The North Star figures depict four ‘buntai’ (or groups) that you can use to play samurai games. I’ve reported before on the exact make-up of these buntai in a previous post.
The figures arrived in four clear plastic disc cases, one for each buntai. These boxes looked very impressive and professional with their printed slip-covers, which include lots of eye-catching painting information.
In each box were the figures making up one of the buntai. These models look nicely sculpted and cast. They are all in lovely dynamic poses that exude ‘Japanese-ness’. The anatomy proportions look pretty realistic to my eye, though perhaps verging on the heroic in terms of weapon to figure size – but I like that. Overall, they’re nice and appeal to me very much … and I am fussy!
There is going to be a little bit of clean-up work to do, with some jaggy bits from casting process to remove (somewhat similar to the way Perry figures often come). A few figures require some slight assembly, especially where scabbards and ‘sashimono’ (back banners) are concerned. But once cleaned up and assembled, these figures appear as if they’ll be a joy to paint.
I plan to base the figures individually on washers, as this is the ideal set-up for skirmish gaming. And I’m already thinking of ways to make these bases look Japanese – maybe adding a little stone lamp, or bonsai tree, or even a raked gravel garden effect!
Despite the very sturdy packaging of the figures in their disc cases, and the bubble-wrap bags containing the figures, sadly there was still one breakage in my order. (Such breakages always leave me in a quandary – do I ask for a replacement figure, in which case I feel mean at probably clawing back any profit the company has made from me; or do I live with a very fragile glued-together repair job – particularly as my talents don’t lie to replacing the long ‘naginata’ (sword-tipped polearm) with wire?).
All in all, though, a nice lot of very interesting figures. They’ll be a fun challenge for me to paint, as I know next to nothing about feudal Japanese uniforms and armour!
I was looking forward to reading these rules. But in hindsight, I’m not sure why, as rules generally make my eyes glaze over. I’m not a numbers person, and I’m slow at picking up rules mechanisms. As a consequence, I just don’t enjoy reading rules (and this might also be why I am not that frequent a gamer, feeling happier just building up my forces for some imaginary game that never actually occurs for real!).
What I’m trying to say is that perhaps I’m the wrong person to review the rules because of the above. The rules were for me just as I find most other sets of rules I read – not at all my cup of tea as a reading experience. Nevertheless, I suspect they are very good rules for those who do like the rules part of gaming. So I’m going to put a link here to another blog for those of you who want a more objective review on Hachiman’s Toy Chest.
Suffice to say, though, that the publication itself looks good, containing lots of juicy pictures of beautifully painted miniatures alternating with colourful artwork from other Osprey books on the period. So the book will be very inspiring for my painting and Japanese terrain-making.
Overall conclusion of the figures and rules? I would think most people interested in this period will love them. I’m certainly happy with them (even with the caveat about my own personal difficulty with reading wargames rules of any type!).