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28mm Review: Wargames Factory Ashigaru Missile Troops

A mixed units of missile troops and command
A mixed units of missile troops and command

The Missile Troops box is my second experience with the Wargames Factory plastic 28mm Japanese miniature range.

The box includes sprues for 25 ashigaru and enough parts to arm them with either bows or arquebuses. Each of the five sprues also contain parts for an arrow carrier and what I assume is the bamboo stick that arquebus captains would carry spare ramrods in, in case one of their troops managed to loose or bend their rods.

Since Japanese units often mixed both archers and arquebuses in the same units, I decided to make a small unit with both. I also wanted to try out the advantage of plastic, and converted my command group from various bits from the different box sets:

Archers

Archers, ranging (*drumroll*) from stock standard to simple conversions
Archers, ranging (*drumroll*) from stock standard to simple conversions

I was happily surprised that the archers were a lot easier to put together than the spearman box. The standard hands are all in an aiming pose. Since I was feeling adventurous, I also tried using the arquebus arms to get a hand that has just released the arrow. Finally, I used an arm from the spearman box and carved off a bit of a bow arm to get a completely different post, as you can see right-most in the picture below.

The archers comes with quivers that you could either put on the back of the miniatures, or put them on the ground. The swords are optional, and not using them (or the quivers) is one way to make this set as stressfree as possible to paint up. The sashimono back banners are also optional, and missile troops would generally not wear them as they were not expected to be mixed up in the melee. But the choice is still there, if you are like me and want as many banners as possible.

Archers

Arquebusiers

Arquebusiers
Arquebusiers

The arquebusiers were also rather simple to put together. The arquebus is a separate piece, and the arms comes with empty hands, just like the spearmen box. You also get a pouch for the ammunition and a small cast of gunpowder.

If you have bought other ashigaru boxes you should have plenty of kneeling legs by now, as one of five legs are kneeling in both sets. Your arquebus units will most likely be where you dump all those kneeling legs, to free up more standing legs for your other units. As a bonus you'll get units where the entire front rank kneels for volley fire.

Arquebusiers

Command group

Command group
Command group

The actual box does not include much for your command group. You get arms for an arrow carrier and a bamboo stick for the captain. I was not completely satisfied with this, so I used some pieces from the Samurai and the Ashigaru Spearmen kits.

The captain was built by using only parts from the Samurai kit, but with the bamboo-wielding arm from the Missile kit. Ashigaru arquebus units were invaluable on the battlefield, and the requirement of well drilled troops meant that higher ranked Samurai would often be seen leading an arquebus unit.

The arrow carrier was built with pieces from the Missile kit, with some extra quivers.

The standard bearer was built by taking a standard and two arms from the Spearmen box. I don't know why WGF decided to include sashimono back banners, which were not always used by missile troops, but left out the big nobori banner.

Command group

I will not go too much into the pros and cons of the WGF plastics, as I did this in the spearmen review. But the problems of shallow details on some pieces are just the same, and I was not more satisfied with how the faces turned out in this batch than I was with the spearmen.

Generally I found this box to be easier to work with than the spearman box, which is mostly because there were less problems with pairing up the right arms.

My main gripe with the box is that the leg ratio makes even less sense than it did in the spearman box. One in five legs are running, which is not a suitable pose for any of the other poses you can make with this kit. You pretty much need a spearmen box to get any use out of the running legs that you get in this kit.

As long as you can live with these issues, the Wargames Factory kit makes for some decent missile troops. With the help of some very simple conversions you can make a unit that looks good on a tabletop for a low cost.


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2013-02-17 New Review
I uploaded a new review, this time covering the 28mm Ashigaru Missile Troop box from Wargames factory.
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Jimmu, meaning "the Divine Warrior", was according to legends the first Emperor of Japan around 600 B.C.
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