Join me after the break for pictures and model thoughts.
|Shang Back View|
|Shang Front View|
|Torukage Front View|
|Torukage Rear View|
On one hand: neither Shang nor the Torukage feel particularly well done. I think they look "good", and I'm sure I'll be happy with them when I put them away and rediscover them in a month or two, but for whatever reason I'm not as satisfied with them as I'd like to be.
On the other hand: all of that is probably because I'm kind of rushing through these models. I feel myself wanting to stall out or abandon painting this crew super hard, and if I do that I don't know when I'll ever get back to painting them. I'd much rather get them all done to a decent standard now, then have more unpainted models sitting around.
With that in mind, I guess I am overall pleased with how they turned out. None of them are going to win any painting awards or anything, but they all look solid. Considering how many Malifaux models I have, how often I play, and how much I need to paint still, that's a level I can live with.
One thing I did with the Torukage that was probably a good idea, but felt terrible while doing it, was to paint all three of them at the same time. Normally I wouldn't do that for Malifaux because even models of the same type can be wildly different. In the case of the Torukage, however, they're all in almost the exact same uniform, so I figured it would speed up the process to tackle the steps for all three models at the same time.
It worked, and I do think it saved me some tedium. But it also killed the thing I enjoy most about painting Malifaux models: each model is an individual so you're not doing the same steps over and over (vs. painting an "army" scale game like Warmachine). The Torukage break that with their basic design to begin with, and painting them as a "unit" just emphasized that point. It was definitely nice to get those three completed and move on to something I could paint with more freedom and whimsy.
Regarding the models in game: Shang is....kind of unfortunate. I don't think he's uselessly terrible, but he isn't a very compelling Totem choice. Shang's offensive output is poor - though probably average or above average for a Totem - and his healing ability feels like it's going to come up rarely (Misaki is prone to extreme movements that leave Shang in the dust). Rush of Magic is very compelling, however, so at least he has that going for him.
Torukage are odd. They're squishy as all hell, but they're also pretty dodgy and are able to self-buff (passively, even) to avoid gunfire, which is nice. They have solid melee output (especially if they're on their own) and they're relatively fast for Minions. Torukage are good in a lot of ways, but they also kind of suffer from the 6 SS model curse of being good but not great, and Torukage exemplify the "glass cannon" aspect of Ten Thunders.
The best thing they have going for them by far is their ability to pull "ninja, vanish!" shenanigans with the Smoke and Shadows upgrade somewhere in the crew. That upgrade allows for amazing mobility, as well as some nice defensive tech. Plus its just really fun to have ninjas popping in and out of smoke bombs. As of the final Wave 2 release, I believe the Torukage are the only models that can make use of that upgrade, so they're the go-to models if you want ninja shenanigans.
With these models finished, the only models I have left are Yamaziko, an Oiran, and Misaki herself. Yamaziko is at least halfway done already, and I'm hoping that the Oiran will go by just as quickly. I'd like to spend a little more time on Misaki than I have any of the other models (save for maybe Ototo), and then the crew will be completely painted!
Of course, at some point I have to put together those Thunder Archers. But until then, completely painted.