11 January 2021

Out of Quarantine and...Ninjas!

This submission was totally unplanned but became quite an absorbing (and distracting!) experiment.  Recently I have been revisiting Samurai skirmish gaming with the Ronin rules. Back in AHPC VI I painted a small force of unarmored Sword masters and thought I might surprise Reilly but adding some Ninjas (surprise Lad!).  As I saw the greyscale entries for the Chamber of Darkness, I thought it might be a great opportunity to give this very different style of painting a try. Stealthy Ninjas by moonlight would be dark and monochrome anyway, right? How hard could it be? Boy did I learn a lot.

Lets just say it was lucky I had 10 figures in this project so that I had multiple opportunities to improve.  I think trying to keep the figures' dark and sinister look meant that I further reduced the available desaturated palette.  I started with a Grey Seer undercoat and then used the GW Black Templar contrast paint as starting point. 

I was challenged in thinking about light direction while also using highlights to achieve a pseudo metallic finish for weapons glinting in the moonlight - but I'm pleased overall with the effect. I also added a few discrete spot colours through bloodstains and red flowers on the leader’s base, thought the latter doesn't work so well as it distracts the eye from the figure (maybe it is a Ninja stealth technique!). These discrete bloodspots are quite different to the usual messy blood stains on my beastmen's axes!

Along the way I was heavily inspired by Michael Awdry’s fantastic Seven Greyscale Samurai from back in AHPC III (http://analogue-hobbies.blogspot.com/2013/02/from-michaela-seven-samurai-in.html) and Curt’s greyscale WW1 project (where I learned the term ‘chiaroscuro’!).

Overall, I did not fully achieve the look I was after but am happy enough. I appreciated the challenge of trying something new, which I wouldn’t have otherwise done, and I would welcome constructive comments and ideas.  This submission is ten metal 28mm figures from Warlord's "Ninjas of Iga" range.

I have now completed my mandatory isolation and this is what I have painted during those 14 day - the only TV I watched was the news and both seasons of The Mandalorian (how good is that!). Then again the whole ‘working from home’ thing really got in the way :-)

The Ninja look quite at home slinking at the back next to the monchrome wall!


  1. Lovely job old chap! Through my squinted eyes they look almost something out of a graphic novel - very ‘Sin City!’

    Well done that man!

    1. Thanks David, yes that is the vibe I was going for with the single spot colour.
      cheers mate!

  2. Great work on these Paul, Ninjas are a great subject for The Chamber of Darkness