Welcome to Librarium Online!
For years now, Iíve been trying to get into fantasy but couldnít never really find an army that I could convert to a theme that would satisfy my thirst for conversions.
These ideas have ranged from Urui-Kai like Ogres to deamonic wooden puppets (I have a lot of spare Necron Warrior bodies and arms)
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.
The armoured warriors would be easy I probably use either Empire state troops or Dark Elf Corsairs as a base and add the armour using green stuff so it looks similar to the armour below.
Problem is because this is my first fantasy army Iím not sure which army would suit this theme so far itís between High Elves and Dark Elves both have suitable stats for a fast moving samurai like army.
But Iíd like to hear your thoughts on my idea before I continue on to mock model creation?
Dark Elves seem an obvious choice, as they already have Ninja (Assassins). Dark Riders make for obvious Samurai, with their Spear, Katana (hand weapon) and bow (Crossbow), while Warriors make for perfect peasant militia. Unfortunately, I think you would need to get a bit more creative with the other units (eg Black Guard into women with Naginata, Sorceress into Onmyouji, etc)
Dark Elves seem the logical choice for reasons given by Elric. Empire could even work (new book has an Imperial Dragon, apparently), or Dogs of War (not official in some tournaments).
Anyway, research all you can on Nippon in the Warhammer world, it's the game equivalent of Japan.
even though I agree with them that DE have ninja (assassin). I say that all the elves are potential Japanese themed armies.
DE can be described as the more sneaky ninja using clan (was it the Tokugawa clan that used ninja services a lot?)
HE is the more pure samurai clan due to strike first rule (they prefect themselves in the art of sword fighting or something like that)
WE would be the samurais that devoted themselves to archery.
But if you have to chose one army I'd go with HE.
The core choices can be state militia. Swordmasters would be samurai (as a katana was used as a two handed weapon), shadow warriors can be your ninja/shinobi. Great eagles can be used as a "tengu monster".
Dark Elf models would be easier to convert I think, but fluff wise the High Elves have more similarities to the Japanese because their different special units such as sword masters dedicate their lives to certain aspects of warfare, just as the Samurai did.
If you're willing to look outside the GW range, there are some awesome samurai army models out there. I have a stickied thread in the modeling forum of mini manufacturers you can look through.