Category: Anime

Yotsuba Model

Working a closing shift at Forbidden Planet, wandering the asiles, when I noticed on our shelves a fantastic new Yotsuba model kit from Kotobukiya I hadn’t seen before…

kotobukiya yotsuba model kit

Dressed in her usual outfit for a day of adventure, she wears an orange and white long-sleeved shirt, olive shorts, and orange and white shoes. Yotsuba is comprised of 120 pre-colored plastic pieces eliminating the need for painting, and 15 points of articulation and multiple interchangeable face parts with a wide array of different expressions provide for an amazing number of display options! The energetic girl stands nearly 5 ½ inches tall and comes with some really fun accessories like a kazoo, camera, bubble wand, and stuffed teddy bear.

A must have for any fan.

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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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This week in new toy arrivals!


So SHAMELESS PLUG (I did warn y’all), this time next week I’ll be in Chicago for C2E2, which is exciting for me at the very least.C2E2 isn’t as toy-news friendly as NYCC or SDCC, so the recap will probably ended up being chock full of cosplay, comics, and celebrities. I apologize for the excessive use of words starting with “C”, that was not planned, I swear. Anywho, let’s look at some not-Batman toys shall we? We’ve gotten in a bunch of stuff that not necessarily related to dude wearing spandex that I want to talk about.

One of my favorite animated television shows, the Venture Brothers, is due to return on May 19th on Adult Swim. This is awesome, because it seems like forever since we’ve gotten a new season and I need my fix oh-so bad now that Archer is done for the year. And as fate would have it, the 3.75″ Venture Brother figures by Bif Bang Pow! are finally out. While the older MEGO-esque VB toys were cool, we all know 3.75 toys are the new hotness, and yes, we need a Brock Samson in the same scale as GI Joes dammit! Wave 1 consists of both the Venture boys, Dean and Hank, their bodyguard Brock Samson, and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, with an additional 3 figures due out this year. Sculpt wise, the figures are pretty good for 3.75″ers. Not as articulate as Marvel Universe figures, but I’m not sure if the demo-graph who will be buy these toys will care (“I DO!” Chris mashes angrily on the keyboard). They go for about $12 a pop, come with 1 accessory each and in my opinion kind of neat. Obviously you should buy them now before the show starts back up, and to ensure we get more figures in the future. Chris wants him a Billy Quiz Boy Genius figure! Also about a dozen other figures that may lead into a angry talk with his wife.

Since I’m sick of typing about Batman, I decided to see swing by the store yesterday and see what else we have in stock. Not to self: remember that NECA does more than video game figures in the future. Apparently the company has been pumping out some awesome  (not to mention horrifying) figures based on last year’s “Prometheus”. I know fans are torn on the movie’s quality ( I ,for the record, liked it), but yo, these figures are legit. I don’t think we have too many Michal Fassbender ( Mike F. Assbender if you will) figures out there, but the David-8 figure does a real good job of capturing his likeness. There’s 2 series of Prometheus figures out, with said David-8, the Xenomorph looking Deacon, Chair Suit Engineer and Pressure Suit Engineer rounding out the the basic deluxe figures. They retail for a little over $20 each. There’s also the creepy as hell Trilobite vs Battle Damaged Engineer with goes for over $40 obviously. These figures are great for creepy out friends and loved ones.

After pimping out some horror toys, let’s close this out on something cuter yes? Fate/Zero, the prequel to the hit anime Fate/Stay Night, is finally seeing the merchandise push the original series got, which surprises no one. We currently have in stock both petite Fate/Zero figurines, and what appears to be faux-Paper Craft figures. They’re both blind box, and super cute, so give us your money for them. Both retail for about $11 each, and again, look how they cute they are! Support cute stuff. Or I’ll talk about horror stuff again. Or worse, Batman.

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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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HGUC Zaku Mariner Review

As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I love Gundam Unicorn, even if it does frustrate me quite a bit. One of my favorite aspects of it as all of the “robot porn” the OVA has to offer. Now, robot porn can mean many things. Of course, there’s the literal definition, but we’re not talking about that here. It can refer to two other things; the first being the technical stuff, showing how things work. The other is my personal favorite, and that’s just showing off all sorts of random mecha variants from over the years. Unicorn has this in SPADES, especially that fourth episode I don’t seem to shut up about.

I have always LOVED the Zaku Mariner. In fact, this was my first glue kit, which I did back in 2001. Yeah, 12 years ago. It was bad. Really, really bad. I’d been wanting to kitbash a new one, but hey, Bandai seemed to save me the time and the effort by giving us an HGUC! Originally, I didn’t want to do any amphibious mobile suits until I had all the normal Zeon MS bases covered for the One Year War, but hey, this is Unicorn, so it doesn’t count!

The Zaku Mariner uses a new style of Zaku frame, one that’s very similar in structure to the Zaku F2. This new style of joint system is easily one of the most fluid I’ve ever seen. Because so much of the Zaku’s body is curved, the joints match this and as such, feel very organic and not forced. This is probably one of the best things about Zeon designs. Unfortunately, because it’s a Zaku, the cables on the legs end up kind of intrusive, and the ones on the waist prevent it from having a full turning axis for the torso. The hips use a hinge joint, like most Master Grades, which works as well as one would hope.

The kit also includes parts for different configurations. It has two sets of antennae, two sets of shin armors, and two cockpit hatches. The alternate set of parts gives it an appearance more like a traditional Zaku, as if it were a standard one that was just modified. While the alternate parts are cool, I find myself liking the main configuration the most.

A peg underneath the waist allows the easy plug-in of action bases for swimming poses!

The accessory loadout is quite impressive, too. Its main armament is a SUBROC (SUBmarine ROCket) gun, which despite its weird, elongated butt, actually sits under the suit’s arm perfectly. A wire-mounted cable comes out of the left arm, and two alternate hands are included… both of which are for the left. WHY?! Ah well. Two of the torpedoes on the left shoulder come out, too, but they can be a bit of a pain.

Like the Nemo, the Zaku Mariner has unfortunately poor color distribution, with none of the red areas being colored. While this is indeed a nuisance, I can deal with it. I’ll accept a harder paintjob if it means the kit is more fun to fiddle with!

I really like the feel of the new Zaku frame, and I look forward to getting the High Mobility Zaku at some point. If you’re interested in getting yours, make sure to check FPNYC!

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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 2013 is going down, and we’re not there!

Happy Saturday everyone! Hopefully the snow didn’t mess up your weekend plans too bad, and if they did, I feel for you and can relate. I HAD MUSEUM PLANS TODAY DAMMIT!

As the title implies, the 2013 Toy Fair is going down, and we’re not there because getting a press pass for the event is SERIOUS BUSINESS. But I’m sure a plethora of TF-related images will flood the internet over the weekend, and that in turn will lead to some sort of best of recap later this week! (Blogging 101 folks!) MTV Geek’s already revealed some stuff, like toys based on the Walking Dead, Pacific Rim, Breaking Bad, and Man of Steel already, and I’m sure there’s more to come. We’ll get to that and more later this week, where I promise to only dedicate half the article to Square Enix and Marvel.

As we mentioned before, Jeff Lemiere’s run on “Green Arrow” started this week, and surprising no one, it’s a pretty great debut. Not “Hawkeye” good of course, says a bias Chris. Showing some incredibly good timing, DC Collectible Justice League “Green Arrow” figured has hit shelves! DC Collectibles is promising more articulate figures for 2013, but I guess that’s going to start with the Injustice figures. Still Ollie’s new 52 figure is relatively solid if you know what you’re getting into. It’s definitely influenced by Jim Lee’s take on the character, meaning it will fit in just fine with the rest of the League we’ve seen so far. Arrow will set you back about $20, which is reasonable. In terms of accessories, you obviously get a bow with a “workable” string, and 2 removable arrows. The quiver on his back has a bunch more, but those are permanently attached. Again, it’s probably the best new 52 Green Arrow figure we’re going to get for awhile, as the next couple of GA toys/statues to be released this year seem to be focused on the CW’s “Arrow” show or the “Injustice” game.

A pair of new import figures from Bandai also hit the shelves, based on two of the more popular n0n-Shonen Jump franchises in the Bandai catalog, Megaman and Gundam Wing. After getting several D-Art figures based on the X games, Bandai has released a classic Megaman (“Rock Man” if you’re one of THOSE nerds) figure. Highly articulated? CHECK! Variant parts? You know it! In addition to a sweet figure. Megaman comes with his robot dog Rush  (which no, cannot turn into a car or jetboard sadly) and Met. Great package overall, and definitely worth the cash-money. Hopefully we’ll see a Protoman or Roll in the future. Airman is fine as well Bandai.

The Robot Spirits Epyon is also 5 1/4″ of awesome. Much like Megaman, it’s has an amazing sculpt, is plenty articulated, rocks variant parts and weapons, but most importantly it can transform in a robo-dragon. I love any figure that allows me to type that in an article by the way. The Robot Spirit line is a nice alternative to Gunpla if you’re not familiar with them, as they’re high-end figures that don’t require any assembly, and cover other non-Gundam fracnhises like Evangelion and Code Geass. They’re Gunpla for the lazy mecha fans if you will. We also got in a decent amount of Dragon Ball, Tiger and Bunny, One Piece and Persona 4 currently in stock, if those series are more of your thing.

Final note/shameless plug: I’ll be speaking at C2E2 in Chicago again it’s seems! Expect more on that front come April, where the shameless pimping of said panel will be sickening!

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Master Grade Sinanji Version Kai Preview

I remember when this kit first came out. The Unicorn was awesome and cool and everyone was talking about it. A friend of mine mentioned the Sinanju and all I could say was, “what the hell is that?” I’m not sure if it was my ignorance of Master Grades at the time, but I had no idea what this thing was! I wasn’t following anything for Unicorn, because at the time it was just some novel to me that was doomed to die in obscurity after a couple Master Grades only the crazy fans were interested in. Funny how times change.

Honestly? If it weren’t for the Nu Gundam, I’d probably have no interest in this thing. What’s worse is Bandai has plans for an OVA version of this suit, so it’s entirely possible that I just wasted my time buying this thing because a superior version is coming out. Just my luck, huh?

Obviously, there’s a lot of kit here, probably even more than the Nu Gundam ver Ka. Yet, I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into here. This was the last kit of 2008, yet it uses no polycaps. This kind of worries me, namely after my experience with F91 and Crossbone. It’s entirely possible it won’t be as bad here, but we’ll have to see. The idea certainly didn’t stick, considering kits these days use polycaps again.

I, like any other sane modeler, hate the stupid little tubes. So, for my project, I decided to delve into the world of crazy third-party pieces in addition to my standard allotment of decals. I wanted to buy replacement thrusters, too, but I couldn’t find any that I liked. All the thrusters I saw looked ugly with giant poles sticking out of them, and the ones that looked better required drilling. How about no.

In addition to some standard decals (which had to be third-party because the Bandai ones are too hard to find), I bought some metal decals for the gold details, because there’s no way in hell I’m painting those. Interestingly, the kit actually came with waterslide decals for the gold bits, but they just aren’t as shiny as I would have liked, so I’m opting to go with the metal ones. I’ve gathered that they’re more like stickers, but the finish is too awesome to not consider.

Still, I have to wonder how hard it would have been for Bandai to actually make these molded details. It feels like a cheap way out for them, especially on a 1/100. I’m very much in the school of “if you don’t like the way it looks out of the box, you should paint it”, but this is a bit much, especially when you take into account how hard those details are. Trust me, my Geara Zulu was no walk in the park.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t equal parts excited and terrified of this project. It’s incredibly far out of my comfort zone, but I feel it’ll be good practice for when Bandai releases the Sazabi later this year. If you want this kit now, I’m not going to stop you, but just remember than an OVA version of the Sinanju is coming soon, so go for that when it comes out at FPNYC!

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Master Grade Guncannon Review

Well, that was easier than expected.

Honestly I can’t say I’m surprised. As a much older Master Grade, it was pretty clear that it was going to be much simpler than the Nu Ver Ka, but I wasn’t expecting this. Maybe it’s like a video game, and the Nu just caused me to go up several levels. Either way, the Guncannon was a pretty welcome change of pace after that, with its minimal white parts, enormous chunky pieces and sparse decals. It couldn’t be any further away from the Nu Gundam if it weren’t a Gundam kit!

Like the Hyaku Shiki, there is little different between the Guncannon’s Master Grade and High Grade counterparts. Back then, Bandai didn’t really make distinctions between the designs of High Grades and Master Grades, which honestly kills some of the appeal of the older kits to me. I like my kits to have some distinct style so they feel like their own independent kit, not just an upscaled/downscaled version of another. I think that’s why the SEED Master Grades appeal to me so much.

But I’m getting off topic.

The Guncannon is very blocky, and I’m not sure if I mean that in a good or bad way. When the HGUC Guncannon was released, in some ways it was the pinnacle of 1/144 engineering at the time. The Master Grade just doesn’t have that feel. I know it’s old, but it doesn’t have any special feel to it. It just feels like a kit that was made because they had to do it, and that’s kind of sad. I’m not one of the types who thinks every inferior kit needs a 2.0, but this one certainly does, especially considering that the Gundam 2.0, GM 2.0, Guntank, and G-Fighter are all based around the same Core Fighter. Poor Guncannon is just the odd man out.

Speaking of the Core Fighter, it’s pretty much what you’d expect. I’m using the standard cockpit block instead because, well, I worked on this damn thing so I want it to be seen!

For mine, I painted the area behind the visor in aluminum. Yeah, I almost always do this, but for some reason it REALLY works on this one!

The articulation is nothing special. Honestly, it can’t really do the “cow pose” properly. However, I did use the resin hands I had for the fists, and they’re fantastic. Now my Guncannon can punch stuff! I used one for the beam rifle, too, which is much more stable than the included hands.

Like always, a pair of spray missile launchers are included as replacements for the standard cannons. I was never a big fan of these, because they always look like they aren’t really on properly. The standard cannons look great, however.

The kit also includes a pair of hand grenades, but I forgot to film those (oops). All the same, since I haven’t built the hand needed to properly hold them.

For the decals on mine, I used a few leftover decals from the sheet I bought for my Hyaku Shiki, and some I won’t need on my Real Type Gundam. The color scheme looks fantastic, especially the finish over the red.

Really, I’m not sure if I recommend this kit to the casual Master Grade collector. I’d say go for it if you want all three V Project suits (but make sure to build it first), or if you’re used to Master Grades and want to make the foray into MGs. Recommended, but with reservations. If you want your own, make sure to check FPNYC for one!

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