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For years now, I’ve been trying to get into fantasy but couldn’t never really find an army that I could convert to a theme that would satisfy my thirst for conversions.
Finally I decided to go with a Japanese theme because of two reasons...
1. Out of all the armies in human history I always loved the Japanese due to their unique and interesting appearance.
2. There is so much conversion potential such as Samurai, Ninjas and even a Japanese Dragon.
However I'm still a little unclear how to convert some of these apart from using green stuff for the armour what models should I use as a base?
I could sure do with some help and advice in getting this project started?
I have seen a really, really good Cathayan army made from an Empire army. However, there are some other options.
I'd go with High Elves for not only a conversion base, but also for rules. I like High Elves because when you were able to Bitz order, you could buy Archer frames, which had unarmored robed legs and torsos, as well as having horses which could be modeled with unarmored bodies and armored heads. They wear their hair long, like the Japanese did, and luckily, every one of their models comes with multiple parts: arms, legs, torso, head, weaponry. Other armies feature models which are only torso/arms+legs and similar.
I built a unit of Samurai by using alot of HE parts. I bought
HE spearmen arms (unarmored w/ bracers)
HE archer bodies and heads,
Ellyrian Reaver legs (unarmored, but they're metal),
Ellyrion Reaver/Chariot horse bodies (unarmored, again),
Silver Helm horse-heads (armored)
For Non WHFB parts I purchased
Space Marine back-banner poles
LoTR High Elf Spearmen
By assembling the HE parts as normal, but cutting off the LoTR speartips and replacing the leaf-shaped HE ones. It then cut the back banners so that they made the distictive inverted "L"-shaped banner mounts and glued them 2 a piece to the backs of the elves.
Unfortunately, a unit of 5 of these came out to approx. $200, and I have not tried to do it again.
For Samurai, I've seen their leg and shoulder armor done with Tau shoulder-pads. These are a little large and blocky though for any of the fantasy ranges. Their shields can be made with LoTR Rohan shields, which are just small round targes when put on WHFB models. For helmets... I don't know what you could use for helms. I can't recall anything that's open enough for the required mask-work, although Blood-Letter faces without gluing the tongues in, would look good (but you'd still need a head and helm). When it comes to the tops of the heads, empire helmets are typically smooth domes, and you could easily add the flair with a little greenstuff. But the bloodletter 'mask' won't fit, and the helmets are slightly smaller than the elven heads. For crests, your archers come with small half-moon shapes for their own crests, and the spearmen arms will have shield sprues with them that have seperate crests that you can trim down if you wanted.
All together, I think you'd be better off to buy some sort of non-gw model. I think Warmachine might have some, and I know that Reaper Miniatures makes a Samurai range. In either case, you would not be able to play in any official tourneys because the models are not GW sanctioned (my samurai are technically illegal because they use LoTR parts). I know that you dislike GS work, but perhaps you could get a local to sculpt you some bits, and then just toss them in a resin mold and work from there. I know that I'm likely going to do this for a few of my more costly conversions.
Unfortually I have to use GW models cause I'm a tournament player and I play most of my games in a GW store.
Have you seen Dave Taylor's Grand Army of Cathay? It's no longer online anywhere I can find, but if you haven't seen it I could probably look back and see what White Dwarf it's in, if your shop or a friend has a lot of back-issues of White Dwarf. He uses a lot of Brettonnian parts.
Granted, Cathay is more analogous to China than Japan, but Nippon in Fantasy is inhabited by some off-shoot of Elves IIRC, and I don't really know the difference between Feudal Chinese and Japanese armour anyway.
Nippon is human inhabited, but has an Elven fortress in the southern tip, like most far-flung places in teh Warhammer world
What about converting shade hats, I'd like to have a unit wearing them?
It's WD issue 314. Can you get your hands on one of those?
Well it depends on which country it's from, I'm pretty sure you are refering to a US version instead of our over priced catalog with lots of big pictures for the kiddies over here in the UK.
Oh, yes I am.