It's been a while since I wrote an article about any of my models. Indeed, I haven't been blogging very frequently for some months now. At least in part, that's because much of my hobby effort has been diverted towards preparing forces with which to play Test of Honour.
For anyone who hasn't heard of this, it's a simple, fast-play game of heroic skirmishes, set in feudal Japan. This is aimed at recreating scenes from classic films such as "Seven Samurai", rather than necessarily being historically accurate. As such, it promises to be great fun and very much the kind of thing I enjoy!
The Test of Honour box set put out by Warlord Games contains enough figures for 2 basic forces of 2 or 3 Samurai backed by Ashigaru (peasant) troopers. I've painted up half of the box set with a black-and-white livery and given them "mon" (Japanese heraldic icons) that indicate they belong to the Oda family. A few other, metal figures have been added to give a little more variety.
A Test of Honour force is led by 1 hero and can have up to 2 other samurai in it. The 2 figures in the middle armed with katanas are plastic figures from the ToH starter set. However, I wanted some variety and so there are 3 metal samurai with alternate weapons also in this band.
The metal clubman, spearman and archer all come from Footsore Miniatures. They're a little bigger and bulkier than the Warlord plastics, but not enough to bother me.
As well as the leaders, my warband includes some troopers for them to lead. I built the 15 ashigaru in this force as follows:
- 4 archers
- 1 musician (conch player)
- 1 ammunition carrier (he can be the "3rd man" in an archer group - ToH allows "units" of 3 commoners as well as single figures)
- 1 standard bearer
- 1 sergeant
- 7 spearmen
I felt that I wanted a geisha as well, partly because they are such an iconic part of Japanese history and partly so that she could act as a spy or other scenario-specific objective.
This geisha model is from Hasslefree Miniatures, although (oddly) she's listed amongst their Modern martial artists. Still, her costume seems traditional enough to me. This was a refreshingly different model to paint; I enjoyed doing so very much and I'm immensely pleased with the result!
A Word on the Figures
I can't really finish this description without saying at least something about the models involved:
These are the plastics that were originally produced by the now-defunct Wargames Factory.
- They're cheap!
- They can be built into some very nice models.
- These are the most fiddly, fragile plastic models I've ever built. Most have 10+ separate parts (for example 2 legs, 2 body, head, 2 arms, spear, sashimono, swords) and many of these are extremely thin and delicate. No doubt they're scaled very accurately and are in "real world" proportions, but I have grave doubts about their durability on the wargames table.
- Matching arms to spears is something of a nightmare; not all combinations work properly and you need to use trial and error to figure it out.
I've only bought a few metal samurai from Footsore and cannot therefore comment on the rest of their range. However, here are some observations on the figures I've built.
- The models available cover exactly the weapons options from Test of Honour. That's hardly surprising, since they were (I believe) made for the game, or the game was made for this range or something like that.
- They're nicely-detailed, solid models; I'm not particularly worried about them breaking with normal use.
- I found that several of the Footsore models didn't fit together at all well and needed quite a bit of adjustment.
- They're a bit more expensive than the Warlord models, or other ranges such as the excellent Perry Miniatures samurai.
Here's the entire clan so far. In this picture you can also see my first piece of Japanese-themed scenery (who'd have thought it - a bridge!).
I do have plans to add some arquebuses to the Oda, but these may have to take their turn. After all, I'm also working on the red/yellow Takeda clan as well as bandit and ninja warbands. And more scenery. And some ronin. And it might be nice to get some warrior monks. Perhaps some horsemen too...
Beautiful stuff as always. Very clean and bright painting!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Skully. There are mistakes in my painting, you know :-) .Delete
Excellent looking samurai, ashigaru and geisha. Great rundown on the different makers too. I don't have any, Warlord, ex-Wargames Factory, figures, but I like plastics; However, they do seem to have a bit too many parts.ReplyDelete
This wasn't by any means a comprehensive list of manufacturers :-) ! Yes, the plastics are flexible, but perhaps a bit too finicky?Delete
Fantastic post C6, that Hasslefree mini is one of my favourites and you’ve painted her superblyReplyDelete
Glad you like it! Yes, I like the geisha as well :-) .Delete
Lovely looking miniatures, the patterns on the material looks superb.ReplyDelete
Well, only a few of the ashigaru have patterns on their clothing - most of them are plain. But the samurai have to be marked out as being a lot richer, don't they :-) ?Delete
Wow! You've done an awesome job on these Hugh, they look gorgeous! :-)ReplyDelete
I love this game and I hope you enjoy it - good news surrounding the upcoming TOH2 as well, with confirmation from the authors that everything will be "backwards compatible" with the original (just adding more cool stuff) :-)
Yes, the game looks as if it's getting a lot of love at the moment. Suits me very well :-) .Delete
They all look great. Its exactly what put me off ToH was the crappy plastics that you get loads of with the rules. Its a shame as the metal model that comes in the different clan sets are glorious looking.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Simon. I think quite a few people have bought the ToH sets for the rules, dice & cards - but have sold off the plastic figures and replaced them with miniatures from Perry, Footsore, Zenit, Dixon, Old Glory...Delete
Wow! Those look absolutely brilliant! I just can not buy into another game but posts like this are making it extremely difficult :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Ivor. The Warlord plastics are quite fiddly to make; if I were to start ToH now then I think I'd wait a few months for version 2 [which will be from the original author, *not* from Warlord] and buy Perry figures instead.Delete
Excellent painting, and none of them look seriously out of proportion.ReplyDelete
You have to expect a bit of variation in height and build with those Mk. 1 humans.
It's not an era I know much about, though #3 son seems to have learned a lot from video games and YouTube channels.
Perhaps Samurai and Ninja are the new "down to the kids" trend.
Thanks, Steve. Hmm, I think I learned most of what I know by watching Kurosawa's films, reading "Shogun" and playing "Bushido" (the role-playing game, a long time ago). Perhaps video games and YouTube aren't so very different after all?Delete
Whilst the finished plastics look great I think that they're becoming almost as expensive as metal figures, though the detailing in plastic is becoming incresingly better. I still hate gluing them together too!ReplyDelete
The Hasslefree Geisha looks superb !
I quite like the plastics from some other companies, or even from some of Warlord's other ranges, but these ones are just tedious to build!Delete
When I started looking for geisha models, I was surprised at how little choice there seems to be. Of the models I found, the Hasslefree one seemed the best by far!