Monday, 21 October 2013

Unboxing: "Oriental Blades" by

Some time ago I began collecting models in order to build an army based on one of the "Warhammer Armies Project" unofficial Warhammer supplements: The "Nippon" armies book.

Being largely based on Feudal 16th Century Japan, sourcing miniatures hasn't been too difficult. I've previously written a series of posts regarding:

Being a Warhammer supplement and not a true historical wargame, however, means that it's going to have its roots in Fantasy. That means magic, monsters and exotic troop types. And as you'd expect these are in plentiful supply in the book; Ki-rin, Oni, Kabuki Dolls, Wako Pirates, Kitsune and so on.

The problem is that they're not so easy to actually find models for. The rank and file of Ashigaru and Samurai are in good supply thanks to companies like Wargames Factory and Perry Miniatures. But finding monsters, Shugenja (wizards) and female characters (like Kabuki Dolls and Battle Maidens) is a bit more difficult.

A lot of searching effort has gone on by those of us who have an interest in this army book and setting and many good finds have been posted over on the "Models for the Nippon Army" thread on the "battlereporter" forum.

One of the finds we made was a UK company called "em4miniatures". These are a supplier of  RPG and Wargames miniatures and accessories who specialise in pre-painted figures. They have a number of ranges, one of which is the "Oriental Blades" range. "Oriental Blades" is a small range of just 10 different miniatures and when I first found them, these were split into two sets "OB1" and "OB2". Both were available painted as a job lot and the minis from "OB1" were available unpainted as individual models. After some emails swapped between Doug at "em4miniatures" I managed to agree with him that he'd cast up some unpainted models from the OB2 range and would be happy to sell those as individual models too.

Now that, in my book, is customer service.

So a few weeks later I now have in my possession 22 models, all unpainted, from the OB1 and OB2 ranges that I can add to my growing collection, so I thought I'd show you all what I have.

First up, some "Female Adventurer" models which I intend to use as "Battle Maidens". I purchased 10 of these so can easily show "front" and "back" views. One model is from the "OB1" range, the other is from "OB2":
OB1 Female Adventurer, front & back

OB2 Female Adventurer, front & back

Next up, some "Ronin". Again,  I purchased 10 of these so can easily show "front" and "back" views. One model is from the "OB1" range, the other is from "OB2":
OB1 Scruffy Ronin, front & back

OB2 Ronin, front & back

Lastly I picked up 1 Ninja and 1 Shugenja:
Shugenja front (left), Ninja front (right)

Shugenja back  (left), Ninja back (right)

The photos here really don't do the models justice. The flash on the camera in conjunction with the metallic shine on the models has washed out a lot of the details that these models actually have. All the models are nice, clean, detailed sculpts, mould lines are virtually invisible and there is a small amount of flash as you'd expect from any lead casting. It's minimal though - I've seen far, far worse that cleaned up well. The poses are dynamic and dramatic.

As just £1.50 per model I certainly can't quibble on the price. Each is supplied ready for insertion into a GW-style slottabase and comes with a 1'' round "Warhammer 40K" type base.

If I was to make any sort of a grumble about anything, it would be about some slight inconsistencies in the models' sizes. The Ninja is clearly smaller and "skinnier" than the others, whilst one of the female adventurers and the Shujenga are larger. This doesn't bother me overmuch - in a Wargame it's the base size that's of paramount importance not the actual dimensions of the figures, but it might put some people off.