You'll find a little of everything here. Genres covered in this blog include (so far) prehistorics, fantasy, old west, swashbucklers, pulp, Blood Bowl, Ghostbusters, gladiators, nautical, science fiction and samurai in 6mm, 15mm, 28mm, 40mm, 42mm and 54mm sizes. You'll also find terrain, scenery, basing, gaming, modeling, tutorials, repaints, conversions, art and thoughts in general about the hobby.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

42mm Samurai: Zatoichi

Here is Zatoichi, the Shintaro Katsu version (though I do enjoy the Takeshi Kitano version, too. I'd just have to add some ruffled white hair to do a Kitano version.)
I used green stuff to add some leg wrappings and to extend his shirt into a long-tailed coat (I was unable to find a good picture of his clothing, so I just made up something, in this case a haori with a split back.)

Here's another copy of the figure I used
 for the Zatoichi conversion
The meat of this conversion is in the sword cane and the head. The sword cane started as a piece of brass rod. I hammered it lightly to give it a thinner cross section (as a scabbard.) Then using needle files, I gently filed away brass near the midsection of the rod, forming the partially exposed blade of the sword cane. The filing took a while because it had to be done softly since the section of brass rod at the blade became thin and was prone to bending or even snapping. The cane took me two tries, only because my first effort was slightly too small.

The other major work was with the head. First, I had to swap heads with a figure without a hat; the original figure was wearing a straw hat, and the hatless heads would make the next step easier. That step was to again use the needle files and file away all the hair, but without marring the surface of the head. I need to file the head until it was bald, but no more. I wanted to do a close-shaven Zatoichi.

After the head was the shape I wanted, it was swapped. But I wanted to reattach it in a specific pose, that of Zatoichi cocking his turned head, listening for his enemies' next move. Once everything was together and the glue set, I painted him up. To do the shaven head, I simply painted his hair in gray and added flesh to the gray for the highlighting.

One blind masseur ready to go give ninjas and yakuza a bad day!


  1. I saw what I assume is the more recent version of this film a while ago... it was so weird. At the end, I remember all the dead characters came back and the whole cast sang a song together or something like that. Or was I hallucinating?...

    1. Yeah, that's the Kintaro version which I enjoyed. The song and dance at the end, according to the IMDB page was because the director (also Kitano) wanted a happy Hollywood ending followed by a "burst into song."

      Apparently, Kitano also likes to add a bit of his own quirkiness into his films- do stuff a little differently - hence the song at the end; the farmers who have rhythm; and the percussion-filled construction scene. It's all meant for fun.

      I love the end fight in that one, where the ronin mentally goes through his moves based on Zato's stance - and then Zato makes a tiny little change in his stance (grasping his sword overhand instead of underhand) that totally changes the fight.