I mentioned in a previous posting that I was mulling over which line of 28mm samurai figures to buy to accompany my recently ordered Osprey Ronin ruleset for late 16th century feudal Japanese skirmish gaming.
Well, I’ve finally decided, and put in my order. This whole process of planning a new period is one of my favourite parts of the hobby, with the delicious decision-making prior to any commitment to the project, and thus allowing constant changes of mind as my fancy flits from one range to another. And in this case I stretched out this wonderful mulling out for several weeks.
There were several contenders. I love Perry Miniatures figures, and their samurai range is certainly extensive and made up of beautifully animated figures. Kingsford Miniatures also came very close to winning my heart, with some lovely big figures. And I was also tempted by the early-period samurai figures produced by Westwind Productions.
But in the end I settled on the North Star range, which is actually designed to go with the Ronin rules anyway. The reason for my choice is that, good whilst the above mentioned ranges are, none of them have made me suddenly want to start a new period when I’ve seen them previously on the internet. It wasn’t till I recently saw the North Star figures on the internet (as below) that my imagination was fired. So there was obviously something indefinable about them that grabbed me.
I splashed out and ordered all four sets of their figures, shown below (though these have been beautifully painted to a standard I won’t be able to emulate – though I’ll have fun trying).
The first group are some samurai warriors accompanied by ashigaru foot soldiers.
This group depicts the warrior Sohei monks, who’ll be very colourful in their yellow robes.
These bandits, led by a duo of particularly fearsome ‘ronin’ (masterless unemployed samurai), will be an interesting band to play with.
Finally, we have some more ‘ronin’, this time in ordinary clothes. Seven of these figures are based on the characters from the famous Akira Kurosawa movie Seven Samurai. I’m not sure who the sensei is modelled after, but presume he is also a Japanese movie character.
So, all in all, once I’ve painted all the figures, I’ll have four factions (or ‘buntai’). With a little bit of Japanese scenery, I’ll be all set to host various match-ups of skirmish games.