Sunday, 13 May 2012

Kirai crew - part 1

Following on from last week, I'm going to walk through my Malifaux crew in a bit more detail.

I was introduced to Malifaux through a few sources.  My brother had an interest some time ago although we didn't get chance to play a game.  Then I saw a few posts about it on Frontline Gamer and was interested again after reading these.

I was finally convinced when a local hobby store ran a Malifaux introductory day.  A watched a few games play though and bought myself a small rulebook.

After getting a feel for what this was all about, I had to decide on how to start the game.  Malifaux is roughly split into 5 factions, each of these having at least some themes running across all the crews within so narrowing down to one of these was one option.  There was the pretty candy approach, pick the miniatures that appealed the most - this nearly did it for me.  Then there was the voice of reason, discussion with veterans of the game and some forum reading.  I was sorely tempted by 'The Dreamer' both the background and the models looked really good to me.  I was warned off as a starter crew they might be a bit much.

Instead, encouraged by my wife's choice and a recent viewing of 'Spirited Away' I chose Kirai and the Spirits of Vengeance.

The Japanese style of these figures plus the undead faction they belonged to gave me several things I could work with.  I didn't know a lot of the Malifaux background when I bought this box, so instead I started thinking of my own.

My crew would be lead by Kirai, who was acting a bit like Dorothy in Return to Oz in my vision of Malifaux.  Taking the role of Chihiro from Spirited Away, Kirai has returned to a spirit world she visited as a child.  This time where there were only occasional dark elements to the world, now the world of Spirited Away is very much a part of Malifaux.  Returning as an adult has seen Kirai again abandon her real name and is known as 'Sin' (rather than 'Sen' from the film) which also ties into Kirai's Malifaux background nicely it turns out.

Kirai and friend
Kirai has become a Master in the world of Malifaux, with the unique ability to bind spirits to her will.  More, she is driven to discover what has become of her protector from her first visit to the spirit world, Haku.  She has been unable to summon him fully to her side, instead only an animalistic, spirit, version of himself has answered her call.  Followed as ever by faithful soot sprites, Kirai dominates the will of other spirits in her quest to find Haku and woe betide any who get in her way!

My Kirai crew then are, where I can find a link, inspired by characters from the Spirited Away film.  In terms of the Kirai figure, I've more or less use the colour scheme from the official boxset, Chihiro wore a red dress in the film so this is fine.  She's standing on wooden boards, as will all the crew.  This represents the bath house that most of the film is set in.  Finally I replaced the decapitated head between her feet with a soot sprite.  While Kirai is certainly not shy when it comes to battle, I felt this was more in character!

Ikiryo, the dark(er) side of Kirai

Spooky head tilt in full operation

Kirai is a 'two part' master in Malifaux.  Able to summon her own dark spirit forth to enact her vengeance from afar, the Ikiryo is a nasty minion that can be unleashed time and again.  This miniature was a tricky one for me to both place in the background and paint.  In the end I decided it was a new character to the story and used a combination of the official colour scheme and one I have used on my warhammer banshees.  I'm reasonably happy with the end result.  There's no real tie to Spirited Away on this character, aside from the mandatory wooden boards.
The robes on these are really nice to paint

The Onryo are a couple of the bath house girls who in the world of Malifaux became drained spirits.  Kirai quickly bound these women to her will.

Again the official colour scheme was used here.  There's plenty of echos from the film in the red and white kimonos, and the jade is a nice third colour to add to the mix.  I do have a couple of soot sprites to add to the bases here, I didn't get chance before the tourney last week.  They are at least mounted on the wooden boards however.

Probably the most popular character from Spirited Away is 'No Face'.  This harmless spirit is corrupted by the greed of others in the bath house and becomes a gluttonous monster of titanic proportions in a key moment of the film.

Lots of robes to paint in this crew
This is perfect for the 'Gaki' spirits that can form a wall of slavering monsters in a Kirai crew.  The more of these spirits you have, the hungrier they get - the rules a perfect match for No Face.  I've got a pair of these beasties currently but really I want 3 or more.  I am trying to sculpt one of my own to closely resemble No Face, my first attempt is a bit large for the in game rules however so I am still thinking that one over.

For now I have painted these in dark blues to sharply contrast the colours of the female spirits.  Their skin isn't black as No Face's is, but a dirty grey/brown.  If I do make No Face he will be in his true colours, but these are his lesser cousins.  Once again soot sprites and wooden boards link the crew to their bath house origins.
Finally, for this post, is my Haku figure.  Now in game terms, one of the best characters available to Kirai is the Shikome spirit.  This is actually a sort of Japanese version of a harpy/witch, but I have to admit I really, really dislike the official figure.  This problem was one of the key pieces in the background puzzle I created for myself.  The Shikome's role is that of a relentless hunter.  Fast, flying and very dangerous in melee I quickly thought of oriental dragons, which in terms of Spirited Away is the character Haku when not in human form.

A game winner and clear favourite figure for me
 I hunted the internet for oriental dragon figures and was really surprised and disappointed by what was available - very little.  I finally had some luck with Bushido releasing their Mizuchi figure, which I reviewed here.  I spent a lot of time painting this chap and I am quite pleased with it.   As it represents an older incarnation of Haku, some of his colours are deeper, he's hairier and has longer horns.  His base is decorated with a small paper figure, one of the minions that pursues him during the film.

There's more figures in the crew, but they are not quite complete.  I also have plans to slowly expand Kirai's minions to cover the options that seem to fit the theme, so future posts will cover these.

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