Wargames Factory recently released a new line of miniatures based around 16th centuary Japan. Seen as though the only other review that I’ve seen is a Beasts of War one, I decided I’d write one up. I have a reasonable knowledge of Feudal Japan, but I’m by no means an expert. Therefore, historical accuracy is not something that I’ll be focusing on at length.
I also want to point out that this review is my opinion and not everyone will agree with me.
So let’s kick off with the important bit, the details. I know a lot of people are sceptical of WF products because of the poor quality of some of their early kits. I’m pleased to say though that the Samurai kit is a VAST improvement over everything else they’ve ever done! When I opened the box the first thing that hit me was how much detail was on the miniatures. That being said, the detail is still quite soft in places so do be careful when it comes to painting as it will be very easy to apply too much and obscure detail.
The sharpness of the components is a little bit varied. Torsos, for example, have more defined lacing detail that the legs. And the divide between cloth and armour on the arm is negligible (another thing to be careful of when painting)
I have to make a mention of the sprue design at this point. I’ve never seen a multi part model designed like this before, but I think it’s a great thing. The legs come in two parts (right and left) and are mostly arranged so that the mould lines avoid the lacing of the armour, which would have been a bitch to trim away otherwise. The torso comes in two, with a peg that goes into the legs and lets you rotate the body to get a better pose (without it falling off the legs during gluing).
The arms have pegs which slot into holes into the torso. This can be a little bit restrictive, but if you wanted, it would be easy enough to cut away the peg and fill any gaps with GS.
These models can be built in a wide range of poses. Separate individual legs increase the stances the models can be given (but doing this means you have to do a little repositioning to stop the models looking like they are dancing; ala the BoW review.)
The biggest let down in the pose department is the presence of a duplicate leg set on the sprue. The sprue lets you build 5 warriors with 4 different leg poses. I would have preferred a 5/5.
Value wise, these are WF, so they are excellent value for money. I ordered mine from Wayland games and the box cost me roughly £18 with shipping. If you bulk buy or get in when free shipping is available, these models are a steal at 25 to a box!
All good things aside, there are areas for improvement. Obviously I would have like more pronounced details that would respond better to painting. However, I have no clue on the tooling process so I don’t actually know how doable this would be.
For all the bits included in the kit, there are a few things that I feel should have been changed or included but weren’t:
There are no menpo face masks in the box, at all. This was a big disappointment to me as it is one of the defining features of a samurai.
The kit only includes one pair of sode (shoulder armour) per five figures. For such a small piece, I expected to see a 5/5 ratio again.
While the kit does include 5 mon (helmet crests) I would have like a few more to add even greater variety.
I would like to have seen a few war fans (even one per sprue)
The katanas in the kit are nice and thin (not fat and chunky like a lot of metal samurai) but they feel a bit too short. Longer swords (even a few mm) would have been nice.
In closing I will leave you with one caveat. This is NOT a kit for novices. It’s a realistic scale 28mm which makes the pieces a LOT smaller than what you’re used to with GW. The softness of the detail and fiddlyness of some of the smaller pieces means you will have to be a more experienced modeller and painted to achieve results (I think this is the problem with the WF promo pictures, I just don’t think whoever built and painted the promo models was skilled enough to tackle to the kit properly. Same goes for Darrel on BoW and his assembly)
However, I’m convinced that with patience, a steady hand, a very small brush and a bit of skill, you can create a REALLY nice looking force of plastic samurai for a very small amount of money.
This kit defiantly gets my recommendation and I’d give it a good 7.5 out of ten, 8 if you’re not daunted by the prospect of painting them :wink:
To end, here are some pictures of my assembled boys :grin: