Friday 31 March 2023

Battle Cry, Shogun and The Last Samurai

Following on from my previous post I wanted to outline the makings of a plan and a half involving elements from the title of this post. In doing so I am reminded once again of how seemingly unconnected things can suddenly join together to form a coherent whole - synchronicity if you like!

Battle Cry - courtesy of Aly Morrison, gentleman, scholar and all round good egg!

Shogun (later copies were called Samurai Swords due to a copyright issue with James Clavell’s excellent book of the same name) courtesy of eBay

With grateful thanks to Bob Cordery and Aly Morrison I now have the means to fight some cracking looking ACW battles using a combination of WoFun figures and Battle Cry. The small physical footprint of the WoFun figures means that they readily fit on a Battle Cry board with hexes that are 55mm across the flat sides. In time I will ‘pimp’ up some terrain to use with this but for now will make do with the very attractive looking and perfectly serviceable tiles and counters that come with the game. This means that the plastic generic looking and kepi wearing figures included in the game are now essentially redundant, at least for their intended original purpose.

Now it just so happens that I was on the look out for a pile of generic, single pose kepi wearing infantry, cavalry and artillery crew for a particular idea I have in mind. Initially my plan was to get a copy of the Eagle Games American Civil War board game, similar to War in the Age of Imperialism, and use the figures from there. The Eagle Games figures are 20mm, as are those from Battle Cry, so fleshing out the rank and file with command etc from places such at Hat Industries would be a simple and inexpensive exercise and certainly this has worked with my Zulu War set up (still to be started, due to the lack of Zulus!).

Significantly the Battle Cry figures are also the same size as the those that come with the board game Shogun. 

The hard plastic figures contained in the board game Shogun are plentiful, albeit rather wooden looking in terms of poses. They cover all the basics for the infantry and a couple of boxes of Zvezda Samurai Cavalry are all that is needed to have the basis for a pretty good set up. This could be for the late 16th century or, and this is where the Battle Cry figures come in, as a ‘The Last Samurai’ style army with the ACW figures providing the Imperial Japanese opposition. For sure some artistic licence would be needed for the regular Japanese infantry in terms of paint job but in terms of fighting a Samurai army made up of 16th century types it would have the making of good, albeit hysterical rather than historical, set up. Call it Hollywood wargaming if you will!

My thinking is currently running along these lines:

1. WoFun for ACW battles using Battle Cry and the Portable Wargame
2. Battle Cry figures used for 19th century Imperial Japanese
3. Shogun figures used for the 16th century AND the 19th century (with a nod to Tom Cruise)
4. Ships for the 19th century and yes, David Manley has penned a supplement for the Boshin War.

An excellent book although the author has a pretty dim view of the film The Last Samurai…. 

From the pen of David Manley. The ship on the right is the former Confederate ironclad the C.S.S. Stonewall and I have built one of them (actually two as she had a near sister) for the ACW project.

I will be taking huge historical liberties for the 19th century with this part of the Samurai project but in my defence the idea of ‘old versus new’  with ‘new’ inevitably triumphing has an appeal in a Greek Tragedy kind of way.

The inevitable Osprey - most wargamer’s first port of call for uniform references when a new project beckons!

The Last Samurai supplement for The MenWho Would Be Kings

I am waiting for the Osprey title on the Boshin and Satsuma Rebellions and already have a very good title covering the naval side which will not need many models at all.

The 19th century part of the project will be a fusion of the history - elements of both the Boshin War and the Satsuma Rebellion will feature - and to be honest will be more Hollywood than accurate but that has probably not stopped any wargamer ever….

For rules I have a great selection to choose from. Lion Rampant and The Men Who Would Be Kings - there is supplement available for the latter covering the Samurai rebellions - will feature, along with DBA and the Portable Wargame. 

So that, in a nutshell, is the grand plan for not one, not even two but three projects all borne of my lingering fascination with the American Civil War and the Samurai. Although there is a range of figures available specifically for the period I am far happier ‘winging it’ with the alternatives I have suggested. It may offend the purist but I am not bothered by that. I will leave the last word on the subject to Katsomoto, the Samurai leader from the film, The Last Samurai:

 The perfect wargame is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”


Steve J. said...

Good to see things coalescing for you David, which is of course a good thing. These days my ImagiNations allows me to infuriate purists and indulge getting toys I like onto the table, whether historically accurate or not. It is after all only a game!

Donnie McGibbon said...

Synchronicity indeed! Nice how things have fallen into place really well and your projects are getting well fleshed out. My own projects seem to be all over the place at the moment so I really must try and get some cohesion into them. I will look at this post for inspiration!!

Archduke Piccolo said...

To anyone who might suggest, David, that you should 'get a life', you can always answer 'the one I already have suits me fine!' There is so much potential there for all kinds of fun and intrigue.

My own samurai 'project' can scarcely be called such, being solely 'pick-up' games for the time being...

David Crook said...

Hello there Steve J,

“It’s is only a game” that is so true and more and more I am thinking that this is the way….

All the best<


David Crook said...

Hi Donnie,

It has all come together in a surprising way but this is often the way of things. In many ways this has kind of landed in my lap which means that I am obliged to something with it all - an obligation I will be happy to explore!

My plan is not historical but is ‘based upon’ and I reckon that will tick all the boxes for me!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hello there Archduke,

That is very true and needless to say my imagination has been bubbling over with ideas around the core content.

I am looking forward to seeing where this takes me!

All the best,