- 52 figures with 13 unique poses
- Unpainted figures, assembly with glue and painting required
- Molded in gray
- Recommend for hobbyists and miniature gamers 12 years and above
Ashigaru (足軽 "light [of] foot") were infantry employed by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The first known reference to ashigaru was in the 14th century, but it was during the Ashikaga shogunate–Muromachi period that the use of ashigaru became prevalent by various warring factions.
Ashigaru formed the backbone of samurai armies in the later periods. The real change for the ashigaru began in 1543 with the introduction of matchlock firearms by the Portuguese. Almost immediately local daimyōs started to equip their ashigaru with the new weapon that required little training to use proficiently, as compared to the longbow which took many years to learn. As battles became more complex and forces larger, ashigaru were rigorously trained so that they would hold their ranks in the face of enemy fire.
The advantage of the matchlock guns proved decisive to samurai warfare. This was demonstrated at the Battle of Nagashino in 1575, where carefully positioned ashigaru gunners of the Oda and Tokugawa clans thwarted the Takeda clan's repeated heavy cavalry charges against the Oda clan's defensive lines and broke the back of the Takeda war machine.
After the battle, the ashigarus' role in the armies were cemented as a very powerful complement to the samurai. The advantage was used in the two invasions of Korea in 1592 and 1597 against the Koreans and later the Ming-dynasty Chinese. Though the ratio of guns (matchlocks) to bows was 2:1 during the first invasion, the ratio became 4:1 in the second invasion since the guns proved highly effective.
This Red Box model kit represents various factions of Ashigaru durinig the medieval Japan era.