Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Samurai Progress

It has been a while since the last update on my 28mm Samurai for Ronin project, but I have not been idle. Since my last post I have finished my first 100 points of two new Buntai.

The first is a second Bushi buntai. This time a very small, elite team.

The Bushi faction restricts the models you can choose pretty heavily. Combined with the high points cost of the models, most 100 point Bushi buntai are likely to be more or less the same. You will have no more than five models, of which only one can be a Samurai. The rest will all be Ashigaru and, although you have some choice of weapons, no more than one can have a teppo (musket) and no more than half can have missile weapons.

There is an alternative option, however, and that is to choose only models of rank 3 or higher which means Samurai and above. With that in mind, my second Bushi buntai is made up of only two Samurai and one Hatamoto* on a warhorse.

 A confrontation between the Ii and Shimazu clans

Technically, this buntai is against the rules as the "what you will need" section at the start of the rulebook says you need 4 - 20 models per side. But I'm not sure this can be considered a hard and fast rule. The same section says you need counters, but if you chose to right down wounds and status changes on a piece of paper it couldn't really be called cheating. In any case, I plan to expand the buntai when I get the chance.

The Samurai are painted red in the style of the Red Devils of Ii Naomasa, who long term readers may remember were the basis for my 6mm Samurai army. The Red Devils are always a popular choice because they were one of the only clans to have anything close to a uniform colour scheme. Ii Naomasa himself was shot by a Shimazu clan sniper at the battle of Sekigahara, so they fit quite nicely with my first bushi buntai.

My third buntai are the Sohei, or Warrior Monks.

The Sohei are pretty good match for the Bushi. Their combat pool and fight values are about the same as the equivalent rank bushi and they have a similar array of weapons. They're more lightly armoured, but trade that for being fearless, which means they can ignore morale checks. They also include some rank 0 models, in the form of the two temple attendants armed with yari (spears). These guys are little more than speed bumps, but only cost eight points each, less than half the cost of the cheapest bushi model.

The models are all from Perry miniatures. I am using the bare-headed monks as Initiates and the one with a covered head as a full Sohei. I have no idea if this has any basis in history, but it's an easy way to tell the apart.

Most of the Monks are equipped with the fearsome naginata, one of those ambiguous weapons that sits somewhere between a pole-arm and a sword. Basically, if a pole-arm has a longer handle than blade and a sword a longer blade than handle, the naginata, like the Dacian falx, sits in between with a blade almost the exact length of the handle. In game terms, the naginata boosts damage (but not as much as a two-handed sword) and initiative (but not as much as a spear) and so is a good compromise weapon.

This picture is from a recent test battle between the Shimazu bushi and the Sohei. The battle was an absolute flat draw, which shows how good a match the two sides are.

More picture as soon as possible.

 *Hatamoto, meaning "men under the banner" where the retainers of a senior Samurai or Daimyo (Warlord). Ronin appears to be using the term to designate an elite Samurai, as they are the lowest rank that can ride a horse.

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