Fighting men of any period require leaders to direct their efforts and inspire them. In 15th and 16th century Japan such men came from the wealthy families and nobility, and proudly displayed their wealth and status in the armour that they wore in battle. This small game set from Zvezda delivers such figures.
As part of the many medieval Japanese game sets Zvezda are making, this one of commanders makes perfect sense. Every game army needs a command structure, and this small set provides a mounted commander and three dismounted. If the dress of a samurai could reflect the taste and wealth of its owner that that applied all the more to nobles and senior commanders, but everything here is authentic. All wear armour of course, although two of the foot figures also wear the jinbaori surcoat, which went over the armour and was, on occasion, worn into battle. Just about always seen in battle would be a helmet of some description, and those here are magnificent, as they were supposed to be. Those of the middle figure in the top row and the mounted man are splendid but fairly conventional, while the first figure wears a Ichinotani helmet with a dramatic swept piece and the third man wears a helmet shaped like the stiffened cloth eboshi cap, which in fact it could actually be. All have their swords of course, and two have forms of war fans, which is fine. The horse too is excellent, with the correct style of saddle, and all the harness looks very good.
There is some assembly, including the horse which comes in two halves, but everything fits together perfectly without need for glue, as usual from this manufacturer. As can be seen from the image of the sprue, the set also includes some sashimono - flags attached to the back of the man - in both red and yellow. In fact only two of these figures need them. Also there are some wet-transfers of mons (symbols) for the sashimono. The sculpting is beautiful, again as usual, although for modellers the thick bases with the holes to stand the symbolic flags will be a nuisance. Great figures, but at 25mm (1.8 metres) in height they are much too tall for medieval Japanese in 1/72 scale.