Tuesday, March 19, 2013

From Millsy: Ronin #7 (60 points)

Over the past three months we've been treated with many amazing entries from very talented hobbyists all over the world and so to continue in this vein here is something very special from 'Our Man in Australia', Millsy:
This is my entry fee for the challenge, Ronin #7. I wanted to do some storytelling and also go a bit beyond my usual boundaries (it’s a challenge after all). So here we go, a sensory extravaganza involving the visual, the auditory and even the written word. To fully experience my entry as intended please follow these simple steps: 
1. Open this link to YouTube and play the audio track while you read on. You've now got some top shelf Shinto background music. 2. Read the completely bespoke haiku to put your mind into a state of peace and tranquillity (or possibly absolute bafflement, whatever works for you!). 3. Read the back story explaining how the entry came together, what happened along the way and what I think it all means. 4. Finally, check out the pictures of the miniature and his accompanying "stage" with all the above in mind.

It’s harder than you’d think to write one that is properly constructed and contains all the requisite elements! Here we go…

maple trees red-gold 
marking the turn of the new season 
brushes are set aside

Back story 
And now some back story… 
Last year I visited the Art Gallery of NSW here in Sydney and was captivated the Tale of Genji. When I was searching for inspiration for my samurai entry this came to mind and I started digging into the story. I wanted to do something more than paint a miniature. How could I  create a "stage" that brought him to life? And how could I merge that with the story of 47 Painting Ronin?
So I read through the tale in some depth and spent time looking at painted imagery of Japanese shrines and buildings. The one thing that I couldn't go past is the elegant simplicity of the torii that adorn many shrines and which appear periodically throughout the tale. Being a gate it would make a great “3D picture frame” for my samurai right? 
A bit of thinking, some *really* rough measurements and I dived right in. There were no plans, I just let the model evolve from start to finish, adding whatever seemed right at each stage. Bits got added, bits got removed and at one point the torii fell apart in my hands (curse my impatience) so I started all over again. Now it’s done, although the temptation to fiddle with it is near overwhelming.
So here is Curt’s own little piece of imagined Japan, the entrance to a Shinto shrine way up in the mountains. The local peasants have put out decorative painted lanterns alongside the torii to celebrate the closing of the festival of painting. This is the end of the painting challenge for 2013 but like the seasons this is just the beginning of a another chapter – a fabulous collection of painted miniatures for Curt to enjoy.

Technical stuff
I don't know the manufacturer of my chosen miniature. It's oldish (at least 12-15 years I think) and was marked simply "samurai" on the base. He was a hard one to paint, steadfastly refusing to tell me what he should look like. Eventually he relented as I got into building the scene and the two sort of grew together.

The scene itself is made to be disassembled so it can be posted safely to Curt and rebuilt for permanent display. It's completely scratch built from balsa, cork, beads, card, etc. My wife deserves due credit for allowing me a minor reign of terror in her supply cupboard BTW. The lettering over the torii says “Curt” in Japanese (at least according to the quite possibly very dodgy translation web site I used anyway). Given I speak absolutely zero Japanese it’s a complete shot in the dark so feel free to correct me. ;-)

And finally...
To close I'd like to add my sincere thanks for Curt for squeezing me in at the last minute. He already had a full quota of eager Ronin but being such a gent he allowed me to slip aboard and join the crew. I've had tremendous fun and really enjoyed seeing everyone else's entries as much as working on my own. Thanks mate!

Um, wow. Just wow... I'm pretty much rendered speechless by this (which takes a bit of doing).  This is amazingly creative work Millsy, and such a wonderful gift - I've very, very flattered, thank you. The archer figure is marvellously painted and very characterful. I'm wondering if he may be an early Citadel sculpt - he has that look about him. The shrine is a wonder as well and is suitably bucolic. I particularly like the lanterns at the entrance. It all very much sets the closing scene of the 47.

Ronin #7 who guards the temple entrance will give Millsy 60 points. Thank you again!


  1. fantastic entry, I think the figure is an OOP GW figure from the days you could have a Nippon WFB army

  2. Millsy, you have absolutely excelled yourself with this entry. Curt is very lucky to be the recipient of such a wonderful piece of work.

    As Curt says, I reckon that's a Citadel sculpt from the mid/late 80s. Wargames Foundry have them now, I think this one is in the SAM04 pack.

  3. I can't add anything to the above, I am just amazed. Curt you deserve this for all the effort you have put in.


  4. Millsy, you little beauty! What a stunning entry!

  5. Everyone, thanks for your kind words. Given the ability and creativity of the people involved here I'm stoked with the response. My ego has now gone off for a quiet lie down to recover. ;-)

    @Curt, you are most welcome mate. I hope you get as much pleasure from it as I got from putting it all together.

    @Tamsin, I'm in awe of your Citadel Foo. A good eye indeed!

    @Ian, I said the same thing to Curt on delivery. The effort here is nothing compared to what he has expended to run the challenge.

    @Michael, fullsome praise from the Lord of the Vignette? I am truly flattered.

  6. Great vignette, very well thought through and executed. Curt will doubtless be chuffed.

  7. Superb - it is an old Citadel one ,, i had it once upon a time. Superb rendition

  8. Love the backdrop. The ronin is amazing.


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