Out of Saito, out of mind-o

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When I was building that O-Yoroi list from the last post, I find myself needing smoke to exploit with the Rui Shi but unable to spare points for Shinobu. As a result I now have Saito Tōgan. Given my practical motivations for picking up this character, it’s surprising how taken I am him. He’s very ‘classic Infinity’, with his over the top pose and tiny antennae. I used to be sure he was completing a spinning kick and that the sculpt captures him mid-melee, but I recently saw someone suggest that he was performing a Shiko stomp, the kind Sumo wrestlers perform before a bout to drive away demons so now I am not so sure. There are some cues in the character’s design that remind me of Japanese folklore demons (Oni), namely his red and blue colouring, big bushy mane and white mask reminiscent of Noh Theatre,  but I have no way of knowing if they are intentional or coincidence, given I don’t know anything about Japanese culture that can’t be learned from World War 2 history books and a couple of dozen hours spent watching anime. The fact that his flavour text describes him as using the name “Onishi Tōgan” prior to his fall from grace does seem to support the conclusion, although  I’d need to see tiger skin pants to be sure. Either way, he is something of a departure from the other pop-culture inspired ninjas (which I love) and is a striking model as a result, even if Google image search seems to indicate that the pose is not exactly loved by all.

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No real big assembly warnings except to be aware of his tiny antennae when discarding flash. I’m pretty sure it was on the same gate as his scabbard. As for painting, I had to choose a lot of new colours for him because he has his own style. I primed him with Army Painter Uniform Grey like most JSA I’ve done. To paint the exoskeleton, I used a basecoat of Citadel Shadow Grey, Hawk Turquoise and Skull White mixed in a ratio of about 50:35:15,  which is initially quite light. I then hit it with a heavy wash of dilute Abbadon Black, before highlighting in pure white. The result was a bit darker than the studio scheme, so maybe you might want to up the ratio of white and turquoise.  His vest and other red areas started with Vallejo Cavalry Brown, then a black wash, then highlighting with Citadel Blood Red. The pants and straps were painted with Vallejo German Cam Beige WWII as a base coat, with receding layers of Deck Tan and then Ivory. To do his mane, I drybrushed white over the basecoat and then administered a fairly heavy black wash.

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Name two of the coolest jobs in the world…

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In a pleasant contrast to last post’s trooper I only bought for the rules, here’s a trooper I only bought for the model. When I ordered her I had not yet impulsively dived into Japanese Sectorial Army, so back then I had absolutely no need for another ninja. Still, after painting that hacker, I was super happy with the result and knew it would only be a matter of time before I felt the need to do the sniper. It’s just such a slick model.

DSC02253You can tell this is a profile that exists because the designers think it’s cool. Sure she is not the best sniper out there with her BS of 11, and she certainly can’t out-compete the hacker for the one slot available for Ninjas in the Imperial Service. Add to that, it is not very cost efficient to spend big points and SWC on both a deadly MULTI Sniper rifle and a Close Combat Skill of 23 with Martial Arts Level 3 and a Shock CCW, as these generally want her in the exact opposite kinds of positions to use effectively. But say it with me: “Ninja. Sniper”. If I could choose any profession in the world when I was 16…

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Short post this time because I’ve written all I know about the Chinese characters for ninja in the Oniwaban Post, whilst the paint job is exactly the same as described for the ninja hacker. One thing that I did do differently to the studio is mount her sword on her waist opposite to her dominant hand. I did that because I am pretty sure that this is the traditional location for a katana.

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Post got ninja’d.

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An unexpected side effect of me starting to actually use these models instead of merely painting and talking about them is that some Japanese are stealing my decidedly Sino-centric show. I suspect this latest acquisition is the second step down a road I was hoping never to walk down.

So, what prompted me to take the first step? Well, ninjas bring a lot to an Imperial Service list that can’t be gotten elsewhere. After my first games with the service I found myself craving those things. First, TO Camo. I don’t think any other unit in the service can take the form of a marker. This also grants the second attribute, hidden deployment. In the entire Imperial Service, only the ninja and Garuda tacbot can start the game off the table. Third is infiltration, in the entire Imperial Service, only the ninja and Garuda can can come into the game ahead of the deployment zone. In summary, they have monopoly on all the tricks the Imperial Service have access to.

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So to plug this ninja shaped hole, I decided to buy a ninja. My first choice was this hacker, because it did not look too different from a normal ninja, and had no sculpted BS weapon so it could comfortably sub in as a Combi rifle or bow ninja. She was not on the shelf at the time I caved, so I instead grabbed the no less dangerous looking Oniwaban, whom I also admired, to be my various ninjas for much the same reasons. You can check out that article to learn more about the characters that are used to write Ninja. I have no regrets about that, even though when I was finally confronted with the chance to pick up the ninja hacker I did so without hesitation. I tend to use her as solely a hacker where as the Oniwaban model gets used as the a ninja with tactical bow.
DSC01934So here I am, sitting one one more ninja than the Imperial Service sectorial allows you to use at once. I fear when the Yu Jing starter pack is updated and I end up with it’s token Japanese Sectorial Army model as a by-product, I might be tempted to just “bring it up to 300 points”. Then there will be no saving me.

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I painted the green areas starting with Games Workshop Snot green, then a layer of Scorpion green with slightly less coverage over the top. I did a little highlighting with Scorpion Green mixed with Sunburst Yellow but not much. On the breastplate, I used a little watered down Dark Angels Green to accentuate the contours. I think she turned out great. So great that I want to repeat the process on the Ninja sniper. God help me I want all the things.

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Did someone just say “Weeaboo”?

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’cause I think I just heard someone  say “Weeaboo“.

Let’s face it, the Oniwaban is one of the coolest models in the range. Whilst I had planned to keep my force made up entirely of Chinese themed units, I eventually caved, partly because I wanted some TO in my IS lists and partly because he looks so damn cool. I use him with the profile of a ninja rather than an Oniwanban so that it’s all legal of course.

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He spent his first game sawing through ‘Jean de Arc” with a DA CCW before moving on to hose down some loose ‘Fusiliers’. It was my first time using hidden deployment. It was also the first time I ever fought in close combat. I was impressed. He will be showing up in more lists, along with the final Kuang Shi I am still putting the finishing touches on (article forthcoming).

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For anyone who is interested in how I did the green servo muscle, I started by mixing a 50/50 mix of GW Scorpion Green and Snot Green. I slavered this over 100% of the muscles, leaving no black showing through at all. I then painted on pure scorpion green on around the highest 95% of the surface. After that, I washed the muscle with GW Dark Green Ink (one of the older discontinued shiny washes). After that dried, I hit  the top 90% of raised surfaces with Scorpion green once again, before mixing Scorpion Green with Sunburst Yellow and applying it very subtly to the highest points.

Here’s a photo of how it looked in good light before I finished the rest of the figure.

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You can see the original Snot+Scorpion Green mix on his calves.

The Japanese word “Ninja” and it’s Chinese pronunciation, “Rěnzhě”, both use the same characters, these being “忍者”

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Seeing as everyone already knows how to say Ninja, I’ll get straight to the Chinese. To pronounce the  “rěn/忍”, it sounds like the Ren from Ren and Stimpy. This character stands for heard-heartedness (it includes the character for heart (心)), which in Chinese has more to do with willpower, tolerance and endurance rather than impassiveness than the English usage do denote someone pitiless.

The “zhě/者” sound is a little harder. Start with the ‘dge’ sound at the end of “Judge Fudge” and follow it up with the ‘e’ in ‘her’, all as one syllable. In this context the character serves as a suffix to denote a person. Kind of like the ‘-er’ at the end of ‘Killer’ or the ‘-or’ at the end of “‘decapitator’.

Together the characters give the impression of someone who is resolute. Emerging from the shadows slice people in half, unleashing a hail of ninja stars and then disappearing in a puff of smoke is not as central to the concept as I imagined

UPDATE: Now I also play JSA and am swimming in Ninja models, he gets to be the Oniwaban he was always destined to be.