New: Pike & Shotte Ashigaru Spearmen + Missle Troops

The Ashigaru were the backbone of Japan’s armies; despite being considered light infantry, used correctly, they could be a very deadly weapon! The plastic Ashigaru Spearmen and Ashigaru Missle Troops are now available for Pike & Shotte…

Ashigaru Spearmen

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Ashigaru (literally “light foot”) were so named as they had lighter armour than the Samurai. They also formed the bulk of the armies of the day. Each Samurai was expected to provide two armed Ashigaru. Many of these would be armed with the yari (spear).

This product contains:

  • 20 plastic Ashigaru with Yari spears
  • Decal sheet with Takeda clan markings
  • Assembly leaflet
  • Plastic bases

These are not the pike blocks of contemporary Europe as the Ashigaru were trained to fight in a looser formation, travel quicker and their spear was for slicing and thrusting. Many a battle was won by the Ashigaru, especially if cavalry were foolish enough to attack them from the front.

As time went on in the Sengoku (1467-1603) period the proportion of Ashigaru spearmen increased. Their relative ease and speed of training meant they were easier to replace (and cheaper). Marching into battle with drums beating, worn on the backs of troops and beaten by the man behind, and displaying their masters Mon on their sashimono, they would be a formidable sight to behold. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Shogun that pacified Japan, was himself the son of an Ashigaru.

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Ashigaru Missle Troops

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The biggest change in the Sengoku period (1467-1603) would affect the role of missile troops in battle. At the start of the period, these were all armed with the yumi (bow) and fought in coordinated units to pepper the enemy with their arrows. This bow, like the equivalent English Longbow, took many years training to perfect but was deadly when used correctly. Due to the training needed there were never as many yumi armed troops as a daimyo may have wanted!

This product contains:

  • 20 plastic Ashigaru with bow and arquebus
  • Decal sheet with Takeda clan markings
  • Assembly leaflet
  • Plastic bases

This would change with the introduction of firearms in 1543 via some Portuguese merchants. It did not take long for clever daimyos to see the opportunity they provided. As in Europe, the relative lack of training needed to use one meant Teppo (muskets) rapidly replaced the yumi as the missile weapon of choice.

From having no gunpowder weapons before their introduction within 60 years teppo would outnumber yumi on the battlefield by a ratio of 4 or 5 to 1. However the yumi did not disappear, there would always be yumi armed troops amongst the teppo to help protect them while they reload.

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