My holiday resolution was to make some time to complete a full buntai (group) of 28mm Kingsford Miniatures samurai for use in skirmish gaming. And as you can see from the pics, I’m well on the way, with a small buntai of samurai and ashigaru (foot soldiers).
The buntai is made up of a mix of weapon types – teppo (arquebus), yari (spear) and yumi (bow). Such a mixture of weaponry within the same unit is historically correct for Japanese soldiers of this period.
I had been umming and ahhing for some time about which clan my buntai would belong to. But yesterday I took the plunge and plumped for them to be retainers of the Takeda clan. I used VVV decals for the small sashimono (back banner) worn by most of the figures, but I hand-painted the Takeda mon (badge) onto the large flag.
Unfortunately the decals haven’t worked too well. The carrier film is quite visible, despite covering it with varnish. I think the problem was that I applied the decals straight onto matt paint. But now I remember from my model-making past that you should apply decals to a glossy surface, and then matt varnish them later.
My figures are not quite finished yet. I still need to paint final small details on some of them, and also add grass and fallen blossoms to most of the bases.
I’ve found painting samurai challenging, to say the least. The lacing on the armour is incredibly difficult to do, and my efforts don’t stand too close scrutiny. So I’m resigned to the fact that these won’t be up to my usual standard – but they’ll still look good enough from normal gaming distance.
One thing that worries me a little is the fragility of these figures. Those sashimonos are only supported by the thinnest of lead poles, and they’re very bendy. Weapons such as the spears and bows are also very delicate. I’m not sure how well these guys are going to stand up to the rigours of gaming.
But overall the figures are very nicely sculpted, the period is intriguing, and I’m finding this an engrossing project.