Pauper Soldiers

I am gradually working my way through the Test of Honour boxed sets. Having completed all the figures in the Starter Box, Bandits and Brigands and most recently, the Samurai Cavalry, my next project was the Pauper Soldiers set. I very much like the main metal figure, Lord Senzo ‘The Thorn’ although I have to mention that the couple of occasions that I used him in a game, his accuracy with the bow led me to christen him something else – nothing to do with my dice rolling of course… I digress, back to the modelling!

ToH_pauper

As well as Lord Senzo, the box contains two sprues of ‘Missile ashigaru’, enough to build ten bowmen and musket men. The cards supplied also enable you to field groups or single models of Bowmen or Musket men. I decided that I wanted to build 9 bowmen to go with Senzo. It seemed logical that as he was armed with a bow, his retainers would follow suit. A sort of Japanese version of Robin Hood and his merry men! The tenth model would be used as a musket man but I have plans for fielding a force of Musket men and if they come to fruition, I will post these in a separate blog article.

Lord Senzo ready for priming.

Lord Senzo ready for priming.

Lord Senzo himself was pretty straight forward to put together as he is essentially a one piece metal moulding. I made a couple of changes though. By carefully cutting an arrow away from one of the plastic arms on the sprue, I was able to add an arrow to his bow. I also wanted to alter the angle at which he was firing, so by adding a small piece of slate to the base, I super glued Senzo to this. as with the other archers that I have made,  I will add a bowstring once painting is complete.

Kneeling Archers

Kneeling Archers

The Pauper Soldiers come with a selection of metal heads – some with hats and some with separate hats. I decided that I would leave the ones without hats bareheaded and hang the hats from the belt. I’m not sure whether this was the idea, but I quite like the effect. Two of the kneeling archers are aiming high. It was a case of finding the bow arms that looked about right for this pose and slightly modifying the arrow arm by adding a sliver of sprue to the shoulder to adjust the angle. Any gaps were filled with Vallejo plastic putty, which is easier and faster to use than green stuff for this small job.

Adjusting the angle of the draw!

Adjusting the angle of the draw!

You can just about make out the inserts in the picture above – it looks messy but cleans up OK! Incidentally, I’ve cheated as you only get two kneeling figures in the set – I had a spare donated by a friend who didn’t build everything in the starter set.

Standing archers

Standing archers

The standing archers are fairly straight forward to put together but I have made some slight modifications. I’ve used the legs that are have feet at right angle to each other and made sure that they are spread as wide as possible. There is no need to fill the slight gap but I did need to flatten the waist area slightly. The middle figure is holding a second arrow, ready to reload quickly! It’s a pose that I have seen in many pictures of Japanese archers. The spare arrow came by carefully cutting it away from the arm on the sprue. I’ve used that arm, now without an arrow, with the man on the far right. The idea is that the arrow has just been fired and when I fit the bow string this should look more obvious. I’ve also tried to tilt the bow down as though the tension has now gone.

Bowmen Reloading

Bowmen Reloading

The two bowmen reloading have been made using the left arm that is designed to be used to hold the musket. By simply glueing it so that it is positioned reaching over the shoulder, it looks convincing enough. Of course the other trick is to glue the quiver in place right under the hand! The bowman on the left has had a bit of surgery on his leg to make it look as though he is supporting his body as he leans back to get an arrow. It’s a small modification to cut off the legs and re-join it at an angle. As before, I have used Vallejo plastic putty to fill the gap. If you are not familiar with this product, it is idea for filling gaps in plastic models, dries quickly and is easily sanded and primed. You use it straight for the bottle or tube with no mixing and the drying time is very fast. The final note is that I have again used a piece of slate on the base of the right hand figure to change the angle of his pose.

Running bowman.

Running bowman.

The final figure of the ninth bowman is pretty much a straight build except that I have altered the angle of the bow arm to one side and as a result, the arrow is resting on the ‘wrong’ side of the bow. As I’m not an archer, I’m not sure how realistic this is but it makes the pose more dynamic. The other point to note is that I have given him just one sword. This is true for all of the plastic pauper archers that I have made. I had originally thought to leave the swords off but decided that even paupers would have some sort of sword, so I have either given them one of the ‘extra’ short swords from the samurai sprue or simply cut the small sword away from the double Katana that is supplied.

Pauper soldiers, primed and ready for painting.

Pauper soldiers, primed and ready for painting.

Here is the finished group, primed and ready for painting. I’m sorry that the picture doesn’t show the detail but it gives you the idea as to how they will look.  I have a colour scheme in mind that will hopefully make them look a bit like pauper soldiers – more of a drab scheme than I have used for my other archers. I’ll update you with my progress in a future blog.

The Commercial bit.

If you would like to have a go at building your own Pauper soldier warband, all of the products that I use are available from the Arcane Scenery shop and with the exception of aerosols are supplied post free to most worldwide locations at the time of writing. Here are some links:

SAMURAI AND TEST OF HONOUR CATEGORY

GLUES AND ADHESIVES

FILLERS, INCLUDING VALLEJO PLASTIC PUTTY

BASING MATERIALS INCLUDING SLATE

 

Samurai Cavalry

If you have been following the Arcane Scenery Facebook page, you will be aware that I have been working on the Test of Honour Mounted Samurai set. In this picture heavy blog post, I’ve pulled most of the pictures together to give a running commentary on how I finished the band. I haven’t detailed all the paint colours but I use Vallejo model colour throughout combined with the Army painter ink wash range.

Mounted Samurai set assembled

Mounted Samurai set assembled

You can see that I have assembled the full set before I started to paint them. I already had an idea as to how they would look. It might sound a bit daft, but when working on a project like this I have a sort of story or narrative in my head as to how the warband should look. You will get the idea as the finished warband appears. Just as an aside, I have made a mistake when assembling the horses tails – I’ll leave the reader to figure out what it is but I decided to leave things as they were…

I modified an GW Elven horse with green stuuf

I modified an GW Elven horse with green stuff

The mounted Samurai set comes with six plastic samurai and their horses plus an extra metal character model, the widow Takeda Naoko, which means that you have a ‘spare’ samurai. I decided to use a spare GW horse and using green stuff, it was a simple job to add some samurai trimming! There were now seven Samurai in the warband.

Onna Bugeisha Takeda Nacko

Onna Bugeisha Takeda Naocko

I started the painting with the Widow Takeda Naoko. It’s worth pointing out now, that my research regarding colours is limited to the warlord web site, my pinterest board ( link below) and googling ‘mounted samurai’, so don’t take any of my colours as ‘accurate’. I save all that malarkey for my Napoleonics and just want to have fun painting these models as the mood takes me. In my mind, I decided that a widow should have black armour and I put her on one of the more sedate horses. Her pose is not as dynamic as some that Warlord produce and it looked to me as she was watching over proceedings as her retinue wreaked vengeance!

Onna Bugeisha Takeda Naoko complete

Onna Bugeisha Takeda Naoko complete

The next two models that I painted were the widows immediate bodyguard. In my imagination, she would have two faithful retainers who would put an arrow through anyone that came too close! I also wanted a bit of Hollywood, so one of the archers is firing from a rearing horse.

Samurai mounted archers

Samurai mounted archers

To contrast against the Widows horse, I decided to paint these two on matching white horses. I am also using my new favourite red, Vallejo burnt red 70814. The archer on the rearing horse just needed a bit of filling at waist level to get him to sit upright in the saddle.

Samurai Archer on rearing horse

Samurai Archer on rearing horse

The next picture shows the three models together as I had imagined them. The bowstrings on the archers are made using stretched sprue – its an old modelling technique that I have covered in a previous blog – again, the link is below.

Takeda Naoko and bodyguard.

Takeda Naoko and bodyguard.

The next model was the ‘lead’ Samurai in another group of three that would make up the retinue. I planned to have these all in Black Armour with gold trim. The lead model is on a rearing horse and I thought that a light brown horse would look good.

The next samurai in the group

The next samurai in the group

This picture also shows my preferred basing method. I use Vallejo dark earth textured paste and add some small rocks as detail. I then paint the whole thing with Vallejo chocolate brown and dry brush with chocolate brown and Iraqi sand mix. For the rocks, I also added some white to get a brighter finish.

Five mounted samurai in the band.

Five mounted samurai in the band.

The basing is finished with some woodland scenic scatter, some Noch flowering tufts and my new favourite thing, Gamers grass long tufts. You can see the fifth Samurai on a brown horse, and in the next picture, the sixth on a similar horse.

Now six Samurai in the warband

Now six Samurai in the warband

It’s not clear but I have added the flags on the back of these three Samurai and using decals, added the Takeda mon to show their allegiance. I also used different colours on the horse decoration as what I hoped would be a subtle way of differentiating the different allegiances in the warband.

The final horse in progress.

The final horse in progress.

I wanted the final or ‘bonus Samurai’ to be different again. With a bit of a nod towards the movies, this one would be all red on a dappled grey horse carrying the Takeda Colours into battle. Perhaps he is the Brother or son of the Widow Takeda Naoko charging to avenge the death of his Father/Brother in law?

Takeda Charge!

Takeda Charge!

I was worried that perhaps I had used too much red so decided that the banner would have to be a different colour – a picture on google helped here.

Takeda banner added

Takeda banner added

The last couple of pictures show the warband complete.

Takeda Naoko's warband complete

Takeda Naoko’s warband complete

Takeda Naoko's warband ride out to seek vengegance!

Takeda Naoko’s warband ride out to seek vengegance!

I started the project on 23 December 2017 and finished just this weekend. Painting these models have given me a great deal of pleasure as I have lost myself in the stories that I have imagined as I painted the models. I’m now looking forward to the battles that they will fight!

Below are some useful links, including links to products in the Arcane Scenery Shop. Remember we post free to most countries in the world.

SAMURAI RANGE

VALLEJO RANGE

ARMY PAINTER INKS

GAMERS GRASS

The joys of Sprue Stretching

MY PINTEREST SAMURAI BOARD

 

Another year over, A new one has begun

Not quite John Lennon, but a good intro to my first blog of the year. I had intended to do a review of the year but to be honest, I’m not in the mood to look back, I prefer to look forward. If you would like to know what I have been up to, there are over 40 blog entries from last year to peruse! That said, I’m not one for making New Years Resolutions as such. I prefer a 90 day plan. A year is a long time and there will be plenty to distract me. Test of Honour is a great example. I had never planned to model and paint Samurai or come to that anything Japanese. My focus was very much on building a Napoleonic Army with Saga Dark Age warbands as a happy distraction from churning out battalions of Brits.

My latest additon to my Warband

My latest addition to my Warband

But along came Test of Honour, and I was hooked. I think I know why and bear with me whilst I explain.

Now, first of all, I had been stocking and selling the original Wargames Factory Samurai kits since their release. I had always been a fan of their sets long before they moved across to Warlord Games. I thought that in terms of value for money they were excellent and the sculpts were improving all the time. For those that doubt me here’s a couple of links to earlier blogs written in 2010 and 2011 respectively:

WARGAMES FACTORY DARK AGE MODELS

WELCOME BACK WARGAMES FACTORY

Despite my enthusiasm for Wargames factory, the Samurai kits didn’t really appeal, I was too involved in Napoleonics to consider them as a hobby project. Just to further name drop and show how I missed the early boat, Andrew Chesney, who was working at Warlord at the time, mentioned that he was playing a Samurai game with a couple of other guys from Warlord, a certain Andy Hobday and Graham Davey, did I fancy joining him in a game? At the time, I was again, too wrapped up in my own agenda and politely declined, although I did sell him some nice Japanese buildings that were being produced by Sarissa….

The rather Superb Sarissa Buildings

The rather Superb Sarissa Buildings

I nearly got hooked on the Samurai vibe when Zvezda released their 1/72nd range but 1/72nd is really not my preferred scale and although we commissioned some Japanese scenery in this scale, it didn’t take off either as a game or a range. Zvezda seem to lose interest quite early on as well and although some of the sets are still available, as far as I can see the range is not included in their latest catalogue and is disappearing fast.

The release of Ronin by North Star and Osprey books was also tempting. The miniatures are lovely but the rules didn’t quite capture my interest, nor more importantly, that of my gaming buddies, who like me were focusing elsewhere.  So, no Samurai for me then…until Test of Honour was released last year.

New from Warlord Games, Test of Honour

New from Warlord Games, Test of Honour

I wrote about the initial release in my blog here:

A TEST OF WILL POWER

and my conversion to the game here:

TURNING JAPANESE

It would appear that I am hooked. The appeal for me is the simple game mechanics that expand with each supplement that you buy. This results in the game having collectability as well as allowing you to field all sorts of variations in your warband. Of course, this also means that there is depth to the game. As you build your warband, more tactical options are available. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not designed to be an accurate historical recreation of Samurai Warfare and this is quite liberating for a Napoleonic Wargamer. It’s simply a game using Samurai figures with just enough flavour to make it feel authentic. You can get through a game in an hour or less. This seems to ensure that nobody takes winning or losing too seriously – you can always have another chance to win if a game goes against you.

My own take on the Widow Takeda - Black seemed appropriate to me.

My own take on the Widow Takeda – Black seemed appropriate to me.

As you are encouraged to build your own retinue, you can either research a historical clan or simply design your own – again, a very liberating process for a historical wargamer. I guess as my collection grows, so will my very limited knowledge of the period but for now I am happy to focus on the modelling and painting and enjoy the freedom of creating my own collection of both models and scenery.

So no New Years Resolution for me as such. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a list of Projects to get on with but filling a year would be silly. I know what’s coming later in the year and it’s going to be brilliant… and I’m not just talking about Samurai!

So watch this space, or even better, follow us on Facebook. We will let you know what’s coming as soon as we can but for now, just leave a bit of space in your modelling schedule. As for those of you yet to try Test Of Honour, if you have a like minded gaming buddy, give it a go. The boxed set has pretty much everything that you will need for two players to get started for just £35.00 and we ship post free worldwide. But, don’t blame me if you get hooked!

TEST OF HONOUR

SAMURAI CATEGORY IN SHOP FOR OUR RANGE

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

What! No Blog?

Well, actually there is – you are reading it, but…..It’s been a fraught week, one way and another. No doubt all the minor tribulations that have distracted me from my modelling have been magnified by the approach of Christmas. The so called ‘Season of good will to all men’ seems to running a bit short of the ‘good’ part at the moment. The week started well. Saturday found me down in London at the Wembley Stadium watching the mighty Spurs giving Stoke City a 5 -1 pasting. On Sunday I ventured into Nottingham, despite the snow, and finished off my Christmas shopping. It was quite a pleasant experience as the weather appeared have dissuaded some folks from shopping so the queues were quite bearable. With no Mrs Arcane in tow, I could sneak off for a crafty Greggs sausage roll and spend a couple of hours in Waterstones’ bookshop without any guilty feelings. So far so good.

Christmas Shopping in Nottingham - Coffee break

Christmas Shopping in Nottingham – Coffee break

It was on Sunday evening that things began to unravel. Whilst checking through my paperwork and planning the forthcoming week I found that the MOT on my car was about to run out on Monday. Bugger! Fortunately, although the Arcane Rolls Royce (which is cunningly disguised as a 12 year old Vauxhall Astra) was now unavailable, Mrs Arcanes Ferrari, (again, we disguise it as a aged Vauxhall Corsa) would allow me to get to work. As if this wasn’t enough, a crisis was looming in the Arcane household. After 27 years of loyal service, we had disposed of our trusty dinning room table and two months ago, ordered a brand new one all ready for the big Christmas family gathering. I’d even redecorated the dinning room in preparation. Except the table wasn’t ready… Mrs Arcane was not happy and I must admit that I wasn’t looking forward to eating my Christmas dinner from a tray. So as well as sorting the car, I needed to sort a table supplier out. All of this was distracting me from my modelling!

First two figures from the Bandits and Brigands set

First two figures from the Bandits and Brigands set

I have been working on the Test of Honour Bandits and Brigands set and had completed the first two models using inks, to shade and highlighting in the usual method. The plan was to complete the other five models over the last two weeks but the afore mentioned distractions were making any sort of protracted painting session difficult. I had also intended to document the models as I painted them so that I could complete a painting guide and review on the blog. Alas, something had to give and in this case, as I was grabbing odd bits of painting time when I could, it was the documentation and pictures for the blog that fell by the wayside.

A third bandit joins the gang.

A third bandit joins the gang.

So, all I can say is that I had decided to follow the colour scheme used on the Warlord website and when it came to model number three, shown above I defaulted to using Army Painter quick shade rather than ink to speed things up. To be fair, I did do some highlighting before the quickshade was painted on and once varnished I also used my tried and trusted method of adding in some extra highlights or repainting some of the lighter colours. However, as these are Bandits, I decided that the ‘dirty’ look wasn’t such a bad idea. I was onto my last figure and had decided to do a step by step guide to him when to add to the troubles at home, the web site went down following a routine upgrade to the security certificate! This photo is as far as I got in terms of step by step.

Top Bandit under way.

Top Bandit under way.

So by Wednesday, with no car, no Table for Christmas and no website, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. The irony being that in order to take a break from the stress, I took myself off to the garage, despite the cold, and just got on with my hobby! Result being that the Bandits are now complete!

My Bandit Gang for Test of Honour

My Bandit Gang for Test of Honour

The good news is that week has finished well. The car is MOT’d and back on the road. We have a loan table for Christmas, so no more worries about where we put the family or the Christmas dinner and the web site upgrade has now been sorted, so we are back in business. I have also had a reminder as to why my hobby is so important to me. When the minor speed bumps of life are threatening, the best remedy is to lose myself in some painting and it will all get sorted out, one way or another. So no Blog as such but I have finished my Bandits!

Bandits and Brigands Boxed set done!

Bandits and Brigands Boxed set done!

If you would like a set of Test of Honour Bandits and Brigands. they are available from our shop, post free at the time of writing, here:

SAMURAI

 

Fit to Paint.

I have noticed the number of times that I have moaned about not having enough time to do all the painting and modelling that I have lined up. It’s somewhat of a thread that runs through my blog. I guess that most in the hobby that have full time jobs and a family are under similar time pressures. Now that I have clocked up my ‘three score years’ and have started to move into the ‘ten’, time seems to be just a bit more precious than the carefree days of youth. The other factor, of course, is health. I am fortunate enough to enjoy generally good health and apart from the usual colds and coughs that go around and self induced indigestion, I fair pretty well. However, over the last couple over years I noticed that my BMI has moved from being healthily overweight into obese territory. Even with all of my scepticism for the  ‘nanny’s of this world who insist that they know what’s best for us, I had to admit that something must be done.

Having given up on trying to grow taller, it seems that my only option to bring my BMI down is to lose some weight. Matters were brought into focus by the approach of the festive season and I noticed that I was already over my last Christmas peak weight. My excuse is that I missed out on a holiday this year, so didn’t bother with my usual attempt to get beach fit. In my case, this means losing just enough weight to avoid attracting the attention of Japanese whaling ships whilst out swimming or being dragged off the beach back into the water by green activists! It’s fair to say that I model myself on the guy in the Southern Comfort Ad, except, of course, for the moustache…

The up shot is that I have been spending some of my hobby time out walking in the evening. Just a couple of miles at a steady pace – my jogging days are long gone- and very gradually, the weight is coming off. At this rate, I will be back down to just being over weight and ready to take on the Turkey, Christmas pud and all that Christmas brings. I guess that if helps avoid Type 2 Diabetes and some of the other issues that come with carrying a bit extra, then I’m hopeful that the time spent exercising will buy a few more years in which I can finish my Napoloeonic Army…

Perry's British Ammunition Wagon

Perry’s British Ammunition Wagon

Talking of which, as you can see from the above picture, I have now finished the Perry’s British Ammunition wagon. Once I had cleaned up the casting, painting it was relatively quick to do. The next job is of course to paint the horses and crew and of course base it, which I suspect will be a bit of a longer task. It doesn’t help that I am also distracted by the new releases from the Test of Honour range. The new Bandits and Brigands set is also on the work bench and I have just about finished the first model.

First Bandit on the work bench

First Bandit on the work bench

I decided to copy the painted example on the Warlord web site, using predominantly Vallejo Buff to paint his clothes ( Kimono? Pyjamas?). Here he is all based up.

First Bandit based

First Bandit based

As you can see from the work bench, the rest of his gang are now primed and ready to paint. And yes, that’s a DeeZee giraffe in the background also underway.

You're having a giraffe!

You’re having a giraffe!

What with DeeZee models, Test of Honour, Napoleonics, my Caribbean project and my Dark ages warbands, I guess that I need all the time that I can get. I’ll keep walking, I need to be fit to paint!

Remember, If you are looking for anything to help with your hobby, visit my shop:

ARCANE SCENERY AND MODELS

Most of the items that we sell are available post free to most worldwide locations at the time of writing.

 

Shine a light!

I continue to bit and bob between one project and another. The problem is there are just too many great games and figures out there! Test of Honour, being a case in point. It’s got an addictive quality to it that keeps pulling me back into it’s world. Before it’s release I had no intention of ever building a Samurai or Japanese army. I now find that I have an increasing collection of both figures and scenery. If I’m not expanding my scenery collection, I’m looking at the next set of miniatures to paint. All of this when I am supposed to be finishing my Napoleonic project…

The latest set from Warlord - just too tempting...

The latest set from Warlord – just too tempting…

The latest release to catch my attention was the Bandits and Brigands set, the first set that is all new metal models from Warlord. I had intended to get some Samurai Cavalry but the figures in the Bandits set are just superb – possibly the best release of the year! No doubt once I get into painting these, I’ll complete a proper review of the box set but for the time being, lets just say that that I am smitten!

The scenario book that comes with the set includes some night fighting scenarios and the possibility of adding Lanterns to my playing board. Of course, Sarissa make a really nice set of lanterns so I decided to start here. It seemed a shame not to install lights in the lanterns but I was looking for a simple solution. That solution was found at my Granddaughters Halloween party – flickering battery operated tea lanterns! So here’s my progress so far.

Sarissa Lantern Set

Sarissa Lantern Set

The Sarrisa Lantern set includes four lantern that are very straight forward to put together – regardless, I still suggest that you follow the instruction sheet as it will ensure you don’t make any mistakes!

Hole cut into MDF base

Hole cut into MDF base

The only modification that I needed to make was to cut a hole throught the MDF lantern base as shown. MDF is a fairly soft material, so once I had drilled a pilot hole using a simple hand drill, I used a sharp knife to carve the hole to the size required.

LED Tealights - batteries included

LED Tealights – batteries included

I grabbed a couple of packs of tea lights from the local BM bargain store. The plain ones were just 99p – the posh Halloween ones, twice the price at £1.99 – still a bargain! As it turned out, the cheap ones were the best. My first attempt involved removing the outside of the tea light to see if I could incorprate it into the lantern base.

First attempt - base of tea light removed.

First attempt – base of tea light removed.

It worked OK but I would have needed to built a new cover around the base and the on/off switch wasn’t quite as easy to use. Whilst fiddling around with the cheaper lights, I found that they actually looked good without the modification. They were a perfect fit. I didn’t even have to glue the Lantern to the tea lights – they simply just sat on the top. I guess you could glue them but I now have the option of using them with or without the lights.

Tea lights added intact!

Tea lights added intact!

Although they are standing a bit taller than I first wanted, I thought that the effect was OK and certainly saved time. To cover the tea lights and blend them in, I simply sprayed the whole assembly using a textured spray from B&Q. The MDF takes the spray well as do the tea lights and the result is a stone effect. Just remember to use a piece of masking tape to cover the light bulb when spraying!

Lanterns sprayed with texture spray

Lanterns sprayed with texture spray.

Just to finish things off, I decided lightly dry brush the lanterns with Vallejo Iraqi Sand 70819 and then to add some ‘moss’. This was simply woodlands scenic green scatter stuck on using a watered down PVA glue mix.

Lanterns with moss added!

Lanterns with moss added!

As you can see from the final pictures I added a bit more moss for effect. I think that these make a nice addition to my scenery box and I will get on and finish the other two lanterns although I might just be tempted to see if I can make the lower profile versions without too much extra effort!

Lanterns on the gaming table

Lanterns on the gaming table

Close up of Lanterns

Close up of Lanterns

As usual the links to most of the products used are below – you will have to search out your own tealights & textured spray but a trip to B&M bargains will help! At the time of writing, all products are POST FREE to most worldwide locations.

You can see our range of Test of Honour products and Samurai scenery and accessories here:

SAMURAI

Happy modelling!

 

 

Geisha Spy

I’m still very much enthused by the Test of Honour Game and my only regret at the moment is that I’m not getting enough game time in! However, I still have my Napoleonic project lumbering away and having just finished 18 British Lifeguards with another 6 about to hit the paint board, I fancied painting something different. I remembered that I had yet to paint the limited edition Geisha Spy that was released with the bundle, so I thought I would spend a few nights painting her.

Geisha

Geisha

I had already done some research on Geishas wearing Kimonos (not the most unpleasant of tasks…) and collected some pictures onto my Pinterest board here:

SAMURAI PINTEREST BOARD

I tend to think about projects in advance and often will put together a reference board way in advance of actually painting the subjects. If you check out the rest of my boards you will guess what my next Napoleonic theme will be if I ever finish my British! I digress, the pictures are very inspiring but way beyond my painting capability. So having given the overall colour scheme some thought, I went with a similar scheme that worked well on my unarmoured samurai. They came as a pair so I thought that I would keep to the same pallet. The picture below sort of captured the look and colour scheme that I was after.

1b40b372c2d48b1e410b4a433a2f3016

So one evening was spent cleaning up the model, assembling it, filling the gaps that seem to appear around the joins on the hand and priming in a neutral grey, my preferred primer colour. The initial colour blocking was quite straight forward. The model is beautifully cast and molded so it was a very straight forward task to paint. I used all Vallejo Colours. The main kimono was painted in Sand Yellow 70916, the trim, Sky Blue 70961, the Kimono sash, Dark Prussian Blue 70899, Hair, Black 70950 and skin tone was done using Light flesh 70928. I did think about using white for the face but many of the pictures show Geishas with a pale flesh rather than the full white make up and I preferred this. The fan was painted in green…for the time being…

Geisha with first colours blocked on

Geisha with first colours blocked on

To add shadows and depth to the kimono, I gave it a wash of thinned down army painter dark tone ink. This helps me to see where the folds in the cloth lie and hence where the shadows would be. I then repainted the Kimono with the sand yellow, leaving some of the darker shadows. I then added some white to the original colour to add some highlights to the top of the folds. I also used a very fine brush to add some dark lines to the deep folds and creases and the borders of the sky blue trim. I used a skin wash to add some shadow to the face but this was watered down until it was practically clear. It just added enough shadow to the face and neck.

Black lining and details to hair ornaments etc added.

Black lining and details to hair ornaments etc added.

I then painted in the eyes – I’m not good at these! The next step was to thin down the black lining and shadows by over painting and to add a bit more detail to the hair ornaments. I also added some highlights to the sky blue Kimono and the sash. The sash was easier to do than I thought. I first dry brushed it to show where the detail was and then carefully painted on the ‘stripes’ in a lighter blue.

Face & eyes done. More highlights added to the trim.

Face & eyes done. More highlights added to the trim.

I use the photographs as a way of reviewing my work. It allows me to see the model and pick up on any obvious errors. In the next picture, you can see that I had missed painting part of her sleeve – I couldn’t see this in ‘real life’!

spot the missing paint!

spot the missing paint!

Despite constantly picking up errors and correcting them, there was still something very wrong with the figure. It some how wasn’t working. I asked Rob, a colleague at work what he thought the problem was. It was obvious, the fan was the wrong colour! The green just wasn’t working. We had an interesting discussion  on colour theory but the upshot was that I had introduced too many colours onto the model. I over painted the fan in light blue and it instantly looked better.

a new fan!

a new fan!

Once again, using my pinterest boards as a reference, I painted a simple cherry blossom design onto the fan and added a few further highlights to the kimono. I also added her finger nails in Ivory 70918 and touched up any more obvious mistakes.

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

The final stage was to add some pink and white to the cherry blossom to the design on the fan and to re base the geisha on a plain MDF base that I had painted to match the Sarissa shrine that I had previously completed. My Geisha Spy was ready for the table!

Geisha spy at the shrine.

Geisha spy at the shrine.

The geisha was a most enjoyable model to paint and certainly stretched my painting skills. It made a pleasant change from painting Napoleonic units! Although close up, there are still a few errors and the paint job isn’t as smooth as I would like,  she looks great at a distance and is a nice addition to my collection!

If you would like to join the fun with the Test of Honour game we have a full range available in our shop here:

SAMURAI RANGE

All the paints used are also available from our Vallejo range here:

VALLEJO MODEL COLOUR

Incidentally, if you are looking for a specific colour, rather than browse through all the 200+ colours listed, just put the number into the search bar. So sky blue is 70961:

Search result

Finally, at the time of writing, all products, except aerosols, are post free to most world wide locations! I hope that you enjoy your modelling!

Test Of Honour New Scenario – Battle Report

The club that I normally attend is having a bit of a summer break. It seems that everybody is busy at the same time this year. So rather than go to the club, I hosted a game in my newly tidied games room AKA the garage, with Andy Callan as my opponent. When Andy organises a game at his place, he usually comes up with a well thought out scenario, usually based on an actual historical battle, so I thought that I better put some preparation into our game. The plan was to play Test of Honour and as we have fought our way through the scenarios in the book, it was time to think of something new.

As it was, I went for a variant of the Spy scenario, so not too original, but it did present some extra challenges and once again, this simple game provided a very enjoyable evenings play. The scenario was as follows. A samurai and four retainers were defending a shrine from marauding war bands. This small band of fighters were unsure as to where their allegiance lay and could be persuaded to join one of the warbands and fight on their side to protect their property. All a player had to do to recruit the defending warriors to his band would be for the Hero Samurai to persuade them that they were the force for good!

Do You want to be in my gang? I'll give you this head.....

Do You want to be in my gang? I’ll give you this head…..

The Set up was quite simple. The ‘neutral defending’ Samurai and his warriors were set up on a mid line, in cover,  exactly between the two players forces who were allowed to deploy anywhere along their base lines up to 6 inches into the table. The cards and tokens for the ND force were placed to one side of the table. Apart from blocking line of sight, they would not be part of the game unless ‘recruited’ by one side or the other. This process was quite simple. To recruit a neutral warrior, the hero samurai from either side would have to make base contact with the warrior. On the next activation, he would then take a test of wits. If passed, the warrior would be successfully recruited to his warband and the neutral warriors card and token would be moved to the successful warriors side of the table. On the next turn, the token (or tokens, in the case of the samurai) would be placed in the bag and he would be activated as normal and fight for his new master.

The neutral warriors were deliberately spaced across the table to allow both attacking warbands the chance of recruiting extra men. Obviously, the prize was the neutral Samurai. However, the game would only be won if one of the hero Samurai were slain or one of the opposing forces were driven back to their side of the table and the shrine secured. We set the turn time for 6 moves but if there was no clear outcome, we were happy to keep going. As it was 6 turns was enough! We were using 21 points for each opposing warband.

Archer for hire.

Archer for hire.

So how did it play out? To start with, both of the hero Samurai charged towards the shrine in an attempt to recruit the neutral Samurai. However, once it became clear that I was going to win that race, Andy decided to draw back and concentrate on moving up his war band in support of his Samurai. I had chosen bowmen as my ‘fire support’. Andy was using musketmen. I was dubious as to how effective that musketmen would be in groups – I was about to find out! I quickly persuaded the neutral Samurai to join my band and leaving him and the wise Samurai to defend the temple, the Hero moved off to attempt to recruit more reinforcements.

Wise Samurai and his new best friend under fire!

Wise Samurai and his new best friend under fire!

This turned out to be a big mistake! My two samurai were now unsupported as Andy’s warband closed the gap on them. To make matters worse, my warband was lagging behind as I used any activations to allow my bowmen to shoot rather than moving up troops. My archers were somewhat ineffective as they were shooting at long range. The opposite was the case for Andy’s musket troops. When used in a group of three, they benefit from having four dice to hit, and then four dice to kill, all at 20 inches. So musket fire combined with Andy’s Samurai both charging in meant that I lost my newly recruited Samurai and my wise Samurai in one blood thirsty turn!

Are you sure you are a wise Samurai? It's feeling a bit lonely out here!

Are you sure you are a wise Samurai? It’s feeling a bit lonely out here!

My hero Samurai had managed to recruit an extra bowman but this was small consolation. In my rush to gain recruits I had split my warband and my Hero Samurai out of position and isolated. Even worse, Andy’s musket men were now working extremely well as a team, one group firing, the other reloading and causing damage with every shot.

Newly recriuted Samurai faces the opposing hero.

Newly recruited Samurai faces the opposing hero samurai, his new best friend having already been dispatched!

My archers continued to be ineffective even as the range closed. Despite their best attempts to keep Andy’s Samurai at bay, they closed in on my hero.

Archers fire!

Archers fire!

With his spearmen drawing my archers fire, my own Hero under musket fire, his Hero and wise Samurai closed for the kill and cut down my hero Samurai to win the game.  The moral of the story being never listen to a man who wants to be your friend if he is holding someone else’s head….

Once again, Test of Honour had delivered an excellent evenings entertainment and this apparently straight forward rules set has enough depth to keep you coming back for more. Maybe I need some more musket men….

Incidentally, once we had finished that game we moved onto a game using mounted Samurai. I know from the feedback on facebook there is a feeling that these are over pointed in the current rules. I certainly feel that this is the case, so we made some minor changes to their rules. First up, we allow charge at 9 inch range – it seems daft not to. We allow a 6 inch move and fire for mounted archers. We also allow an extra dice for avoid when targeted by missile fire. It all worked very well but to be fair, we both had mounted Samurai. It will be interesting to try these amendments when one player has a warband on foot only and see if the game is still balanced.

If you haven’t had a go with Test of Honour and would like to try it, we have all the sets currently available as well as the superb Sarissa scenery in my shop here:

SAMURAI 

 

 

Scenery for Samurai

It’s funny how once you get into a groove, it’s difficult to get out of it, particularly if you are having fun! I had finished all of the original Test of Honour figures as detailed in last weeks blog and my intention was to go back to painting my beloved Napoleonics. I did mention that I fancied painting some buildings but they were going to have to wait. However, having had a couple of really fun games of TOH at the club, I decided to get on with making some scenery.

I had some plastic aquarium plants that my brother had sent me, kicking around the back of my work bench and I had long admired the Sarissa Temple Shrine so I thought that I would make both bits of scenery. It may seem like a strange combination but sometimes two slightly different projects are as fast to do as one. Whilst one piece is drying or setting, you can get on with the other. Having just two projects is about right for me as I don’t loose my concentration!

'Bamboo grove' assembled.

‘Bamboo grove’ assembled.

The ‘bamboo patch’ was the first on the work bench. I already had an idea how I would make it and stole an idea from John Grant at the club, who uses old DVD or CD’s as his bases for scatter scenery. I’ve got plenty of these kicking around as they were giving out DVD’s with some newspapers in the past. Quite why I thought I would need a documentary on Pilates escapes me now but at last it was going to be used for something useful. So using the label side as the base I partially covered it with milliput, pressed three pebbles that I had grabbed from the garden (I didn’t even bother to wash them!) and just stuck the tall aquarium plants straight into the milliput as shown above. I used some cut down pieces at the edges to taper the height but otherwise, assembly was as straight forward as it looks.

Building the Sarissa Precision Japanese Temple.

Building the Sarissa Precision Japanese Temple.

Whilst the milliput was setting, I turned my attention to the Sarissa Temple. These laser cut buildings are just superb in my opinion and actually look fantastic whether painted or not. I like to ‘pimp’ them up a bit and in this case I had decided to paint the building and add some tile effect to the roof. Before assembly, I lightly sprayed the back of the interior pieces with black primer. This was just to keep the inside of the building black as I didn’t want the MDF showing through the windows. It’s not a necessary stage but does improve the finished model. If you plan to paint the interior, now would be a good time to do it.

Before I assembled the roof, I used the panels as a cutting guide for the textured plastic sheeting that I was going to use. It is actually ‘O’ Scale or 1/48th scale Spanish Tile textured plastic card from JTT products. It’s thin enough to easily cut with a sharp scalpel and the only thing to bear in mind is to make sure that the tiles are running the right way on the roof, ie. downwards! I then used super glue to attach the sheet to the MDF roof pieces, although a contact adhesive would have been a better option – my tube of Bostick had dried up though, so super glue did the job. I then assembled the roof as per the kit instructions.

Tile sheets glued to the roof.

Tile sheets glued to the roof.

Once the roof was assembled, I used 1/8th evergreen tube pack 224 to fill the corners. The picture above shows my progress, with the tube blu-tacked into place to test fit before gluing to the tile sheet. I then covered the tube with a strip of single tiles cut from the tile sheeting. At this stage, I used standard polystyrene glue as you can see from the picture. I assembled the rest of the building but did not glue the centre to the platform so that it was easier to varnish. I used the red mahaogany woodstain shown in the picture straight from the can and applied it to the MDF without any preparation. It took around four coats to give me the gloss effect that I was looking for.

Applying the varnish

Applying the varnish

In the meantime, I got on with painting the building itself. I used a Vallejo yellow ochre although the last coat was a mix of 50:50 Yellow Ochre 70913 with Beige 70917 to lighten the effect as it looked too yellow to me. I painted the door and window with the woodstain and then the timber with Vallejo Mahogany Brown 70846.

yellow ochre applied

yellow ochre applied

In between coats drying I went back to my Bamboo scenery piece and once the milliput had dried, coated the base with Vallejo dark earth Textured paste. It was easy enough to apply using a small spatula and a brush to get in between the plants. Once this was dry, I painted it Vallejo Chocolate Brown 70872 and I was ready to start dry brushing!

Ready to dry brush!

Ready to dry brush!

I had sprayed the roof tiles black as I wasn’t keen on the terracotta effect. With hindsight a dark grey would have been a better choice. So it was a case of dry brushing the roof with a mixture of greys and the bamboo base with a chocolate Brown/Iraqi Sand mix.

Dry Brushing complete - well not quite - more grey needed!

Dry Brushing complete – well not quite – more grey needed!

The picture above shows the shrine assembled with the posts painted a bright red 70947 to match the Tori Gate that I have previously completed. Once I had taken this photo I decided that I needed to go heavier with the grey as too much black was showing through the roof. I had also painted the base of the house in Chocolate brown ready for some scatter. The bamboo looked OK – some additional grass scatter & texture was needed.

Temple & Bamboo finished

Temple & Bamboo finished

The Picture above shows the two pieces completed. I have added some brown ballast to the temple base and my usual mix of scatter & tufts to the Bamboo scenery. I perhaps will add another highlight to the roof tiles but I think that the lighting in the picture doesn’t show it at it’s best. So, now that these two pieces are complete, I really must get on with my Napoleonic Cavalry brigade. However, the Geisha would look nice as part of the shrine….

I think I have my next TOH project lined up....

I think I have my next TOH project lined up….

The commercial bit.

Most of what I have used is available post free at the time of writing to most worldwide locations from my shop. Some items may go in and out of stock – we only list what we have in stock ready to dispatch- the links take you to the correct sections in my shop but if you are having trouble finding anything  drop me a message.

For the range of Sarissa Japanese Buildings and other Samurai items, including the Test of Honour sets click here:

ARCANE SCENERY SAMURAI RANGE

For Glues and Adhesives;

ARCANE SCENERY ADHESIVES RANGE

For milliput

ARCANE SCENERY MILLIPUT

For Texture Paste

VALLEJO TEXTURES

For Vallejo paint

VALLEJO PAINT RANGE

For textured Plasticard

PLASTICARD, PLAIN AND TEXTURED

The woodstain came from Boyes hardware shop and the pebbles from my garden! I’m still trying to source bamboo!

The Last Samurai

No, it’s not a reference to the Tom Cruise film, although I do quite enjoy watching it, but an indication that I have now finished all of the models that came with the original Test of Honour boxed set. Yes, all 35 are complete as well as the limited edition unarmoured figure, that was the first model that I painted. I have to say that given the set was just £35.00, I think that I have already had more than value for money both in terms of modeling and painting time and fun had whilst playing the game. If there are awards for Wargames product of the year, then Test of Honour will get my vote. Now I do have a slightly vested interest, being a retailer of said product but given the number of products that I see, I dont think that it is an unreasonable claim. It certainly takes something special to prise me away from painting and playing Napoleonics! Anyway, enough of the frothing and on to the modelling.

Completed Ashigaru Bowmen -Bow strings attached!

Completed Ashigaru Bowmen -Bow strings attached!

I had completed the 20 Ashigaru figures that came with the set and had been using the metal Samurai that I had painted, the afore mentioned unarmoured samurai and a free figure that came with the ‘Painting War’ Fuedal Japaness issue. I had assembled and painted one of the plastic samurai but I wasn’t happy with the result and had put the final four figures to one side.

My usual Samurai Team. A Limited Edition Samurai from Painting war and one from the set.

My usual Samurai Team. A Limited Edition Samurai from Painting war and one from the set.

That changed when I was browsing through the Test of Honour Facebook site and a couple of posts had given me fresh inspiration. I then happened upon some really nice pictures on Pinterest and the combination of ideas gave me the push to build the last samurai figures in the set. That energy coincided with a bit of free time at the weekend and in record time (for me) I completed the figures.

As there were four Samurai left, I decided to make them into two pairs of similar models. It would make painting easier but I could also either use them in a game as a pair or mix them up. Here’s the models assembled.

Assembled Samurai ready for Priming

Assembled Samurai ready for Priming

I stole the idea of one Samurai holding a severed head. It’s pretty gruesome but will make a ‘talking point’ for the army! I also liked the Samurai with the straight arm draw – again, a pose that I had seen elsewhere. I used a Black colour scheme for the two samurai with the conical helmets and red for the other two so primed them accordingly.

Primed and ready to paint

Primed and ready to paint

I used slightly different techniques for each pair of models. For the guys in red, I went straight to the paint and blocked out the main colours. I was using my trusty method of block paint & quickshade to bring out the detail. I wont detail all the colours other than to say I had decided that the background colour scheme would be brown, so there is about five different shades of Vallejo brown used. Once the block painting was done, I painted the models with Dark Tone quick shade to bring out the details in the armour. I’ve also tried to add detail to the plates by dotting them with gold. Close up, this looks a bit messy but from table distance I think it’s OK! While I was in the mood for painting dots, I also added some to the tunic arms as they looked a bit bland.

Red Samurai gold dots on the armour and quick shaded.

Red Samurai gold dots on the armour and quick shaded.

For the Black Samurai, I went back to using a dry brush technique to bring out the detail on the armour. I used quite a light grey Vallejo 70990 and tried not to be too heavy with the drying brush. I then used 70901 pastel blue to represent the stitching. Again viewed up close, it looks a bit rough but with my eyes, it was good enough!

Black Samuraio dry brushed & light blue stitching added.

Black Samuraio dry brushed & light blue stitching added.

As you can see, I only added the stitch to one of the samurai – the other has a cloak and I thought that this would be enough colour without making it look too ‘busy’.

I used Dark Prussian blue for the tunics and highlighted these with Prussian blue. I had considered using a nice dark purple but I didn’t have this to hand and so went with what I had on the paint rack. I also decided to paint the face masks in Brass just to make these Samurai different from the others that I had done. Once the main colours were done, the figures began to look ready for the table.

Nearly complete

Nearly complete

So it was just a case of touching up some of the detail and correcting any obvious errors and then adding some tufts and flowers to the base and the Last Samurai are ready to take to the table.

Samurai charge!

Samurai charge!

Black Samurai close up

Black Samurai close up

You may have noticed that I don’t usually paint eyes – the exception in this case is the poor guy who has had his head chopped off – it just seemed to emphasise his fate – glaring at his mates who failed to save him!

Red Samurai close up

Red Samurai close up

As well as the figures in the set, I also used some of the spare parts to make some objective markers – I have previously posted these on facebook but it’s worth showing them again.

Objective Markers

Objective Markers

So the full Warband looks like this.

Full Samurai War Band!

Full Samurai War Band!

My next project will be to build a bit more in the way of scenery. However, I’m going to take my time. I have a Tori gate, so the next piece will be the Temple shrine. As for figures, I think that some mounted Samurai will be next followed perhaps by the Peasant bowmen. I really enjoyed building and painting the bowmen in the TOH set so a few more wont hurt and I might just go to town converting them into more dynamic poses now that I am familiar with the kits. That all said, I have seen the next batch of figures that will be released in the TOH collection…..they are simply awesome! So the collection will continue to grow!

Ashigaru Bowmen unit

Ashigaru Bowmen unit

 

The commercial bit:

Test of Honour and the current expansion sets are all available from Arcane scenery, along with Cherry trees, Sarissa Scenery and other useful accessories. We also stock vast ranges of paint, glue, basing and scenic materials. At the time of writing it is available (aerosols excepted) post free to most worldwide locations. Click below to go to the Samurai section:

ARCANE SCENERY SAMURAI SECTION

To have a look at my Samurai Pinterest board click here:

SAMURAI PINTEREST BOARD

To keep up to date with new releases, my modelling blog and other projects, like the arcane scenery facebook page here:

ARCANE SCENERY FACEBOOK 

To see the rest of my blog entries regarding Samurai and Test of Honour, click here:

SAMURAI BLOG

All of the links should open a new window, so you wont lose this page. Have fun!

The joys of sprue stretching

I’ve been gradually finishing off my Test of Honour war band and adding bits and pieces to them to get them to a ‘finished ‘state. This is the first time that I’ve played a game with unpainted figures. Usually, when trying a game, I either borrow a friends figures or wait until I have at least a painted unit of my own. Test of Honour was slightly different. It burst onto the gaming scene so quickly that most of my gaming buddies were in the same boat and as the game involved Samurai, nobody seemed to have any older figures in their collection that they could dust off and bring out to play. The upshot was that I was keen to get figures painted and on the table with out spending too much time planning the overall look of the army. I had quickly settled on a colour scheme for the figures but hadn’t really thought about basing other than to sprinkle some scatter over the painted bases. To make matters worse, I just picked up the nearest tub of scatter that I found, which with hindsight is a tad brighter than I would normally use.

Samurai band with Mons added

Samurai band with Mons added

So in between gaming and other painting projects , I’ve gradually been adding detail to my warband. The first task was to add some decals to the flags and hats to show the clan mon. After a false start, I found a nice straight forward clan mon that I could use – the Takeda mon.  Even better, the supplier, Veni, Vidi, Vici printed the decals in white. The first batch that I ordered from another supplier required me to repaint the background on the figures to get a white clan motif, a faff too far for me. The mon on the flags are actually 15mm scale but fit quite nicely. I used Vallejo Decal Medium and Decal fix to ensure that they confirmed to the uneven surface. It’s a straight forward job. Just paint the decal medium over the flag, soak the decal in water for a few seconds, carefully apply the decal using a fine brush to help and use a paper towel to carefully soak up any excess water. I then gave the decal another coat of decal medium. When relatively dry, I then applied the decal fix. If it sounds complicated, it isn’t when you get into the swing of it. To get the smaller clan mon for the hats, I used a scalpel to cut original decal into four diamonds. I then applied the diamond to the hat using the same process with the decal medium & fix. Once dry, I then painted two lines to divide the diamond into the four sections. Again, it sounds tricky but didn’t actually take too long.

Vallejo Decal Fix and Decal Medium

Vallejo Decal Fix and Decal Medium

The picture below shows some of the figures with the decals added to the hats before I had painted the dividing lines and should help you to understand how straight forward, if some what fiddly the process is.

Decal fixing in progress!

Decal fixing in progress!

The next job that needed doing was to improve the basing. I did consider scraping the scatter off and starting again. I hadn’t used my favorite method of basing, using Vallejo paste, as the figures are attached directly to the plastic base and I was concerned that I would cover the feet of the men in mud. I decide to work with what I had and the obvious solution was to apply some Gamers Grass light green tufts and some Noch white flowers. I also decided to transport and store my archers and spearmen in movement trays, so I also added some scatter to these.

Movement tray and bases with detail added

Movement tray and bases with detail added

The figures are starting to look more as I had imagined them to be when I first started the project. As far as basing goes, I’m nearly there but I think that looking at the pictures, I will add a few patches of static grass just to give another layer of texture. I had also intended to add bowstrings to the bows. To do this I decided to use stretched sprue. When I mentioned this at the club, I was met with a few blank looks. It seems that this dark art has been lost in recent years – it was a technique that I used when rigging my Airfix World War One biplanes many years ago. It is a simple as this.

First you need a tea light or small candle and a piece of scrap plastic sprue. A piece of the frame that your Samurai came on is fine. Hold the sprue just above the candle, rotating it to gently warm it until it starts to melt. If it catches fire you are too close…so be careful!

Gently warm your sprue!

Gently warm your sprue!

Once you see that the sprue is beginning to soften, take it away from the heat and pull it gently apart. The sprue will naturally stretch and as it goes cold, hardening off into a thread.

sprue stretched ready for use

sprue stretched ready for use

As with everything, practice makes perfect but the sprue is free, so it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong a couple of times. Just be careful with the hot sprue, if you touch it when it is still melting it will stick to you and burn – I can show you my scars. You can then cut the stretched sprue to the desired length and attach it to the bow. With hindsight, I should have done this before I had painted my troops as I had to use superglue, rather than polystyrene glue. So I actually managed to glue the bowman to my fingers a couple of times. Fortunately as I was on my own in the garage, nobody heard the tirade of bad language….

Bow strings attached

Bow strings attached

I am gradually getting to where I would like to be with my Samurai warband. I now have enough figures to play a reasonably sized game and I have most of the characters that I need.

Takeda Clan Bannerman

Takeda Clan Bannerman

I think that I will be revisiting the warband over the next couple of weeks but basing aside, I’m just about there with this batch of figures. The next part of the project is to complete four more samurai and paint the beautiful Geisha spy figure. Not forgetting the objective markers and some more scenery…it’s going to be a busy summer!

The warband takes shape

The warband takes shape

Most of the products that I use are available post free at the time of writing, in the Arcane Scenery shop. A good place to start is the Samurai section here:

SAMURAI

You can find plenty of basing products here:

Scatter, Static grass and bases

Vallejo Decal Medium

Vallejo Decal Fix

We don’t sell the decals but you can get them here – service was excellent.

Veni, Vidi, Vici

 

Painting the Warband

An early May Bank holiday is usually an opportunity to get some painting done as the weather is generally pretty poor. This was not to be the case though. What with gardening, ‘Granddading’, and DIY, I barely managed to get to the painting desk. I have made some progress, though, and my warband is gradually taking shape. I’ve mentioned previously that I have not done any real research into Japanese Samurai other than to look at lots of pictures of other peoples models, casually flicking through my one Samurai book and putting together a Pinterest board of various Samurai images. You can see my board here:

SAMURAI PINTEREST BOARD

There was one colour scheme that caught my eye, the blue and red Ashigaru looked pretty good and so I based my colour scheme on this with a few tweaks.

My warband inspiration!

My warband inspiration!

The picture also helped to clarify how the various armour plates and bits of clothing were supposed to look. There are slight differences between the bowman and the musketman but I now had the general idea as to how they should look. As usual, I would take a few liberties, or as I prefer to think, ‘artistic licence’ when it came to painting the figures – usually to simplify the painting process. I also like my models to look a bit on the ‘bright side’ for the gaming table.

So, having assembled the figures I gave them a priming coat of Army painter black spray. I then used a size 6 brush to drybrush the figures all over. The main purpose of this was to bring out the detail on the figures so that I could see what needed painting and where. The secondary purpose was that the armour was then highlighted and the detail brought to life.

Painting the warband

Painting the warband

This was the first batch that I did – you can see that I have also painted the flesh and trousers. I used Vallejo 70992 neutral grey to dry brush these guys.

The bowmen, dry brushed and ready for painting.

The bowmen, dry brushed and ready for painting.

The bowmen have been given the same drybrush treatment but this time, I used a lighter grey 70870 medium sea grey to up the contrast. I think that a light blue would also work well and I might try this on the next batch! I painted the flesh with 70927 Dark Flesh, the shirts with 70840 Light Turquoise and the trousers and weapons (spears & bows) with 70957 flat red.

Ashigaru Bowmen with detail added

Ashigaru Bowmen with detail added

I then painted the ‘socks’, face scarf, ties on the legs, detail on the bows and arrow feathers in off white 70820 and the arrow shafts in 310 old wood. At this stage most of the block painting is done. However, to give a bit of definition to some areas, I have given the faces a coat of skin wash 72093 and used both army painter strong tone and Dark tone ink . The initial effect is to make things look worse.

Ink washes applied

Ink washes applied

The ink does help to define the shadows and the next job will be to carefully repaint the same colours but to leave the ink shadows in the recesses. It might sound like a bit of a faff but it does work. That is as far as I have got with the bowmen and obviously I need to finish these off but here are the Spearmen that I have completed.

2017-04-26 20.01.30

You can see that by carefully repainting the raised areas on the faces, you get a bit more character with the figures. I have also painted the sandals using 70822 black brown and added some detail to the weapons using Steel 70864 and brass 70801. I’ve also painted the hats 70862 black grey for no other reason than I wanted them to look slightly different to the armour. I’ve used 70817 scarlet and 70961 sky blue to add some highlights to the tunic and trousers. The basing is very rough at the moment. I will be adding some grass tufts and probably some flowers to make them a bit more interesting!

So that is how my warband is shaping up so far. There is still some way to go to have them completed. It doesn’t help that I tend to fuss and go back over models that I thought that I had finished as I learn how to paint the models and review the pictures that I have taken. It is also a different process to the one that I use to paint my Napoleonics. With these small skirmish warbands I like to try and have a go at painting using inks & highlights rather than resorting to quickshade.  I think that it is worth the effort though, I hope that they will be well used in battle over the coming months!

If you would like to purchase the Vallejo & Army Painter colours that I have used, you can find them in my shop here:

VALLEJO PAINTS

ARMY PAINTER PAINTS

SAMURAI RANGE

At the time of writing, with the exception of aerosols, all items are available post free to most worldwide locations.

 

 

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