Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I Was A Teenage Ashigaru

No new stuff to report.

Have Samurai and the like on my mind. Working on my next Early Samurai force which will have a fairly substantial warrior monk presence. Why? I have lots of figures and I think they are cool. More on Early Samurai, later.

I came across this link whilst dredging through the vasty deeps of youtube.

This is the movie 'Heaven and Earth' or 'Ten To Chi' in which I was employed for the summer as an extra. The film was shot on the Stoney First Nations Reserve which lies between Calgary and the mountains to the west. It's the story we all know and love, Battle of Kawanakajima, Uesugi Kenshin, and Takeda Shingen.

For the summer I stood around in red plastic armour baking in the sun and dust. Occasionally we'd run around or engage in mock fights. But mostly we just stood around.

This does not make me a re-enactor as some people have told me. Extras get paid to run around in costumes. Re-enactors pay money to run around in costumes.

This does make me foremost authority of on Samurai warfare on my block, quite possibly neighborhood.

Have fun and watch. It's quite fun, and you can see me! I'm one of the guys in red running away from Kenshin's 70 Kilo-Mifunes* cavalry charge through the red Takeda ashigaru ranks.

Made today it would have countless herky-jerky CGI puppets fighting it out with extra choppy editing. I feel like I was in one of the last of the 'cast of a thousand' epics.

DBA wise all I'm pointing out is how cool the singular massed colours of the uniforms look. Maybe not historically accurate, but dramatic for sure. I'm doing another Post-Mongol Samurai force this spring and black and white are the colours of the season for sure!

Until then, keep your ashigaru away from the cavalry in the open.


* You may or may not be aware that the 'Mifune' is the scientifically agreed unit of measurement of cinematic samurai badassadry. One Mifune (MF) is a single eyebrow raise by the actor Toshiro Mifune in 'Yojimbo'. Kikuchiyo's death scene in 'Seven Samurai ranks as 1.6 Mega-Mifunes. The dune sequence in 'Shogun Assassin' starts to red-line the meter at 7.2 Mega-MF's.


  1. In a first year Physics class I took the professor suggested that the "Helen" could be a standardized unit of measurement for beauty - one Helen being the beauty that could launch a thousand ships... most measurements would of course be in Millihelens...

    So what ever happened to all that plastic armour? Did you get to keep any souvenirs? I found a re-enacting website a while back with loads of info about how to make japanese armour and thought I might try and make some... or at least a helmet or two for when I finish up my own DBA/HOTT Samurai armies!

    I just picked up a copy of the movie off ebay but haven't watched it yet... I'll be watching for you!!

  2. We had a chance to buy the stuff after the film wrapped. By the time I got to the depot to make a bid, there was just junk left. There was three levels of armour. The real deal made out of plastic. Second rate was the same but no articulation (or ventilation) which I wore. Third rate was foam, which decayed before our very eyes, not before smelling really bad.

    I commission you to make me a Kamakura era o-yori with really pimpy sode. Get crackin', those Taira jerks don't die on their own y'know.