1 Box, 1 Army – Warlord Games Imperial Japanese Infantry

Box Contents

The Warlord Games Imperial Japanese Infantry are a plastic kit containing:

  • 30 IJA Infantry
  • 48 Rifles
  • 12 SMGs
  • 12 LMGs
  • 6 Light Mortars
  • 6 Lunge Mines

The List

Generic Reinforced Platoon
2nd Lt (SMG) – Vet – 65
x1 Buddy (SMG) – Vet – 13
IJA Island Warfare Rifle Squad (Late War) – 4 men – Reg
x1 LMG – 20
IJA Island Warfare Rifle Squad (Late War) – 4 men – Reg
x1 LMG – 20
IJA Veteran Squad – 8 men – Vet
IJA Veteran Squad – 8 men – Vet
Light Mortar Team – Reg – 3535pts
Sniper Team – Reg – 5050pts
Total7 Order Dice497pts


  • Rifle – 20
  • SMG – 4
  • LMG – 2
  • Sniper – 1
  • Light Mortar – 1

Notes and Analysis

The objective of this list is two part – 1) use as many of the components from a single box of infantry as possible and 2) make a List that work at a competitive level. Please in mind, this List was written using only the content of a single box of infantry.

One of the best things about Bolt Action is how inexpensive (compared to many other popular wargames) it is to get started. This army list provides a mobile assault force using just a single box of infantry.

Now before I move into the list I just wanted to warn all readers that this box is showing its age, designed in 2013 a fair few of the head sculpts look more heavily inspired by anti-Japanese propaganda from WWII than by actual photos of military men from that era, we see plenty of bucked teeth and bottle rimmed glasses. Though these are toys and in honesty everyone just wants to play a fun game I do feel it is something anyone building these guys should be aware of and sensitive too, for myself I didn’t use any head sculpts with glass and gave the faces a very generic wash which does as much to hide detail as it does to highlight it. No judgement this side, you do you, but I did want to mention it. Warlord games if your listening please give this set in update.

Anyway onto the actual box, inside we see 30 models and the options for rifles, SMGs, LMGs, Light Mortars, Flags and Lunge Mines. Now I am heavily tempted to throw a flag in there and some Lunge Mines but the sad truth is that with only 30 models and a 500pts you are unlikely to encounter any vehicles that need to go boom, equally a Flag is just not needed at such a small scale. Nothing however is stopping you making one guy holding a Flag and throwing a Rifle on him as long as you make it clear with your opponent that the Flag for modelling purposes only (I threw a SMG on my Flag guy and have him as a buddy for my Lt).

The force is divided into a HQ, four squads and two support units, giving you an amazing seven Order Dice and likely a decent amount of tactical control. 

The HQ in this force is an officer and his buddy, give them both SMGs and a Sword for your officer. SMGs are rare in a Japanese lists so make the most of the opportunity. As Veteran and a Small Squad they are somewhat difficult to take down, have them support your two large Infantry units and use all of them on one flank to overwhelm your opponent.

For squads you have two eight-man Veteran squads with a SMG for the NCOs. These guys need to grab objectives and make a nuisance of themselves. But don’t throw them away just because they have Fanatic, hug cover and be sensible with them, pounce one weakened enemies and move on, they are likely to be outgunned making you want to get into combat quickly but don’t under estimate the power of a Rifle and don’t over extend. Ideally you want both squads backing each other up so that any opponents you face will be outnumbered.

The other two Infantry squads are two small units of four Regulars with a LMG each. Surprisingly cheap for what they do, if in cover they can lay out a decent number of shots, hold objectives well and throw Pins on the enemy. The guys need to be annoying enough that your opponent targets them rather than the 18 Veterans trying to get into assault and in honestly the fact they are Regular and that they have LMGs means that they be targeted quite often. Don’t be sacred to go Down with them rather than take the hit and lose the squad. LMGs out range Rifles so you can keep them well back if needed.

Your Sniper Team needs to target any of your opponents weapon teams or some tasty special weapons in squads. Again he can out range rifles and stay well back if needed.

The Light Mortar can do decent work at removing men from cover. It will be in range and in sight of getting shot back but just remember every bullet that flies towards your Mortar or small LMG squads is not hitting your big Veteran units. The Mortar can move and shoot as well, so he can follow your Veterans if needed.

How I command this force is to have the 18 Veterans on one flank whilst the LMGs and Sniper stay in the back field (the Mortar goes where it’s needed). Push the Vets forward and flatten one side of the opponent whilst your LMGs, Mortar and Sniper trade shots with the enemy. 

What’s Next?

Consider these additions to your 500pt 1 Box Army:

A quick and easy way to push towards 1000pts is to add another box of Infantry and bulk out the two Veteran units to 15 men whilst adding a third 15 man unit. Very few armies have the firepower to stop 45 Veteran Fanatics with Banzi. With the one spare man build a Lunge Mine and buy a Chi-Ha Light Tank, that will be a total of 1000pts, 60 infantry, 1 tank and 10 Order Dice. Find a friend to split the Island Assault! Starter Set and you pretty much have it.


2 thoughts on “1 Box, 1 Army – Warlord Games Imperial Japanese Infantry

  1. Thanks for adding this.

    I really like the Japanese force and find they an interesting alternative to the big four. You have less weapon options but your basic rifleman can do some really heavy lifting with fanatic and banzi.

    Some people argue against snipers in lists under 500pts (or at all) but it’s all down to personal taste, just pick your targets well and your golden, the threat of it can also scare opponents who have had a bad experience against them in the past or newer players.

    Don’t call into the trap of just throwing your men at the enemy, use the rifles when it suits and Banzi when you have a high chance of success. You only have 30 bodies in the box and everyone of them is precious.

    Thanks for posting this one, I will send a new list your way shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

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