The no-dachi is a very long two-handed sword used by the samurai of Japan. The blade alone was usually well over a metre in length, which of course made the weapon difficult to use in a crowded battle, although it was surprisingly light compared to European swords of comparable size. Those that did master it gained much respect and admiration, but it can seldom have been used in real battle as such events often made wielding an ordinary sword difficult enough, and when more reach was required (for example against cavalry), various polearms were available to do the job more efficiently. However rare in battle, these large swords must have made an extremely impressive sight.
This set contains two samurai poses, one preparing to strike a blow with his nodachi while the other is drawing his from the scabbard. In both cases these men have ashigaru assistants to hold the scabbard, which perhaps underlines the difficulty of its use in battle (although it was common for samurai to have ashigaru to carry their weapons anyway). The positioning of the hands of the man drawing the sword is incorrectly modelled here, although to be fair it takes someone very knowledgeable in the art to recognise this, and the figure with sword already drawn is also holding it in an inappropriate way. Both samurai are typically dressed for medieval Japan, as are the two ashigaru, one of which has also drawn his own sword but waits, holding his master’s scabbard. The poses are all terrific apart from the hands of the Samurai as we have said, and particularly unusual as this weapon has not been depicted before in this hobby. As usual some of the figures require a fair amount of assembly, and the fit is very tight - a bit too tight in some cases, although certainly we found no glue was necessary. As usual for Art of Tactic sets there are red and yellow sashimono, as well as transfers of badges, and a large base where all the figures can be grouped (they are a game marker after all). While Zvezda’s commitment to portray every aspect of Samurai warfare is commendable, and men with such fearsome weapons would make an interesting element in any game, their use in more historical dioramas etc. is perhaps quite limited, although they are still very nicely produced figures.