Friday, October 19, 2012

ヤマネ Ho Dolls

HO/OO scale train accessories have been an integral part of small scale modeling since the days of Airfix, with HO being equivalent to 1/87 scale, and OO being equivalent to 1/76 scale. I've used a fair bit of HO scale accessories from European and North American manufacturers, but for the most part I've found that HO figures are too small to be usable alongside 1/72 scale figures.

I recently stumbled across some figures from the Ho Doll line produced by Yamane that made me look into Japanese HO scale, which I was not familiar with. Japanese HO scale is equivalent to 1/80 scale, but can be referred to by a number of names depending upon the type of track being used for the trains.

Name     Track Gauge     Scale
H0n2½     9 mm     1/80
#12 (HOj)     12 mm     1/87
#13     13 mm     1/80
#16     16.5 mm     1/80

I had reservations about whether to order the figures without any scale reference because there are a number of Japanese manufacturers who seem to make their 1/72 figures underscale (I'm talking about you Bandai and Pit Road!), but I decided to take a chance because of the subject matter, which will probably never be made by any company outside of Japan.

The first figure is a Japanese maid in black uniform with white apron (ME-001). Next to the maid is a female high school student (KK-001). She wears a modern school uniform, rather than the stereotypical "sailor uniform" that people envision when they think of Japanese high school girls. The final figures is an apprentice geisha, or maiko (MA-002). She is in a pink kimono with her obi tied in the darari style, typical of geisha from Kyoto.

The figures are small and slender, ranging from roughly 21 mm to just over 22 mm in height. The maiko is a bit short at 21 mm (scales out to 5' tall), but I'd say the other two (at 5' 3" tall) work out perfectly for 1/72 scale. The paint job is fairly typical of model train pre-paints, a little touch-up will be required here and there, in particular around the faces.

Yamane figures are pricey, so I doubt I'll be getting too many more of these, but on the other hand, I do have a use for these figures in gaming, so I'll have to look into seeing if cheaper unpainted versions can be obtained.