Sunday, 7 October 2018

Yakuza gang

Here is my Yakuza buntai (gang/group/band) for Osprey's Ronin skirmish game.  I have chosen to focus on the late Edo period for my collection - the twilight era of the Samurai, as depicted in the 'Zatoichi' & 'Sleepy Eyes of Death' films, 'Yojimbo', 'When the Last Sword is Drawn', '13 Assassins', 'Bloody Shuriken', 'Twilight Samurai', & many other classics of Japanese chanbara cinema.  So I have being painting this gang of dastardly Yakuza, who will face justice at the hands of my next buntai - a small group of swordsmen from a Koryu (weapon school).  I may also supplement this with a Peasant buntai, to be terrorised by the local Yakuza.

This is my basic 95 points Yakuza roster - at the front there are five shikaku (thugs) armed with katanas.  The bald bloke in the back row is the gashira with a katana: a lieutenant of the local boss.  He is slightly more skilled than the thugs, & has the Commander ability.  Either side of him are a pair of yotamono (ruffians) with ararebō (small clubs - I made these by trimming down spears, & molding the iron studs using tiny balls of Green Stuff putty).  These ruffians are cheap, & even less skilled than the five thugs, but useful for boosting the numbers... plus the gashira has the option to cut one down as a 'morale booster' if the gang look to be routing in the face of determined foes!  Finally, to the gashira's far left is a thug with a teppo (matchlock arquebus) & katana (although I'm trying to source a sheathed katana for his obi [belt]).

My basic Koryu buntai will also total 95pts, but for comparison, it will feature only three (very skilled) swordsmen.  I have three more figures in progress (two deadly ronin-for-hire, & another teppo gunman) which will bump the Yakuza gang up to 150pts for slightly larger skirmishes; & I can match this for the Koryu by adding three more junior swordsmen.

Here are some close-up photos, showing the patterns that I lavished on much of the clothing for the Yakuza.  I'm pleased with the results - I think it really brings them to life  :-)  I didn't want this buntai to look uniformed, but I did want to tie-them together visually on the tabletop - so I focused the palette around moody blues & purple.

Finally, I couldn't resist reworking a couple of the group shots in black-&-white, to capture the essence of those classic chanbara & Samurai films which have been such an inspiration for this little project.

Most of these figures are from North Star, while the ruffians with converted clubs & the thug with the arquebus are from Perry Miniatures.


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