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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Battlefront's Japanese Nikihaku Blister (JP706) (LAST IN SERIES)

Finally!  The last of the recent Japanese Early War offerings from Battlefront for Flames of War that I had left to review. <Crowd cheering>  The Nikihaku Team Blister (JP706)!

As I have said, I have been very pleased with the Japanese line so far. Luckily the Nikihaku Kogeki follow through and end the range with a BANG!!!  (See what I did there?  "Its a joke son!" to quote Foghorn Leghorn).  If you didn't get the pun, then you must not know about the Human Bullet teams the Japanese used as their platoon anti-tank asset.

This blister gives you the figures to represent the suicide anti-tank teams armed with molotov cocktails and pole mounted mines or explosives.  In game, they get the Human Bullet special rule and can roll 4 dice per team to hit, but since they have Improvised Munitions a roll of a "1" makes them go BOOM! instead of their target.  Each Hohei Infantry platoon can swap out one Rifle team for a Nikihaku team.  One other downside to this is that the Nikihaku have no ranged attack. They are solely for close combat.  Position them well where they can either charge out or counter attack, but need to stay protected.

Ok, on to the models review!!!

Accuracy:  The figures themselves are even better than the Hohei figures I reviewed earlier.  Very sharp and crisp.  The poses and proportionality is higher quality in my opinion. The weapons are a little harder to evaluate for accuracy.  The molotov cocktail throwers look perfect.  The bottle looks like a bottle and the wick is there as well.

The pole charge is where the hard work comes about.  All I could really find on these were from later war, fighting the United States.

From WayneOK at
Now, this is from a 1945 US manual.  It shows a bamboo pole, a square charge and hooks so it could be placed on the gun barrel or snagged on stowage/netting.  The pole mines in this set are round on a solid, smooth pipe/piece of wood with no hooks.

I also found the Lunge or "Prick" Mine:

Meteorolog from
Again, this is from a late war manual and clearly not what the figures are armed with.

It could be a Type 93 mine at the end of a wood pole.

From Wikipedia
The Type 93 entered service in 1933, was just over 6 inches in diameter and weighed a little over 3 lbs.; so it would have been available and could have be placed on the end of a pole.  The thing here is the charge on the figures is roughly 12 inches in diameter.  I think this is what we have here.  In real life, it would be a little smaller than that on the model, but this is Battlefront's epic scale in play, I believe, making the focus of the piece a little bigger.

Accuracy Rating:  9.5/10.  The Figures are a rock solid 10/10, but the pole charge takes a little ding coming in at a 9/10.

Quality:  Excellent!  The best of the Japanese line to date.  No flash on the figures; only 2 slight mold lines on helmets and the bottom of the bases were all smooth.

Quality Rating: 10/10

Versatility:  A lot to mix and match here with 2 different molotov cocktail throwers and 4 different pole charges.

Versatility Rating: 9/10.  

Paintability:  Again, I used the same painting plan as I did for the Hohei Platoon.

Paintability Rating:  10/10.  That pattern continues.  Clean, crisp detail makes these very easy to paint.

Spotlight on the Molotov Cocktail

Love the goggles!

Molotov Cocktails were executed well with great detail

Nikihaku mixed in with a Hohei Platoon

Overall Rating:  9.625/10.  This set really rocks.  Very nice sculpts and a MUST have for a Japanese player.  These guys are not boring at all and have a really explosive personality all their own.

OK, I'm done  :-)

As always, a special thanks The Foundry in Huntsville, Alabama for allowing me to use their tables and terrain to take these pictures.  I have been remiss in several of my past reviews for failing to mention their support.

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials.

Models provided by Battlefront Miniatures.

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