For some years now, I have been searching for more Sengoku-era Japanese bandits with which to populate my games of Test of Honour. Some models are available from the usual suspects (such as Perry Miniatures, Warlord Games & Footsore Miniatures), but I want more variety.
Scheltrum are a long-established model manufacturer in Scotland. They have a wide range of figures for some fairly unusual genres - but they really don't do the internet at all. Eventually, I managed to track down this elusive company at last year's Carronade show in Falkirk, where they had a large stall.
I was curious about Scheltrum's Wako models - feudal Japanese pirates - and so I purchased one of the several available packs. I thought that these would be suitable for use as generic bandits. Read on to find out whether I was right!
There were 8 models in the pack I had bought. Two of these were unique and three were pairs of duplicated figures. Six of the eight had open hands for weapons, whilst one pair of figures were moulded with exceptionally large swords. Other than the separate weapons, the models were just a single piece.
The supplied weapons were all spears with a variety of lengths. Some of the longer poles had attachments just below the head; I'm guessing that these were "fire lances" - primitive gunpowder weapons.
A few of the figures had noticeable amounts of flash on them, but this was easy to remove (and quite soft metal as well).
It took a while to paint all my Wako. In the end, I replaced a fair number of the weapons with spare spears and swords from another manufacturer (AW Miniatures, if I remember correctly?). This was because I didn't wish to have my bandits armed with fire lances, even though the supplied weapons were perfectly acceptable parts in all other respects..
|The entire set. What a bunch of ruffians!|
|Two figures with "half helmet" (not sure how else to describe this?). The sword (from AW Miniatures) looks a little odd, perhaps - but I didn't want to make them both into spearmen.|
|Two bandits with spears, headbands and partial armour. Good, serviceable figures.|
There is a distinct lack of information about Scheltrum's products available! Hopefully, this article goes some small way towards fixing that. Note that their Wako range has several other packs as well; these have greater or lesser amounts of armour, I believe. Indeed, one model even has a Spanish-style helmet, presumably looted from some unfortunate sailor!
The style of these models is definitely a generation or two behind the best available today. I've already mentioned a bit of flash on the castings; as well as that the figures are anatomically a bit exaggerated (the heads & hands are big, for starters). Add to that the soft metal and it all screams "old fashioned".
Having said that, I think they are perfectly acceptable crowd-fillers. These models will help to bulk out the back ranks of my bandit warband and add some welcome variety to such motley crews. I will most certainly use them in my games.