Category: Bandai

Troy’s Toys: REVIEW Armored Red Ranger.

Confession time: Even in the midst of the big Power Rangers boon back in the mid-90s, I did not own a single figure that could be described as “Mighty” or “Morphin”. Mostly because I was at that age where it was considered uncool to still be playing with action figures, and that the acceptance of my peers was way more important to me than what I actually liked. Looking back, I was kind of a dumb kid in some ways. Now I’m just a dumb adult in MANY ways. Also they were kinda big, and I was never a fan of oversized action figures.

photo 1Skip ahead 20 years (ugh, I am old) and we find ourselves celebrating the 20 Anniversary of the Power Rangers American debut. What does that mean for the show? I dunno, I think I stopped watching it after the first season. For the toys it means Bandai has released a line of S.H. Figuarts based on the popular live-action show. The line started off with both the White and Green Ranger, as well as the Red Ranger, but what got me to drop $45 on one was the Armored Red Ranger variant, which as you can see comes with the golden armored chest piece, armbands and a Dragon Dagger and holster for said blade.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten my hands on a SH Figuarts, and I’m really pleased with the final product. While the knee, wrist and elbow joints look at little odd at times (well at all times with the knees), the figure seems a little more durable than it’s competition. The sculpt is extremely faithful to the show, and the paint job is great, as the armored pieces are nice and shiny, where as the parts that are supposed to be fabric are “flatter” for lack of a better word. My only issue that the diamonds on the boots on my A.R.R. were not fully filled in with paint, so they look at a little off. I’m also glad Bandai didn’t skimp on the sculpting for the chest and belt, because they look great up close, and it’s impossible for me to hate on any figure that hans a tiny T-Rex slapped on it’s belt.

photo 2(1)photo 3(1)In terms of accessories, The Armored Red Ranger does not disappoint. You get 4 pairs of variant hands which can be swapped out to hold one of the 3 weapons packaged with the figure. Said weapons consist of  a Power Sword, Ranger Stick, and Dragon Dagger, all of which sound like something you’d find in a Sex Shop (Please tell me I’m not the only one who thought that). Much like the figure itself, these weapons are all well sculpted and painted, the sword especially rocking some sick detailing, by which I mean another tiny T-Rex. The weapons fit nice and snug into the Ranger’s hands, although I had some issues fitting the Stick into the white holster and….yo that still looks in an innuendo. #ladies

It’s nice when a figure you were excited for delivers. If you’re a fan of the show, or hell just want a cool piece of nostalgia in Figuarts form like I did, this is the figure for you. It looks great, it’s plenty poseable and the selection of accessories packaged with it is kinda swell too. I just wish it came with some sort of stand like past Figuarts, instead of it being a separate purchase. But still for $45, you’re getting your money’s worth. We have both the Armored and non-armor versions in stock, as well as previously mentioned Green and White Rangers, so if you want ’em, we got ’em!

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Troy’s Toys 4/27- Oh look, imports!

What is the haps Forbidden Planet Faithful? No time for crappy intro jokes, we got a ton of new stuff to look at, so let’s get to it!

If you’re an avid gamer like me, you probably own a 3DS by now (And if you bought a Vita instead, my condolences). You may also may be a strategy RPG fan, which means you’re probably playing Project X Zone (or SMT IV. Or Fire Emblem Awakening still. I may have not though this through.) For all of you not in the know, PXZ is a cool crossover RPG featuring characters from Capcom, SEGA and Bandai-Namco franchises. Not exactly the deepest SPRG, but fun regardless, at least in my opinion. I mention this because I was looking through our import toys section recently and spotted 2 females from the game in VERY cool action figure form (NOTE: If you’re looking for something a little more Street Fighter, Devil May Cry or Tekken-ish, obviously Square Enix has you covered). From Bandai’s D-Art line is ::: Takes a breathe ::: Alisa Illnichina Amiella from God Eater Burst (Avail on PSN for your PSP/PS Vita), and from Max Factory, Figma T-Elos of Xenosaga fame (Playstation 2. It….took awhile Xenosaga to get quality figures apparently)!

It’s been some time since I’ve last taken a look at any high-end import figures, but not much has changed since. The Figmas are still a little on the fragile side, but T-Elos does comes with the usual insane amount of accessories you’d expect from the line, and still maintains a ridiculous amount of articulation. Plus I’m a big fan of how T-Elos armor came out in the final product, despite there not being much of it. And no complaints in the sculpt or paint department, despite the fan-servicey design. A slight downside is that she’s not strapped like the KOS-MOS Figma, which came with a bad-ass Gattling Gun.  Instead you get a pistol, variant parts and a stand.

Alisa is also guilty of not being the most modest dresser, but she’s a cool figure. Her joints are well hidden, which for a super-poseable figure, is nice. Her design translates well into the 3rd dimension, and I really like how the plaid paint job came out. Also, her hat is removable, which amuses greatly for some reason. She also comes with a HUGE sword, which I’m a fan of. Oh and variant faces, hands, blah blah blah, you know the drill by now. Both these figures go for about $70, which isn’t too bad considering their imports, but they may not your thing. If they are, then I suggest you get here soon, because supplies are limited.

Making a surprise appearance on our shelves is the Chris Nolan take on the Batmobile, the Tumbler  (WAY different from the Batmobile Tumblr btw) from the Revoltech line. You’d think there wouldn’t be much to offer from a vehicle-based Revoltech, but no, it’s actually pretty sweet. This spring loaded badass can transform between modes, open up it’s cockpit so you can place a tiny Batman figure in there and…has a blue flame speed effect. Alright so that last one isn’t that cool, but again, I’m easily amused. There’s also a surprisingly sturdy clear stand packaged with it, so you can make the Batmobile look airborne (with help from the blue flame. Go Flame!). This 5 1/2 long vehicle retails for about $45 which is GREAT for a Revoltech, especially one that probably won’t be in stock for too long.

That’s is for toys this week! Next time we got some new Heroclixs to look out, some classic Sci-Fi figures getting new awesome figures and…..more Batman figures from Square Enix ::: insert multiple profanities here :::

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It is hot out, so buy some toys that have been sitting in the AC.

Summer is back, and if it’s not personal this time, I’d be shocked. I’m spare you the exact details of sweat I’ve produced so far this weekend, but just know that it’s been A LOT.

CON NAME DROPPING TIME! I’m Heroescon bound in a few days! I’m super excited to return to Heroes, as it’s probably the BEST 100% comics-focused con in the country. Expect a report next week, full of the usual cosplay, panel, & show floor recaps. This year’s goal is to touch Jason Aaron’s beard, which I imagine will work out fine for me.

So let’s start the look at new toys this week with some Figuarts. I know this is usually Loran’s turf, but lord knows I love me some Dragon Ball. This long running sub-line continues to grow, with some older figures getting re-released (Super Sayian Son Goku and Vegeta, complete with his  now internet-meme-famous scouter), and some new ones joining the mix. Legit new ones, not just variants of pre-existing characters.

Perfect Cell, arguably my favorite DBZ villain, is finally out in Figuarts form and he is awesome. Bandai continues to capture the look of these characters perfectly, as Cell looks like he just stepped out of the manga/anime. And it being a Figuarts, there’s no shortage of articulation, which means we finally have a Cell figure with poseable wings. Aside from that, you get also get the usual collection of accessories-variant hands, faces, and a Kamehameha effect accessories for a variety of neat poses. The DBZ Figuarts usually go for a little over $50 a pop, and well worth it given the quality of the final product.

It’s amazing to see that Adventure Time is approaching “Batman” levels of merchandise of presence of on our shelves. I guess having a hit cartoon show and comic will do that for a brand. And it’s nice to see some sort of synergy between the two. The Marceline comic park packages a plush of the Vampire Queen with the first issue of the recently collected “Marceline and the Scream Queen” mini series, which serves as a nice primer for fans wanting to jump into the comics world. The combination pack will set you back about $17, where as the collected trade runs for about $20. In addition to that, there’s a bunch of AT figurine 2-packs in stock, as well as a pair of 4 packs. Worth noting is that one of those 4-packs is based on the super-popular “Fiona and Cake” episodes, and that will fly off of the shelves real quick.

It almost kills that faux-radical/hardcore gamer in me to close this article out by mentioning we have Angry Bird Star Wars plushies in stock, but I’m soon reminded that I have no less than 4 different versions of the game on my phone. So yeah, hypocrite much? But yes, we have several 5″ plush birds & pigs dressed as several Star Wars characters in stock, retailing for about $15 a pop. You get to choose from Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca (Principal Skinner’s favorite!), a Storm Trooper and of course Darth Vader…in pig form. And now that I’ve properly pimped them out, allow me to go shower. Not that I consider myself dirty to trying to sell you on those plushies, more so because again, super hot out.

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Super Robot Chogokin J-Decker Review

If you couldn’t tell over the past few years, I love the Brave franchise. Like many others, GaoGaiGar was obviously my first, but once the other shows became accessible, I totally jumped on them. One that was of particular interest to me was Brave Police J-Decker, a series with, obviously, a police theme. I’ve always loved police/rescue robots, so I was hyped to watch it someday. As it would seem, it turned out to be my absolute favorite series in the franchise, at least of the ones I’ve seen. Of course, the old DX toys are starting to get expensive, but it looks like Bandai finally decided to give us one in the Super Robot Chogokin line…

Like the other Brave SRCs, J-Decker comes in his fully combined mode. Unlike the other Brave SRCs, he’s freaking huge!! I own 10+ Super Robot Chogokins and he’s taller than all of them, even GaoGaiGar. Shin Getter Robo might be the only one who tops his height, and he’s not even out yet.

J-Decker’s strengths lay not only with his height, but his sculpt as well. The design is incredibly stylized, matching his anime design flawlessly. It’s about time the Brave robots got this treatment. The earlier CM’s figures looked nice as well, but they were far from the most stable toys. With the exception of GaoGaiGar’s first issue, these figures have all been fantastically stable.

One of my favorite accessories on this figure is his backpack. Instead of being a pair of static wings, they’re able to swing backwards. This allows for both flying poses and the ability to move his arms behind him without any obstruction.

Speaking of obstruction, the two wings on his chest also move forward to allow for more fluid poses with his arms. This is a huge improvement over GaoGaiGar’s lion mane, which had to be switched out in order to use Hell and Heaven. It doesn’t move completely forward, but the extra joint in the shoulder helps with that.

His thigh joints use the same sliding mechanism that Might Gaine had, and once again it works fantastically. His kneecaps also have a locking mechanism in them that allow for his knee joints to be held into place, which also work pretty well.

But there is kind of an elephant in the room here, and that’s with his diecast content. He doesn’t have much, and what he does have seems to be concentrated in his chest, joints, and lower legs. Maybe Bandai is making the chogokins bigger now because it offsets in the low amount of diecast. Still, it’s not like it hurts the toy or anything.

His accessory compliment is a bit lacking unfortunately, but he never really had many to begin with. He comes with two guns, his stick, and a standard assortment of hands which includes a great pointing finger. Still, it works.

J-Decker is yet another great entry into the Super Robot Chogokin line, and as always, he comes with my highest recommendation. It’s a shame he’s probably the only SRC from his series that we’ll see, because I’d love to see Bandai do figures of the individual robots like in GaoGaiGar. But hey, if you want to BRAVE UP, make sure to look for J-Decker at FPNYC when he hits domestic retailers next month!

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SH Figuarts Red Hawk Review

“Well, I wasn’t going to buy this, but now I guess I should…”

Those are the famous last words of many toy collectors.

Earlier this season, we saw the premier of Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger Season 2. A new season of Akibaranger means new Super Sentai Figuarts, hell yeah! This year, we’re seeing new figuarts from Dairanger, Zyuranger, Hurricanger, and who knows what else. But the first episode of Akibaranger Season 2 also showed us full teams for Dekaranger, Jetman, and Boukenger. Dekaranger’s main team has already been released, with Boukenger getting figuarts for Black and Blue in the fall. Could this mean that the rest of the Jetman team isn’t far behind? Let’s hope so!

I know I’ve picked up and reviewed Black Condor already, but I figured I’d take a shot at reviewing his leader, mostly because some of my feelings about him are different. I should also point out that the version I have here is his American release, which means he unfortunately lacks his accessory for the Akibarangers. This is something I actually wouldn’t mind, were it not for the fact that I’m actually interested in that series now. It’s just so adorable, fun, and addicting. It’s a shame the Figuarts don’t have an official US release through Bluefin. I’m honestly not sure why…

So my main differences in opinion between Red Hawk and Black Condor are mostly in regards to the color scheme. Black Condor looked incredibly fancy in his black/white/yellow color scheme, in a great contrast to most Sentai Blacks. With Red Hawk, there is just something about the mix of red and yellow that just looks amazing. I guess there’s just something about that Sentai Red.

Everything I said regarding the toy’s design and structure from the Black Condor review holds true here. The articulation is great (and thankfully, this one doesn’t have a messed up shoulder socket). He is pretty much the same level of quality I’ve come to expect from the Super Sentai Figuarts, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. All of them thus far have been great (save for the Gokaigers, who are all AMAZING), but they always have some niggling little problem. The Jetmen are all saddled with those awkward holsters that don’t stay on and just get in the way. It’s unfortunate, mostly because it’s an issue of design rather than of execution.

All of his weapons and accessories are just as good here as they were with Black Condor. This time I was smart enough to take pictures without the gun or sword in the holsters when filming the combined blaster. It’s a shame he doesn’t have any unique weapons. I guess individual weapons weren’t that common before Zyuranger, but my knowledge of pre-1990 Super Sentai is kind of limited.

Regardless of what color you fancy, the Jetman Figuarts mold is excellent, despite some little flaws. I’m hoping we see the rest of the team in Figuart form before the end of the year, and I hope even more that we’re able to get them stateside. Remember to check FPNYC for your own Red Hawk!

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Master Grade Tallgeese II finished build log

Motivation strikes once again!

I’ve noticed my favorite “II” mobile suits keep ending up as webshop exclusives, and I, in my infinite wisdom, have purchased all of them. The White Dingo GM Sniper II, the Tallgeese II, and I’ve already put the money down on the Crossbone Gundam X-2. Hopefully, spending lots of money on this stuff won’t be a problem soon *hint hint*. Anyway, I’m glad this came out when it did, otherwise I was going to restore my old 1/100 kit and well, that hasn’t stood the test of time. The new Master Grade Tallgeese may not be perfect, but it’s awesome nonetheless.

The new Tallgeese Master Grade, be it the I or the II, is beautiful in its Katoki-designed glory. Sure, the suit was always a Katoki design, but never before were we able to get a more faithful recreation of the lineart. Really, until the Master Grades became a thing, Katoki’s designs never really translated well into kit form.

First, let’s talk about the verniers. The two massive boosters are mounted onto the back of the torso, as opposed to the backs of the shoulders. Now, there are still some mobility issues however, and there has been some paint scraping, but overall, it’s not very noticeable. It does affect articulation, however.

The boosters are basically all linked together and open to reveal four smaller boosters. The same can even be done for the ones on the rear skirt.

I like how the shield and gun both connect to the shoulders via a connecting mechanism like on the old kit, but with a door to close when not in use this time. There are enough joints here to actually allow for the shield and rifle to be held.

Speaking of the rifle, it has this weird spring loaded gimmick that I’m not sure I understand. I think it’s to simulate what the rifle looks like while firing, but I can’t find any use for it outside of a diorama, so I’ll keep it in the extended position.

The Shield looks awesome, especially with the decals. It can easily be held in the left hand, and contains two beam sabers. Both of which use the slanted blade some of the other Wing suits come with.

Unfortunately, the very design of the Tallgeese results in some limited poseability in the legs. That’s overcome thanks to some creative use of joints, namely in the hip armor. The hip armor is attached to the hips at the skirt and the thighs to keep it stationary while the rest of it moves.

Oh, and if you’re doing the TGII, be prepared to paint the feet black. For whatever reason, these were left gray. I don’t quite understand it…

Also included is a piece for mounting it on an action base, but hey, everything uses those these days!

Oh, and another thing! Getting it into the trademark “hands on the gun” pose is not easy, and I have no clue how to properly do it…

Really, the Tallgeese kit is a lot of fun, regardless of whether or not you have the I or II. It comes highly recommended by me, and if you want one, you should make sure to look for the Tallgeese I at FPNYC!

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Tallegeese II Build log part 1

Once again, motivation hits me like a brick to the face. And that’s a good thing! Especially since in this case, I’m incredibly motivated by what I’m actually building, not by the fact that it isn’t something else. If that makes any sense. I’m a huge fan of the Tallgeese II, and have been ever since 2000. You can understand my disappointment when I first got the original 1/144 kit, which was literally just the Tallgeese I kit with a lighter shade of white and a new head. Things got better when I made the 1/100 Endless Waltz kit, but I just wanted more.

And after ten years of longing, I finally have it. Like always, we’re going to take a look at the upper body of the kit first, before going onto the full product. I feel this makes things a bit less overwhelming.

First, let’s talk about the decals. Here’s a fun fact: This is actually one of only two Gundam Wing kits in the Master Grade line, the other being Wing Gundam. Every other “Gundam Wing” Master Grade is actually an Endless Waltz kit, as far as branding goes, anyway. I guess Japan just likes Endless Waltz more.

Since this is just a Gundam Wing kit, and not an Endless Waltz one, the Tallgeese II is spared the decal hell of the other Wing Master Grades. That isn’t to say the decals here aren’t cool, however. I adore the “TALLGEESE II” and “OZ-00MS2” decals on the shoulders in particular. I wish there was a decal with Treize’s signature, or something. Aside from those decals, most of them are your standard warning decals.

The head is nice, with that awesome Gundam face under the good old centurion helmet. That’s what makes the Tallgeese for me. Unfortunately, there is no shape for the eyes, so you’re probably going to have to use the sticker.

But of course, there’s the Mohawk. I did mine in gold, because I do all of my “mid series upgrade” suits from Wing with it. The trim is a pain to do, but it can be done. It just takes a steady hand and a small brush.

One thing that always bugged me about the old Tallgeese kits was the arm. I never liked the way the fact that they couldn’t go flush on the old kit, and I guess it was just designed that way from the start. The joint is well done, and separates nice and evenly. The Tallgeese also has the standard hand set included with the other Wing suits and the new SEED kits.

One fantastic innovation on this kit is the location of the vernier packs. I don’t have them assembled yet, but for once, they AREN’T attached to the shoulders! This is going to make things a lot easier for poseability, and the old verniers (on both scales) were infamous for coming loose.

The Tallgeese II has been a joy to build so far, and I expect that to continue. Remember, the standard Tallgeese is all you’ll find at FPNYC, so make sure to take a look for

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Master Grade Tallgeese II Preview

I remember back last fall when the Tallgeese MG was announced. I couldn’t even put into words how excited I was. This is something that was LONG overdue, especially since we already got a Katoki-style Epyon two years ago. It just seemed so out of place with the Gundams from the first half of the series. Besides, it’s the Tallgeese. I don’t care what you think about Gundam Wing, if you don’t like the Tallgeese even a little bit, I’m not sure we can be friends. I’ve been excited for this project the moment I saw it.

But guess what? We’re not doing the Tallgeese. We’re doing the Webshop Exclusive Tallgeese II.

Because the Tallgeese doesn’t have pre-cut decals available yet, I decided I’d go with the Tallgeese II first since it actually includes waterslide decals. Gotta love those webshop exclusives. I’m covering it here since it’s the same kit as the Tallgeese I but with a different head. Everything else is the same, save for colors. So let’s take a look!

I’m quite surprised by the amount of parts it comes with. They certainly seem crammed into that tiny little box. No runners are duplicated here, although some are reproduced but with additional parts added on. Bandai was thankfully planning for this release, which is why we saw it so soon, and judging by some of the mold gates, we’ll be seeing a Tallgeese III at some point in the future, hopefully.

The gray color used for all the interiors is interesting, and I’m not sure I like it that much. It’s a very light, neutral gray, which is a color I absolutely love using, but only on certain occasions, and I don’t see this as one of them. Instead, I’m going to use the F-15 Dark Gray I used for the G-Fighter, which will certainly make it look unique.

Despite being a Katoki design, the decals don’t go off the wall crazy here, probably since it’s an animation version. I love the huge OZ-00MS2 and TALLGEESE II decals. They’re just the level of gaudy I’d expect from Treize.

And speaking of Treize, 1/100 scale pilot figures of him and Lady Une are included in place of Zechs! Treize was cool enough, but Une makes an awesome added bonus.

There’s also a spring for the Dobergun. I’m not sure how this works, but we’ll see when I get to it, I guess.

But of course, nothing can be perfect. The head crest needs paint along the trim, which I can tell you now, is going to be a huge pain. At least I’m doing it in gold and not yellow, ugh.

Speaking of painting, this kit has actual painting instructions! These would’ve been really nice for the GM Sniper II Custom, just saying…

I’m REALLY excited for this project, and I think I’ll get through it pretty fast. Thankfully, I’m doing it because I’m excited about the subject matter, and not the fact that it isn’t a huge behemoth. Now I just want a Nataku for it to fight at some point. Remember that you won’t be able to find the TGII at FPNYC, but you should definitely look for the regular Tallgeese when you have the chance!

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Master Grade Duel Gundam Build Log Finished

Man, I have the worst luck when it comes to picking kits these days, don’t I? I love kits with removable armor and just “full armor” variants in general. The gimmick is just really cool and adds extra dimensions of display and such. But unfortunately, I have to be one of those crazy painter types who wants all of her kits looking awesome, and Bandai seems to have it out for us. And really, if I weren’t doing this review, I’d probably just keep the armor on all the time since it’s the superior form, so you guys better appreciate this review because I did it for you guys!

But before I get to the Assault Shroud, I’ll talk about the standard weapons this kit has.

The main beam rifle is pretty simple, but a cool unique shape. It actually has a scope cover, but not one mounted on a hinge. At least that prevents it from breaking, I suppose.

The shield is really cool, but I have some issues with it. I love this shield design, but it cannot sit in its hand worth anything. This could just be a painter problem, but the handle just won’t fit. Thankfully, it can still stay on its arm via the post in the back. This is how it fits on the forearm with the Assault Shroud equipped.

It has two standard Gundam beam sabers that peg into the hands. I like the hand pegs here. They’re hard to get in, but they’re incredibly stable.

My favorite weapon of all of them on the kit is the bazooka, which the Duel Gundam doesn’t exactly use. In canon, it’s used by the Astray Gold Frame to escape one of the colonies, and since the weapon is too powerful for it, it blows its arm off. That’s why all of the Gold Frame’s forms have Blitz Gundam’s arm. It’s a shame there’s no proper Astray MG because I’d love to give this gun a proper home.

But on to the Assault Shroud…

Really, it looks AWESOME. But it shares the problem every other swapping parts kit I’ve had, and it might be because I lack a proper paint sealant. All sorts of scratches end up on the armor underneath, but whatever, I can leave it on. It works pretty well when it’s all on, and I love the missile box on the left shoulder. My biggest issue is the front skirt armor, which has the hardest time staying on. It ended up with the most scratches, too.

In an awesome twist, the mounted cannon on the right shoulder is removable, and can be used as a handheld weapon. I love this idea, and I can just imagine Yzak wasting all of his ammo then pulling this off to use for more efficient firing.

It also has a little mount for Action Bases on the bottom. Very nice.

This is another one of those “if you’re a painter, you might have a bad time” kits, but it’s still a good kit. I’d recommend displaying it in one mode and not changing it if you build it. I still suggest this kit, and I definitely welcome it to my collection. If you’re after it, make sure to check FPNYC!

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Master Grade Dual Gundam Build Log Part 1

Sometimes, I can get extremely motivated when working on kits. Usually it happens when it’s something I’m really excited to build, like the Nu Gundam ver Ka MG. Others, it’s because of what it isn’t. You see, the past two projects (the G-Armor and the Sinanju) have both been incredibly draining, from the gigantic pieces, to the breaking pieces, to the slew of tiny and long decals. After a couple projects like those, it’s nice to kick back and relax with a simply Gundam-type mobile suit. Some people may not care for the Duel Gundam’s design, but I personally think it’s great.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Duel Gundam utilizes the same common frame as the Blitz Gundam. As a result, pretty much everything I’ve said about that kit rings true here. The frame represents much of what Bandai seems to be doing with their Master Grade kits these days: simpler and more stable. It seems that all the crazy details and functions go into the smaller (and more complex) Real Grade kits, with the Master Grades take a more “action figure” approach. Given my personal philosophy with toys these days “big, detailed, and stable” is pretty much the ideal combination.

The decals I’m using for this kit are by SamuelDecal, which they pretty much always are when I can’t get ahold of the official sheet (or the kit doesn’t have one, like this). These ones are great, and much sharper than the ones the Blitz Gundam had. Unfortunately, these decals aren’t lettered/numbered, so I’ve had to match them up with the ones on the included sticker and dry-transfer sheets. It’s gone a bit better than I expected, though I may have messed up one or two. That said, I love the silver on some of the decals.

The face on the kit looks great, and has that great “prototype” look the Duel Gundam rocks. For whatever reason, I love orange as a prototype color. I guess it just screams out “safety color” so they can monitor the suit from far away or something, I don’t know. Interestingly, almost all of the colors I’m using for this kit are actually straight from the jar. The only ones that aren’t are the color you’ll see on the weapons, and the orange. It’s nice when I don’t have to mix a lot of colors for once.

The articulation is excellent and smooth. Many of the joints have extra pistons on them to make them look cool, and thankfully, they actually work. They add some depth that wouldn’t be there already. It has the proper level of articulation I’d expect from this grade. It also has a pair of auxiliary waist joints for added articulation!

One awesome feature on this kit are the shoulders. They’ve been redesigned so they can accommodate the Sword and Launcher packs from the Strike! Unfortunately, I don’t have those yet sooo I can’t exactly demonstrate this…

The Duel Gundam is going well so far, and I’m excited to get it done. Remember, make sure to look for your Duel Gundam when you come to FPNYC!

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Master Grade G-Armor Build Log Finished

When I was younger, I had the combining Gundam/G-Fighter from the American action figure line. It was great fun, switching around the parts for all the different combinations. Sure, the figure quickly went obsolete when Bandai put the Gundam 2.0 figure out for that line, but hey, all that had was a Core Booster!

Problem is, sometimes ideas that are really fun as toys don’t exactly work out well as models, no matter how hard you try. That is, unless you don’t paint. I thought transforming the Zeta Gundam 2.0 would be the most nerve-wracking thing I ever had to do. It didn’t hold a candle to this.

Most configurations require the Gundam’s legs to be placed inside the B-parts, which is a really tight fit. I’m honestly regretting painting the inside of the G-Fighter now, because it ended up getting on parts of the Gundam’s legs. Ugh. I even scratched up a decal or two…

I’m going to break things down by each component.

First, we have the G-Sky. This was always my favorite configuration, using the Gundam’s legs, the Core Fighter, and the B-Parts. It just looks like a heavy version of the Core Booster, and is honestly one of the least silly-looking components.

Next, the G-Sky Easy. Basically the same thing, except this one uses that big filler block from the G-Fighter with the Core Fighter on the end of it. It’s a lot less silly, and I think I like it a bit more like this. It actually feels practical, like something they would use if the Gundam was needed and the rest of the G-Fighter needed repairs.

The G-Bull is… well, the silliest configuration. This is the A-parts with the upper body of the Gundam and the Core Fighter. If I remember correctly, this was used by both Amuro and Sayla. I don’t really get it, either. It just looks silly, and the added piece on top of the Core Block just seems superfluous.

The G-Bull Easy is basically the same thing, just without the Core Fighter. Still incredibly silly.

Speaking of incredibly silly, how about the Gundam Sky? Yeah. It’s the Gundam with the lower half of a plane for legs. It was even used against the Zakrello. 2x silly combo, I guess. I should stop saying silly.

But of course, there’s the G-Armor… and as much of a pain as it is to form it, it’s pretty freaking cool. The finished product is massive, measuring well over a foot in length, I think. The transforming bits are cool, too, with the back wings folding out and retracting into the radiator vents. The two shields aren’t held in the hands, but instead on little platforms that come out of the B-parts. This keeps things from becoming a bigger cluttered mess than it should be. Everything nicely locks into place better than you’d expect, and it even stays on the action base with the assistance of an adaptor piece.

While it’s been an overall frustrating and paint-scratch-laden process, the G-Armor is a kit I’m glad to have built, because it has some serious shelf presence. Just be warned that that paint scratches are probably going to occur. Remember that FPNYC totally has your back with whatever Gundam kits you might be interested in!!

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Master Grade G Armor Build Log part 3

The good old G-Fighter… an absolute testament to the era in which the original Gundam aired. Back in those days, things were even more “to sell toys” than they are now. That’s what lead to the origin of the Gundam’s now iconic white/blue/red/yellow color scheme, and the origin of the Core Fighter. The G-Fighter serves little purpose in the TV series than to give the Gundam all these silly combinations to form, most of which aren’t even pivotal to the plot. That’s why the movies replaced it with the Core Booster, something far more manageable.

But hey, that doesn’t make the G-Fighter any less fun.

When I purchased this kit, I’ll admit to not knowing what I’d gotten myself into. I figured, “hey, it’s Gunpla. It won’t be so bad!”. Well, little did I realize that this would feel less like Gunpla, and more like an actual aircraft kit. It didn’t help that I bought the color used for F-15s to paint it, ha. No, part of the reason why I didn’t do any build logs for this portion in particular was the fact that, well, there was nothing to cover. It can’t function as anything other than a fighter, at least not alone. It’s all made up of gigantic panels that are an absolute pain to handpaint.

On its own, the G-Fighter is very “what you see is what you get”. It’s a big hunk of plastic. The only articulation to speak of in this mode are the elevating/pivoting cannons and the missiles hidden on the nose of the plane. They’re pretty cool, and it reminds me of using it in Federation vs. Zeon.

Two little plates fold up on each side to provide a mount for the Gundam. Ha, I bet you thought gravity held the suit up, didn’t you? See, even the silliest of designs can be made somewhat practical!

There are numerous ways to work with the bottom of the kit. The first is the most known method: treads. These are attached to the front portion of the fighter with a series of arms. Really, it makes me miss the simplicity of the old toy, which was just “take off when not in use”.

And when not in use, they can fold up and store inside the back portion. A small plate also gets added to this equation, which allows for the use of landing gear. They make the improbable thing seem just a bit more plausible!

When the treads are in use, a big block piece can be put in, but honestly I don’t see it as being needed. It’s more for the G-Sky Easy configuration which I’ll get to later.

When the treads are up, a big plate can be used to securely hold it onto an action base for flying poses. It fits into the landing gear ports really snugly.

The kit also comes with a second shield for the G-Armor, and the Gundam’s Hyper Hammer, making the Gundam 2.0 the only 1/100 scale RX-78 with a full arsenal! It’s always nice to have it all, isn’t it!

On its own, there’s really no reason to buy the G-Fighter. It’s just a silly gimmick from the original series. When paired with the Gundam, however, the usefulness skyrockets, and we’ll cover that in our last part. For now, make sure to go to FPNYC for all you Gunpla needs!

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Master Grade G-Armor Build Log Part 2

Okay, okay, I’ll admit… I cheated a bit here.

I built a Gundam 2.0 back in 2008 when it first came out. At that point, I didn’t have an RX-78-2 on my shelf, and I figured the 2.0 would be the perfect choice. Of course, I didn’t paint my larger kits back then, so it just got thrown together with minimal panel lines. When I started working on this kit, I figured hey, I’m not doing anything with that old kit, so I just took the inside frame from it to build the Gundam. I just didn’t want to cut out those parts all over again, okay? I’ll probably use the ones I have for some kind of custom project later on.

So here we have the Gundam, in all its animation-style glory. Bandai has attempted to put the Real Type colors on other versions of the Gundam before, usually ones with some modern styling based on the Perfect Grade. In my opinion, none of them were nearly as successful as this one. The almost tacky yet muted color scheme works best on the design that, well, looks like it came out of the 80’s. It’s pretty much what the original kit wanted to be.

The 2.0 has some fantastic articulation and is pretty much a monument to how far we’ve come. If I still had a 1.0, I would have done a comparison. The joints are fluid, smooth, and plentiful, thanks in part to the excellent inner frame. Because the feet have the bizarre shape they had in much of the old art and television series, the center of gravity allows it to hold some great poses while standing on just one foot. It even has some extra joints in the shoulders to allow for a good “last shooting” pose.

The Core Fighter is, well, easily the worst part about the kit. Don’t get me wrong, it looks fantastic. It’s also absurdly finicky. It fits snugly into the torso for sure, but the transformation is infuriating. If you don’t do it in just the right order, it’ll get stuck into place. And of course, the paint scratches like crazy. Somehow, the force of me pulling the cockpit forward caused a huge chunk of paint to come off. Ew.

The weapon selection is where the kit truly shines, however…

The standard beam rifle, saber, and shield are included and are all well designed. The rifle can be held in both hands without looking awkward, and the shield’s locking mechanism keeps it in the hand flawlessly.

The bazooka is a bit cooler than normal, including a mounting mechanism for the butt and a hinged handle, which allows it to sit on the shoulder while again, not looking awkward.

The Gundam Hammer included is the same one included with the Turn A Gundam. Accurate to the series model with a nice chain. If you’ve built one 1/100 scale Gundam Hammer, you’ve built ‘em all.

The beam javelin is included, too, and unfortunately, it still has a clear plastic beam. I managed to get around this, however! I did a wash of the beam using a very thin pink paint. It barely even looks like it was painted.

But the big draw to this release? The Super Napalm! Yes, the Gundam’s single most neglected weapon, used only once in the entire story. You have to take part of the beam rifle apart to use it, but hey, it has it. It’s nice to see this weapon actually included now, even if it was barely used.

Overall, the Gundam 2.0 is probably the best release of the suit you can get at this scale. If you’re not interested in the anime style, well, there’s always the One Year War version. Remember, if you’re ever interested, make sure to look for this kit at FPNYC!

That concludes the articles covering the Gundam itself. Up next is the G-Fighter!

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Upcoming Tamashii Nations Products for Spring 2013

It’s been even longer since I’ve taken a look at stuff from Tamashii Nations, so let’s take a peek at those…

From this year’s Kamen Rider Wizard, both Kamen Rider Beast and Kamen Rider Wizard Flame Dragon are getting a nice pair of Figuarts. Each is slated to come with a selection of Tamashii Stages, each one for a different Kamen Rider from the Heisei era, or one for their specific figure. These stands will be spread across three releases, and cover each series from Kuuga up through Wizard.

Also included for this campaign is Kamen Rider Wizard’s bike, the Machine Winger. I believe this is the first bike to be released as a main-line figure for several years, which is fantastic for those of us not living in Japan. It actually makes me wish I was watching the series, since I own several Kamen Riders and well, nothing for them to ride…

Since Bandai can’t seem to get enough of him, Kamen Rider Den-O is getting a new Figuart, in the much underappreciated Liner Form. Liner Form is, in my opinion, his best incarnation, so it’s nice to see him get some representation in this scale! I’d rather see this than some weird new movie design, but that’s just me.

At long last, Bandai’s releasing another Rider from the Showa era, this time, Kamen Rider X. X is FAR from one of my favorite classic Riders, but it’s nice to finally see him get released after being previewed alongside all of his brothers several years ago. He looks like a lot of fun, but ultimately nothing to really be surprised from with the old Riders in SHF form.

Switching gears to giant robots (of course), Bandai is finally releasing two more Gundam Wing Robot Damashii figures: Gundam Heavyarms Custom (TV Version) and the Aries. Heavyarms comes with the dual-gatlings to go with Sandrock, Altron, and Wing Zero. It seems that the suits from the first half of the series will be webshop exclusives. The Aries is a welcome addition, since it’s gone without official merch for far too long. I believe we’ll be seeing a Noin Custom version at some point in the future, too.

In a move that surprised nobody, the Unicorn Mode versions of Full Armor Unicorn and Banshee Norn are coming as well. There isn’t much to say here that hasn’t been said when I covered the Gunpla preview, so moving on…

At long last, Grendizer will be joining the Super Robot Chogokin lineup! As one of the world’s most popular giant robots, this figure will prove to be a HUGE seller (my friend calls him “the soccer of giant robots”—popular everywhere in the world except America), I think, and something tells me he won’t be hard to find. I’m glad Bandai’s finally rounding off the three Mazingers with this release. Now they just need to give us Getter Robo in some form. Come on, I’ll even take New Getter at this point!

While not as exciting as the upcoming Gunpla for this year, the Tamashii Nations offerings promise to be lots of fun. Make sure to look for yours at FPNYC!

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Upcoming Gunpla for Spring 2013

Since it’s been awhile, let’s take a look at some upcoming Gunpla for the next coming months!

Just released in Japan are the HGUC kits of the Banshee Norn and Shin Matsunaga’s High Mobility Type Zaku! As I’ve mentioned before, the Banshee Norn took me by surprise as a kit actually appearing in the OVA, since it just reeks of random MSV. That said, it’ll be nice to have a Shield Booster in 1/144 scale, and the open claw will look really awesome on the Destroy Mode version. Shin Matsunaga’s Zaku is a kit I’m really excited to own, especially since it means I don’t have to kitbash one. I was going to go for the Tri-Stars version, but since I already have the MG, I should break things up a bit!

Out later this month are the Defenser-Type ReZel and the OVA version Sinanju. These aren’t took exciting, all things considered, since they’re really just variants on kits that are already available. But hey, that means we get two in a month! The ReZel looks like it needs a support just to stand. Yeesh. The Sinanju is going to be a great release, since it’ll have the same hands as the Sinanju Stein, and a frame made out of polystyrene, meaning it probably won’t break as easily. It also includes the bazooka, which was originally a magazine pack-in. Man, if only I waited a few months to get mine…

Out in April are the HGUC Gundam Ez8 and the Real Grade Destiny Gundam. The Ez8 is LONG overdue, in my opinion, considering that we got all three Blue Destiny units before this one. I did my old HG Ez8 back in 2008, and I was afraid we’d get an HGUC shortly after. I’m glad they waited five years just for me! The Real Grade Destiny looks fantastic as well, but it’s not a big draw for me, since I did the Master Grade. Still, I’m just glad to see Bandai acknowledging a SEED suit in this line that doesn’t belong to Kira or Athrun!

Out in May is the HGUC Full Armor Unicorn Gundam. It’s a shame well have to wait so long for the Destroy Mode version, but for those who just want the suit for the weapons, this will be certainly hold them off. I just want the green Psychoframe in 1/144 scale…

But if there’s one thing the long wait for Unicorn 7 will bring, it’s a chance for Bandai to clear out their backlog. They have plans for nice new HGUC kits of the Doven Wolf, the Messala, and the Zogok. I am SUPER excited for the Doven Wolf; it’s just such a cool design that’s gone far too long without a decent kit. I’m amazed it took Bandai this long to do the Messala justice, as it was the first suit of one of Gundam’s most famous villains. The Zogok is… well, it’s the Zogok. After the Juaggu, anything was possible, and this one sure proves it. I’ll probably scoop this one up since I’m such a sucker for MSVs.

The upcoming months promise all sorts of Gunpla goodness, far beyond what I’ve shown here. I’m incredibly pumped for many of the items here, and I hope you are, too, so make sure to take a look at FPNYC this summer!

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