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Fujimi

Set 76030

Japanese Infantry

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released Unknown
Contents 15 figures and 1 gun
Poses 7 poses
Material Plastic (Very Hard)
Colours Light Tan
Average Height 22 mm (= 1.58 m)

Review

In the 1930s Japan was strongly influenced by the military, and therefore had a disproportionately large and fairly well-equipped army and navy. However the army had failed to achieve victory in the expansionist war in China, and the lack of abundant natural resources worried the commanders, with good reason. When Japan attacked Western interests in the Pacific, principally those of Britain, the Netherlands and the US, she soon found she had greatly overreached herself, and despite the bravery of her soldiers defeat became inevitable.

With Fujimi being a Japanese company it is natural that they would want to produce a set of Japanese figures, but the result is hardly a work to instill pride. As can be seen from the pictures, this is basically a gun with crew plus a handful of infantry poses. With very few poses in total this left little room for anything interesting, and the three main infantry poses are pretty dull. The private advancing has his front leg extremely high, leading the observer to wonder if he is meant to be leaping some obstacle. The officer is in exactly the same pose as is to be found in almost every other set of Japanese infantry, which must beg the question of whether Japanese officers ever did anything else but run around waving a sword in the air.

The gun crew suffer from the common problem of not really interacting with their weapon. One man holds out a hand, while the other clutches a shell to his chest. The second figure in the second row is an officer holding binoculars and presumably is in charge of the piece. Unfortunately he is sculpted to be looking down - either into the ground or (charitably) down a steep hill.

The box art for this set is very nice, so it is a great pity that Fujimi seem to have employed a much better artist than they did sculptor. These figures are pretty terrible, with ugly features and indistinct detail. All the figures come complete apart from the base, which is easily glued as this is a hard plastic set, but you have to wonder whether it is worth the effort. Some items such as the machine gun are completely devoid of any detail at all - not even an attempt to simulate the general shape of the item. Limbs are often spindly, and it is sometimes difficult to tell what is supposed to be being worn - most seem to have caps, but they could almost as easily be helmets! The charging man has his cap pulled down over his nose, while the edges of some clothing disappear completely round the back. In short, this is a horrible mess. Accuracy issues include the lack of a sun screen on the caps (which is unusual) and the lack of the cross straps on the puttees (again, unusual), but in large measure the sculpting is too poor to properly assess accuracy anyway.

The gun is the type 41 75mm mountain gun, a weapon that had already seen decades of service by the beginning of the Second World War. It had been replaced by the more modern model 94 in the mid 1930s, at which point it was put to use as an infantry support weapon, and it was in this capacity that it was utilised throughout the war. Therefore it is a suitable subject for modelling, and for inclusion in an infantry set, although we would have preferred that it was omitted to make room for more infantry. Like all Japanese artillery of the time it has a very low profile, and as a model it is fairly accurate although far from sophisticated. Many smaller details are missing entirely, and even easy items such as the wheels have been done very simply and inaccurately, for which there is no good modelling reason.

Unlike the other figure sets in the Fujimi range, this one has long been out of production, and it is not difficult to see why. The pictures alone should tell you that this 1/76 scale set is one to avoid - for completist collectors only.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 5
Pose Quality 3
Pose Number 3
Sculpting 2
Mould 8

Further Reading
Books
"Infantry Weapons of World War II" - David & Charles - Jan Suermont - 9780715319253
"Japanese Army of World War II" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.20) - Philip Warner - 9780850451184
"Japanese Infantryman 1937-45" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.95) - Gordon Rottman - 9781841768182
"The Armed Forces of World War II" - Orbis - Andrew Mollo - 9780856132964
"The Japanese Army 1931-45 (1) 1931-42" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.362) - Philip Jowett - 9781841763538
"The Japanese Army 1931-45 (2) 1942-1945" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.369) - Philip Jowett - 9781841763545
"Uniforms and Equipment of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II" - Schiffer - Mike Hewitt - 9780764316807
"Warriors of Imperial Japan in World War II 1941-45" - Concord (Warrior Series No.6532) - Claudio Antonucci - 9789623611718
"World War II Infantry" - Windrow & Greene (Europa Militaria Series No.2) - Laurent Mirouze - 9781872004150

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