A charging Tom Cruise from the historical romp that was The last Samurai. Superbly entertaining but shall we say somewhat challenged from the history perspective. Great fun all the same and crying out for a game based on it. Now I wonder who would be made enough to think about that?
I have been giving a lot of thought in respect of my long term Samurai project and have finally made a decision about its future. My dilemma was one of scale in that I have a substantial collection in both 28mm and 20mm plastic - the former via Warlord Games (now Grey For Games) Test of Honour Samurai skirmish game and the latter via the old Milton Bradley boardgame Shogun/Samurai Swords. Originally I thought that using 28mm for skirmishes and the rather cruder looking 20mm figures (critically these are significantly simpler looking for painting) would work well but after careful consideration I have decided to go with the latter.
To arrive at this choice I carefully considered the following points.
1. Terrain - at the present time my terrain plans are firmly at the stylised end of the scale. Table footprint is important and for the other periods I am exploring 20mm is the preferred figure scale for which I would look to use 15mm or possibly smaller terrain. This lends itself rather more effectively to ‘battle’ sized conflicts. Crucially it also means that any terrain is of a uniform size across the entire collection. 28mm figures, especially for skirmishes, require rather more detailed terrain which invariably takes up more room.
2. Figures - The Warlord figures are lovely but they do require a lot of assembly and have a level of detail that would reward a skilled painter - which I am most definitely not! Constructing over a hundred 13 piece foot figures represents a substantial investment in terms of assembly even before the painting is taken into consideration. The boardgame figures are a lot easier in this respect and are not only fully assembled but have what I call an ‘old school’ level of detail in respect of the painting required. By adding some Zvezda cavalry will not be too much of an issue, perhaps with some other bits and pieces from their range - the command set looks really good.
3. Rules - I like Test of Honour and the Osprey set called Ronin look interesting. I am also looking at Lion Rampant for which I have the Samurai army list to help when building units. There is also a set in the Portable Pike and Shot Wargame that look like good fun. Now here is the thing. If I opted to base the models individually then they collection would suit skirmish level forces along with more conventional armies. So this is the option I am currently considering.
I have taken steps to dispose of the 28mm collection - it has in fact already gone - and the funds realised will form part of my Salute warchest as I shall be attending this year, for the afternoon. Having said that there are some Zvezda bits I shall be getting in with a view to completing the initial requirements for the project and I suspect that Warbases may well be hearing from me soon….
I am pleased and relieved to have finally reached this decision and if anything it will help to focus my efforts with the project. Then of course there is also the Last Samurai angle to consider and the idea I had around gaming this has suddenly become rather more attractive.