One of the best sets of Japanese is still the old Tamiya offering. Nice action poses and the size is about right. Wartime Japanese guys were tiny, scrawny little fellows. Dragon has one set of Japanese infantry but they scale out to be 1/32 scale 6' 4" giants. Nicely done but HUGE. Dragon has several older and newer sets of Marines which are quite nice. Masterbox has some Marines and Japanese that are well animated but the detailing on the uniforms and equipment is not very accurate. Thats too bad if you are fussy. Verlinden's Japanese are HUGE and much larger than even 1/32 scale. Warriors has a couple, as do/did Sol from Korea, who is now out of business. Fine Molds has some tank crew figurs as well.
A big problem is that for the most part none of the japanese sets from all the different companies is compatable with each other.
Yes some people are taller than others but a Jap rifle isnt half an inch bigger between each guy. Nor is a helmet.
People do vary in size but equipment does not. And again, some of the available figures are just huge. I have the Verlinden 1/35 dead Japanese and if they were standing upright they would be 7 feet tall and their equipment is twice as big as Tamiya's. Thats just unrealistic IMHO.
Tamiya's Japanese figures are pretty realistic in scale. They are not 6' aryans. Their height and build are pretty slim. But they don't mix well with the 1/30 size Verlinden figures visually and for the equipment issues mentioned above.
The force that the Australian Militia met on the approach to Kokoda were definitely not on the small side with many in the six foot range. This came as quite a shock to the militia who were expecting the usual depiction of the Jap as a small scrawny fellow.
Masterbox offer a few sets of Marines and Japanese, Miniart offer Japanese Tankers (coming soon). DML have a set of Japanese and at least three sets of Marines.
Airfix did both Japanese and Marines in 32nd Multipose if scale isn't a problem. Tamiya did a nice set of four Japanese in the late 70's but they are hard to find. Italeri also do an older set of Marines.
Oops, that's politically incorrect, but the WWII vets in my family ruined me. I have had a set of the Tamiya Japanese Army Infantry #3590 that's been hanging around the cave for 20+ years. They are pretty nice and small of stature. If you are in the USA you can have them cheap. Give me your mailing address and I'll send them. If you feel it, you can mail me $5 when you get a chance.
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