Samurai and Maori, and a dash of compendium

My previous two posts indicated a return of enthusiasm for the hobby, after a doldrums in my interest for some time. So, what has the outcome been?

New Zealand Wars
Within an hour or so of doing my posting about Empress Miniatures’ new releases for this period, my order was swooshing its way down the internet. I expect the models to arrive this week. So hopefully I’ll be doing the cleaning and undercoating of these figures next weekend. So all go there!



Likewise, an order went in for the new Osprey Ronin skirmish rules shortly after my posting about them. I ordered them from a New Zealand supplier for just a few dollars.


I’ve no idea how long the rules will take to get to me, but that doesn’t worry me, as it is all the more time for mulling over my delicious quandary of what line of 28mm samurai figures to buy. I’m really undecided on this, as there are several excellent makers, and each of them has good points and bad points. A hard decision, but daydreaming about pre-buying decision-making  is one of my favourite parts of the hobby. Once you actually make the decision and order, the die is cast and the daydreaming tails off as I move into the process to get them painted up.

To get me more into the samurai groove, I’ve also been reading a couple books. Firstly an old Stephen Turnbull book I bought on TradeMe, which was a bit disappointing as a motivator with its dull and somewhat “quick-once-overish” writing style. But then a much more exciting read from the library, with Jonathan Clements’ book The Samurai – I’m still reading this, and finding it quite unputdownable.

Samurai books

So, my enthusiasm for samurai still remains at a high, though other than the Ronin rules, nothing has been ordered as yet.

The Wargaming Compendium
One other item that will hopefully help to restore my mojo is that I have Henry Hyde’s new book The Wargaming Compendium on order. It has only just been launched.  First reviews are very favourable, and they are already talking about how it follows in the footsteps of those wonderful wargames writers of yore such as Donald Featherstone, Charles Grant et al.  I can’t wait for it to drop into my letterbox.

wargaming compendium

So, all in all, there is some small progress in the hobby for me, even if I haven’t touched a paintbrush for quite some weeks now.

11 thoughts on “Samurai and Maori, and a dash of compendium

  1. Well, you are in very good company regards painting doldrums; many of us in England are in the same boat. its all very odd. But, whilst you have been in a slump you have at least got me working away! My Empress order has arrived and I am about to start painting in earnest again, a few Brits first whilst I think about suitable flesh tones for the Maori…I have even ordered a ‘Learn to speak Maori’ book from my local library! The least i can do is get the pronounciations correct. Thanks Roly!

    1. With Maori skin tones, the thing to remember is that they aren’t too dark. More akin to Mediterranean colouring, such as Spanish or Italian. They may have been darker before intermixing with pakeha (Europeans), but I don’t think they were ever that dark.

      Pronunciation of Maori is surprisingly easy, as the pronunciation of each basic vowel is constant, unlike all the variations in English. The only variance is when the vowel sound is lengthened, indicated by a macron or a line over the vowel.

      The vowel a is pronounced as in the English ‘star’
      The vowel e is pronounced as in the English ‘egg’
      The vowel i is pronounced as in the English ‘key’
      The vowel o is pronounced as in the English ‘four’
      The vowel u is pronounced as in the English ‘shoe’

      Where you have two vowels together, for example in the word ‘Maori’, the same rules as above still apply, but you just run them together smoothly.

      Two tricks to watch for in the consonants are:

      wh is usually pronounced f. But in some districts, like Hokianga, it is spoken like an h and in others for example in Taranaki, like a w.

      ng is a softer sound than in English, especially with regard to the g. The sound is similar to middle ng in singing. For example, Ngati Porou.

      1. all very cool, thanks Roly 🙂 As for the skin tone, I was coming to rather similar conclusions. I am colour blind (not totaly) and i always have trouble with picking the right paint for many jobs. A friend of mine helps and we looked at the south american/mayan colours. We felt that these offered a good depth of colour without being too dark. What do you think?
        My family emigrated to NZ back in the 70’s, they didn’t settle so we returned, sadly. A part of me has curiously stayed in Auckland though, even after all these years…i am even a big fan of Poi!!

        1. Yep, South American is about the right look.

          I enjoy taking part occasionally in the ‘kapa haka’ group at our work, and in fact taken part in two inner-govt departmental competitions so far. Our womenfolk do a really mean poi dance.

  2. Looking forward to seeing some Samurai photographs. Just for fun, how about including a large Irishman amongst your Samurai? When tracing my Irish family I was intrigued to discover that one of the family was William Willis, an Irish doctor who had a liaison with a Samurai lass, married another, and taught the Samurai to treat their battle wounded. He was the medical officer for the British Legation and went on to establish the Medical School in Tokyo.

    1. That’s an intriguing story. When was this? Japan was closed to Europeans for about 200 years … but I haven’t yet read that far in my history of the samurai to know exactly when they opened to the rest of the world again.

      1. “William Willis doctor Japan” is an easy google so I won’t write too much here – he was appointed Medical Officer to Her Majesty’s Legation in Japan in 1861. He served in the Boshin war as head of medical operations for Satsuma, during the battle of Toba-Fushimi he set up a military hospital in the temple of Shokokuji, Kyoto not far from the front line. About 1868 he sent up the Medical School. In thanks, the Mikado presented him with “Imperial Brocades” an honour conferred then for the first time on a European and a commoner. (Not sure what this actually was – a banner of some sort?)
        He was a big chap 6’3″ and quite round with a warm personality – typically Irish. There are statues of him in Japan that can be found via google images. He had two sons in Japan, one to each “Samurai” lady; the younger son grew up in Ireland after William’s death and later returned to Japan.

  3. As to Samurai figure lines . . . if you have a hard time deciding and plan on painting more than one faction, then use different companies for the different factions.

    — Jeff

I hope I've given you something to think about - please do leave a comment with your thoughts or reactions.

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