Friday, July 15, 2011


The Hatamoto-Chi is by far my favorite Draconis Combine mech. Afterall how how can you get much cooler than a giant metal samurai?

The name is an extension of Hatamoto which in japanese means "banner man" or what we'd commonly refer to as a standard bearer. There's also a second meaning which means "under the banner" in a political sense or association with the Shogunate party. Hatamoto's were usually mid to high  ranking lords within the samurai class and the title was considered to be prestegious and a posistion of great honor.

According to Battletech game fiction the name was given to the mech due to a fin like heat sink on the mechs back that reminded engineer of Sashimono or back banners that samurai often wore into battle. It's a fairly small part on the model that doesn't really seem all that impressive and it's not depicted in the art despite the prominence it has in creating the mechs image and name.

Here is a more recent rendition of the Hatamoto-Chi done by David White for the Strider's Strikers fan site

Needless to say I absolutely love this piece. It has a much more streamlined look along with the addition of a katana for close combat to further the samurai image.

Close combat weaponry like the swords are only a minimal advatage in Battletech, but regardless of game mechanics they are quite imposing and I think really enhance the style of certain mechs particuarly those of the Combine. A large portion of the samurai culture centers around the sword as it is the embodiment and expression of a warriors honor. That is what inspired my latest miniature conversion.

The sword I designed in 3d and had printed, which I used as masters for being recast in resin. They were originalled scaled to be used with 28-32mm infantry, but the larger two handed No-Daichi sword was a good size to be used for the larger Hatamoto-Chi. When scaled vs the mech it'd be more akin to a long katana than a true no-daichi.

Here's a render of the various swords I had printed ranging from a small wakazashi (short sword)  katana, no-daichi, to the largest which is an orge-daichi. Not an actual sword but named for something an orge magi (or giant) would use.

A real world No-Dachi was a fairly rare but very imposing weapon. A standard katana is about 3-4 feet in length depending on the weilder's preference and what style of hilt is mounted on it. Meanwhile a No-Daichi is a monsterous 5-6 feet long. Many japanese of the period were not much taller than 5 ft so the sword was often longer than the samruai was tall and in some ways was more like a pole arm or spear than a sword..

Toshiro Mifune wields a No-Daichi in the Seven Samurai, which is by far one of my favorite movies. It's an excellent period piece, but Kurosawa's films are also a huge peice of film making history as he's inspired thousands of directors, most noteably George Lucas. Lucas worked with Kurosawa and borrowed many of his directing elements when he made the original Star Wars trilogy. The Seven Samurai is one of the best films ever made and I often sneek in references to it in my work. 

As the Hatamoto-Chi now has a pair of much more appropriately sized banners I'll be using using one of them for my seven samurai tie in. When painted it will incorperate the banner/standard that the seven samurai create as their symbol during the film. It's most prominantly shown flying victoriously over the town at the end of the film prior to the shot flowing dramatically to the graveyard of swords.

I always enjoy small details and background elements like those on my miniatures or in my artwork as it creates a deeper subject even when other people might miss it entirely.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I'm not sure if you'll get this, as I'm posting over 2 years late, but I am putting together a Warhammer army for the unofficial, medieval-chinese-inspired, Cathay. One of their special weapons is the Cathayan Longsword, and I have been looking for nice swords with which to do conversions. I really like the design of your swords, and was wondering if they is any way I could get my hands on some, say 15 of the no-daichi or even the ogre-daichi depending on their exact lengths. Please reply if this is possible, thanks.