Monday, March 17

Review of MJ Miniatures “The Battle of Hastings” bust in 1/10th review and construction

"'Symoun com to the feld,
   And put up his banere;
 The king schewed forth his scheld,
   His dragon full austere.'

…. We put together MJ’s latest exquisite bust of a Draco bearer from the battle of Hastings 1066 to show you if he is up to standard…

Code: MJ10-002
1/10th Scale (200mm)
Sculpted by Ju-won, Jung
Box-art Painter: Man-Jin, Kim
Material: 17 Resin part and 3mm plastic pipe with 2mm brass pole
Retail Price: 65$USD

This Norman knight bust is the latest in MJ’s latest figure line – sculpted by Ju-won, Jung and the box art painted by Man-Jin, Kim it is constructed mainly from resin with some other parts included. The “Draco” standard (not to mention the soldier’s ample belly) are the main standout points on this figure..

The Draco standard was used extensively by the Romans, but it was originally developed by the cavalry peoples of the steppes primarily to determine the wind-direction for the horse archers. It soon became a standard for several armies and it was adopted by Harold of Wessex.
The Dragon standard of Harold of Wessex was carried by Harold Godwinson's retainer at the moment of his death at Battle of Hastings in 1066. It is depicted in the “news” of the day – the Bayeux Tapestry.

Well enough “Horrible Histories” let’s get onto the figure at hand – this bust sculpted by Ju-won Jung for Man-Jin Kim’s company MJ Miniatures.
This is the second venture we have looked at from MJ’s new company – the first was the awfully tricky to build but very very good sculpt (rewarding I would say when finished) German Gebirgsjäger in WW2 We had high hopes for this release but with bust and figure companies trying to outdo each other at the competition tables with ever more complex pieces we were unsure as to whether the construction would take some finesse.

Sculpted in easily worked Cream resin this figure comes in the small grey box we have come to expect from both MJ and life miniatures. The parts inside are well guarded for transport and the bubble wrap and foam saw my parts arrive with no trouble at all.
There are 17 Resin parts and 3mm plastic pipe with 2mm brass pole in this kit. Each of these resin parts has a single or a few smaller casting block pouring connector points which need to be removed. I looked hard and found that his 1/10th scale bust has no bubble and only the thinnest to a seam to remove on the “Dragons” tail and on the back of the helmet neck flap. These are an easy removal really for anyone really as there are no points of removal that left me clenching when I snipped and trimmed them off.

The brass pole which the dragon head rest upon is 2 mm thick so you will need a 2mm drill to complete building this figure…More about that later – ill take you through the parts from head to – well…belly.

The head is a fat little face that kind of reminds me of a plump roman statue. His skin when seen up close gives off a kind of remarkable wrinkled appearance  with thick jowls around his neck and a squint of a hard face but a well-conditioned man in his late thirties to forties.  The wrinkles and fine detail of the ears will be partially hidden which is a shame as this face is full of character.
The Helmet is a five part affair. The round ribbed and riveted dome is flanked at the rear by a neck guard and the two ears are partially covered by thick leather flaps which hang down with straps which dangle in turn off the flaps. There is a tapered nose guard on the front of the face. This helmet sits on top of the round shape on top of the head only in one way so you cannot get the alignment wrong.

Here is the head altogether with the nose guard prominent. Like I said it’s almost a shame that some detail is hidden but the glimpses of the face you see under this helmet make it worth it.
The straps hang down in an impressive drop which looks very nice when angled straight downwards. This makes the flap sit on and off the face depending on the angle he is positioned.
You can see his dimpled chin and neck folds here very nicely. The riveted helmet looks thick and realistically tough.
The torso is basically as tubby as the head. Wrapped in a thick hooded top which – like the other clothing and shield here can be any colour you like, this gives you a lot of choice over the shades of your bust when you paint it. I like this feature of being able to choose and not being limited to a uniform colour.
His hooded tunic is wrinkled and gathered under his leather straps for both his round shield which fits onto his back in a neat nook sculpted out. His large belly can be seen bulging over his belt and his large high neck has a nice little hole made to fit into the socket provided in the neck of the head. Again he goes in one way and you are not left guessing where and at what angle.

You can see on the very bottom of the torso the casting points which need to be removed as well as the locating hole in his arm which helps secure the heavy dragon standard he is carrying.

The rear of the figure with sculptor’s mark to note and the stand that the figure is seen on – these stands are very good as they give a strong base which is free standing, and looks impressive. I used some rod to attach mind to the figure to cement him in there nice and securely.
His round shield is a lightly wooden textured circle with a battered metal circle in the middle riveted into the shield. The edges of the round shield are seen with leather or canvas cloth nailed into it to protect or decorate it – maybe both.
The large wooden handle on the rear of the shield acts as a lock on the rear of the torso as well – handy and thoughtful. This shield could be any colour or even pattern so the result will be as high as your imagination or skill can conceive.
There are several parts in this kit that link the other parts together – in this picture from left to right:
Nose plate for helmet, Strap for upper part of shield, fitting part from handle to standard, a tube, the hand which needs to be drilled out, belt strap, lower part of strap for shield and neck strap for the helmet. There is also the 2mm thick 15cm long handle for the standard.

The hand is sculpted with visible finger nails and tendons impressively. This hand that is separate is a blessing and a little troublesome. You have to take care to drill it out at the right angle. I used a 1mm drill to make a pilot hole through the hand..
Then a 2mm drill when I was sure of the angle and where the other end exited the lower hand. It grips tightly enough if you do not go any thicker than 2mm which is good later on. You must get the angle through the hand right otherwise the long handle for the standard will not rest on the crease on the tunic of the bust that is sculpted in relief.
The “Draco” standard head is seen here in three parts. Firstly the long windsock that looks a little like a cake decorator… This has a light seam on the resin which needs to be removed.
And the fearsome head which is in two parts that fit neatly into each other with the help of a handy locating tab.
Once these are glued together there is another locating shape on the rear of the head which goes into the cloth part making a secure fit.
The handle of the Draco standard fit into the choke point and then into the underside of the Draco head which – like every part of this sculpt has a handy locating hole or pin…
And here are the main two parts together ready to be mounted…
And here he is all put together unpainted -  I'm very impressed with the visual look of him and simplicity of construction.
So there you have it - a lot less complex than MJ's last figure and simpler to put together but just as or maybe even more visually appealing to a lot of modellers - the standard will sure set you apart when you are in competition on a table as he is higher than most comparable busts. He should get a lot of attention especially with modellers of any experience and taste in figure making. I expect to see some of these at Euro Millitaire in various different colours. This is a real benefit of having a figure with no set uniform.
I liked what MJ has done here and i think this is a good progression from his last piece.

Adam Norenberg

If you want to buy this figure MJ Miniatures has a list of distributors on his website as well as buying from MJ directly:  the figure is for sale now
Here is the figure all made up and painted  - he sure looks super impressive with a decent lick of paint and this box art further cements my great impression of him.