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"Painting Samurai- Any Tips?" Topic

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Oh Bugger Inactive Member20 Feb 2017 7:04 a.m. PST

I'm currently having a go at painting some 15mm Samurai, tricky I think.

Does anyone have any tips on how to do the armour?


Chokidar20 Feb 2017 7:43 a.m. PST careful of the swords.. they are very sharp…

gbowen20 Feb 2017 8:10 a.m. PST

Undercoat black or brown or brown/red. Touch up 'ribbons' with bright colours.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2017 8:15 a.m. PST

Which period?
Early on, when the lacing covers most of the scales, it is just a question of doing lots and lots of stripes. I used Essex and Eureka for this period and the lacing is prominent enough that a fairly dry brush picks up the details. There are particular historical patterns to follow.
Later on, the lacing is a lot less prominent and you can get away without showing it.

For either, I undercoated black (or red for some of the later armour) and then went over any fabric with a suitable base colour before trying to apply the bright colours. Mine are here link the lacing looks a lot tidier in real life when it hasn't been blown up so much!

setsuko20 Feb 2017 9:21 a.m. PST

Seconding the tip to start with black/brown/red, and then add lacing on top as "stripes".

These might be hard to see as they're so tiny, but I painted the armour black, and then did a grey highlight that followed the scales. Then I added small dots of green, blue and so on, downwards across the parts of the armour that have lacing:



15mm is so small that most of the colour will come from the pants, jackets and banners, so don't worry too much about getting the lacing perfect.

Oh Bugger Inactive Member20 Feb 2017 9:22 a.m. PST

Thanks lads.

The pics are helpful.

Mine are from Outpost so 'renaissance' I suppose. Your pics are helpful on the lacing but(because of the casting) I'm going to have to do dots rather than stripes on the basic armour colour to get the line of laces.

Was the armour on an individual normally all the same colour?

setsuko20 Feb 2017 9:30 a.m. PST

There is everything from single coloured armour to extremely elaborate ones. A basic principle is that armour got simplified over time, and poorer soldiers would have simpler armour. But you have quite a lot of artistic freedom. If you use different colours on the pants, jacket and lacing, they'll still look pretty colourful without having to spend extra time on making elaborate alternating patterns on the lacing, especially at 15mm.

Oh Bugger Inactive Member20 Feb 2017 10:09 a.m. PST

That's good, I'll do most suits of armour in a single colour.

Lucius20 Feb 2017 10:32 a.m. PST

One tip that isn't so obvious – avoid TOO much variation. Pick a general color scheme per side (Mine was generally black for one side, and generally red for the other), with every other color in small numbers within each unit. You get the impression that they are a single side, without looking uniform.

I also made the mistake of painting an army before I really understood the period, and ended up with too many samurai, and not enough ashigaru.

firebase201220 Feb 2017 11:40 a.m. PST

Like you I am currently painting 15mm samurai 2 dragons and peter pig I only add lace and fancy painting to the senior commanders or lords. During this period armour was massed produced for the lowly ashigaru so the armour was very simple and functional and did not contain the elaborate stitching of earlier periods (with the exception of older styles of armour handed down through the family from father to son and only to the elite). So I normally paint my troops in either dark red,black or rust/reddish brown. Hope this is of help I intend to post some pics when I am finished.

Oh Bugger Inactive Member20 Feb 2017 11:49 a.m. PST

Good stuff lads I'll go with a red army and a black one. Any suggestions for a good ratio of Samurai to Ashiguru? Currently I have 1-2 not enough?

Leadjunky Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2017 1:00 p.m. PST

I was working towards a force of 2 mounted and 1 foot samurai with an ashigaru of 2 spear, 2 gunners and 1 archer unit with a few extra gun and bow skirmish stands. Does that sound like a good ratio?

aynsley683 Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2017 1:13 p.m. PST

I bought both two dragon and Peter Pig samurai and would recommend the Peter Pigs. I thought them much better in all regards especially painting them.
As to styles all the above are good answers but I searched on here ( as I'm sure you've done already) and did a google search to help me choose a style that I liked and worked. I even watched the youtube Kurosawa's clips for general ideas.
I did different colour schemes for different sections/wings of the army, or rather a bunch of ashigaru, bowmen and samurai in one scheme with another bunch in a different scheme to simulate coming from different clans. That way I got a sort of a uniform look in different areas of the army but the whole army had that lots of colours look.
The below link is to my 25mm army which shows the general idea, you can tell which were my earlier attempts and which were the later as I got the hang of painting them over the course of painting the army itself. I did a 15mm Peter pig army as well but no pictures.
Let us know which way you go.

Oh Bugger Inactive Member20 Feb 2017 2:30 p.m. PST

This is very helpful. I think I'll go 2 Samurai, one mounted, 1 foot to 5 Ashiguru, 3 yari and 2 missile as a ratio for starters.

I'll certainly be borrowing some of your colour schemes aynsley. Very effective indeed.

Any thoughts on back banners for Ashiguru? I have a load of them but they need gluing on which means they might fall off later.

I'll certainly post some pics later on.

Lucius20 Feb 2017 4:14 p.m. PST

I'd do a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of samurai to ashigaru.

I like the Battles in the Age of War idea of making ashiragu units having something like 1 command base, 4-5 spear bases, and 3-4 bow or arquebus bases, instead of having homogeneous spear or missile units.

Oh Bugger Inactive Member20 Feb 2017 4:57 p.m. PST

I could go 1:3 easy enough. Are mixed units more likely?

Glengarry520 Feb 2017 7:19 p.m. PST

I'm gaming the later Sengoku period (1550-1600, roughly) and after much research and pondering I went with 1/2 unit mounted samurai, 1 unit foot samuria, one unit each Ashigura foot soldiers with spear and musket and a half unit of Ashigura skirmishers armed with bows to a "clan". One clan is in red armour, another wears russet brown (ashigura only) and the rest black. The clans are identified by back banners, flags and elaborate (and often 3-D) flags carried by the Daimyo.

firebase201221 Feb 2017 9:15 a.m. PST

Back banners I glue with super glue gel which holds them in place no problem. The great thing about Peter Pig figures are they have the sashimonos cast on. great job. saves a lot of time and hassle. In 15mm we need someone to produce decals for the sashimono for the main families ie Tokugawa, Toyotomi, Oda, etc these are impossible to paint on accurately. Maybe a hint to Martin at Peter Pig!!!!

Oh Bugger Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 11:51 a.m. PST

Just glued the first three on, with super glue gel, they do look nice. Yes decals would be great, my sashimono are all a single plain colour at the moment.

I might have a unit ready by the weekend.

Sobieski Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 5:19 p.m. PST

Painting 15mm mons isn't too difficult. If I could do it, Helen Keller could.

Lion in the Stars22 Feb 2017 12:31 a.m. PST

I think the trick for 15mm with lots of lacing is to prime white, paint the lacing, and then wash black.

aynsley683 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2017 5:33 a.m. PST

Decals for 15mm is difficult to find, I only found some from VVV, apparently they are on the large side but not having used them I wouldn't know. Still worth a try though I think.

I didn't use them, just painted my own from designs I found others had done from googling '15mm samurai' and checking out all the images


Oh Bugger Inactive Member01 Apr 2017 8:56 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the help gents, I now have the painting underway.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART13 Apr 2017 2:33 p.m. PST

I made the mistake of painting my army to look like "RAN'
and found out that the pants were the wrong colors. I'm since fixing them but other details have to be fixed as well. Best advice, think before paint.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART13 Apr 2017 2:34 p.m. PST

The Yellow ones…. My friend did the blues and they came out spectacular.

Codsticker14 Apr 2017 7:27 p.m. PST

I made the mistake of painting my army to look like "RAN'
and found out that the pants were the wrong colors. I'm since fixing them but other details have to be fixed as well. Best advice, think before paint.

What do you mean "wrong colours"? Historically inaccurate or not the same as in the film?

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART20 Apr 2017 2:52 p.m. PST

not the same as the film.

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