Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gunpla News from Gunpla Expo 2016

A few interesting tid bits out of the Gunpla Expo today caught my interests. There were quite a few new items shown, which you can see all of via Hobbylink, but my focus lies mainly in the HG items...

First, the two unnamed kits from Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans were revealed. We still don’t know their names, but they appear to be decent designs from an otherwise less decent series:

Iron Blooded OrphansIron Blooded Orphans

Also revealed was an “Revive” YMS-15 Gyan and ZGMF-X56S/α Force Impulse Gundam. While neither would be my first choice for an updated kit, it is nice to see both of them again. The Gyan’s last kit that I recall is quite old, so it’s due for an update. I don’t feel like the Impulse Gundam really needed this new kit, but there again the design is quite nice so it doesn’t hurt.

HGUC GunplaHGCE Gunpla

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Rekindling an Old Fire... Gunpla

A shortage of time in the current phase of my life has limited what I can do in terms of hobbies. Despite this however, I’ve had a serious urge of late to get back to my old hobby of building Gunpla. I’ve been really really interested in the HG G no Reconguista kits for a while so I’ve finally broke down and acquired a few. Below is a picture of my shortlist or so to speak...

Gundam Model Kits

Also finally getting around to an old Union Flag from Gundam 00 I’ve had sitting around way too long. I used have migraines trying so hard to build kits perfectly, but I think I might try a more relaxed method and just build these to my own satisfaction. The designs of modern Gundam kits are so good you really don’t have to do that much work on them anyways.

I’m a little hyped for some of the newer kits I see coming out too. This Gouf is sooo much cooler than the kit Bandai made in the 90‘s:



I barely remember the Vaffu appearing in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, but the suit looks nice enough I might just get it at some point for the novelty. It’s a very slick design:


 And on an unrelated note... Bandai needs to go back to using these the style of vintage Gunpla commercials. I'd love to see these kits advertised like THIS:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fall of Cybertron Grimlock

Transformers have been with me through a big part of life, but with ups and downs. In recent years, my interests had wavered slightly, at least from what they had been. It really had nothing to do with a particular series or anything, but more with how the brand as a whole has mostly been limited to the same old things, with worsening quality. And with both my collection of movie and Classics items reaching satisfying levels, I had little more to gain. Despite the lack of change in the brand, I suppose when you push the right things enough anyone would be bound to crack at some point, the Fall of Cybertron toys have done that for me.
Before I get to Grimlock, I need to explain why this figure surprised me in the great way it did. You see, since the Dark of the Moon toys came out, the quality of Transformers have been quickly degrading in the worsening economy. Many of the DOTM toys didn’t even look as good as their 07’ movie counterparts from four years prior! The Transformers Prime First Edition figures also left me hopeful, until the much cheaper main line was introduced. The Fall of Cybertron toys didn’t look to have a much better start, given that what constitutes a Deluxe price figure now was equivalent to a Scout class figure from years ago. Although I won’t say the toys were bad, the first wave of figures was disheartening at best.
This Grimlock breaks the downward pattern Transformers have suffered from as of late. While Starscream already blew me away, Grimlock really takes things to the next level. Despite being based on the video game’s design, Grimlock is a really good interpretation of his G1 self, I’d say this figure represents the character better than his Classics toy from 2007 even. The toy also features a light-up gimmick in the mouth of his dinosaur mode head, simulating the fire that Grimlock could breathe. This really impressed me for a Voyager priced toy to feature a light-up gimmick with batteries included, when so many figures they release these days barely have a proper amount of paint to them.
If Grimlock had a problem, it’s that he’s fairly hollow. This really isn’t noticeable until you have him in T-rex mode, but it does put a damper on that somewhat. With that said, Grimlock is a big figure, especially in robot mode, so I find it to be understandable.
Overall, FOC Grimlock features a lot of things I like. He has a simple conversion, good articulation, good paint, great gimmick, and a good size on top of all that. All in all, this is the best Grimlock figure ever made, and I think he can be enjoyed by both fans of the game, and those who aren’t.

Transformers Fall of Cybertron War for Cybertron WFC Hasbro Takara G1 Generation One Dinobot Voyager Generations 2013

Transformers Fall of Cybertron War for Cybertron WFC Hasbro Takara G1 Generation One Dinobot Voyager Generations 2013

Transformers Fall of Cybertron War for Cybertron WFC Hasbro Takara G1 Generation One Dinobot Voyager Generations 2013

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Movie Leader Class Starscream

Actually from Hasbro’s “Hunt for the Decepticons” line from back in 2010, but I’d feel embarrassed to type that more than I have to.
I have a strange relationship with movie Transformers. Back in 06’/early 07’ I really didn’t like but a handful of the designs. At a certain point however, I think I really warmed up to them. The decepticons especially have a certain, grotesque appeal, which is nothing like that of their classic portrayal, but it’s fun in its own right.
Starscream has one of the more interesting designs though capturing it in toy form has been difficult. The original voyager class toy did his arms poorly and didn’t seem to really give the look any life. A new voyager was made for the second movie with a much better design, but as I already had the other one I never felt like bothering with it. Then a year later they released the leader class toy.
This one’s design seemed closest to the movie, which I think comes from a certain level of complexity the larger toy features. I’m not too fond of toys that are overly large, but this one is just about the right height for me. Plus the larger size allowed for him to be packed with all the bells and whistles Hasbro could possibly fit on it. Sounds, light up eyes, and some very well engineered pop-up weapons in his arms.
The design is based off his ROTF appearance which does mean he has the strange tattoo like markings all over him, but I think they can be appreciated. In robot mode they’re not noticeable at all and in vehicle mode they keep the design interesting.
Speaking of vehicle mode, this is another bright spot on the toy, and yet perhaps it’s only blemish. The F-22 Raptor is very well done; most Transformers tend to have trouble with jets, but this one goes together rather nicely without leftover robot parts breaking it up (like the 2007 one). The problem here is getting it there. The transformation is pretty complicated, and the way all the parts just kind of wad up in robot mode really makes it a frustrating conversion. It’s a shame when you consider it’s such a fun toy in robot mode and yet the transformation kills a lot of that fun, fiddling aspect.
This Starscream is somewhat of a centerpiece in my collection of movie Transformers, and if I were to own just one figure based on the movie, I might have to chose this Starscream. He goes good on his own and just as well with others. To say the least I think it’s a definitive piece from the movie trilogy.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

AG Tactical Mission Marshy Dog

Around a year or so ago, I watched Armored Troopers Votoms in it’s entirety, and learned quickly the show is absolutely a classic. Now being a fan of the show, naturally I wanted some decent figures based off the robots featured in it. For a few reasons, I decided the best line to chase down would be Takara’s Actic Gear line.
Before getting to the Marshy Dog, I feel some speaking is due for the toys in general. From the three figures I’ve accumulated so far, I feel I can say the figures are of pretty good quality. They’re roughly three inches tall, though very complex for a figure of this size, very similar to one of Bandai’s HCM Pro figures. It’s also worth mentioning the figures are not fully assembled out of the box, and you have to clip a few trees of parts to finish them. Mainly a little added fun more than anything, nothing too involved.
The Actic Gear Tactical Mission Marshy Dog is an impressive figure; especially should you get it at a good price (I got mine on clearance). Like most Actic Gear figures, this one features a large amount of articulation, an opening hatch (with a removable, unpainted pilot), a good number of accessories and is capable of achieving the “down form” seen in the show. As a bonus, this release feature a customizable display base, a firing effect for the gun, and unpainted figures based on characters from the show. Nothing of much value to me, but no doubt a nice bonus.
The paint was changed for this release, as the Marshy Dog now features a pretty nice little rust-wash. Something I could have done on my own, but a very tasteful choice to make on Takara’s part. The paint really brings out some of the great detail on the figure that’s easier to miss on a normal Actic Gear. I find that it really helps define this as a collector’s piece and makes it look less like a toy.
An unfortunate side effect to the pieces Takara added to this release means they raised the price. Worse however, they more than doubled the price from roughly $20 to $40, which killed a lot of demand for this one, especially when you consider a Marshy Dog had already been sold a couple times before in this line. This isn’t a huge problem today though, as this one can still be found for cheap, clearance prices. Had I been collecting these when they came out though, I definitely do not think I would have purchased this one. It’s a good figure, but only if you can get it cheaper than the normal release.

                          (I can do a better firing effect, but I wanted to show the piece included for this)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Some Gems (or Turds?) from the End of the Gundam Line.

Writing on the Gundam Battle Scarred line a few days ago got me interested, so after some digging here are a few unreleased items that were planned for the Gundam line in America before it ended around 2005/06.

Above is Battle Scarred Tallgeese, Wing Gundam, Shenlong, and Sandrock. There was also a Heavyarms and Deathscythe, though I'm unable to find pictures of them at the moment. Not real big on any of these, but Tallgeese anything is cool in my book, and I love the beat up Leo in Shenlong's display base.

The Battle Scarred G Gundam stuff always left me with mixed feelings, but these are a pair I can say I would've bought for sure. Seemed like the stuff infected with DG cells made for cooler toys, they were like Gundam zombies or something.

Lastly, here's Duel Gundam and a non-Battle Scarred Astray Gold Frame (pictures lifted off CollectionDX). I always had a thing for gold crap, but Duel I don't find very interesting. It's a cool suit, just not like this.

There were also plans to bring over Blitz Gundam, the GINN, and a Qubeley from ZZ Gundam, non-Battle Scarred. I would have really appreciated it if Bandai had put out a GINN or Blitz in the initial and only wave of Gundam Seed toys, over the FIVE Strike Gundams they opted for instead. At least all of those got released in Japan (unlike anything pictured here.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beast Wars 10th Anniversary Megatron

A toy I always wanted in my early childhood was Beast Wars Megatron. When I was a kid, the tougher something seemed, the more it clicked with me, and Megatron met and exceeded all my standards. He was a dinosaur (a Tyrannosaurus Rex, no less), he was huge, he had an evil voice, and he was the strongest of all the Predacons. But for all how awesome he was, and all how much I wanted him, I never got him.
Then late 2006 Beast Wars turned ten and Hasbro reissued many of the original deluxe figures. This I had known for awhile, but what I didn’t know until closer to December, was that the original Megatron and Optimus Primal were back as a Toy’s R” Us exclusive set. I’m not sure if ever in my life I’ve found something new and wanted quite so badly in such a brief moment. It was all the pent up desires from my early childhood.
Little to say, I got the set for Christmas that year. Something I didn’t notice until closer to this point was that Hasbro/Takara had gone back and made them far more show-accurate than they had been originally. In addition to better paint applications, both figures had new heads that did not have the silly battle masks they did originally. Better for me, seeing as how I mainly remembered them from the show this way.
Little enhancements aside, the toy was still rather impressive. The articulation was still good for a Transformer of the mid 2000’s, despite that he was one of the mid 90’s. The conversion from T Rex mode to robot was all it needed to be. The size was another aspect where he hit the mark, given he was large enough to be incredibly imposing, but not so much larger than a normal figure that it’d seem ridiculous. Heck, even the gimmicks on the figure are pretty fun, with two hip mounted missile launchers and a squirt-gun in the dino head.
All in all, it’s hard for a figure like this to be anything other than a highlight of my Transformers collection, not to mention my Beast Wars one. It’s worth mentioning that the Optimus Primal is excellent as well, but when it comes down to it: Gorilla < T Rex.