Salute Stuff – Part 1

Salute was a long and slightly hectic day, and seems much further back in the mists of time than this time last week. Unusually for me, I went as a customer and spent much of the day wandering about the many stands, looking at the demos and chatting to people I knew.

Overall, it was a fun event and one I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in wargaming with miniatures. I did have a slight sense of disappointment though, and I think this comes from the huge pre-event noise we get these days. It used to be the case that I’d roll up to an event not knowing what I’d find, and discovering the gems I’d not heard of before was a big part of the buzz. These days, everyone bombards all the news sites with special offers, limited editions, and show deals, so it’s hard to not be aware of all the goodies in advance. Entirely understandable on the part of the companies – I still miss the excitement of discovery though.

That said, I did discover some new cool stuff, and seeing things for yourself beats pictures on the net every time. So, what did I get? Well, I thought I’d start with my biggest surprise: the entirely unexpected quality of Wargames Factory Ashigaru.

What?

Yes, it surprised me too.

Now I knew that WF made Ashigaru, but having seen several of their earlier kits I hadn’t made the effort to check them out. Early WF efforts were simply awful. No two ways about it. I’d seen them with my own eyes and they really were bad.

So, when one of the chaps I went down with said he was on the scout for some Samurai figures, I suggested Perry. Can’t go wrong with Perry 🙂

I’ve had a number of Samurai armies over the years and own a number of the Perry Samurai. They’re very nice and a reasonably complete range too (something the Perry twins don’t always manage). Anyway, Nate was talking about WF, and I told him that I thought it was worth spending a bit more to get decent figures. I made the assumption that they’d be as bad as all the other figures I’d seen from WF, based on having dug through a number of different boxes. Well we all know what assumptions do…

On the day, we all did our rounds and got our bits and bobs, and as we left Nate showed me the box of WF Ashigaru he’d picked up. Eye-bleedingly awful box art was not helping his case, and I gave him a merciless ribbing on the way back. That was until we stopped for a drink, and he opened up the box to see quite how bad they were.

And they weren’t.

Well Nathan being the kind chap he is, he let me blag one of the sprues out of his box so I could have a play with them myself. This morning I finally got round to sticking one together, and I think he’s rather nice.

WF Ashigaru 1

(The cat was “helping”.)

As you can see, he has the longer style yari – shown here full height.

The box (with the hideous artwork on the front) contains 5 identical sprues, each with 5 models on. This is what’s left on mine after I built this model:

WF Ashigaru sprue

Assembly was straightforward. Nothing particular to say about that. I modelled him holding the hilt of his sword, which took a little work, but nothing desperately hard.

One thing I have seen mentioned in reviews of these kits was a lack of, or soft, detail. The detail is less pronounced than on many wargame kits, being more akin to that on plastic Tamiya figures. And I think that’s where the issue occurs: people say it’s soft because they’re expecting to see GW style exaggeration. WF have gone a different route; perhaps a more realistic, scale route.

Personally I think the detail is perfectly sufficient and can’t really see a problem. But judge for yourself. Here are a couple more pics.

WF Ashigaru 2

WF Ashigaru 3

Could the kit be improved? Yes, we could have more poses, more variety of faces, some different headgear, and all the sorts of things that geeks want in their toys. True, it could be improved. However, I think it’s actually a pretty nice kit as it is. The model looks like what he’s supposed to, has nice proportions, and I can see them looking great en masse in units.

Changed my expectations of WF completely.

Naturally, as this is only one of WF’s 4 “Rising Sun” kits, I went and ordered one each of them to see if they were all this good. I know, I know. I don’t need a Samurai army, but I’d like one. Like I said, I’ve had them before, though never a full army in 28mm.

It’s all Nate’s fault. Thanks Nate 🙂

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14 Responses to Salute Stuff – Part 1

  1. nathan payne says:

    Pure Gold jake i told you so. by sunday i should have 4 done and on a base together. Just ordered another box, thanks to you 🙂 and some more perry.

  2. Psychopomp says:

    Yes, at some point Wargames Factory turned their quality around. The box art is still awful, but their figures are very nice these days, and they’ve been (slowly, very slowly) redoing older problem kits. I’m considering a box or two of their skeletons to flood my dungeons with missle weapon armed skelies.

    Speaking of which, when will we see some more about the Dungeon Saga advanced rules? I’m considering modelling skeletons with crossbows and rifles as well as bows – would I be able to use them in DS?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I’d probably not distinguish between box and xbox at the level of DS. Guns, perhaps, though they’re not in the army lists because Mantic don’t make them. It’s a very easy house rule though.

  3. Ben says:

    I might be wrong about this but I think WF are doing the Kingdom Death plastics (if you’re reading this, Adam, then feel free to correct me :)). The detail on those looks fantastic.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I’ve heard that they made the KD plastics, as well as the Wild West Exodus. If true, their technical skill is clear enough. It’s their origination which has been letting them down. And the terrible cover art.

  4. braxandur says:

    When WF changed management, the quality of the sets went op drasticly, thoug in step and still with a learning curve. imho even their greek hopelites are pretty decent for platics, but the samurai… after having handled one set of them (a tester) I also bought the entire range. Off course I’ve done nothing at all with them 😀

    The WWII models also surprised me and their ssurvivor and zombie (vixen) sets are prettt good as well. I have only seen pictures of their latests range (woodland indians and colonials) and might end up buying those as well.

    I agree with you as well on that it is a quality I didn’t expect based on the earlier sets.

  5. Von says:

    I imagine it must be a rather more bland experience if you’re plugged into the wargaming scene and the news sites to a greater extent than I am (I suppose you’re professionally obliged to, to an extent, right?). Living in a cave as I have been for the last few years, even the old news was news to me, and I managed to miss the new news, as it were.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Plugged in to an extent, yes. Also, people are always asking me “have you seen XYZ?”, so even if I miss it myself, I often have it pointed out. I’ve never tried living in a cave, though I expect the wifi connections aren’t so hot.

  6. Jason Newell says:

    WF’s early stuff was pretty bad. I have a bunch of sets. Their romans were functional but a bit lacking, the celts were just plain bad with scale issues on arms and legs and bad posing. Their sci fi stormtroopers are pretty good, especially since they come with squid heads as well as helmets. The amazons are ok, but probably the fiddliest of all the sets I have. Their zombies were kinda meh, as well as being true 25mm while most of the other sets are 28mm. The samurai are very nice, though.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The other potentially rather fun thing about their Rising Sun sets is that the 4 boxes should be at least somewhat interchangeable, to give even more variety. Even if their style doesn’t fit with other models (not tried, so I don’t know), they do a reasonable range. And as Samurai mostly fought other Samurai you can have a tabletop full of just these models, so there’s nothing to visually conflict with 🙂

  7. Chris says:

    I too was in the instantly disregard camp. I eventually had a go with a box of their original skellies given the Ray Harryhausen vibe. Far too fragile for gaming (I most hoping for something like the original GW skellies, plain bone and robust enough – Mantic for example have too much ‘stuff’ on them that needs cleaning and makes it longer to paint), but nice models and better proportions than most. If nothing else nice for bits and adding to other models.

    But it made me keep and open mind and as I am always interested in civilians couldn’t help but get a box of the female survivors. Stacks of bits, some nice models and not crazy proportions, ideal for a variety of games. Indeed they ma pop up in Deadzone holding out as an NPC faction in one of the buildings!

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The frailest skeleton models I’ve seen are Ebob’s beautiful and scale accurate ones. I bought some to add to the lead pile even though I suspected that they weren’t likely to ever see a table. Perhaps as scenery? That seems plausible.

  8. Pingback: More Samurai |

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