Category: Mecha

A Holiday Themed Holiday Gift Idea List!

We’re getting geared up for a Merry Meta Holiday Gift Idea List! That’s right, a holiday gift idea list based around holiday themed gifts… give me a break it’s Monday night and I’m running short on time… kinda like you’re running short on time to get your shopping done. Factoring in holiday work parties and extended family gatherings, if my calculations are correct you only have about two weeks to get your gift purchasing wrapped up and your purchased gifts wrapped up as well.

The Original String Doll Gang Holiday Key Chains – Stuff your stockings with these cute as hell handmade key chains! Each character is made out of cotton string! Pick from Santy, Snowy, Rudy, Nutty, Snowflake or Gingerbread Man.


Play-Doh Christmas Craft Fun – If those handmade key chains are putting you in a crafty mentality why not grab this Play-Doh Christmas craft set! This book comes with 4 tubs-o-Doh, some crafting tools, and instructions for 15 different projects! Whoaaa that’s a lot of Doh!


Krampus Greeting Cards – This tin case contains twenty greeting cards with ten vintage designs featuring St. Nicks’ furry friend (or should I say fiend) Krampus!


National Lampoon Christmas Vacation Glass Moose Mug – Marty Moose fans unite! Drink from this goblet and wish you were spending your Christmas Vacation at Wally World, instead of with Cousin Eddie.


A Kidnapped Santa Claus – Frank Baum’s classic tale of Santa stealing adapted by comic book heavyweight Alex Robinson! Creator of the ever popular Box Office Poison, Tricked, and Too Cool To Be Forgotten!


A Christmas Story the movie stuff – Everybodies’ favorite eye poking, pole licking, duck eating, holiday flick has more merchandise than you can shake a leg lamp at! We got mugs, ice cube trays, books, you name it, we got it… I think.


Denis Leary’s Merry F***in’ Christmas – Move over Charles Dickens, a new tale has come to take the number one spot as greatest holiday story ever told! The comedian behind such classic hits like the song Asshole puts his spin on the season of giving!


Creepy Krampus Sticker Book – This funky book features 72 freaky stickers with that creepy Christmas critter Krampus. Give the whole book as a gift or use the stickers to decorate your presents, cards, etc. Hey don’t Krampus my style!


Man oh man that’s a heaping pile of holiday gift stuff!

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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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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 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 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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Master Grade G-Armor Build Log Part 1

Okay, after having first previewed this kit several months ago, it’s time for finally get my butt in gear with the Real Type G-Armor!

When the Gundam ver 2.0 was first announced back in 2008, some people wondered, “What’s the point? The One Year War version is good enough!” To some, yes, but not all. The OYW version still utilized the same inner leg mechanism from the ver 1.5 from 2000; a part which is looked upon with much disdain these days. Additionally, the version 2.0 lacked a Core Fighter, something which would become, pun not intended, the core of the remaining Federation Master Grades to follow.

As you can see here, all I have done is the upper body. Hey, I’ve been busy and the Sinanju drained a LOT of my energy. Now, the Gundam 2.0 reflected a much different change in aesthetics than its predecessors did. While most modern model kits of the suit are derived from the design of either the Perfect Grade or the 1/1 scale statue, this design is unique in that it goes for a more animated look, making it the first (and really only) modern-style kit to use an animated style. This irked some people, but I praised its design for ingenuity and uniqueness. Kudos to Bandai for that.

I made some minor changes to the suit’s color scheme. I didn’t much like the modern version of the Real Type colors, so instead, I went for the original version depicted on the decal sheet. The color variances are minor, with a much deeper read substituting the traditional Gundam bright red, and a few other parts in different colors, like the black cockpit door. These darker, “grimier” colors mesh together much more smoothly, and really give it the “piece of realistic military hardware” look.

In addition to changing the colors, I used the separate Real Type decals instead of the standard G-Armor ones. These more closely match the original kit from the 80’s, and as such, have that awesome retro look going on. Unfortunately, these are just about as frustrating as the Sinanju’s decals, if not more so. While the Sinanju had tons and tons of tiny little decals, this design is loaded with incredibly long, thin decals that are difficult to get around the surfaces they go on. There’s a serious learning curve here, and I think I’m starting to get used to it.

Not only that, some of the decals are bright red on a dark red surface! Okawara, why did you think that was a good idea?!

The articulation so far is great. The arm joints have some very fluid motion thanks to the full frame, and have a lot of depth to them. While I haven’t finished the Core Fighter yet, I’m a bit frustrated by the lack of a replacement Core Block. The kit doesn’t need to have it in to operate properly, but I think it would help with stability. I think that was one of this kit’s very few glaring missteps.

Hopefully I should at least have the Gundam itself (with some bonus weapons) finished sometime next week. Stay tuned, and while you’re waiting, look for your own kits at FPNYC!

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HG00 Tieren Space Type Review

Let’s take a little break from the Universal Century, shall we, and we’ll take a look at a series I sometimes forget: Gundam 00.

When Gundam 00 first started, it had some of the most unique mechanical designs Gundam has had in years. Each faction had its own unique style and could be easily identified. The Human Reform League had the bulky and tough Tierens, the Union forces had the sleak and sexy Flag, and Celestial Being obviously had the Gundams. Unfortunately, all of that kind of went out the door during its second season (among other things)…

I wasn’t too sold on the Tieren when I initially saw it. Its bulky styling didn’t really appeal to me. It felt too much like it wanted to be a Destroid. In retrospect, I guess that kind of makes sense, as the Union Flags are basically Valkyries, just, well, not as cool. While I’ve had this Tieren kit lying in the corner of my room for four years now, I figured it was time to slap it together, especially after the massive disappointment that was the Flag kit. Of course, I may be a bit biased since I already have experience with the HG Tieren.

For such a bulky design, the Tieren has a lot of flexibility. The legs are rather cleverly designed to maximize articulation in spite of the design. For example, the hips extend outwards with small cylindrical pieces, and little flaps allow the feet to gain good footing.

The arms are basically mounted on tracks that add for additional articulation. In a sense, they have a double joint. This actually allows the suit to cross its arms across its chest! Now come on, that’s something most normally proportioned mobile suits can’t do! Of course, you have to remove pretty much all of its equipment, but hey, whatever works.

Speaking of, this kit has all sorts of neat little gadgets. For arm-mounted weapons, it has a 00-style Beam Rifle and a four-tube missile launcher. It features the same weird axe thing that was included with the Tieren Taozi for a melee weapon. The coolest accessories are the two mounted under the chest, which are a miniature rocket launcher and some sort of grappling hook. It might actually be some kind of wire for pilots to grab onto (which would make it pretty practical), but since it looks like external equipment I can’t really be sure…

Unfortunately, the kit lacks a lot of color distribution. None of the orange details are molded on, and have to be painted or done with stickers. It’d be a lot less frustrating if the model didn’t already have two shades of gray/black! Feels like such a waste…

Also, I’ve always found the fuel tanks on the legs to look kind of… well, phallic. But that could just be my dirty mind. I also think fuel tanks on the legs just makes for an easy target…

While I don’t typically go for 1/144 kits from alternate universes, the Tieren Space Type is one I’d recommend solely on the grounds of being a nice, quick, sturdy build. It’s a fun kit and worth checking out! Remember, always make sure to check FPNYC for your Gunpla needs!

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Gundam Unicorn Episode 6

The latest episode of Gundam Unicorn made its digital download debut last weekend, with its blu-ray release coming within a few weeks. The episode was long awaited, with the last episode being released in May of last year, and with one more episode still to come. Naturally, I was pretty excited for the episode, dashing to my Xbox as soon as I heard that the new episode was out. After all, the last one was fantastic. Surely, Sunrise has resolved the pacing issues with the earlier episodes of the OVA, right?

Well… nope.

First off, while the episode’s story was great, the pacing again felt off. We’re introduced to a great rivalry between the Londo Bell and Sleeves soldiers onboard the Nahel Argama, but it doesn’t last as long as it should. The opening battle, with Full Frontal tearing the mobile suit compliment of the General Revil to shreds was awesome, but it brought up one problem I’ve noticed with the series:

The openings of each episode should be the finales of the previous ones!

Like, okay. The end of the last episode was Full Frontal and Angelo tearing up Jegans and ReZels, and well, that’s where this episode started. Why not just show the entirety of the battle in episode 5, then end with Full Frontal’s line? That’d be an excellent cliffhanger and get people really hyped up about the next episode! Cutting the battle in half just delays gratification and makes things frustrating for your audience.

But what made things especially frustrating for me were the mobile suits. Early production material showed us the Unicorn Gundam in full-armor configuration everywhere. The last episode even had it glow green for the first time in the series. However, I found myself a little concerned after noticing that the only new kit of the FA Unicorn was the Unicorn mode one, with no Destroy Mode version in sight. My worst fears were realized when at no point in the episode, did we see it go into Destroy Mode with the full equipment.

To make things worse, the Banshee Norn, a suit I thought was made as an MSV, appears as the OVA equivalent of “Final Battle Banshee”. This, too, only received a kit of the suit in Unicorn mode, so hopefully that design will feature the awesome green NT-D frame of the novel version.

But aside from those two Unicorns, and the Jesta Cannon, Bandai didn’t seem that interested in marketing new suits with this episode. It almost makes me feel like they’re winding everything down for Unicorn in favor of doing HGUCs for MSV and the like. It’s a shame, because I could always count on Unicorn to deliver the goods, especially in the wake of Gundam AGE’s colossal failure.

Whatever the case may be, the last episode is due to be out next spring. It’s going to be a long wait, so let’s just hope the final episode is what we’ve been waiting these four years for.

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Master Grade Sinanju Version Ka Build Log-FINSHED

It’s done. I have conquered the beast.

No, this thing wasn’t a beast. The Unicorn Gundam is a beast. The Sinanju is more like a full-blown demon.

There are those kits that we fear. We know that when they’re completed, they’ll be a beautiful piece worthy of any collection. They tend to be the big, huge, complicated kits: Full Armor Unicorn, the Sinanju, the Kshatriya, EX-S Gundam, GP03 Dendrobium, and so on. They’re designs we find amazing, but feel we can’t do justice to them, and it can be pretty sad how so many people never end up doing them!

Well, I’m pleased to announce that I have kicked the Master Grade Sinanju’s ass.

It may have some obnoxious little imperfections that peeve me off, but honestly, it’s good enough for me. But I swear this kit tried to kill me, even after it was finished—somehow, it found a way to give me a migraine. Yeah, it’s that evil.

The backpack adds the true silhouette to the kit, and really makes it, in my opinion. The thrusters can extend, and they look pretty awesome in either position. The propellant tanks were a serious nuisance; however, as they required sanding and I absolutely hate painting any kind of cylinder. I swear, there’s no way to win!

The beam rifle is simple, but quite nice. Its long profile makes it look very intimidating, and it poses excellently with it.

The shield is a lot of fun, even if the gold details are nearly mind-numbing. I threw an extra decal on the top of it because, hey, why not.

The shield can be mounted traditionally, or hung from a post in the shoulder armor. I much prefer the latter.

Inside it are all sorts of little goodies, including a pair of tomahawks and a beam pistol.

The tomahawks can swing down for some crazy stabby shield weapon.

They can be used with two different types of blades, AND can be combined to form some kind of terrifying super weapon! Geez.

The beam pistol is removable and can be held in the kits hands, albeit a bit awkwardly because of its lack of an actual handle, but it’s really a sidearm more than anything.

One beam saber is stored inside of each forearm armor. They’re pretty simple, and kind of boring compared to the tomahawks. The blades are cool, however.

Because I like going The Extra Mile, I bought the custom action base for this kit. Really, it’s just a red and black base with some extra stickers on it for the Sinanju, Neo Zeon, and Full Frontal (tee hee). The kit is joined to the action base by a simple connector, much like the ones on the 2.0 MGs and current SEED MGs.

So all in all, the Sinanju has been a challenge, from its sheer volume of pieces to its fragile plastic choices. Mine sure as hell isn’t perfect, but I’m okay with that. The end result is beautiful, and I recommend this project to any kind of experienced modeler. Remember though, if you want your own, you might just want to wait until FPNYC gets the new OVA version, which hopefully, will be out soon!

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Master Grade Sinanju Version Katoki Buildlog part 1

I have never gone up against a more frustrating model kit in my entire life.

Now, earlier I spoke of how the Version Katoki kits are essentially the gold standards of Master Grades these days, and that the Sinanju helped make that so. Well… it turned out I was half right. In terms of a design and engineering standpoint, the kit is absolutely marvelous so far. It stands with complete glory, and is rather sturdy in construction.

The problem lies with the materials used… this thing is FRAGILE.

For whatever reason, Bandai used a different type of plastic for the inner workings of this kit. According to some sources, the plastic used here actually melts when certain paints are applied. I learned this the hard way, as I’ve broken at least three pieces during the construction of this kit. The new OVA version (which I swear was announced just to make me angry) is going to have a frame made of traditional polystyrene, so hopefully, it won’t face the problems the Ver Ka has.

Now, ignoring all of that BS, the kit IS pretty cool.

For my kit, I decided to try something different. With the exception of my Destiny Gundam, Qubeley, and Hyaku Shiki, all of my kits have a dull, flat finish. I’m just really fond of that look. But, for something like the Sinanju, I felt that a dull finish wouldn’t cut it. This thing needs to be gaudy! So, I for all of the black and red bits, I gave it a gloss coat, whereas all the aluminum, gray, and white parts are done with a flat coat. I am MOST pleased with the result so far.

Since I wasn’t able to find the official Bandai decals, I resorted to third-party decals for this project. Everything went incredibly well… until I got to the white bars on the shoulders. Even with a decal sealant, they wouldn’t adhere, so I just left them off, and instead opted for some of the optional decals on the sheet. While I would like to have the white lines everywhere, the only time I notice their absence is when I think about it.

The gold decals… have been a mixed bag. They’re BEAUTIFUL, but they’re very finicky. Essentially, they’re metal stickers, and they don’t adhere very well. Thankfully, though, this can easily be fixed with just a dab of superglue on the edge that rose up. I used some of these in place of the traditional 10S decals, simply because it looks way cooler.

These metal tubes are a godsend, and you can find them from any variety of third-party Gunpla part groups. Seriously, replacing the plastic tubes for metal ones removes so much frustration, and is worth the extra money.

The kit’s articulation is pretty good for something of its immense size. It’s very flexible, and the frame certainly lends itself to that. It’s just a shame that comes at the fragility of many other parts…

In spite of some frustrations, this kit is damn impressive and I’d recommend it to some more advanced modelers out there… but I’d advise waiting until FPNYC gets the OVA version in stock!

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Toy Fair has happen and  me start this article by thanking whatever Hasbro employee is reading this site on the regular, or stalking me elsewhere, internet or in real life. The fruits of your research are something I’m willing to throw some serious cash at this year, and since my wife is out of town for the next few days, you can be my Valentine this year

The company has done me a solid by releasing not one, but 2 modern Cyclops figures this year, both in a box set in the Universe line (Marvel’s Greatest Teams, packaged with Emma Frost and the Juggernaut possessed Colossus) and a 6″ figure apart of the Wolverine Legends line (which also has a Emma Frost figure!), as well as a modern HAWKGUY (or Hawkeye as he’s more commonly known as). You’ll also see at least another 2-3 waves in the main Marvel Legends line, 2 in the Universe line (until SDCC reveals more), and both 6″ and 3.75″ figures based on upcoming movies like “Iron Man 3” and “Thor 2”, and animated stuff like “Ultimate Spider-Man” and the new “Avengers Assemble” show. Good showing all around from Hasbro/Marvel.

So my Marvel boner aside, what else did Toy Fair 2013 have to offer you ask? Shut up and I’ll tell you stupid! There was Batman merchandise everywhere (no one is surprised by this), but Mattel got a ton of hype thanks to securing the rights to make figures based on the classic live action Batman series from the 1960s. Expect to see both 6″ and Barbie-sized releases this year, amongst others. Square Enix is also going DC Comics crazy as well, with figures based on the Nolan Bat-films, the upcoming Man of Steel film, and giving their own spin to the DCU with the DC Universe Square Enix Variant line. Heroes announced so far were obviously the Bat, Green Lanetern, Batgirl, Flash and Wonder Woman. And not to be out done, DC Collectible showed off a ton of figures based on the Injustice game, The Flash, the Death of Family arc, and the upcoming Justice League of America series.

Mezco, as I reported last time, scored 2 unique licenses, with the hit drama Breaking Bad, and the hit insane webcomic- turn actual comics-turn upcoming animated Fox TV series Axe Cop. They’re going all out with these properties, putting out a variety of different sized figurs/figurines, dolls and plushies. Also joining the 6″ figure arms race is Kenner, with The Star Wars Black series! These 6″ figures will focus on the classic trilogy, so expect the likes or R2-D2, Luke Skywalker, a Sand Trooper and….Darth Maul. Um, I guess they’re focusing MOSTLY on the classic trilogy, not entirely!

There are several other announcements of note too, like McFarlane making toys based on Assassin’s Creed 3 in the same vein of their Halo line, Square Enix branching out and making figures based on Namco, EA and Capcom games, of ton of new and old G.I. Joe stuff, but I’m going to end this focusing on the MASSIVE  2 foot tall Transformers Generation Titan Metroplex. He’s based on his aaperance in last year’s Transformers: Fall of Cyberton game, and yeah, it’s kind of friggin awesome. Aside from the 2 foot robot, he can also transform into a city, and mobile battle station. Not sure  when it will drop, but it will this year and not be cheap.

Gonna end the look at Toy Fair here. I can only tease so much, but fear not, everything big and cool announced at the show will eventually be for sale at Forbidden Planet this coming year, and we’ll be getting better looks at them as they’re released.

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