Samurai Warrior

Published: December 4th, 2012     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: Robert Folden - IPMS# 45545
Scale: 1/16
Company: MiniArt
Price: $27.99
Product / Stock #: 16028
Product provided by: MRC

Though well known for their various diorama kits, MiniArt also has a long line of 1/16 scale historical figures. One of the latest, and quite possibly the most complex, is their Japanese Samurai Warrior. Being somewhat of a fan of the Samurai culture, I jumped at the opportunity to review MiniArt's kit. Little did I know just what I was getting into.

The Samurai were the elite warriors of the Emperor. Appearing in references as early as the 8th Century and becoming a prominent feature in Japan throughout the 10th to 13th Centuries, the Samurai managed to live on into the late 1800s. Officially, the last form of Samurai, known as Shizoku, ceased to exist on January 1st, 1947, when the name was formally removed from Japanese law as a result of the occupation following WWII. For centuries, the Samurai were considered the upper class of military. The name Samurai actually comes from Saburai, which came from the Japanese word Saburau, or "those who serve in close attendance to the nobility." The Samurai Warrior was instantly identifiable in part because of the brightly colored and often very ornate armor. Intricately detailed and often very expensive, Samurai armor is still prized today by collectors.

MiniArt has captured the essence of the Samurai in this 1/16 scale kit. The figure comes in 61 grey plastic pieces on four sprues. The molding is fairly well done, but there are a few issues I noted while assembling the kit. The biggest issue I found with the kit was that the mating surfaces, while matching up well, were slightly beveled inward. This created rather large valleys along all seam lines. I ended up using Aves Apoxie-sculpt to fill the seams. I also noted some alignment issues in two areas. The first was at the waist. While the upper torso fits well into the belt/sash section, the legs do not. Luckily, this is well hidden by the lower armor sections. The other alignment issue was the arms in relation to the sword handle. The hands are molded with the handle, and when the arms are in place, the hands, or rather the two sections of the handle, do not line up. While its not extremely visible, the purists out there will no doubt have to rework it.

While I enjoyed working on the kit, and I love the final piece, I was very disappointed with the painting guide and some of the armor detail. To begin with, the armor featured in the color guide is not the same as the armor on the kit. While similar, there are many differences. Additionally, the chest/back piece, shoulder pieces, and sections of the helmet are blank on the kit. The color guide shows VERY ornate detail work in these areas. There are three options for these areas. Option one is to leave them blank. This is not very Samurai. The second is to hand paint in careful detail. While there are modelers out there who can do this, I'm not one of them. The third option, and the one I decided to go with, is to print out decals to use in these areas. I found a detailed pattern online, and after some slight changes in PhotoShop, I printed out a section of decal paper. Overall, I'm pleased with the result. I ended up using a variety of paints and techniques on this figure. Base coats were done with acrylics, while metals were done with Floquils. Washes were done with oils, and then dry brushing was done with both oils and enamels.

Overall, even though it took much longer than I expected, and it used ALL of my skills as a modeler, I am very pleased with how the Samurai turned out. And I can only imagine what a more skilled figure modeler would do with it. I highly recommend this model to any figure modeler, but also to anyone wishing to branch out of his comfort zone with something fun. And it's a good kit for that, because even with all its detail, you don't have to paint the face, you can just use the mask.

I'd like to thank MRC for providing the review sample and IPMS-USA for the review space.

  • Left side
    Left side
  • Left rear
    Left rear
  • Right rear
    Right rear
  • Left front
    Left front
  • Front
  • Front detail
    Front detail
  • Back detail
    Back detail

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