Written By Sarah-Anne
As a lover of all things Studio Ghibli I knew at one time or another I would want to incorporate the studios aesthetic to one of my builds, and with the upcoming Japanese-styled castle for my Malifaux Ten Thunders gaming table, I had the perfect place to start.
Of all the Studio Ghibli films Spritied Away is one of my favourites, second only to Totoro. And what could be more iconic from that film than the little stone Kami (Dosojin) that Chihiro see before entering the spirit realm?
The building material I used was Milliput Superfine as I knew it would dry to a finish that would sand easily, but would be pliable and water soluble when still wet. As the two parts of the superfine version are both white I spent extra time kneading it together to make sure it was fully combined before I started to create the initial shape.
The initial shape was fairly easy to create (an egg shape with a flat bottom), and I added part of a toothpick the botto to make it easier to shape later on, and would give me an easier way to attach to the terrain at the end.
I used a small piece of foam insulation to hold the Milliput upright while I sculpted, using another toothpick and a finer-tipped awl for the majority of the work.
I let the Milliput dry fully before further refining the overall shape first with an hobby knife then finishing with sandpaper and sanding twigs, and making the finer details sharper with the awl.
I didn't bother priming first, and went right to painting. I started with a warm taupe-grey (Castle Grey from The Army Painter, to be exact) before layering on a dark moss green, and highlighting with progressively lighter greens up to an off-white. I used a small round drybrush and stippled the paint on, trying to mimic the soft look of moss that had overtaken the statue.
Once the the overall finish of the statue was completed I added small drops of thick paint in the same colours as my cherry blossom flocking. In the movie the little stone kami has dried leaves on him, but I wanted him to fit in with the other elements of my terrain, so went with cherry blossom petals instead.
Now I will admit, the finished result has much more of an Inuit-sculpture feel to it than a Japanese stone kami, but I am happy with it just the same. I have very little experience with scultping entirely from scratch, and getting the right proportions ended up being much more difficult than I initially thought. It will however, be a nice little addition to the overall centrepiece of the castle, and one that will add some levity to what will become very serious games of Malifaux, I'm sure.