Samurai-themed Space Marines, Pt.4 – Kumadori

This is going to be the last of my posts on how I’ve gone about giving my Space Marines a samurai theme without actually modifying the silhouette of the models themselves. I’ve talked about using kanji and samurai crests. The last thing I’ve done is gone for painting a kumadori design on the faces of Marines who aren’t wearing their helmets. Kumadori come from the Japanese traditional theater art of kabuki, which I’m sure you’re all aware of.

The idea here is, upon becoming full Battle Brothers, each Rising Sun Space Marine has his face tattooed with a kumadori design (tattooed because you don’t want greasy face paint getting all over the inside of your helmet when you put it on). I was initially a bit apprehensive about trying this, since I knew it would be difficult. On the other hand, I would only do it for bareheaded minis so it wouldn’t be too much work. The other consideration was, I didn’t want them to look too unnatural – not like Chaos warriors or something.

The cool thing about kumadori designs is, first, there are so many of them. Second, the colors have some symbolic meaning. Red, for example, is heroic and passionate, blue can stand for ghosts and spirits, and so on.

To actually paint it, first I paint the head and face in normal flesh tones. Then I go over it with a thin coat of white that’s translucent enough so the flesh color shows through just a bit. Then I go in and do the kumadori design. This is really an exercise in brush control and while I’m generally happy with the results I do wish I could do better.

At any rate, it gives my minis a distinctive look that also makes them stand out on the table.


One Response to “Samurai-themed Space Marines, Pt.4 – Kumadori”

  1. Lovely set of posts and models, TY


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