Not all warriors in Japan were Samurai, and not all Samurai were warriors. This set of course concentrates on the fighting samurai, and therefore depicts a fascinating subject that had previously been largely ignored by other manufacturers. One reason for this is that the armour of the samurai was immensely complicated, and is extremely difficult to represent in this scale, so HYTTY are to be commended for even attempting such a project.
The nine poses on offer are a mixed bunch, with some better than others. A couple are wielding their classic swords and another is using a nagamaki, a long bladed sword mounted on a hilt of equal length. The rest are standing (or sitting) still, which does not make for particularly exciting figures.
The figure kneeling down is a real mystery. First of all this figure sometimes appears in the HYTTY 'Historic Figures' set, though we can't imagine which historic figure he is meant to be. He seems to have been sculpted as quite old, and his hands are bound, so he is obviously a prisoner. However he is clearly wearing trousers with a zip fly and boots or shoes, which means he has nothing to do with historic Japan. What he is doing in this set is unknown, but he does not belong here.
Since samurai had no uniform all these figures have separate styles of armour, and in general these look correct. As already stated this is a tremendously difficult figure to model using the usual two-piece mould, and some compromises have been inevitable, but the result is pretty good. Some of the figures have separate swords or other weapons, and some have separate sashimono, which were the flags they carried strapped to their backs for identification. The figure with his sword in the air has his sashimono moulded with him, which means the pole must follow his back, neck and head, and so looks ridiculous. It was a much better idea to have these separate, and unlike some other HYTTY sets these fit well into the holes on the figure's back.
Some of the men display features that were quite uncommon. One man sports antlers on his helmet, which were the trademark of Honda Tadatsuga rather than a common decoration. The figure sitting down is also interesting because he wears partly European armour. This was increasingly common in the seventeenth century, but still marks this man out as one of considerable wealth which, coupled with the fact that he is sitting, makes this figure the nearest thing there is to an 'officer', or more likely a lord.
Given the immense amount of detail on the real thing, detail here is well done and clear. However the standard of sculpting is not as good as most of the competition, though it is considerably better than most other HYTTY sets. Clearly the sculptor had a copy of the Osprey Elite book 'The Samurai' (Number 23) when he made these figures, so anyone brave enough to contemplate painting them would do well to start there.
Not a brilliant set by any means, but a considerable improvement from HYTTY on some of their other output, and some interesting figures.