Samurai Armour from DeAgostini

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Samurai Armour from DeAgostini

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Samurai Armour from DeAgostini

Postby Mark » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:10 pm

DeAgostini's Samurai Armour kit.

An independent review of DeAgostini's Partwork.

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This partwork is a 1/2 scale model of Date Masamune's armour. Date Masamune lived from 1567 to 1636 in the Tohoku region of Japan. He was a masterful tactician and famous for his missing eye. This earned him the nick name of dokuganryū, or the "one-eyed dragon." Wikipedia has a large and interesting entry about him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_Masamune

The series was originally sold in the traditional partwork format in Japan, as a series of 55 weekly parts. The series has now been made available in the UK via DeAgostini's ModelSpace online shop. It comes as 14 monthly shipments. Each monthly shipment contains four sets of parts. You are only sent the parts, and the instructions are made available to download from DeAgostini's web site. It's not a bad format unless you really wanted a printed magazine. It does mean you can start your subscription whenever you want. You are not bound by the publishing dates as you are with a traditional partwork.

The parts are supplied very well packaged. They come packed in moulded plastic packaging that will protect the parts from almost anything the Post Office could throw at it.

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The parts are extremely well made and well finished. In issue 1 you get some parts for the helmet and the first section of tasset. The tasset is section of armour that protects the area between the waist and the leg armour (you could call it a skirt, but not if there is a Samurai warrior within earshot !) and is made of metal plates laced together.

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The helmet parts are all cast from metal (no idea what sort of metal, but a zinc ally at a guess) and have a gloss black finish. The finish looks brilliant. It's a beautifully smooth high gloss black. The parts all fit together very well. The smaller parts that form the details of the helmet are made from stamped metal and are finished to the same high standard.

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The tasset plate is made from pressed steel (it's magnetic, so I assume it's steel) and has the same high gloss black finish. On the real armour the plate would have had a leather backing. This is simulated with a self adhesive sheet on the model. The sheet is cut to size and has all the necessary hole in exactly the right places. It's a flexible plastic of some sort, with a very realistic simulated leather finish.

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The 'thread' supplied to lace the tasset plates together is a woven flat thread, a bit like a flat shoe lace in construction, but it is a nice high quality material that matches the rest of the model. Issue 3 has a printed template that makes it easy to get the tasset plates correctly spaced.

The first of the breast plates (the cuirass) are supplied in issue 4. This is pressed steel with the usual high gloss black finish. It comes protected with a cellophane film stuck to the front. Leaving this largely in place will help protect it from finger prints.

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The model is supplied with a wooden stand. The first parts for this are supplied in stage 12. The base is a sturdy oval of wood, about 30mm thick, and roughly 20 x 30 cm. I'm not sure what wood it is, but it's quite heavy with a close grain and quite well finished. It is smooth to the touch, but the finish could be improved with some very fine sandpaper. However, this is not normally visible on the finished model, so it doesn't really need any further attention.
The uprights are also nice sturdy lengths of the same wood. The two main uprights are about 30cm long and about 15mm square. There are some holes pre-drilled, and the ends have dowels pushed in (similar to those common in flat packed furniture) to make assembly easy. The centre upright is slightly smaller, about 13mm square.
There is a small cross piece, and this is the only part of the kit that hasn't been perfect. The square hole is slightly off true with a rough inside. Given the quality of the rest of the parts, I think this is probably a manufacturing defect. I know that it only takes a quick phone call to customer services and any faulty parts are replaced. However, in this case, it will only take a few minutes work with a file to fix it, so it's hardly worth worrying about.

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The last part of this review covers the instructions. These are supplied as a downloadable PDF rather than printed and sent with the parts. You need your subscriber number and a password to access them. These are sent out by email and I had no trouble in accessing them. The instructions all follow a common format. A photo of the parts provided for that particular stage, along with a list of the part names and a list of what tools and materials you need. There is also a picture of the armour and the area that the stage parts fit is highlighted. The instructions are clear and well written, with a liberal smattering of helpful tips. These include handy hints, such as using a cocktail stick to line up the holes in the tassets with the holes in the 'leather' backing. The various knots used are also clearly explained.

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In conclusion, the materials are good and the finish is a very high quality. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Some of the thread work is intricate and will require a close attention to detail and will be quite time consuming. This model is quite different from model partworks and will make a stunning and quite unique display piece.

The model can be obtained from DeAgostini's ModelSpace on line store here >= http://www.model-space.com/gb/military/ ... s/samurai/

Thanks to DeAgostini for the review samples.
Cheers
Mark

If you nose runs and your feet smell, you're upside down !
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Re: Samurai Armour from DeAgostini

Postby casper » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:51 pm

Nice photos Mark and some interesting info on Masamune
Nice shiny parts. Its a shame the holes are a little off center on the stand but as you say not a problem to fix.
Really like this partwork and it would look amazing on display next to a replica Masamune sword and rice paper paintings
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Re: Samurai Armour from DeAgostini

Postby Mark » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:22 am

I looked at some build diaries over on MS and other people's stand look fine, so I'm sure it's a one off. But it's so easy to sort it's not worth asking for a replacement.

It is a really nice model. The quality is superb.
Cheers
Mark

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