Friday, January 17, 2014

A Malifaux Showcase: Hired Swords

A lantern glowed weakly, fighting for purchase against the gathering fog.  A sentry stood watch, straining his eyes, seeking where a shadow had passed in the early morning gloom.  It was probably nothing.

Shhnck.  A piece of steel, brighter than the shrouded moon, glinted with reflected fire and blood, protruded from his chest where no object rightly should.  He held his hands hovering about the blade, noncommittal, unbelieving.  It withdrew with a similar sound, muffled by the wetness spreading through his cotton undershirt.

Viktoria whipped her blade, deftly cleaning it before issuing a curt nod to her "sister."  Without a word five more shapes broke from the veil, continuing their deadly advance across the courtyard.

"Yeeeee Haaaa!!  Come get some you lousy maggots!"  Taelor.  The sisters looked at one another with equal measures of exasperation and mirth.  Taelor's voice rang out again and again as she shouted down her opponents, punctuated only by the sickening sounds of what could be described as wet sacks filled with tinder crunching under the trauma of her relic hammer and horrified screams.

The sisters smiled and moved ahead double-time.  Their cover was blown, now the true slaughter could begin.

I'm proud to introduce the heroins of our little story... the Viktorias!  From left back to front right they are: ronin #1, Viktoria of Ashes, ronin #2, Taelor, Student of Conflict, Viktoria of Blood, and ronin #3.  These seven ladies make up the Hired Swords starter box set for the Malifaux Outcast faction.  Viktoria (of Ashes) and her doppelganger "twin" sister Viktoria (of Blood) lead the crew, and are accompanied by their lieutenant, Taelor.  The Viktorias are misfits, who don't quite fit in anywhere, so they recruit any female mercenary looking for work or safe harbor.  Many freelance warriors have joined their ranks, including a trio of put-out ronins and even a young denizen of Malifaux looking to forge her own path in the Breach with blood and slaughter.

I picked up the Hired Swords boxed set as a supplement to my Arcanist force.  Any Malifaux crew can hire up to two mercenary models to ally with their force, and I jumped at the chance to add one of my favorite characters to the spell-slinging power of Rasputina.  Taelor has earned her keep over and over again each game, crushing her enemies with devastating sweeps of her relic hammer.  With 3/4/6 damage and the fact that one of her attack triggers negates damage prevention, she can kill an enemy leader out of nowhere!

The leaders of the crew are the Viktorias, who share the "sister" type.  The Student of Conflict also has the sister type, and synergizes fantastically well with her older role-models, buffing them or sling-shotting them into combat.

Where the ronin share a Japanese style, the Viktorias are punk rock all the way.

Viktoria of Ash's shaved head is wonderful, I love the look.

Viktoria of Blood's miniature is rather racey in comparison to the others, jacket wide and thong displayed.  I believe Wyrd got the mix of edgy right for their 2nd Ed characters.  For the first rendition of many characters the draw of busty and scantily clad usually won out to the detriment of any substantially original personality.  With the new plastics, the raciness of the models doesn't feel unnecessarily trumped up, it is the best blend of dark, exotic, and dangerous.

A melancolic undercurrent of humor runs through the entire Malifaux universe, and the Student of Conflict is a perfect example.  She contains a fantastic amount of preadolescence awkwardness (sandals probably aren't the best choice for combat footwear) and dire severity.

The ronin were a blast to paint.  I love their great expressiveness, in pose and composition.

For each ronin I wanted to do something a little different, tweaking things here and there and seeing what worked well.  Where the yellow ronin had solid hose, this ronin received fishnet, and the third got silk weave.

I HAD to paint a tattoo on one of the ronin, and this one was perfect.  A true lover of dragons, what else would I paint on her arm?

I love painting red heads, and this ronin was perfect for flaming hair.  I did cut off the large pigtails on either side of her doo, and I shortened the end of her ponytail to a neat point.  These were all changes that I liked, toning down the extreme "baby doll" look of the model, as a complete piece I think it looks much better this way.

Look closely, this is a true red head, complete with freckles!

Like I said, all the ronin are such fantastic models and it's impossible to choose a favorite, each has qualities that I really like.  I'm pleased with this ronin's mix of earthy yellow, orange, and cream tones for her wardrobe.

If you're missing close-ups of Taelor, check out my December post!

That's it for this week, thanks for stopping by and checking out my latest painting project!  Come back next time to see what I'm working on here at the Monster Lab!


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