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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
So the full Warband looks like this.
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!
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:
To have a look at my Samurai Pinterest board click here:
To keep up to date with new releases, my modelling blog and other projects, like the arcane scenery facebook page here:
To see the rest of my blog entries regarding Samurai and Test of Honour, click here:
All of the links should open a new window, so you wont lose this page. Have fun!