The plastics were a pain in the ass to put together. I think I spent the better half of my Saturday putting them together. Note, I'm an extremely fast model builder with a ton of experience and I had trouble with these models. The spears that go in the hands you basically have to put between the fingers and palms, which bends the fingers, then you have to bend them back. Every armature is a separate piece. Head, two arms, two legs, two pieces of the chest, back-flag, and weapons. This was not a kit for the uninitiated or beginner. The mold lines weren't bad though, so that's a plus.
As far as painting goes, I think I did them justice. Warlord's painted examples of them looked horrible and trying to find good reference material was difficult. They are not easy models to paint and it doesn't surprise me that so many people have had trouble with them. I wanted to do something a little different than the basic black armor with colored cloth. I started these guys in early March with a deadline of March 21st (roughly 3 weeks) and had to cut a few corners, so all the grey/white is pretty much dry brushed. Normally this is a practice I don't use for 28mm models (besides in basing), but I was in a time crunch. I think it turned out pretty good. They're a unique looking force that looks a little different from every thing out there.
Another issue was the musician (4th picture on the far right). I spent a good hour trying to figure out what the hell he was blowing into. I settled on a shell and painted it as such. It's probably something different, but I like the idea of some dude blowing into a shell.
I made the mistake of not priming my bases before gluing sand. Typically I glue sand, then prime as you get a stronger bond with both the glue and the primer. For the normal bases, this is not a problem. For the wide 3 holder bases, chunks of sand split off, causing me to go back and redo them. The transfers I ordered from Veni Vidi Vici were just a tad too big for the back standards and I had to flip them vertically to make them work. Historically, they're not correct for a Takedo clan standard, but I think they look good. I also spent a good amount of time putting the cherry blossoms onto the bases. I basically hand placed each piece of foliage (with tweezers) as the usual "glue and dump" method didn't look natural. The cherry blossoms really do add much needed color and was a good idea. I picked up a bag at Huge Miniatures.
All in all, the models themselves turned out really good. The process was a pain, but I'm really happy with the end result. I'm not sure when we'll see some more Test of Honour. My goal this year is to paint for games I don't have anything painted for, to expand my options when tournaments and conventions come around. Look for more new stuff in future blogs.