me with figures for the project, two of which turned out to be precisely the sorts of models that I was looking for to lead the buntai.
Ryuhime – the Apprentice – is a dainty Hasslefree sculpt. The fine detail is as sharp as I expect from Hasslefree figures and the pose and outfit are perfect for my purposes.
Like Mizuki, Ryuhime is apparently unarmed, but thats ok. The Frostgrave rulebook mentions that Illusionists often do not appear to be carrying weapons, seemingly forming their armament from thin air.
SPOILER: the following contains spoilers for 47 Ronin (2013)
Two factors made this Clan Wars/Legend of the Five Rings “Demon Bride of Fu Leng” model a shoo-in for my magic user:
1) “Beauty” and “Monstrous Form” – each spells that make the caster difficult to target or approach – are a mainstay of the Frostgrave Illusionist spellbook. The Demon Bride of Fu Leng model manages to be simultaneously beautiful and monstrous, perfect.
Being in the middle of metamorphosis also explains a little of the height difference between the 30mm Clan Wars range and the short, old school figures that make up much of the rest of the force. Its like, totally magic dude.
2) 47 Ronin is a flawed but entertaining movie with some lovely production design and costumes. I wanted this model to echo one of the parts of the movie that I enjoyed most.
For me, one of the highlights of the film was the shapeshifting witch and the incorporation of her kimono into the special effects showing her powesr. At the end of the movie the character changes into a dragon for a boss battle, as shown below:
I liked the idea of my magic user model possibly being in the midst of a shift from human form to dragon form. Because I wanted to lock down what colours the various parts of my dragons body were before I painted my Sorceress in mid morph, I painted my Celestial/Oriental Dragon beforehand.
I dont know if the visual connection will ever be used as a plot hook in one of my games, but it was a pleasing part of the process anyway.
Although I was painting these two figs in my free time for a week or so, I still ended up having to rush them a little to get them ready for gaming get-together. The floral motifs of the kimonos on these figures are a bit crude as a result. Onwards and upwards, I hope to get that sort of motif looking a little tighter then next time, but for now it will have to do.
Yet more pseudo-feudal Japanese, pop-culture themed toy soldiers next time.