The plastic samurai and ashigaru from our new Test of Honour game are highly detailed models with lots of intricate parts. Writer Graham Davey shares a few tips and tricks for making the most of these kits:
This range of models was originally designed to work as ranked up regiments in full-sized wargames. However, as Test of Honour is a skirmish game with just 5-20 models per side, you can take your time and construct them in more expansive, dynamic poses worthy of individual models.
I spent most time working on the samurai models – these guys are always at the centre of the action so I wanted them to look awesome!
The first model is simply constructed from the kit. Just take care to get the right pair of arms and position them so the katana slots straight through. Note that the folds of the coat are designed to flow over a scabbard worn on the waist.
The second model is also a straightforward build. I just played around a little to find a good pose, twisting him around having spotted a new opponent! Note that the hilt of the katana at his waist has been clipped off to look like an empty scabbard.
The third model has had some minor conversion work to widen his stance (filled in with a spare bit of shoulder guard). I also clipped the shoulder joint at a different angle to make him hold his spear more to the side.
The best tip I can offer for building cool samurai is to grab the Mounted Samurai expansion set too. As well as a stack of lovely models and new cards, you’ll end up with loads of spare bits which add massively to your modelling options.
The first model here uses a spear arm from the mounted set, allowing a very different pose. You also get lots of shoulder guards, which really help to set the samurai apart from the ashigaru. I lengthened his stance by sticking the legs together ‘wrong’, and patching up the gaps.
The second model uses the naginata from the mounted kit. This fearsome weapon was essentially a sword on the end of a pole. In fact it was more commonly an infantry weapon and has some great bonuses in the game!
The mounted samurai models needed no embellishment – I just took care over the little details such as making sure the hand was holding the reins. I deliberately made the mounted archers look less armoured by using the cloth caps and leaving off the shoulder guards (which went on the foot samurai instead).
These ashigaru spearmen are straightforward builds, set apart simply by the angle of the legs and the arm position.
Getting those spear arms lined up right can be tricky, so here’s my tip: With the arms still separate and without using any glue, ‘thread’ the spear through the hands. If you’re careful they will just push over the round bit at the end of the spear, leaving you with the arms loosely sliding up and down. (Make sure to put them on in the right order!) Next glue the arms into position on the torso. Then lastly slide spear into the position you want and add a drop of glue at each hand to hold it in place.
Both of these models have had the ‘wrong’ legs paired together to create a more dynamic pose. The sergeant’s front arm was also trimmed at the shoulder joint to make it swing back in a natural way.
The archers are simple to construct and I chose to use the bare heads to give them a different look to my spearmen. Note that the right arm can be used reaching back for a new arrow instead of the normal firing position.
For the musketmen it’s worth positioning the heads so they are aiming down the barrel of their gun rather than off in a random direction (how can you expect them to hit anything otherwise?!). The reloading model uses a special arm from the sprue and a specific musket – it’s a slightly different length to all the others. I also shaved the neck joint a bit to make him look down at what he’s doing.
So that’s my force assembled!
Don’t forget that the four expansion sets each come with metal heads that can be swapped with the plastic ones for a different look. And of course you don’t have to stick to the combinations in the box – essentially you have a huge range of parts to mix around and experiment with!
I’ve just made a start painting these models up – you can keep an eye on my progress on our Facebook group.
Grab the Test of Honour Complete bundle for a massive 69 models along with two bonus figures and all the unique cards:
If you still haven’t decided, head over to the webstore and download a FREE pdf of the main rules: