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 But at this time the sharpshooting skills of individual master bowmen had been replaced by large volleys, often fired by lower ranked samurai or even peasants.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.