Saturday, May 12, 2007

"Ultimate" Figures from Dragon In Dreams

When I was a child my parents took us to see one of Oregon's tourist attractions called Sea Lion Caves. As a little girl, all I remember about the sea lions was that the sea cave where they lolled about really stunk. [The facility has since improved its access to the sea caves and the views are actually quite spectacular. They have also installed a wonderful bronze sculpture of a group of sea lions on the observation deck behind the gift shop now.] However, I remember vividly some beautiful horse statues in the gift shop that were covered with real horse hair and had real leather tack. I even remember the price, $125, which was a fortune back in the mid-50s.

Now, after all these years, I have added a horse covered with real horse hair (I think- at least it looks real) to my collection along with a magnificent 12" figure of Samurai Takeda Shingen spectacularly equipped with beautifully detailed armor and real metal weapons.

"Shingen was a Japanese warlord of great domestic skill and competent military leadership. He was a complicated figure, at times utterly cruel. Earlier in his life, he had forced the Shinano warlord Suwa Yorishige, to commit suicide (or had him murdered) after the two warlords had signed a peace treaty, and then proceeded to take Suwa's daughter as a mistress, ignoring the fact that she was techincally his own niece. In 1565, he ordered his own son, Yoshinobu, confined to a temple and evidently made him commit suicide for treasonous activity, as well as the man who had once been his guardian, Obu Toramasa. His domestic policies demonstrate the duality of Takeda Shingen. On one hand, he kept two iron cauldrons on hand to boil alive certain criminals (a practice considered sufficiently cruel enough to provoke Tokugawa Ieyasu to have the cauldrons destroyed years later). On the other, he did away with corporal punishment for most minor offences, instituting in it's place a system of fines - an act that earned him considerable praise from the peasants and townspeople of Kai. Shingen's law was not considered overly harsh, and his was one of the few Sengoku Period administrations prior to 1582 to tax most of his subjects evenly (most exempted powerful samurai families and/or religious establishments) and with the option of payment in either gold or rice (a forerunner, in some ways, to the later Kandaka system).

Perhaps the greatest praise paid Shingen was by Tokugawa Ieyasu himself. Following the defeat of Katsuyori in 1582 and the death of Oda Nobunaga, Ieyasu assumed control of Kai, and borrowed freely from Shingen's style and techniques of governance, which he later included in his model for the Tokugawa Shôgunate." - The Samurai Archives

The figure is so beautifully detailed that I'm almost afraid to take it out of the box. I won't until I get a special display case for it as I don't want it to be subject to dust or any other contaminant. I was able to get the limited edition figure for $139 less a 10% preferred customer discount from Michigan Toy Soldier. The horse was only $64.99 less 10%. I seldom buy figures at the time of their release but this one is so special I didn't think supplies would last long and with all of the wonderful accessories, I wanted one mint in the box, not a secondary market offering with half the accessories gone missing.

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