About us

Building a samurai battery part 2: Mortars

The Games Workshop kit I used for the cannon also includes a mortar barrel. The kit only supply you with carriage for either the cannon or the mortar, but this gives us a reason to get creative and build something, as it would be a shame to let it go to waste. Even more so when Japanese mortars tended not to be used with wheeled carriages, but placed on sturdy immovable supports of wood or stacks of tightly bound chaff.

Step 1

The base is built just like in the cannon tutorial. The carriage was built out of a square stick of hard wood, but matches should do as well. The base is laid out, leaving a gap where the back of the barrel will rest. I threw in a bucket from the plastic kit to add some variation to the large base.

Step 2

A second layer is put on top of the base, leaving an even larger gap for the barrel to rest in. Then a third and similar layer was added, with some trimming on the edges at the back of the structure. This layer was also slightly trimmed at the middles to make small valleys for the length of the barrel and the two supports to rest in. I cut out four small triangular bits to glue on this third layer to keep the supports in place. Finally I added four vertical planks to make the structure look like it is firmly embedded in the ground. Once everything is in place, paint the base with watered down wood glue and then sprinkle it with sand.

The barrel itself had most of it's decorations removed with a hobby knife. Cannonballs made out of green stuff and some round pea-like things I found in the woods. Anything roughly round and in the right size should do.

Here is another view of the finished mortar. The crew are from the Perry Miniatures cannon set. Unlike the cannon, I really like them, and since you get four crew members I only had to scrounge up two banner bearers to fill out my artillery to three crew members each.

Step 3

The base and the support structure was painted just like the cannon. Everything was primed black, and then drybrushed in various brown colours. The mortar itself was painted brass. The cannonballs were left black and picked out with gloss varnish. For finishing details I painted parts of the base in watered down wood glue and sprinkled it with static grass, and finally I added some foliage from Woodland Scenics for some brushes to break up the large base.


Overall a very simple conversion that I would recommend to anyone who picks up the Games Workshop Empire cannon kit, as it is a shame to let either the mortar or the cannon go to waste when you can just build this out of matches. Do not cry over the Perry Miniatures cannon, let's just say it will probably be seen in a much more over the top conversion later on.

Featured product

Latest News

2013-02-17 New Review
I uploaded a new review, this time covering the 28mm Ashigaru Missile Troop box from Wargames factory.

Did you know...

The reason why the samurai class shaved their the top of their heads is for helmet to fit more easily when they go into battle.
Hosting & CMS by Webzoo AB