My enthusiasm for Bushido continues. The Ito Clan starter box arrived and I've already finished Ito Itsunagi - probably the most powerful member of the Ito Clan. He's not as good as I could have painted him though, as I tried to paint on his tattoos and it all went horribly wrong and had to redo a lot of his flesh. He's still passable, but definitely just tabletop quality now. Ah well, at some point when I'm drowning in time and money I may get another Itsunagi and try again. For now though I'll settle for getting a fully painted force.
My first real game is scheduled for next week (the 28th) against Dave Hamilton's Prefecture of Ryu force. The Prefecture are the 'standard' samurai force: samurai with ashigaru retainers. No weird powers or unusual creatures for the most part. The Prefecture seems to be the faction for rocking straight up to someone and beating them down. Just about everyone in the faction has plenty of armour, which makes it very unlikely to kill anyone in a single exchange without access to Sharp or Armour Piercing.
The Ito Clan on the other are all about dancing around the combat, or evading a direct fight when possible. Nearly everyone has access to Side Step Defence (basically, I get to walk away if I succeed at defending in melee), most of the samurai in the faction can do it with no penalty. Unfortunately most of the models in the starter box are very fragile, it is very much a case of protecting Itsunagi while he kills everything.
I actually prefer the old starter box with Ito Kenzo and Naoko over Ito Itsunagi and Akimoto. The snakeman Akimoto really doesn't seem all that useful to me, he can become very terrifying, but to do that he can't move and he can't be in combat. Other than that though, he's terrible in combat, has no ranged attack... he's there to generate Blood of Orochi tokens (you can use those to give models in your army the Poison special ability, the lethality is determined by how many Blood of Orochi tokens you spend on an individual model). Sure Itsunagi is a powerhouse, but Naoko is so much better than Akimoto, while Kenzo isn't miles off from Itsunagi. Fortunately I have ordered Kenzo and Naoko, so I may have the option of either version of the starter box. I'll just bring what's painted, so probably the newer 'normal' starter box.
On the hobby front, I seem to have developed a weird taste for building bamboo hedges out of toothpicks and copper wiring. It's very easy, and I may end up with a disproportionate number of hedges to other terrain. My board has been put on hold after Mark Bonatti asked how I made all the terrain seamless (he thought it was modular) at which point I slapped myself on the forehead and then decided to make modular terrain instead. I do need to pick up a giant bag of clump foliage for my hedges though, these tiny GF9 tubs are not cost-efficient.
Update: I got fed up with Itsunagi's terrible skin and redid it (again) so now it's a much smoother blend. It's much better but it's still just a good tabletop quality. Pictures once the whole starter box is finished.