The rebasing of the infantry turned out to be a bit more eclectic than the shooty troops. They draw from two separate collections, one for Warhammer Fantasy with larger blocks of troops, and one smaller that I made primarily for a convention game of Ronin. The army was based primarily on the Eastern army at Sekigahara, while the skirmish troops were based a blue team versus a red team. Together with a few other odds and ends, I had to think a bit about what my focus would be from now on.
I pretty quickly decided to keep the theme of Sekigahara, and to build on the units I have. The more irregular troops were based together, and will be used as unit fillers until the infantry units are large enough, and after that I can repurpose them as ronin units. Given that Field of Glory calls for pretty big infantry units (6-8 units), I'm counting on needing unit fillers for a long time!
Trying to photograph these larger units really made me realize that I need a larger lighting box, sorry for the bad picture quality.
Ashigaru pikemen, "The Red Company"
These boys carrying the Tokugawa heraldry mark are still my biggest unit, with six bases. They are from Perry Miniatures with steel pikes that unfortunately seems to be discontinued. I've drilled the bottom of the bases so that the pikes are stuck into them, which does wonders to keep them from falling off. They still require some care when handling, though. Another two bases of standing ashigaru would neatly finish these off.
Ashigaru pikemen, "The Black Company"
These are also from Perry. These were a complete mess to play with when they were individually based, as they were impossible to carry to the club and the pikes would just fall off in droves! Basing them like this made handling a bit easier, but I'd still recommend shorter spears for this pose.
This unit also got a command groupd with a Tokugawa banner, and they also got spiffy gold accents on both the back of the haori (jacket worn over the armour) and their pikes. Since I've only painted three bases I'm considering what to do with this unit, if I should get enough Perry minis to get it to eight bases or if I should go with plastic Warlords to add to the back ranks.
Ashigaru pikemen, "Kobayakawa's Company"
The third ashigaru infantry unit are made out of the plastic minis that used to be sold by Wargames Factory, but are now sold by Warlord Games as their Test of Honour range. The pikes are a bit shorter, but I think these minis are at their best making up bulk infantry units. I bought a Test of Honour starter box and an expansion as well, so I should have plenty of minis to fill these up to fighting shape over the summer
I painted these up as belonging to the Kobayakawa forces. Kobayakawa Hideaki was a decisive actor at the battle of Sekigahara. His loyalty to the Western army was highly questioned, as he had been disgruntled with the Toyotomi for a long time, due to a slight from Hideyoshi back in the invasion of Korea. Unknown to Ishida Mitsunari, the commander of the Western forces, Kobayakawa kept a secret line of communication with Tokugawa's Eastern army, promising to switch sides.
Kobayakawa was positioned to guard the Western army's flank, but refused to get stuck in when he was needed the most. Yet, he also refused to support the hard pressed Eastern forces. Tokugawa Ieyasu gambled on forcing him to act by orderign his troops to shoot towards Kobayakawa's men, upon which Hideaki made up his mind. He charged towards his supposed allies, practically sealing the fate of the Western army.
Ronin, Tramps and Thieves
This warband of miscreants are a happy mix, primarily from Black Hat but also a hidden ninja from Dixon and an unarmoured spearman from AW Miniatures.
These are based five on each base, unlike the previous ones. Initially I chose five per base because there simply wasn't enough space! However, afterwards I started to think if five might be enough. This way I'll be able to stretch the miniatures over more bases, and honestly I think the bases look dense enough, especially for minis with more energetic poses.
These guys will beef up the other infantry units until I've had the time to paint more ashigaru.
These are troops where I simply only had enough for a base or two. They'll be standing in the back of units, acting as placeholders for now.
Despite being more of a stereotype than actually historically based, warrior monks like these tend to find their ways into any samurai collection! Making an entire unit is far at the end of the to-do list, but these The Assault Group monks look great. If I go for an entire unit I'll try to make them more historical by mixing in "normally" equipped samurai among them.
These Perry naginata-wielders are simply a result of Warhammer Fantasy rules: when playing my army as Empire, there was a big boon for having tiny flanking units of halberds. The painting scheme is way fantasy (purple armour was not standard for rank and file troops), but I like how it works with the yellow.
These retainers from AW Miniatures are ready to dutifully carry the luggage of any unit in need. These are extremely useful as unit fillers, as I can make excuses for putting them in more or less any kind of unit!
Finally, this command base of Perrys can represent a high ranking officer in one of the Tokugawa units, flanked by musicians, a bodyguard and a nobori banner. I have Perry's seated Tokugawa miniature, otherwise this could represent the main man himself, but it would feel a tad wrong as he didn't lead most of his famous battles from the frontline, but rather from a fixed camp.
A snapshot of the army in its current state. It's only about two thirds of a "starting" army for FoG! :O
Next steps for infantry
The obvious thing missing is, of course, "proper" samurai units. I have quite a few Perry samurai that are more or less painted, but need to be fixed up a bit. Once the half-sized units are done, it would be nice to finish at least two units of spear-armed samurai.
I also have a whole lot of unpainted infantry from Zenith, but most of them are in smaller groups of 5 or 10 or so, so I need to beef them up before I can make proper units out of them. I plan to add more through the Kickstarter, once the pledge manager goes live.
Finally, we have plans to play some fantasy themed battles, which makes me want to add something thematic to my infantry. Undead samurai conversions are high on that list!
With the Summer heat comes a less crowded schedule for me. That means the scent of lilacs and drunk graduates is being mixed by glue and paint! A lot of projects are still keeping me from finishing the samurai army, but by using the same basing scheme as my French Napoleonic army, a lot of time can be saved. I'm adding some extra tufts and flowers and stuff to them, to make the ground look a bit more verdant, but by using the same materials I can streamline the work on the two armies a lot.
First out will be the shooty bits of the army. Most of these are Perry Miniatures, and some of the units are still a bit small for Field of Glory. I'll have to decide if I want to get more troops to enlarge each unit, or mix a few together as I have more unpainted shooty guys from Warlord and Zenit as well.
Archery was central to the very existance of samurai. It was their skills in mounted archery that made them the top dogs of the battlefields, and even after that role had changed in the 16th century, archery remained one of the most respected skills. But at this time the sharpshooting skills of individual master bowmen had been replaced by large volleys, often fired by lower ranked samurai or even peasants.
Behold, an almost decently sized unit! These are from Perry, and I made a base with an archer captain with his own conch blower and banner (from the Tokugawa clan). Some close-ups below:
Then I have some left-over monks with bows, from The Assault Group. I got these for a warband back when I briefly played a Japan-based Mordheim hack at my old club. With only four monks, I'll see if I end up just using them as unit fillers or if I'll get a bunch more of them to bump them up. Overall the TAG minis are nice and a bit chunkier than Perry, but close enough to mix.
The use of gunpowder rapidly spread in 16th century Japan, due to how relatively easy it was to to train gunners and the guns ability to pierce armour. A classic misunderstanding of samurai warfare is that samurai considered gunpowder "dishonourable", and that they would rather die than use them. Quite the opposite! Just like archery, marksmanship with a gun was highly respected, and at first it was rare weapon mostly attainable by wealthy samurai. Only later on, when mass production made it possible to afford it, did the arquebuses become a weapon for the masses.
My first unit of arquebuses are a bunch of samurai fortunate enough to afford both guns and servants to reload them. These are some of my favourite miniatures in the entire Perry samurai range:
With too few bases to form a unit in FoG, I'll temporary bolster them with some ashigaru gunners:
Finally, I fixed up an old cannon. This is a conversion of a Warhammer Fantasy cannon, with crew from Perry. Cannon were mostly used at sieges, and at first they would use ship cannon, often quite small ones, bought from European merchants. Later on they started making their own cannon, and that's when you start to see larger pieces.
Again, this one has a Tokugawa family crest on the mantlet protecting the crew.
Next Stage of Shooting
There are a few things I want to do with this part of the army. The samurai arquebus unit is capped at three bases in FoG, so that one is done. But the ashigaru unit needs to be beefed up to six bases. I also have some converted dragoon style samurai, mounted handgunners, which I'd love to make a proper unit out of. But then I'd need to paint up maybe two or three more of them.
The army could use another big unit of missile troops, and I have a whole bunch of the Warlord plastics that would fit the bill. I'm thinking of making these up as mixed units, with both bows and guns. The Japanese armies experimented a lot with how to use guns, and while the European counterparts combined them with blocks of pikes, the Japanese made mixed ranged units. The guns had the killing power, especially up close, while the archers could keep up a stream of arrows that practically "suppressed" the enemy. Each team of around five men would often be led by an officer, who would have his own retainer(s), and they could bolster the unit with their spears if anyone got close enough for a melee.
Finally, I'm thinking of adding some more artillery. Either through Zenit's latest kickstarter, which has a lot of cannon, or AW Miniature's large calibre arquebuses. These were in the grey area between large handguns and small cannon, and would fit the light artillery entry in the FoG army list. You can see examples of those monstrosities in this video:
Next up, we'll check out the infantry units this far. Cheers!
The Renaissance Blog
What started as a blog about Renaissance gaming in general quickly turned into a blog about samurai miniatures.