Saturday, 6 July 2013

Summer Samurai

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.


  1. Excellent post Brian as usual! Are the boat + temple from the garden store or the pet shop? I find some of my best scenics in the pet shop intended for the fish tank! Please give the Japanese a chance, with suitable numbers they might win! Just promise that you post the whole thing here for us to enjoy! Thank you, Brad DeSantis

  2. Evocative pictures, Brian - lovely figures, too. Would like to see more of your garden layout if you get the chance to show it.

  3. Brian;

    Do you know of a better (possibly cheaper) source for the Furuta Samurai than eBay? I found quite a few there, but many are already commanding "collectors" pricing, starting at $20 US per figure. Bit pricey to even do a decent skirmish at that tariff.


  4. Hi James, my sentiments entirely!!!!!!!

  5. Hi Brad, the Cambodian temple and sampan are fish tank ornaments from the pet shop (which is in the garden centre). I think the Samurai will almost certainly win one way or the other but there is much work to be done on both armies before they can take the field.

  6. Hi Ion, time and weather permitting ther will be more.

  7. Sir William, they do turn up at collectors fairs but the prices are much the same as ebay. I don't think they've ever been cheap even way back in the day when I was first picking them up, now I just add another one or two as and when I find them.

  8. The world of wargaming needs more Samurai!

  9. Couldn't have put it better myself Col!