Wednesday, 20 March 2013

masters of the path and izamu - model review

Well folks, miracles will never cease, I finally got some hobby time.  OK, this was largely thanks to being sick as a parrot (Norwegian Blue, lovely plumage), but never the less, some hobby time.  Twice, in one day!
So, I've managed to get my Masters of the Path crew (Yan Lo) and Izamu together.  It was a bit of a bitch frankly, but good fun in it's way.
Completed crew
This was my first exposure to Wyrd's plastic figures.  I am used to working with plastic via Games Workshops figures, these are, in many way a different kettle of fish entirely.  There's no denying there's an excellent level of detail on these sculpts, but that means some very small and delicate parts.

I'm not sure where to start here, I have a number of issues with these figures but don't want this to sound like a slagging off, as I'm very keen on the resultant figures and there's much to like here.

Lets look at the Sprue's.
the sprues
Opening the Master of the Path box first I was a little disappointing to find only one sprue, It's nicely packaged on one side at least with a full size, thick, piece of foam.  Quite why the other side doesn't warrant one I'm not sure.  Maybe it's kept away from the packaging by the longish legs on the sprue.  Anyway, you also get the  required 6 bases in a reseal-able bag.  and the necessary stat cards - by the way Yan Lo has an extra card!  Overall pretty good on the packaging but I was expecting more sprue's really, not sure why, there's plenty of room for 6 figures on one.
As you can see from the picture, some of the components are tiny.  I mean tiny.  I've never seen anything like Yan Lo's beard or Chiaki's bow.  Quite why Yan Lo's beard was an extra component and not part of his face I don't know - well, I have a theory, more of which later.
There were no instructions, which surprised me given the number of components, but each item has a code printed on the sprue so you can see which bits go with which model.  It's up to you if you do them in numerical order, I didn't, but they tend to start with the heads and work down, it's not a bad way to do it, I suggest getting the heads torso's and legs together, gluing that to the base and then adding arms and bits on.  That will give a stable platform for standing your figures up whilst the tricky bits dry in place.
Izamu is packaged the same way, though his base was not bagged up.  Good wedge of foam, sprue and base in a nice strong box.

Chiaki, without base
Building - this is where it gets tricky.  If like me you're used to hacking the bits of a sprue first and then building from a pile of bits I recommend that you don't.  Really.  Remove one piece and a time, clean it up - if you can, some bits are too small - and glue it in place before removing the next piece.  There are too many tiny bits, you will loose something, you can only know where they are if they are on the sprue or glued on.  Luckily I didn't loose Yan Lo's beard, I'd never have found it on my Blue speckled carpet, I dropped a piece of Izamu's arm Armour on the floor and had a hell of a time finding it and that's 5 or 6 times the size of Yan Lo's beard.
It has to be said that most of the pieces fit together very well.  The only pieces I had any real trouble with were the Ashigura that has his legs in two pieces and Izamu's helmet which I botched, I couldn't get it to sit properly and I cut a piece of his collar off in the mistaken believe it would help.. mistake, I will need to do some greenstuff work before painting here.
I didn't add Chiaki's base as I didn't like the way it fitted.  It's very snug but some bits didn't match too well.  Also as I intend to do bases that look marshy I can work her into the theme better without it.  It has meant I've had to soften the line on the back of her dress where it suddenly goes vertical in order to fit in her base.
The Soul Porter a lovely little figure
You've heard it elsewhere, let me re-iterate.. this is one fiddly kit.  You have Yan Lo's legendary beard - the tiniest component I've ever seen, Chiaki's bow, her hands and flute are fiddly too, and then you've got Ashigura E.  I think it's E anyway.  Both of the other Ashigura have a leg component, torso, body, head arms and banner.  This fellas got separate legs and separate arms, which means a spear that's split into two.  I don't know how patient you are but be prepared to take your time here.  Me?  I was at the end of a couple of long sessions, I was tired and I new if I didn't get it together now it might be a long time before I could..  So I botched it a bit.  My approach was to glue one arm to the torso, then add the other and do my best to make the spear line up.  It didn't help that I didn't wait long enough for him to dry to his base either.  In the end I got lucky, from most angles it looks OK, but approach it from the wrong side and it's apparent he has a bent spear.  I can live with it, just.  I ended up with a spear angled down more than I'd like but it's not the end of the world.
Yan LO - look at the lines on his robes.
Value for money.   This is a tough one.  As I said earlier I was mildly disappointed that £24 only buys you one spru.  I can't help looking at it and thinking 'Really? £24?'.  On the other hand you do get 6 figures know the totem is included and you get value for money it terms of how long it will take you to put together, but, somehow £19 for 5 metal figures seems like your getting more bang for your buck.  At the end of the day though you are getting 6 figures for £24 so it's not terrible, especially if you buy somewhere at a discounted rate.  Izamu on the other hand I'm less happy about, he may be on a 50mm base but he's not the biggest model around and he retails at £12, that's half the cost of the box set for one slightly larger figure..  Bit over priced if you ask me.  Nice figure, nice kit, but not much for your money really.
Which leads me on to those tiny pieces.  Maybe I'm a cynic  but I can't help but feel that some of these pieces have been separated out to fill the sprue rather than make life easy for you, to give a lightly better impression of value for money.  Personally I'd rather fewer pieces and a couple of quid cheaper, but perhaps that's just me.
Quality - generally I'd give good marks here.  Very nice sculpts with excellent detail, there's just one area I'd question and that's how well the plastic is being injection molded, check out Yan Lo's robes.  They're full of lines that appear to be from the plastic injection process, I don't think they should be there, or am I being unfair?  Is this texture?  I don't think so.  I think I'm going to need to cover these lines, they are physical lines you can feel not just see, with liquid green stuff.
Izamu - nice model, but pricey.
Talking of Liquid green stuff there are some joins, Yan Lo's arms for instance, that will need some applied prior to painting, it's not terrible in that front, but not brilliant either.
Mold lines - mostly easy to get rid if but there are some infuriating ones.  Right down the centre of the faces of two of the Ashigaru for instance and some of the ones down the detailed armour are going to be tricky to get rid of without damaging the detail on the armour.
Be careful, very careful, removing some of these components from the Sprue.  They are fragile and thin,  GW spears are thicker than the scale suggests, these are to scale and therefore incredibly thin, you've been warned.

I usually work with liquid poly when it comes to plastics.  This time I used a plastic glu from a bottle with a long thin dispensing needle.   this was very useful, I highly recommend one for this kit, but don't apply too much or it can spill and melt detail.

Glue dispenser - vital for this kit.

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