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Nippon/Japan Army Conversion! 
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Beastmaster

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I have done much research on all the various armies (all miniature ranges + the races mentioned in fluff, books, etc.) and have decided to go with the likeness of my favourite wolrd culture, the Nippon/Japan army. I think I will begin with a 500 pt warband, and if I like it expand into 1000, 1500, 2000 etc. However, I have no idea which army list to make it count as, and no idea where to get the miniatures I have seen in some other Nippon armies which would make my life significantly easier. If you have any information on either, please post here! Thanks!

- Lonely

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Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:09 pm
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Go to http://www.theminiaturespage.com and look through some of the many many many manufacturers ranges, foundry springs to mind, as do a number of others. You could also go to http://www.coolminiornot.com and browse through some of the historical miniature pages narrowing your search with the word "samurai" or "ashigaru", take note of the manufacturers minis that you like, and the go to TMP to look up that manufacturers website. Of course you would never ever be able to enter an army such as that in a GW tourney, but that's probably not that important. You could try your hand at converting existing current GW minis into an asian theme...kislev horse archers with slight mods could make effective steppe horde auxilliary light cav, etc. What ever you decide, good luck and post pics when you're on your way.

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Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:25 pm
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I'd go for either HE or DoW, but there are alot of options. One of my favorite conversions of all time was a guy who used men at arms, made their Halberds 2handed, droped the shield, and gave them all straw hats. It was extreamly fitting, and very simple.

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Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:38 pm
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Cold One Knight
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Hi there, I am slowly building a Nippon/Samurai army at the moment too.

I use the Empire list (with DOW ogres) as IMHO it fits well with elements of a Sengoku-jidai Army (plus mythical Oni/demons).
I use Perry Brother miniatures which aren't too shabby and have a good variety of troop types which you can sub for just about anything in the Empire army (except outriders). One drawback is that they are 'true historic scale' which means they are a tad smaller (thinner and shorter) than GW minis but once painted up it doesn't stand out too much.

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Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:19 pm
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Beastmaster

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Thanks alot to all of you!

@ lazarus:

Tourney play definitely isn't an issue. First of all, I've never played in a tournament anyway, but this is more just an experiment and a test for my converting skills which I wish to improve.

@ xerasi:

Putting aside the fact that HE are despicable for throwing out our king and deserve to be burned alive like him, that is the army that I was considering too !razz! because ASF is what I would expect from skilled samurai and the swordmasters fit samurai perfectly. Also, it is commonly unknown but Japan historically had archers that were very skilled with the longbow (justifying archers), and they used longer spears so that they could fight in three ranks (questionable as there is little proof, but enough to justify fight in three ranks for spearmen). Thanks for the suggestion on models as well, I will try that.

@ rising son:

I took a look at Perry Miniatures and they look quite good. Slight differences is model shape doesn't concern me. Could you post some pictures of your army?, I can only see pictures of dioramas on the site.

- Lonely

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Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:36 pm
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This was actually an I idea that I've been toying with. I was gonna use the Dogs of War rules, using the Norsemen as samurai (Frenzy could be thought of as a combination of greater skill and desire for personal combat, rather than berserker fury), Paymaster's Bodyguard (halberds) as elite guard types w/ naginata (with the Paymaster as an emissary of the daimyo, or something similarly appropriate), ogres as Oni. I'm still torn on Core units, but I'm thinking either Crossbowmen (the Japanese employed a large and powerful bow) or unbarded Heavy Cavalry as mounted samurai.

Hope that helps your thought process.

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:52 am
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I know the Japanese Samurai were famuse for their Katana, but they were origonalymounted bowmen. Infact, if a woman samuraie (pandas are more commen, but they took the sword and glaive like any other man) found the bow to be the perfect weapon for them.

They Also used
Spears
Pikes
Naganeitas (Japanese glaive/ lloks like some of the DE spear Elves spearblades)
A pair of medium length swords (I can't remember the name) when close combat gets too close forcomfort
Large knives
Fans (either with blades attached to the ends, or normal fans they could deflectblows.)


Ninjas used a varietty of weapons as well, and had to be a jack of all trades (navigator, acrobat, warrior, herbalist, actor, disguise artist, burgler, and so forth.)

Ninja Sword: It's a shorter, straiter version of a Katona.
kama: Hand Sickle
Kuragama: A Kama with a chaine and a weighted ball attached to the end of it.
Shurakin (Throwing generaly any throwing objecc, needles with poisoned tips, and catrops.)

THe Best ninja modles we have would be either way Wood elf Way Watchers or Dark Elf Assassins.

not sure what modles would work for samuraie other then a few of the griffon legion from the Kissvil list.


Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:55 am
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I personnally have been working on converting VC into a Nippon style army from 6th ed models. It made great sense to have a completely loyal force dead.

Clan War was an awesome help trying to get a good idea on what they should look like at 28mm. I am not for sure if they are still in business but I know you can find a lot of models for Clan War online.

Good Luck

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:07 am
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Executioner
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There was a great article in WD (can't recall issue #, will look up in the morning) showcasing a Grand army of Cathy converted from and using the rules for Brets. I'll see if I can find a link for you.

Can't find a link to the army but it was in US WD 314 which i might have lying around somewhere...

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:41 am
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Beastmaster

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@ red duke:

Interesting ideas, thatnk you for sharing them. I mentioned the longbow in the post above you, so you didn't have to mention it ;) , but it was a bow, not a crossbow, as they despised the slow loading required to operate one (remember, they opperated almost like shock troops, move fast, get in close, and fire rapidly) and opted for faster shooting instead of more power.

@ saint of m:

Have to correct you there, it is spelt shuriken. Also, I believe you are referring to a shōtō (short sword, wakizashi being the most common style of this sword). Fairly sure you are either incorrect or using the wrong terminology, as they did not employ the use of "large knives" (perhaps you were referring to a tantō or a yoroi toshi?). Also, what exactly did you mean to say here?:

Quote:
Infact, if a woman samuraie (pandas are more commen, but they took the sword and glaive like any other man) found the bow to be the perfect weapon for them.

I did not quite understand what you meant. Thank you for suggesting the models, do you know anything on the new assasin models for the release? I am considering using them, as the old ones don't fit with the weapons used by ninjas, but have yet to see any up-close pictures that would allow me to confirm whether I will be able to use them or if I will have to convert their weapons. I was considering using the waywatchers as well, do you think it would be sensible if I had a unit of assault ninjas and a unit of forest ninjas (as in one goes up close to use swords and one shoots from afar)?

@ dictator:

Now, I for one would not have thought of that if not for Clan Wars (I found the site this afternoon while searching for a supplier that sold nippon-style miniatures so that I would not have to convert the majority of my army). However, I could not find a way to buy them from the site, the store link was dead, so I assume they are out of business (which is a shame as I would have easily bought half their miniature range). Could you tell me where I could find the models online? That would be very helpful as I am a little stretced for time between my various conversions, work, and my art classes. Good luck on your army as well!

- Lonely

EDIT:

@ dark acolyte:

If you could post some pics from that issue it would be greatly appreciated. By the way, which month and year was that WD? Thanks!

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:55 am
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Beastmaster

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I wouyld use either High Elves or Empire.

I use Empire for my two(smalll) converted armies of Cathay and psuedo South American.

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:00 am
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Ogres are also quite Nippon/Japan convertible, there's already a Ninja Model too! ;p


Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:00 am
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Beastmaster

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Thanks overmind!

I am currently considering High Elves, Empire, Orcs and Goblins, and Wood Elves. Any suggestions one way or the other? I have also found various nippon army lists online, has anyone any exerience with these lists that can suggest using one/using a specific army for counts as?

- Lonely

EDIT: >.<" DON'T POST WHILE I'M TYPING MY POST!!!

I almost forgot about the ninja maneater thank you for reminding me about that Silver! The question is what could they count as?

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:17 am
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Beastmaster

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As I've said I personally use Empire, however that is CAthay not Nippon so there would be some slight diffrences.

I can't think of how you would make Orcs and Goblins or Wood Elves work.

High Elves Swordmasters and Ellyrian reavers make good Samurai(fast archer calvary, and big sword wielding guys).

Highe Elves Speed of ASuryan can be used and thier core choices(not sea guard but meh...) are good representations of peasents.

Only issue using High Elves is no assasins(well shadow Elves but.... meh) and low toughness.

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:31 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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I know a fantastic looking samurai conversion that is teeth shatteringly simple, but looks fantastic. Using the teutogen Guard [link]http://ca.games-workshop.com/news/cn/articles/Soc_ca/colin/army/teut_b.jpg[/link]
Cut off their hammers and replace them with katana blades. The blades i saw used were from severena and sevora inquisitor models, but you could use pretty much any. Look fantastic too.

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:32 am
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Beastmaster

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Neat idea Alumundis however should Japanese troops wear such heavy armour..... on one hand it's fantasy so if you wish of course they can.

OR I suppose with the right paint scheme it coul looks neat..... still awesome idea.

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:37 am
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Beastmaster

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I like the idea, but the problem is that the Japanese didn't wear metal armour (at least until just before they came into contact with guns)! Instead they used heavy layered bamboo armour because the multiple thin layers were excellent for stopping arrows and swords (the same principal was used in making their swords, paper-thin sheets of iron were painstakingly hand-smithed overtop of each other, with the minimum accepted amount of layers being 150 for practical use).

Orcs and Goblins because the gobbos are weak, cheap, and come in large number like the peasants would have, the orcs representing samurai, the trolls being converted orges as silver mentioned, wolf riders being horse archers that are famously japanese (the original trademark of samurai, before the katana), and boar boys being mounted samurai.

Wood Elves: glade guard being foot archers, eternal guard being peasant soldiers, glade riders being horse archers, dryads being various kami (search shinto for insight into kami and the ideas behind them), wardancers being samurai, wild riders being mounted samurai, treekin and/or treemen being the ogres and something else I cannot think of right now, and waywatchers being ninjas.

Anybody want to dispute the argument behind those two?

I would much prefer if someone read through the various online nippon army lists and advised me on one of those, as I prefer them (google: "warhammer nippon" and you get thousands of results). Thanks for input guys!

- Lonely

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:51 am
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Excellent. You, my friend, appear to know quite a bit about the Japanese armor and weapons. When I mentioned Crossbowmen, I knew that the Japanese used a bow; I simply meant that the great longbows they used might be represented by the Crossbow's Armor Piercing rule.

Also, as a side note, the armor of the samurai themselves was commonly made of lacquered leather, and my guess is that Saint of M was referring to the ninja-to sword in his post.

If you'd like to talk more, pm me. Wouldn't want to completely change the subject of your post. ;)

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:01 am
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Beastmaster

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I will go and read some Nippon lists........ I'll either posts resulsts hear or Pm you.

http://www.darkshadowgames.com/Download ... Nippon.pdf

This one is the best so far. He seems to have confused his force organization chart but that would simply be a typo.

Samurai have laqured lether "plates" with great "pouches" of silk enveloping them to catch arrows.

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:02 am
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@ red duke:

You may be correct on the ninja-to, but he mentioned it being used when combat was too close for comfort, I assumed that meant combat was too close for use of the katana, and so the wakizashi was the logical choice.

The armour is dependant on time zone. I am referring to early EARLY samurai history, however many of the amry lists I have come across have cannons and rocket launches so I may have to go forward in time considerably. Definitely up for discussion some time! If I want to dicuss I will definitely pm, same goes for you!

@ overmind:

Thank you ofr devoting some of your time to this project! I came across this list as well, though I only skimmed it quickly and saved it to my computer to review later (I will try to find the various army lists and then read through all of them in one go). Mentioned the armour thing above, but as a point of interest the silk underlining only developed once laquered leather armour became popular, as it lacked in the arrow-stopping capabilities of bamboo armour.

- Lonely

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:54 am
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You could also base the army on the upcomming Dark elves.

Hatred representing the skilled samurais (maybe a bit far out, but still)

BG for Naginata armed inf, exes as No-dachi (or whatever it's called), Asassins, Witches as Warrior priests, Dark riders etc, it all makes quite decent sense to me. Shades with GW, a giant statue of the Emperor.

The bowmen are so skilled that they can fire two shots in a round and have AP... It is possible...

Although not historically correct (at least I presume) you can find some nice inspiration in the Shogun: Total War game. Good luck with it all

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:23 am
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Actually, come to think of it, there are a lot of similarities between the Druchii and Samurai as Xerasi points out. I'm sticking with my empire/nippon though.

I think what you have to do is decide which kinda period and or style of army you would like to field then pick an Army book. One thing to consider is that there seem to be more minis for later period Samurai than earlier times. Also how fantastic do you want your army to be? I plan to field some Ogres as Oni plus wizards of course. You might prefer a low fantasy approach with few non-realistic elements. Finally, there is the question of ninjas. To include 'em or not to include 'em, that is the question.

Here are 4 common, broad army types from various periods in Japanese history...

Early Samurai - were basically mounted armoured archers followed into battle by their retainers on foot. Armour was usually lacquered wood/bamboo/metal.

Later Cavalry based army (a la Takeda Shingen) - Masses of elite, lance armed, moderately armoured mounted Samurai. Backed up by ranked spearmen, some archers and possibly a few gunners. More metal armour in evidence.

Warrior monks and their followers - Not so many mounted Samurai, lots of naginata/halberd wielding troops, armed peasents and frothin at the mouth fanatics (hmm, halberdiers, militia, flagellents and warrior priests come to mind).

Later Tokugawa/Nobunaga style army - Modearte amounts of cavalry. But emphasis on large blocks of ashigaru (foot soldiers). Lots of arquebusiers (???) and spearmen. More metal armour was around but nowhere near as heavy as Late middle ages full plate armour. There were also cannons in use too (mainly for siege work).

The last type of army is what I have based my army on. I have a cannon (more for the model than anything else) and I am painting up (slowly) some Oni/ogres.

Hope some of that helps.

I'll try and post some pix soon.

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Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:43 pm
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Just try using Bartertown.com or ebay and then you could probably find enough models to get an army started without conversions.

The biggest probalem would be playing at the fancy tournaments you can't use anything but GW models. Besides that it would be a cheap way of getting that Nippon Army you want.

The best thing about having a Nippon army is that you can have really anything you want just as long as it looks like a Japanese force. Whether it's early/late Japanese history, it really doesn't matter.

Good luck

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Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:03 am
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Beastmaster

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@ rising son:

Hate to put a damper on you (teehee, love this phrase), but in the early age there was no metal armour, it was primarily bamboo and the beggining of leather/metal fusion (emphasis on the leather, less so on the metal).

Arquebusiers is correct.

I personally want to do a fusion army, with enough units to fit any/all of those styles (most likely using different army lists depending on what I would like to emphasize). If anyone would like to make a list of Nippon unit comparisons to the five lists I am considering right now (Orcs and Goblins, Wood Elves, Empire, Dark Elves, High Elves), so that I can decide which I will use for the various types of armies I will be fielding. I have reviewed many of the army lists and most of them are from a while back, with many units that are overpriced (looking at overmind). Perhaps my friends will allow me to modify them to make them more realistic, perhaps not. We shall see.

- Lonely

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Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:28 am
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I vote Nippon goblins for sheer amusement value. But gamewise Empire is still the best match for a fusion army, as they actually have all the units you'd want, ie. warrior priests, halberdiers, foot knights, lightly armoured ranged mounted troops, arquebusiers, etc. Having said that, O&G can work from a dynamics perspective, if not fluff, as I'm led to nderstand nippon is populated by humies...

But anyway, if you have a hard core of counts as black orc (armed to da teef) samurai, and a Black Orc Daimyo, then you can play your ranged cav as wolfriders, heavy cav as boarboyz, samurai with plain bamboo/leather/silk armour as orc boys (bamboo and silk conferring +1T) and all the rest as variously armed gobs. Even your warrior monks could be looked on as fanatics? Model a guy with a great spinning naginata in a sort of whirlwind of destruction pose, and say, there you go, if he's not a fanatic, I don't know who is! Doesn't quite fit the notion of a warrior monk, but will work like a biatch on the table.

There's also a certain symmetry to the idea of Nippon clans suffering fom animosity...

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