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Review Yoshii Toranaga VS Samurai

Discussion in 'Reviews , Video Reviews and Open Book' started by yellowcat, May 30, 2024.

  1. yellowcat A Fixture

    Hi Everyone,
    Here is my latest two in one review of Yoshii Toranaga a 1/9 3D figure by Kuton Figurines printed and offered by El Greco VS DF Military Figures a 230 mm Samurai.


    Detail of the releases:

    Title: Yoshii Toranaga from the FX Shogun TV Mini series
    3D Printable STL file: Kuton Figurines
    Scale: 1/9 full figure standard variant, there is also a battle damage variant and a bust available.
    Printed by: El Greco under license from Kuton Figurines
    Material & no. of pieces: 18 dark grey blue resin
    Order from: El Greco
    Price: Incl. VAT £61.99 Excl. £51.66 (+shipping)



    Fresh off the FX Shogun TV miniseries, Lord Yoshii Toranaga character figure was 3D sculpted by Kuton Figurines and printed by El Greco. The kit comes in a white cardboard box with parts housed in two separate sturdy brown boxes inside and sandwiched with foam packing peanuts for protection. It consists of 18 dark grey resin printed parts which include a choice of two heads: Head x 2, Helmet, Torso, Arms x 2, Sword, Waist, Legs x 2, Base x 2 and Arrows x 6. He is wearing the tosei-gusoku (modern armour), carrying which looks like a Tachi or a katana and wakizashi. He is ready for battle with the two-handed grip of his sword.


    Title: Samurai
    Manufacturer: DF Military Figures
    Scale: 230mm full figure, there is also a bust available.
    Sculptor: Hand sculpted by Richard Bailey
    Material & no. of pieces: 19 greyish white resin
    Price: £69.00 (+shipping)


    The DF Military Figures Samurai kit comes in a white cardboard box with parts housed in three plastic bags inside and sandwiched with brown kraft paper for protection. It consists of 19 light grey resin parts. A figure model finely sculpted by Richard Bailey of a 230 mm Samurai warrior figure kit. He is wearing the tosei-gusoku (modern armour), carrying a Chokuto (straight blade sword) and a Gunbai Uchiwa (war fan) to signal orders in the battlefield or to direct troop movements.


    Now for the Parts View


    Head, Body, Legs and Arms View













    Continued in the next post..........
    Sebastian22, BRAN, Vassilis_D and 2 others like this.
  2. yellowcat A Fixture

    ..........Continued from previous post

    Kabuto, Tachi (Katana), Chokuto, Arrows and Gunbai Uchiwa View


    IMG_0210e .jpg





    Base View



    My thoughts:

    On Kuton Figurines’s Lord Yoshii Toranaga.
    The 3D figure by Kuton is finely sculpted with great detail and likeness of Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada from FX Shogun TV miniseries. Although the figure is finely sculpted there are a few inaccuracies.
    1. At first glance the figure armour looks like the one from the show. But there is a big difference when compare with the Toranaga’s armour from the show. There are some parts missing. It looks like the figure armour is a trimmed down simplify version or lack of research by the sculptor. Please check out the actual armour wore by actor Hiroyuki Sanada in the reference section of my review.

    2. The term "鍬形 Kuwagata" refers to a type of decoration on a samurai helmet, specifically a type of maedate (front decoration). It was used from the mid-Heian period to the Edo period. From the Kamakura Period to the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period, it grew to an exaggerated size. Long, narrow kuwagata are called nagakuwagata, and wide kuwagata are called okuwagata. The Kuwagata/Maedate the decorate fitting mounted on the kabuto helmet is usually made out of brass, bronze or some of them in wood, leather or even paper. The one from the show is of brass or bronze and the figure kit one is way too thick when compare with a real one.

    m41 copy.jpg

    3. It looks like the sculptor is confused or lack of knowledge between a katana, a wakizashi, a tachi and a tanto. When Samurai in battlefield in their armour, they would only carry tachi and not the daisho. The figure is holding a Tachi and his second sword looks like a wakizashi and not a tanto. The kit’s sword blade curvature for a Tachi or a katana is wrong and the habaki (鎺) sword fitting looks weird and out of scale so as with the sword scabbard. If the figure is holding a tachi, the sword scabbard should have the sharp blade facing down. If the scabbard is for a katana and wakizashi they should be facing up.




    4. Samurai swordsmanship Kenjutsu hold the sword with the left hand at the bottom and right hand at the top no matter which is your dominant hand but the figure hands are in reverse and the stance is questionable.



    5. Ya(矢, samurai arrow) commonly refer to the arrows used by Samurai during the Feudal era of Japan. For Japanese arrows the arrow fletching should have three or four feathers and up to six rather than just two as came with the kit. Samurai Yanone/Yajiri (arrowhead) were made in all different shapes, sizes, lengths and designs according to their intended use in war, the hunt, or target practice. Arrowheads made for use on the battlefield incorporated different designs intended for specialized purposes such as the piercing of armour or to cause maximum damage to horses and unarmoured personnel. The ones came with the kit were generic common arrow heads.

    shihan-mato-arrows-bow-1 (1).jpg


    Regardless of the few inaccuracies, the figure is excellent printed by El Greco. The parts are sharp, smooth, crisp and clean and are perfectly snug fit together and no printing lines to clean. This 3D printed figure kit with most of the parts are hollow printed with small parts printed in solid. Since it is hollow the figure is light in weigh and feels like a styrene plastic kit. They are more brittle and fragile than casting parts. My kit arrived with a broken braided cord. Overall a beautiful good looking kit. You can order the kit directly from El Greco.

    On DF Military Figures Samurai
    A fine piece from sculptor Richard Bailey. The sculpt is great except for a few parts which are historical inaccurate and questionable.
    1. Looks like the armour is a mix and match from Japan different periods especially for the kabuto helmet. The style of the Hachi helmet bowl and Shikoro neck guard looks odd and wrong so as with the thigh protection, shin guards and the waraji (straw sandals). Various parts of the armour have been omitted or simplify due to improper research?

    2. The kind of sword the samurai is holding is called chokuto. The chokutō (直刀, "straight sword") is a straight, single-edged Japanese sword that was mainly produced prior to the 9th century. Its basic style is likely derived from similar swords of ancient China. Since the 10th century, they disappeared as weapons and came to be made only as offerings to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.
    Despite some of these swords still being used and produced after that century it was mainly used for ceremonial with fashionable mounting.



    3. Another questionable mistake is with the kit’s blade. It is almost the same width as the saya/scabbard. The sword was supposedly worn with the blade sharp edge facing down just like the Tachi. But when I test mounted the saya onto the armour, I noticed the space/hole inside the saya for the blade sharp edge is facing up rather than down.


    4. The way the hand holding the sword seemed odd that his hand was halfway down the hilt of the sword rather than up against the guard which would make the unbalanced in the hand. The hand should up again the guard. It is an easy fix. Just cut out a small piece and butt up the hand to the guard.


    5. The second short sword the samurai is carrying also has a straight blade. Is it a wakizashi, a tanto or something else???


    6. Oversize twisted wires were used to represent different braided cords throughout the armour and simplify rings to represent elaborate decorate metal fittings on the armour. The term kanamono, which literally translates to "gold items," refers to all of the ornamental components that embellish samurai armour.

    So this kit represents a daimyo wearing 16th century armour with a 9th century Chokuto and holding a Gunbai Uchiwa (war fan) commanding the troops. Despite with all the mistakes it is still a finely sculpt by the sculptor.

    The two figure kits are finely sculpted and printed/cast. Unfortunately both figures have suffered the same mistakes on the armour and on the samurai sword. Samurai is not an easy subject to tackle and most sculptors are lack of knowledge especially on the armour. Japan different periods had different style of armour and the sculptor needed extensive research to get it correct.
    Despite of the inaccuracies, both figures look impressive when painted. If you like the figures buy it and enjoy your painting.

    My Rating Summary:
    rating4c2a15 copy5d.jpg

    Thank you for looking!


    PS: Kits for all my reviews were purchased. I do not receive any free kits from manufacturers for doing reviews.

    References: in the next post..........

    Dr Bison, CCL, Redcap and 7 others like this.
  3. yellowcat A Fixture

    ..........Continued from previous post

    A brief overview on:

    The Tosei-Guoku Armour (当世具足)


    During the 16th century, the Samurai armour changed significantly due to the increasing Japanese trade with Europe during what would become known as the Nanban trade.
    In 1543 several Portuguese were shipwrecked on the island of Tanega, off southern Kyushu. These were the first Europeans to arrive in Japan, The Portuguese introduction of Tanegashima (matchlock) to the Japanese, changed the nature of warfare in Japan causing the Japanese armour makers to change the design of their armours. The armours up until then were unable to protect samurai warriors from firearms, which necessitated the changes from the centuries old lamellar armours to plate armour constructed from iron and steel plates which was called tosei gusoku (modern armours). Bullet resistant armours were developed called tameshi gusoku or (bullet tested) allowing samurai to continue wearing their armour despite the use of firearms. The armour was designed to be as lightweight as possible as the samurai had many tasks including riding a horse and archery in addition to swordsmanship. The armour was usually brightly lacquered to protect against the harsh Japanese climate. Chain armour (kusari) was also used to construct individual armour pieces and full suits of kusari were even used. There also appeared new types of armour imitating the form of Western plate armour, which were generally referred to as 'Nanban-gusoku'. 'Nanban' was what the Japanese called Europeans at the time, so 'Nanban-gusoku' means 'Western armour’.

    During the Edo period (1603-1867) also known as the Tokugawa period, armour evolved significantly as it transitioned away from the functional and towards the ceremonial and decorative. Armour was elaborately designed and often highly decorative, reflecting the status and power of the samurai who wore it. Many O-yoroi elements were added to modern armours solely for decorative purpose.

    Chokuto (直刀) and Tachi (太刀)

    The chokuto and tachi swords were used differently in battle due to their distinct characteristics.


    Chokuto (直刀) in Japanese literally translated to “Straight Sword”. The Character 直 (choku) means “straight”, and 刀 (to) means "sword". Chokuto is a straight, single-edged Japanese sword that was mainly produced prior to the 9th century. Swords made in this time are known as the "Jokoto 上古刀", which means "ancient swords" in Japanese. Its basic style is likely derived from similar swords of ancient China, pretty much like the Chinese Tang Dao, it is a single edged, straight sword. It's because from Kofun to Heian period, Japan was heavily influenced by China. In these periods, the design of Japanese weapons were largely based on Chinese models (Chinese swords and Dao), they were almost identical to the Chinese weapons from the Han to the Tang dynasties.
    Chokuto was used on foot primarily for stabbing, thrusting or slashing and was worn hung from the waist. It had limited cutting capabilities compared to later curved swords. The chokuto was used in a similar manner to other straight swords, relying on thrusting techniques to pierce through armour or strike vital points.
    Until the Heian period such swords were called tachi (大刀), which should not be confused with later periods tachi written as 太刀 referring to curved swords.
    The Chokuto was used in ancient Japan before the development of the curved swords that are more commonly associated with samurai, generally called "wanto 湾刀" in Japanese. Wanto swords are thought to be the early version of the Katana we know today.
    It holds historical and cultural significance as one of the earliest types of swords used in Japan.

    Tachi (太刀)


    A Tachi (太刀)is a type of traditionally mainstream made Japanese swords of the Kotō period between 900 and 1596. The tachi was a long, curved sword that was primarily used by samurai during the late Heian period (794-1185) and into the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Even after the Muromachi period (1336–1573), when katana became the mainstream, tachi were often worn by high-ranking samurai class of feudal Japan. Tachi and katana generally differ in length, degree of curvature, and how they were worn when sheathed. The tachi style of swords preceded the development of the katana. Traditional tachi typically featured a blade length of 27 9/16 to 31 1/2 inches. In comparison, katana featured a blade length of about 23 1/2 inches.
    The tachi was worn suspended from the waist with the cutting edge facing downward on a horse or in full armour hence blade down from the waist and is a slashing weapon. All mounted samurai carry tachi. The tachi was primarily used as a cavalry weapon due to its longer reach and slashing capabilities.
    When the samurais are riding their horse, it could freely move and because the blade is down it has a large curve it could easily drawn up and around the horse’s neck head and mane so that the samurai wouldn’t hit the horse.
    The curve blade was designed for ease of use with a single hand while on horseback and made it suitable for striking down opponents from a mounted position. It was effective for cutting and slashing at a variety of targets, including both armoured and unarmoured opponents.
    It's important to note that both the Chokuto and tachi were used in different historical periods and had different combat applications. The tachi was specifically designed for cavalry warfare, while the chokuto was used in earlier periods when combat techniques and armor were different. Over time, the development of sword-making techniques led to the evolution of swords like the katana, which combined the best characteristics of both the tachi and chokuto.

    Gunbai Uchiwa (軍配団扇'war fan')

    Samurai fan26c.jpg

    Gunbai Uchiwa was a fixed fan it was the standard command equipment that was used by generals and daimyō and hence became a symbol of power. Military commander also worn to show rank and were used to direct troops in battle as well as offer the commander protection from arrows, rocks, wind, and the sun.
    Other command equipment commonly used by samurai commanders included a folding military fan (gunsen), a command baton (saihai), and a battlefield drum (jindaiko), where were all used extensively throughout the Sengoku (ca. 1467-1573) and Edo Periods (1603-1868). The non-folding gunbai fans were usually made of solid wood and/bronze or iron A tasseled carrying cord is attached at one end. Metal fans could also be used in combat, in parrying attacks or as a blunt weapon. The gunbai were typically family heirlooms, passed from father to son in succession.

    Once held by military leaders and priests in the past, it is used in the modern day by umpires in sumo wrestling.


    Toranaga’s armour


    Costume designer Carlos Rosario had designed Toranaga‘s armour with leather as its base as opposed to full metal. It was designed to be historically authentic as well as comfortable for the actor to wear during the shooting. For the Sengoku period, leather was a more period appropriate choice as well as more comfortable.
    I have put together references of this particular armour that was used in the TV mini series in a flip book format HERE

    Gunbai Uchiwa

    Samurai fan14 copy1.jpg


    An example of a Kara tachi-1.jpg










    118025641_10158979150149459_4325338405973504304_n copy2a.jpg




    Arrows and arrowheads


    h7 copy1d.jpg


    Waraji (straw sandals)





    Videos on holding a katana and foot placement

    harto, balder, Dr Bison and 8 others like this.
  4. kevininpdx Well-Known Member

    With all due respect to the sculptor of the 3d figure, something about it looks unnatural. These figures seem to suffer from a symmetry problem. As in unnaturally symmetrical. The face and fine details are better than hand sculpted but as a whole it just seems off to me. There are a few sculptors who work in 3d that don’t have this issue. Not sure what they are doing differently but I’m assuming it’s skill plus extra work on the render. The future of the hobby seems grim in my eyes. The next thing we will see is on demand custom sculpts using AI. That will have no soul.
  5. Oda A Fixture

    Felix mate always nice to see you offering up your extensive knowledge on the subject.Both of these figures have caught up my fancy as soon as they came out and I had to dismiss them both for all of the above reasons.I could go point for point commenting the inaccuracies and fallacies on the armour of both figures but there is really no need.I have bought inaccurate samurai in the past (and will probably do so again in the future) only to use as base for connvertions/modifications/improvements but in order to do that the inaccuracies must be limited in number.This is not the case with these figures.The DF samurai hurt me especially because it is an absolute stunner in terms of sculpting,pose,facial expression etc but the scale(completely outside my interest zone)and and the wild guesswork done on the armour have really killed it for me.The only way I could see this is as a fantasy figure (perhaps a Shinto warrior deity).
    Anyway I loved your presentaton as usual.

    Nicolaos, Redcap, Nap and 1 other person like this.
  6. Richie A Fixture

    Hi Felix,
    I'm not expressing my thoughts on Samurai, because everytime I do I get my katana's chopped off.:D

    I know nothing about Samurai but just love your indepth knowledge, comparisons and reviews.
    I have seen the same issues with a Victorian British Naval Brigade figure, I even contacted the 3d sculptor to offer help
    and guess what totally blanked.
    I don't know why figure producers/sculptors do not seek out proper help from someone who has a passion for a period.
    Easy enough to find with a little searching it not like looking for unicorns.

    If I was ever to venture into a figure like this my first port of call would be you & Aris.

    Great work again, a lot of work that has gone into this review and it's really appreciated.
    Dr Bison, Redcap, Babelfish and 2 others like this.
  7. Nap Moderator

    Hi Felix

    As always a CONSTRUCTIVE and HONEST review of both pieces , well worded and presented

    Great clear pictures of the resin and with excellent references

    Very interesting to read and full of information

    Thank you for taking the time ..it’s appreciated

    Look forward to seeing more

  8. Babelfish A Fixture

    Felix, seriously - you ought to write a book about Samurai but geared towards figure modellers.

    - Steve
    Nicolaos, Redcap, VerSacrum and 2 others like this.
  9. VerSacrum PlanetFigure Supporter

    I'd buy it. As someone who's only knowledge of Samurai comes from playing Nobunaga's Ambition and Shogun Total War and is currently trying to tackle his first Japanese figures I really appreciate these postings.

    The grip on Toranaga is definitely a big bummer because it's impossible to correct and it's something that Hiroyuki Sanada absolutely would get right. So it'll stick out like a sore thumb.
    Nicolaos, Redcap, Oda and 1 other person like this.
  10. BRAN Well-Known Member

    Magnificent review Felix, very documented and very interesting. I love your photos, very precise and clear, comparisons are easy to make... Many thanks for this excellent work !!
    Nicolaos, Dr Bison, Redcap and 2 others like this.
  11. karlw Active Member

    Exemplary review. Thanks ! I also applaud the other comments who suggest these sculptors should consult the community before putting out figures such as those two. The Internet age offers the chance of feedback loops and this opportunity should not be missed. Vladimir from Russia was one of the few samurai sculptors who got it right.
    Nicolaos, Dr Bison, Babelfish and 3 others like this.
  12. fogie A Fixture

    Good piece, Felix. Clearly a lot of work has gone into it, and
    it's exactly what a review should be - thorough, balanced,
    impartial, and everything we need to know to make our
    choice. For me, like Oda, accuracy is vital so the errors
    rankle and I'm in two minds. I suppose we can expect some
    inconsistencies - after all the Toranaga figure is based more
    on a fictional TV interpretation rather than the real character.
    Still, it's rather tempting ..........

    Nicolaos, Redcap, Nap and 1 other person like this.
  13. gentleman in khaki PlanetFigure Supporter

    Hi everybody, can I also add my twopence worth? The Toranaga figure not only has the hands gripping the sword the wrong way around (which I thought I might be able to rectify) but his leading leg should also be changed....Boooo! I did Kendo for many years and it is always right leg leads. I had a look at the kit with a view to major surgery and mass use of putty but there is just too much to do ( and to quote my friend Stephan, " you only get one life!") This is a great shame, a series of about four mouse clicks on You Tube for Ken-jutsu or Kendo competition in Japan would have confirmed the body positions at least.
    I first came across the bust version and thought I would await the full figure. But as many here have pointed out, there is a full list of things to correct. For me, painting the figure without these corrections would lessen my enjoyment. Thank you Felix for a thoughtful and comprehensive review, much appreciated.
    Have a good weekend,
    Nicolaos, Babelfish, Redcap and 2 others like this.
  14. Redcap A Fixture

    A tour de force of a review and thank you for all the pictures too which shows quite clearly that you have put a lot of time and effort into this review preparation and for which I am sure, the membership are most obliged.

    I also share the comments of Richie and Steve in suggesting you would be an obvious choice for consultation by figure producers to get things as near to perfect as the hobby allows and also, doing modeler focused media or publications.

    Brilliant as always and thank you once again.
    Nicolaos, Oda and Nap like this.
  15. Warren SMITH A Fixture

    Lets hope the sculptors and manufacturers get to read the review. It would at least give them something to think about if they decide to create another piece.. See if sales also give them another reason to rethink their sculpts.

    Oda and Nap like this.
  16. Banjer A Fixture

    Hi Felix,

    Fabulous detailed reviews, up to your usual standard.

    I have the DF figure but have been putting off building it as I am not comfortable with the helmet hanging on his back. I would be interested in your view on whether this was likely to happen. I was considering converting to a seated figure and putting the helmet on a stand beside him.

    Nice to see you posting on here.

    Cheers Bill
    Oda and Nap like this.
  17. Tommy Brown Active Member

    Wow! A professional presentation with clear clean photos, well written and informative. This has to be the best figure review on PF. Thank you for all the hard work.
    Nap likes this.
  18. Nap Moderator

    Absolutely agree there

    Hope we see more from Yellowcat .....always a pleasure

    Oda likes this.

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