How Many Samurai?

Starting a new army can be somewhat daunting. I can see the appeal of small skirmish games where only a dozen or so figures are required but even Never Mind The Bill Hooks requires about 120 figures and from a standing start that’s still quiet a commitment to painting. So when I decided to write an adaption to Never Mind the Bill Hooks for Samurai battles – Never Mind The Bushido, I quickly realised that the army was going to take some time to paint.

Samurai vs Landsknecht – which is quicker to paint?

I did have a bit of a start. I had in the past been playing Test of Honour and so had a few painted figures with which to start the army. However, based on my initial army list from the first draft of the rules, I am going to need at least 131 figures. Well, I managed to create a Landsnkecht force of similar size so I just need to get on with it! As you will know if you have read my last blog article, I have started to upgrade my Test of Honour force and I now have 36 Warlord Games Ashigaru painted, as well as 18 of the new Fireforge Ashigaru ready for action. Add in 6 Warlord Ashigaru armed with teppo and a couple of Warlord Samurai and I have the makings of an army.

The next task was to paint some Samurai warriors. I would need at least 24 fighting troops in two units, as well as another seven based as leaders. I have decided to batch paint the Fireforge Samurai and started by painting a test model. As you can see from the top picture, I went for a simple colour scheme. For the Samurai, rather than dry brushing the armour to highlight it, as I did for the Ashigaru, I decided to leave the armour as a solid black and instead paint the stitching in a colour to add interest to the figure. I was also looking for a fast way to produce some reasonably painted figures that would look good as a unit. Perhaps I will spend a bit more time on the Samurai leaders but for now I need quantity!

The first four figures painted as a batch ready for basing.

Once I had figured out a basic scheme, I decided to paint them as a batch. Using of all colours, Vallejo Japanese uniform for the cloth. By producing these four, I now had a ‘Template’ for the next batch. This time I would go for eight to give me my first unit.

The next batch of eight on the work bench

I chose light turquoise for the clothing on four figures and stone grey for the other batch. Everything else will be the same colours for the batch, with perhaps the stitching on the armour also varying between the four. I fancy Blue for the turquoise and red for the stone grey but I may change this when the paint hits the figure! This should result in a unit of Samurai that look similar but not identical as you would expect. It also means that I should get this first batch finished within a week or so. My target is to have the army completed by the end of February! I’ll keep you informed of progress in future blogs.


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