Yes, 'Standing Small' had my Red and Black samurai, both which I have proudly entered in CCCII and CCCIV respectively.
CCCX is just over; time sure flies.
I agree that there are now more weapons and accessories from 3rd parties; and even from Lego themselves.
Kind of lessens the need for actual physical customization to a certain extent imo. This isn't a bad thing, considering that customizing is a niche hobby, while majority others are given a larger choice of readily available parts and accessories to choose from.
The horse barding is cut using a Dremel, while it's trimmings are made of sheet styrene, cut and filed to shape. Quite painstaking actually.
The katana sheath is also made from sheet styrene, cut, glued and filed to shape. I've attached a wip pic.