Monday, September 5, 2016

IJA Infantry Squad

As I've mentioned before, I want to use my Chinese army for the Second Sino-Japanese War, so I needed to create a small Japanese skirmish force as well. Though this army won't be as extensive as the Chinese, I still wanted something fairly inexpensive to assemble. As such, I though the Warlord Games plastic infantry set would be a good place to start. Each sprue gives you six bodies and nine heads, with a variety of arm and equipment options. 

For my force, I've gone with the yellow uniforms rather than the green, using Vallejo Japanese Uniform WWII 70.923 as the base color. Shadows were done with Green Brown 70.879 and highlights with Green Ochre 70.914. I wanted to have the helmets be a slightly different shade the the fabric, so they have been painted Khaki 70.988. I wish Warlord had the option of the early 1930's helmet seen in Manchuria, but the later helmet will have to do.  

Rather than create my own flags, I've opted to used the ones Warlord included in the box. With the cutout along the flagpole, they actually become fairly weak during assembly; mine tore, but I think I still managed to get it to glue down fairly well.  The flags are also glossy and tend to develop rips in the image as you bend them, so you'll need touch up paint and some matte varnish.

For me, the painting was a bit more challenging than for metal figures. Some of the details are finer than their metal counterparts, and they are often fairly flat as well. Additionally, the multi part nature of the figures allows assembly with spaces that can be difficult in which to squeeze your paintbrush. 

That being said, you still get a quality product with relatively good fit between parts, and enough options that no two figures end up looking the same.

The only figure I'm not too fond of in the box (and you get five of them) is the prone figure. The feasible options for arms is limited compared to the other figures, and you have to use bigger bases, which eats into storage space in the box.  If I were Warlord, I would have just offered this pose in metal and gone with a standing pose for the plastics. For my forces, I'll use the majority as spotters for multi-man teams like the LMG.

In addition to the arms, you get a variety of webbing layouts for the figures. Above are duplicates of three body types, and as you can see, the amount of options really help you hide repeating nature of the bodies.

Overall, I am happy with the results and think this is a good product that I can recommend. I'll most likely assemble the rest of the box as a Grenadier squad, then fill in the rest of the force with some metal specialty figures and a few tanks.