I recently read on a blog somewhere that "England is a country which gets nine months of Winter followed by three months of bad weather". It's not true. But given the washed out Summers we've had over the last two years it might as well be. So when the sun unexpectedly shone last weekend I was unprepared for it but headed for the garden with my trusty camera and here are the results:
The figures are Samurai made by Furuta of Japan and they are perhaps one of the best kept secrets in the world of 54mm plastic toy soldiers. I've had these for a few years now and they rarely come out of the box, which is unforgivable, but they need basing and I'm not confident that my modelling skills are quite up to the job yet.
Made in hard plastic and factory painted they come in parts which clip together very snugly. They are actually pieces for some sort of role playing game and you buy them individually in little packets a bit like Pokemon and such stuff. Each figure comes with a sheet which I think describes his character but as it's all in Japanese I can tell you nothing more. The figure bases are black plastic trays, also somehow integral to the game, which are quite unsightly and therefore need to be replaced (work soon to be in progress)
The sculpting is sublime, the foot figures are suspended in those balletic poses that only Samurai can achieve before they launch themselves cat like with blades swiping sending limbs flying and blood spurting in every direction. The horses are so animated you can almost hear their nostrils snorting with the exertion and smell the sweat on their flanks.
I've long had it in mind to use them in an 1870's Satsuma Rebellion style wargame pitched against the "Funny Little Wars" Japanese army I've been working on but I think I would find it too upsetting if they lost!
The backdrop is a stream I built in my back garden (two years ago just before the weather turned bad) with the intention of using it for garden wargaming. It runs between two ponds the length of a shady border, where previously only weeds would grow, and in the absence of any military activity has become the habitat of varied wildlife, edged with rockery it is my own personal Hindu Kush. It was inspired by the garden of Mr John Ruddle which has become internationally famous for it's landscaping which represents all the continents of the world laid out for 54mm wargamig. I have visited John's garden several times but sadly without my camera so cannot share more with you.