So, I hear you ask, in our tale of Samurai and hobby redemption, have I managed to make steps to turn an erstwhile band of unpainted Ronin into an honourable band of retainers worthy of their noble lineage?
The answer is, kind of…
Having assembled a few models, the first thing I needed to do before picking up a paintbrush was to decide whether all of my samurai were going to belong to the same house or have a mix of Mons (clan badges). This was important as it sets out the colour schemes required, as well as the level of difficulty of the project.
Looking into the history, it appears that either would have been acceptable during the Sengoku Jidai (Age of Civil War: c. 1467 – c. 1603). This is the typical setting for most samurai conflict games. During this time, many samurai would want to have their individual prowess recognised and so display their own Mons on their sashimonos (back banners). Others, like Ii Naomasa’s Red Demons, wore a uniform armour and clan badge.
Looking at the Ronin rule system that I will be using, each model needs to be tracked individually, having a certain amount of damage each can take before being removed, as well as possibilities to purchase skills and specialisms above and beyond their base statistics. This made my decision simple. Each must be a renowned warrior in his own right and have his own heraldry!
This would also make it easy to identify each model’s skills and abilities. It would also make the project considerably more time consuming as all the samurai would need individual colour schemes (but not the Ashigaru: as retainers they would be largely uniform and wear the house colours of the family they served).To complicate things further, as nobody else in our group currently plays Ronin , I wanted to do two small warbands to get started and allow them to try the game.
I was torn between using historical clan colours, or allowing myself a bit more leeway and paint the samurai by placing the game in a fantasy setting: making them Tsurani houses as invented by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts in the Daughter of the Empire Trilogy (if you haven’t read this series yet, DO IT… DO IT NOW!!). As tempting this was, I stuck with the Sengoku Jidai as this would certainly be the period gamed most widely amongst histaorical gamers. And so I set about researching historical Japanese clans.
The families I chose were based on my PC gamer days, choosing major protagonists from Shogun Total War. My favourite was always the Shimazu clan, and if I was to have opponents then it should be the Imagawa (these being the two families that start on the island of Kyushu in the original version of this game).
Using a great little resource, Samurai Archives online, I managed to get lists of names of families who fought as retainers for these clans. They also have a handy page showing their Mon designs.
I managed to paint a few freehand, starting with my Shimazu band, and a number of Ashigaru retainers. These are very basic for now and need more highlights/detail/eyes but I wanted to get some paint down to overcome my fear of painting them!
I am still not sure about the skin tone; a lot of words are wasted to give a very imprecise answer on the internet as to how to paint Japanese skin! If you have a recipe that works please contact Brush and Boltgun: FAO Adam!
I have not touched the armour, besides to freehand a few clan badges onto the Ashigaru. I think that is aworthy task for next week, with my Wargames Illustrated painting guide by my side.
Besides this I have also got a few base colours on to my Imagawa band and assembled the rest of the troops I have available. In order to vary the troop types more, I have ordered a weapons kit for the remaining Samurai, to arm some with polearms. My itchy purchase finger may have got the better of me and added a few models to the basket too, so next week I hope to show you some more lovely Perry Japanese!
For those wondering what I might have bought… what did the Imagawa get a discount on training in Shogun 1, and so obviously has to be in the army?
So, to summarise, this week I have:
- Chosen a theme
- Chosen some paint schemes
- Researched some of the history of the period I will be gaming and armies I will be painting
- Assembled some stuff
- Actually got some paint onto some models!!
Whilst I may not have actually finished a model, I feel like this has been an honourable effort, considering they have sat for so long in a drawer. Still lots to do, though!
For now, here are photos charting the rest of my progress.
P.S. ignore the pirates that have managed to sneak into the back of some of the photos. Yes I am still having issues focussing on one project!
For this first week, I definitely worked on the Grey Knights. No honestly, I did. I worked on three of them, going over the slightly streaky metallic with Vallejo Model Air Steel which makes them so shiny it’s unreal. Below is an example of before and after (angles chosen to show the shine more than the miniature).
Other than the Plague Surgeon video, this was literally all I managed brush wise. A virus over the weekend – well timed, thanks life – killed most of my hobby time, so rather than trying to paint up many of the great unpainted, I started to assemble more miniatures that have been resting on sprues for months, and undercoated, and in some cases, base coated them.
So build wise, I managed the contents of the original Age of Sigmar box, with the Stormcast being undercoated and then based with Retributor Gold spray, while the Chaos were just undercoated with Halfords matt black primer.
In addition to the AoS box, I started putting together more Stormcast that I’ve had in a drawer, waiting to finish the Sons of Horus, then the Death Guard before I started them, so with some decent TV to watch, I crashed on the couch and built more miniatures.
The final thing I managed, was the Shade Spire Stormcast, Chaos and Orruks, who were undercoated on the sprues. I’m hoping to get them built and a lick of paint on them for next week
All in all, a disappointing week for painting, but a good week for building miniatures and getting rid of the boxes.
So my main goal for week one was to get as much of my Iron Hands finished for Armies on Parade at my local Games Workshop. Oh, as well as finishing the board.
I managed to get the Spartan finished just in time, to form the centre piece with Ferrus Manus.
I’m pretty chuffed with it, but I may redo the Object Light Sourcing at the front as it was a bit rushed and the silver was still runny.
I also managed to finish my Imperial Standard Issue Armour (from Rogue Trader) guy to stick on the board. (Both of these I will be doing an individual post about in the future.)
Then for the board itself, a Sector Imperialis Realm of Battle tile (which I will be posting a, rather lengthy, video about soon). Take a look:
I didn’t manage to finish any other Iron Hands, but I was very close with this Autocannon squad. All that needs to be done with them now is the transfers, weathering, lenses and base:
Sometimes it’s nice just to paint things because they take your fancy, and to remember the feeling of doing it for fun and not trying to work towards a particular goal. My Custodians have been sat there basecoated for quite a while, so I decided to work on the shading, which, as you can see below, looks pretty cool:
That’s all from me for this week. I will be doing individual guides on each of these things soon, but if there’s anything particular you want to see comment below.
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