Tagged: Gundam

TRY SOMETHING NEW CHAPTER 7: Against The Evil Galactic Empire.

(note: This weeks column will be structured like a Choose Your Own Adventure. If you do not understand what a Choose Your Own Adventure story is you should call your parents and ask them why they didn’t give you a better childhood.)

So here we are again. Me at my computer, drinking chocolate milk like an adult. It’s 3 AM. I had a really long day and I don’t want to get into the details. On the bright side I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant next to Peter Scolari. I also thought I recognized the guy sitting on the other side of the room but I realized after dinner that I thought it was Walter Cronkite and I am pretty sure he’s dead. So that was either not him or the craziest celebrity sighting ever. Peter Scolari isn’t dead, right? If he is, you all should check out this Chinese spot on 74th and Amsterdam. It’s like Dawn Of The Dead but with soup dumplings. Anyway, enough about me. What’s going on with you? If you are reading the newsletter in Forbidden Planet please proceed to PARAGRAPH 1. If you are reading the blog on FPNYC.com skip ahead to PARAGRAPH 2. If you are reading the newsletter somewhere outside the store please jump to PARAGRAPH 3.

1. I see. Well, it’s good to see you in Forbidden Planet again. It feels like it’s been a while. Did you see Forbidden Planet’s own technical wizard/artistic muse Tyler yet? He’s here somewhere. He is always in the store. If you find him you should give him a hug. He will act like he doesn’t want you to, but he does. Maybe he’s downstairs. Duck under the rope and look for him in “The Dungeon”. (editor’s note: customers are not allowed to duck under the rope or touch Tyler.) Go on. It’s fine. Never listen to editors, cops, or your parents. The Dungeon is cool. It is full of Abominations and staff members eating halal food. Anyway, thanks for reading this before you do your shopping. You seem like a real savvy customer who wants to TRY SOMETHING NEW. Would you be offended if I made a suggestion? If you want to hear Matthew’s recommendation for you hurl onward to PARAGRAPH 4. If you want to act like a weirdo jerk and not hear his recommendation then slither ahead to PARAGRAPH 9.

2. Oh that’s cool. And hey, thanks for coming to FPNYC.com. There’s so much stuff on the internet. Some folks would have you believe there is too much stuff, but those folks are sociopaths. Either way, it really means a lot to me that you came all the way out here to the middle on internet nowhere to read this of all things. You can’t tell right now, but your dedication to our little blog just made technical wizard/evil henchmen Tyler tear up just now. He is acting like he has something in his eye but he doesn’t. He is an emotional dude. Don’t judge. Anyway, I think it’s really cool that you came here. I know you could be watching that video of the guy teaching the baby wolf how to howl or trying to figure out what Hawkeye from the Avengers would look like if he were a sexy lady. But you have a dedication to seeking out some of the worst comics journalism of all time and I think that is swell. That reminds me, do you know what book you might like? If you don’t know what book you might like and want to find out hop along to PARAGRAPH 6. If you are some freak who somehow already knows all of the books he/she will ever like crawl forward to PARAGRAPH 9.

3. Hey. Sorry to cut you off but I got something to say. I don’t want to be a jerk here but I am a little annoyed. Why would you come into Forbidden Planet, pick up a newsletter, and then wait to read it until you left? How are my book recommendations going to help you now? You can come back in a few days and hope that all the books I’ve recommended aren’t sold out, but I make no guarantees. A lot of people read this newsletter in the store and I am very persuasive. Anyway, I am not mad or anything, just disappointed. Our technical wizard/ jackbooted thug Tyler is really mad though. Next time you come into the store you better hope he isn’t in. Lucky for you, Tyler is almost never in the store. Anyway, I want to prove to you that I’m not mad. I want to recommend a book. Cool? If you want to be cool with Matthew launch yourself over to PARAGRAPH 8. If you don’t want to be cool with Matthew or anyone else creep on to PARAGRAPH 9.

4. I think you might like DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20. It’s one of the great comic anthologies of all time, showcasing amazing legends and exciting up and comers in all genres. Two cool new stories begin in this issue; Michael Avon Oeming‘s dark superhero story THE VICTORIES, and Geoffrey Thorne and Todd Harris‘ intriguing JOURNEYMEN! Josh Williamson‘s great take on the old pulp hero CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT is a great read for anyone who appreciates fun action, which you seem like you do. And this issue also has another installment of one of my favorite new series of 2012- THE WHITE SUITS. Crime and conspiracy stuff done in a fresh and stylized way, THE WHITE SUITS short story makes DARK HORSE PRESENTS worth the cover price alone. Anyway, pick this one up. It’s right over there on the shelf. I’m sure you’ll like it. If you pick up DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20 walk over to the register where one of the register jockeys will ring you up and say “do you want a bag and board for this?” even though it won’t fit in a bag because it is prestige format. THE END. If you choose not to buy DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20 lurk on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

5. The ground you are standing on momentarily groans like an old man before it gives way. You fall for what feels like a lifetime but is only a moment. Mercifully, you stop with a violent splash. You have landed in what seems to be water… maybe. As you look up you can just barely make out the fading sunlight. It’s beautiful, shades of red and orange blend together like a Gauguin. You barely hear tires kick up dirt as your only “friends” drive away. Are they laughing? The water is violently cold, a cold you could have never imagined. It fights its way deep into your muscles, into your bones even. They burn against the cold but it is a losing battle. The pain begins to give way to an almost peacefulness as treading water becomes harder and harder. Hypothermia begins to set in and you find that you now think of yourself in the past tense, “I was so young.” The universe doesn’t care though. THE END.

6. This is what I wanted to show you. It’s DAN THE UNHARMABLE. Have you read the single issues? No? Well that’s fine because this is the first volume of the collection. It’s by David Lapham. You may know him from such disturbing and ultraviolent books as CROSSED, CALIGULA, or FERALS. Or you might know him from a personal favorite of mine, STRAY BULLETS. STRAY BULLETS is one of the smartest and best slice of life/crime/I don’t know what books ever written. It’s LOVE & ROCKETS but with more murder. Lapham has an extraordinary ability to blur lines between the disturbing, the tragic, and the hilarious. DAN THE UNHARMABLE tells the story of an immortal private eye who gets caught up in a very personal case. It is violent, crass, low brow, funny, and exciting. Lapham can pull off this kind of schizophrenic storytelling in ways no one else would think of trying. If any of that interests you grab this and proceed to check out. If you order a copy of DAN THE UNHARMABLE vol 1 sit by your mailbox for a few days until the postman puts it in your hand. Thank your postman. It’s a thankless job. THE END. If you choose not to buy DAN THE UNHARMABLE Vol. 1. scurry on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

7. Her lips graze your neck and you can feel your pulse quicken. Her warm breath on your skin makes your toes tingle. She whispers something you can’t quite make out and your whole body starts to go numb. “Did she just say my real name?!” you think to yourself. Startled, you go to push her away but your legs give out before your hands can respond to your mental commands. You fall to the ground like a hostage dropped out the front door during a botched bank robbery. You hit the ground head first and your neck twists violently but painlessly to the right. The acrid taste of bile creeps up the back of your throat and fills your mouth. You can see part of your body you have never seen before; your back. Sticking straight out like a flag, the syringe she used is clearly visible. She leans down over you and sensually whispers one last sentence to you, “The universe wanted you dead.” No it doesn’t, you wanted to be able to tell her. It just doesn’t care. THE END.

8. So these Marvel Now books have been really great. Strong and smart editorial leadership has managed to put together a lot of really smart and interesting books without abandoning what came before them. THOR, ALL NEW X-MEN, NEW AVENGERS, CAPTAIN MARVEL, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, there are almost too many good Marvel books to name right now. Well two more enter the fold this week with #1 issues. Ron Garney and indie hotshot Sam Humphries launch an all new UNCANNY X-FORCE this week. Mohawk Storm is all you really need to know. Mr. Humphries likes to take his stories down unusual paths and that is just what an X-Force book should do, go where you least expect it. This may not be high on a lot of folks lists, but neither was Rick Remender‘s run on UNCANNY X-FORCE, and that ended up being one of the best Marvel books in 10 years.

In addition to UNCANNY X-FORCE #1, this week sees YOUNG AVENGERS #1. Most people don’t know this because most people didn’t read it but Allan Heinberg‘s YOUNG AVENGERS series was absolutely brilliant. It was a great idea grounded in very smart, very human characters. If Marvel played their cards right that book should have been the hit that Brian K. Vaughan‘s RUNAWAYS was, but they didn’t and it wasn’t. Well now Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, known separately for doing all sorts of really good stuff but known together as the team behind the brilliant and shamefully underloved PHONOGRAM are reuniting to make the Young Avengers count. There are a ton of great characters to fall in love with here and both of these guys excel at really good down to earth storytelling. And both Gillen and McKelvie are British indie rock dudes so hopefully they will throw in some references to The Arctic Monkeys or Caves or Chvrches or chip butty or stab vests or 56 Up or something else Americans don’t understand. I am excited to see a new young Marvel team act like a bunch of chavs. I hope someone calls Captain America a geezer. $5 says they throw in a reference to Ziggy Stardust before issue 6. That stuff is like their bible. If you want to go back to the store and buy copies of UNCANNY X-FORCE #1 & YOUNG AVENGERS #1 do so soon. Forbidden Planet are keeping some copies warm, but it’s cold out there. Hurry, hurry, super scurry! THE END. If you choose not to buy either of these books mosey on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

9. “Well it doesn’t seem like I have anything I can offer you. I tried to be nice. I tried to be helpful. I recommended cool new books. You seem uninterested. You seem like something is bothering you. Oh well. I hope you have a great life though.” With that your time with TRY SOMETHING NEW comes to an end. You can read on and find out if Unkie Dev still likes Hellboy a lot. You can go even further still and find out if that other guy still likes incomprehensible Japanese robot toys. But you won’t. Your ennui pushes you out the door. You need to walk. You wander for hours only to find yourself in a deserted part of town. Nearly deserted. You think you are being followed now but you can’t be sure. You duck into an alley to get away or maybe it’s just to clear your head. Why would someone be after you? You decide to stay in the alley just to catch your breath. You are safe. No one wants to hurt you. A misguided feeling of relief washes over. You decide to make the most of the alley and look into some people’s windows because, well, because you’re not a good person. As you look into a dingy studio apartment you catch a reflection in the window of a crazed, half starved man looming behind you. All at once three things enter your head. The first is “Was that tech wizard/escaped mental patient Tyler?” The second is “Was that a brick in his hand?” And the last thing to enter your head is the aforementioned brick. As you bleed to death in the backstreets of Anytown USA you finally understand that neither Tyler nor the universe ever cared about you. You realize that you wasted a great opportunity. You realize you should have TRIED SOMETHING NEW. THE END.

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MG Blitz Gundam Build Log part 1

Very rarely does Bandai put a kit out that makes me want it immediately, especially when it’s not from Unicorn in any way, shape, or form. There are some designs to which I’m weirdly attached, yet never actually bothered to buy a kit of. Sometimes it’s just laziness, or I meant to actually get one when something came up and I lost interest. Of course, with the stupid decisions I make regarding how I build kits, you never know. One minute I’m building SEED 1/144s left and right, the next I’m going on about how much I hate doing non-UC 1/144s.

The Blitz Gundam is a suit I’ve always loved for some strange reason. It’s one of those rare suits from SEED that just oozes originality. Yeah, the whole “black stealth Gundam” thing was kind of done with Deathscythe, but Blitz actually did things DIFFERENTLY, in a way that just made it awesome. The basic Gundam may be kind of generic, but you have to love that color scheme and weapon selection. Heck, the thing pretty much has its own cloaking device! The Romulans would have been proud.

Also, this thing was my main for awhile in SD Gundam Online, which just made me like it more…

So yeah, I was pretty excited to get this kit. I figured I’d build it last out of my Otakon MG bunch as sort of a “save the best for last” mentality. And you know what? I’m glad I did, because this kit bas proven to be a lot of fun so far.

Much like the AGE-1 Titus, this has felt a bit simplified, but less in a “they wanted to make it easier” way, and more of a streamlining manner. The kit still has features everywhere, with all sorts of moving parts that really don’t need to move, like the shoulders. Continue reading

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MG Destiny Gundam Build Log Part 3

One of the coolest parts of the Destiny Gundam is easily its weapons. While most of the designs towards the end of Destiny felt like total rehashes (seriously, is Legend Gundam even any different from Providence Gundam?) or rehashes of rehashes (I’m looking at you, Strike Freedom), the Destiny Gundam honestly felt like a breath of fresh air, even if its signature move was stolen from the V2 Gundam (much like how Impulse’s gimmick was ripped off from the Victory Gundam). The Destiny Gundam managed to take an idea from SEED’s universe, and do something different with it, even if it didn’t exactly make much sense.

For some reason or another, Destiny incorporates the two long and short range Striker packs into its design. This would make sense if this were one of the suits stolen and used by ZAFT in the first SEED, or an OMNI suit, so why this unit has them kinda confuses me. But really? The execution works out pretty well.

In the launcher department, we have the “Palma Fioncia” beam cannon. This thing is huge. It’s meant to be held in the suit’s left hand. It folds up for storage on one of the slots on the backpack, and has a mechanism that lets the handle and “scope” pop out. It actually folds up pretty nicely. The only problem I have is the little red piece on the end, which likes to pop off when I move it out. I’ll just glue that in place.

The first of the sword weapons we have is the colossal Arondight anti-ship sword. I always loved the concept of the anti-ship swords in SEED, even if they look like giant potato peelers. I mean, come on, if you’ve ever played a Gundam video game the best strategy for killing ships is to charge at them with your melee weapons. Like the launcher, this one folds up and stores on the back, but it’s a bit trickier here. You’ll really need to play with the bendiness of the blade to get it to fit in properly. The sword also has a special hand for it to be held in, which is good because I doubt the regular hands would be able to do so. Continue reading

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MG Destiny Gundam Build Log Part 1

I’m pretty sure it’s been made clear over the years that I’m not a very big Gundam Master Grade person. I enjoy building them and whatever, but they aren’t really my thing because they don’t usually have the suits I like. However, I’ve pretty much come upon a “system” for how I do my model kits now. In a way, it’s like a pyramid structure.

At the base of the pyramid I have my 1/144 kits. For me, this is almost entirely Universal Century stuff. In this scale, I’ll build anything from the lowliest grunt to the most overpowered main character’s unit, but again, only in UC.

In the middle I have my Master Grades and other 1/100s. This is the kind of stuff the casual fan knows; main character units, the main antagonist’s unit, the main supporting characters, and maybe the most prominent grunt enemy. An example would be if I wanted to do Zeta Gundam, I would build the Zeta Gundam, Gundam Mark II, the Hyaku Shiki, the Qubeley, and the Hizack. That’s probably it, aside from maybe The-O. This is also the scale where I’ll do my non-UC works, since I’m really only interested in the main Gundams from those shows, and well, those are pretty much all that gets made.

At the top of the pyramid is the 1/60s and Perfect Grades, the latter of which I still haven’t done yet. Here I’d do suits that EVERYBODY knows, even people who aren’t into Gundam. I would build the RX-78, the Zeta Gundam, or the Gundam 00, but not something like Astray Red Frame or GP01.

Okay, so why is all of that relevant here? Well, because I’ve now started my first kit from the SEED Universe in Master Grade form: Destiny Gundam. As the main character’s ultimate mobile suit, I figured this would be a suitable entry into that era for me, and will help out with my goal to one day own every star Gundam in 1/100 scale. I also wanted to do a visually impressive Master Grade, and well, this one certainly fits the bill.

This is the “Extreme Blast Version” of the Destiny Gundam, which is by and large the same kit aside from a few changes: one of the joint runners is now chrome silver, some of the inner mechanical parts now have a swirly plastic look to them, some extra effects parts are included along with two 1/20 scale figures of Kira and Shin, and enormous parts for the Wings of Light are included. Really, the last bit alone makes this version the one to buy.

So far, all I’ve assembled is the upper body sans wings and weapons. The construction thus far has been largely straightforward (it IS a five year-old kit after all) but I’m enjoying it nonetheless. The chrome parts are a bit frustrating, since there’s no way to avoid scarring because the parts weren’t designed to be chrome. Continue reading

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The Return from Otakon 2012

Well everybody, I’m back from Otakon! It was quite an awesome adventure, and definitely one of the best cons I’ve had this year, and perhaps ever. I’d say the only really detracting factor for me was being in a room with a horribly loud snorer that made sleeping the first night… quite difficult. But hey, earplugs were invented just for this occasion. But anyway, enough rambling about that crap, let’s get on to the real reason why we’re here: the Gunpla contest and all the stuff shown at the Tamashii Nations/Bluefin booth!

Oh, remember how in one of my previous articles, I was talking about how I was going to enter a ton of kits this year? Well, it turns out there was a limit of only three entries. I’m glad I filled out the entry form online, because otherwise I would’ve brought about seven kits for nothing. Because of this, I decided to narrow things down to just the F91, Delta Plus, and the Qubeley, because despite all the problems I had with that thing, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t coming along.

I was one of the first people to get my kits put in the case, so I was able to land myself some prime real estate. I stuck my three kits in the top of the front case, with the Qubeley front and center just being fabulous.

The competition was pretty good this year. I was happy to see people bringing all sorts of well-assembled kits. It was nothing like New York Comic-con though… seriously, I’m afraid to enter there. However, for some reason, there was no Otakon competition this year, just GBWC. Even the people running the competition were confused about the lack of an Otakon competition. Apparently the Otakon people just never got back to them. As a result, the contest was limited to just Gundam stuff this year.

I can’t remember everyone’s names, so I’m going to list of the kits that won each category. Continue reading

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HGUC Zaku Sniper (Yonem Kirks) Review

Okay, I think I’ve made it to the last of my Gundam Unicorn Episode 4 kits; for now, at least. Of all the new releases for the episode, this one kind of bugged me. It just felt redundant. The additional equipment is cool, yes, but because the color scheme is pretty much the same as the original version, the existence of this kit felt kind of pointless. The only additions to this design were minor. It felt more like something that would have gotten conversion parts packed with a magazine or something. Still, it’s another release of the Zaku I kit, and that’s one I just can’t get enough of.

I can’t remember if I actually reviewed the regular Zaku I kit or not, but I know I’ve talked about it, and I KNOW I’ve never reviewed the Zaku Sniper, so here we go. This is Yonem Kirks’ custom Zaku Sniper from Episode 4 of Gundam Unicorn. For the most part, it’s a Commander Type version of the Sniper with some additional equipment. Because of all the additional equipment and this kit being made several years after the original, this one has a lot of spare parts left over.

The Zaku I is my favorite HGUC mold, hands down. Even more than the GM frame. It’s just so functional and poseable. It just makes you wonder where it went wrong. This is the only Zeon suit with double-jointed elbows and they work incredibly well. Heck, this was the first modern 1/144 Zaku to have a working waist swivel! People still take this frame and combine it with the Zaku II to make a more functional kit. I personally can’t blame them.

Be careful with the waist, though. It still uses the old solid plastic ball joints, not the separate piece most modern kits use. If you aren’t careful, you might break it.

This kit uses clear plastic for both the monoeye and sight on the gun. They’re both in clear plastic, like a Master Grade, so you’ll need to paint them.

One of my favorite parts about this kit is the “base” Zaku used: the A-type Zaku. If you wanted, you could easily grab this kit and kitbash it with a regular Zaku I to make an A-Type or Ramba Ral’s unit! Continue reading

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HGUC Nemo Review

Like I’ve said many times before, Gundam Unicorn really opened the doors for a lot of mobile suits to get kits. But this one here is one that’s always been a bit of frustration in HGUC form for me: the Nemo. It has the bizarre distinction of being the only suit from Zeta to get a Master Grade before some sort of High Grade. Not only that, this isn’t even the one from Zeta! I guess Unicorn opening the door for more unloved/obscure HGUCs to get made has a bit of a bad side. At least this one isn’t covered with all the silly Sleeves emblems.

The Nemo isn’t one of my favorite Feddie grunts. It isn’t my least favorite, either. It’s just… there. Don’t get me wrong, I was sure as hell excited when this thing got announced, and as you can see I bought it pretty fast, but that was mostly the whole “Unicorn Episode 4” rush. There’s a bit of irony to this, too; I’m always complaining about my collection’s lack of AEUG mobile suits, and Bandai finally goes and makes another one, and it’s in Federation colors. Oh well.

In terms of its structure, the Nemo shares a lot of similarities with the GM II and GM III HGUCs, mostly the former. However, despite this, there aren’t any shared runners between the two. It’s a little surprising, really. The two do share the same polycaps and joint structure, but it seems as though that one is becoming standard for kits these days. Not that I’m complaining, though; it works and moves great.

Still, this frame just isn’t as good as the 0083 GM frame to me. There aren’t any double-jointed elbows, and the knees don’t have much movement, either. It’s unfortunate, because everything else moves so nicely.

However, it does have an extra joint in the shoulder that I really like. I hope we see these more often.

Once again, crystal visor with silver paint behind it. A delicious combination.

Now, I enjoy this kit quite a bit, but it has two glaring problems. The first is the color distribution. It’s pretty bad. This kit has a lot of yellow details that aren’t molded in any way, and are a REAL pain to paint, especially on the dark blue pieces. I can understand needing stickers for some parts, but for a High Grade kit, this one needs a LOT. Continue reading

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HGUC Juaggu Review

My love of MSVs is quite well-documented. As such, I love it when true MSVs (or in this case, a rejected design from the original series) end up in the HGUC line, even though the only other one in it is Garma’s Zaku. That being said… why this suit? Why this thing before the GM Sniper II, the Gerbera Tetra, the Zetaplus, the Dijeh… seriously, why the Juaggu? I don’t hate the suit by any means, like I said, an MSV is an MSV, but I would’ve preferred some other stuff beforehand…

You may have also noticed over the years that I’ve only ever reviewed one amphibious mobile suit. That’s because when I started building up my Federation and Zeon armies, I didn’t want to get any amphibious Zeon suits because they didn’t really have anything to fight. If the rumors about an HGUC Aqua GM are true, I may just be adding an Acguy to my collection at long last.

Unlike amphibious suits, the Juaggu isn’t built for close combat: it’s more designed for artillery. There is a variant of this suit that comes equipped with an actual hand and a Gouf’s Heat Saber, but I believe that’s going to be an exclusive of some sort. Boo. Whatever. The Juaggu has its own little niche to fill in my collection… and it’ll stay in that provided it doesn’t take a beam javelin to the face.

This kit has a lot of strange little quirks. The… snout, I suppose, is built with a wire inside of it. While it gets a range of motion that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, but I worry how much stress it can take. Also, the components (namely the bottom one) tend to slide a bit, but they may be due to the current construction, which I’ll fix upon painting. Continue reading

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HGUC Marasi (Unicorn Version)

Before I started working on this kit, my friend and I were discussing some of the mobile suits from Zeta Gundam just aren’t cool. Sure, everyone likes the major mecha, but what about some of the less-known ones like the Dijeh, or the Barzam? I personally like the Dijeh for some reason, but I never cared for the Barzam. Both suits have some fantastic redesigns (I LOVE the Dijeh SE-R) so one has to wonder what happened in the initial design process. Chances are, there were some disagreements in the design departments, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve never even heard of the Barzam’s designer before.

Still, one thing we could both agree on was how awesome the Marasai was… and here we are.

The Marasai was introduced fairly early on in Zeta Gundam as a replacement for the Hizack. Like many of the other Titan suits, it has quite a few Zeon elements, so doing the suit in Zeon colors fits all too well, like it w as meant to be this way. The shades of green used are pretty cool. They feel very military, and when I’m painting I’m probably going to use an olive drab instead of a lighter green.

Being a kit from 2005, this one isn’t as complex or intricate as the other suits I’m reviewing in this batch. However, I will say that it is still a decent enough kit, since 2004 is when Bandai really started ramping up the quality of their High Grades and stopped messing around (for reference, other kits released around this period were the Mass Production Type Guncannon, the Psyco Gundam, and the Hazel; the precursor to the modern GM frame).

As such, the construction of this kit is quite sturdy, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of gimmicks. It doesn’t have any double joints or special ports for stands/action bases. It’s just a decent standalone kit. That being said, it does have a few problems. For one, the head’s design is… awkward. It looks cool, yes, but it doesn’t do much in terms of articulation. It has no chance of ever looking up without being modified. Continue reading

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Gundam Unicorn Kit in a Box Preview

By Loran

As I mentioned a few articles ago, my favorite part of Gundam Unicorn Episode 4 was getting to see all those old mobile suit designs again, with a few new ones thrown in. Naturally, I went for a bunch of them the second I was able to. I’m still holding out hope that we’ll see all of the designs (or at least, all of the really cool ones) in kit form at some point, but for now I’ve got plenty here I can work with. Oh, Unicorn. You make it able for suits nobody cares about normally to get kits.

First up, the Jesta. I love the Jesta. It’s basically a special ops Jegan. I was all over this design when I first saw it. I imagined this thing running around the battlefield carrying no weapons at all, just punching other mobile suits in the face. That’s how cool it is.

From what I can tell so far, this kit seems to be standard fare for modern GM-descendants. It doesn’t explicitly share any parts with the GM II and GM III (save for the hands that come with the GM III), but the basic structure is similar enough. Chances are, I’m really going to enjoy this one.

I find the moldgates for this one to be very interesting. It looks like Bandai is planning on released a kit of the Jesta Cannon, which I believe appears later on in Unicorn. I hope they do, because let’s face it, the Jesta is awesome, and I’ll have no problem with buying additional versions of this kit.

Here we have the Marasai, Gundam Unicorn version. Of the three kits here, it’s technically the oldest, being made from a kit initially released in 2004. As such, its engineering doesn’t really hold up to the others, but 2004 was when HGUC kits started getting really good, it at least gets a pass. It’s not like the Schuzrum Dias or EWAC Zack, which were basically first-year HGUCs reissued in 2009.

Thankfully, to keep this kit from feeling like a total rehash, Bandai included new weapons with the kit including the rifle/sword combination and some kind of grappling hook? I’m not entirely sure what it’s supposed to be.

I like how this kit has a green monoeye. It kind of drives the “Captured Federation Suit” point home. It makes me wonder if these were part of the MS compliment of the Pegasus the pilots shot down…

Pretty sure I’ve said this before, but never in a million years did I think we’d get an HGUC Juaggu. It works for me cuz this would’ve been one of the harder ones to kitbash. Still, it’s a pretty impressive kit, all things considered. The thing looks EXTREMELY poseable, and the “snout” is made with a wire! A few years ago I bet Bandai never would’ve thought of that.

Interestingly, the kit has both the standard HG polycaps, and some I typically only see on First Grade kits. I can’t think of any other kits that do that.

Also, it doesn’t show up in any of these pictures, but a small plastic “window” will guard the monoeye. I wonder how well this will work, and if it does work well, I hope we see it on more kits in the future.

Well, these three kits should hopefully keep me occupied along with my slew of kitbash projects. These three help me get a number of fixes through, with the Jesta for late-first-UC, the Marasai for Gryps Era, and the Juaggu for One Year War. Remember, you can always get your kit fix at FPNYC!

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MSiA Extended Gelgoog (Igloo version) Review

While I was always more into the model kits, during Gundam’s short-lived heyday in America, I was actually a little more into the action figures. It was out of convenience, really. The American action figure line was very cheap, especially when compared to the models, and offered a huge variety. You could get stuff like the G-Armor, the GM Custom, the GM Cannon II, the classic Gelgoog… all suits that at the time, lacked high grades. Heck, you could even get mobile armors like Zakrello and Bigro! Those were some pretty cool times.

These days, those old Mobile Suit in Action!! figures have now been replaced with the much superior Robot Damashii, but a few weeks back, I was feeling a bit nostalgic, and decided to pick this guy up: Herbert von Kuspen’s custom Gelgoog.

This suit appeared in the CGI OVA MS Igloo, piloted by a Zeon officer who was totally a Nazi (seriously, you should see his damn coat…). By and large, it’s just a Gelgoog, painted in a rather nice gray-on-gray color scheme with some sharp brown panel lining—that’s something you don’t see too often.

The body for this figure was used several other times in the Extended MSiA line, including the mass production model, Char’s unit, Johnny Ridden’s High Mobility Type, the Gelgoog Cannon, and Thomas Kurtz’s Gelgoog cannon; so basically, every canon design save for Anavel Gato’s unit. Since I’m not sure about the order in which these kits all came out, I can’t account for anything like mold degradation, but something tells me the mold for this thing looks like Swiss Cheese at this point.

Since this is the only Extended MSiA I own, I have to say I was quite blown away by this figure’s articulation. It’s ridiculous! Almost everything on it has a double joint—the knees, the elbows, heck, even the shoulders! The only old MSiA that came anywhere close to this was the Gundam version 2.0, and while that one was awesome, it had its share of flaws. Continue reading

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MSV In-Box Impressions

By Loran

As I said before, I’m obsessed with MSVs. I love all those silly little variations that don’t serve much of a purpose in the long run (It’s a Guncannon! With… different cannons!) and stuff that just looks funny (pretty much any Acguy variant). I also have a tendency to buy all of these and well, forget to actually get base kits for them. Oops. But to be fair, I did try to make a Full Armor Gundam… it just went very, very badly. Oh, and I haven’t actually touched that High Mobility Zaku I started last year… heh.

These four are kits I still need base kits for or whatever, so I haven’t really tried to put any of them together. So this will be yet another “in box” review.

First I have the Prototype Gundam. I actually had one of these a few years ago, but I gave it to my friend back in 2008. Now I’ll be able to make my own, probably with the 30th Gundam as a base. As far as kitbashes go, there isn’t too much to do here, just affixing the new forearms, some messing with the skirt, and messing with the ankle armor. According to my friend, though, I’m better off modifying the base kit’s instead of transferring. This suit also has a unique beam rifle. I might use this in lieu of the one included with the RX-78-2.

The High Mobility Psycommu Zaku is… one of MSV’s funnier designs. It’s basically a completely ridiculous Zaku/Zeong variant. It’s kind of adorable though. The good thing is, however, this will be a very easy kitbash project, since it doesn’t need a new body/legs/arms/whatever. All it needs are new hands and maybe some new verniers. Perhaps a slightly modified head. The only problem is supplying the hands, since well, Zeongs aren’t cheap. Thankfully, I have a pair of hands from the old MSiA I can use… somewhere.

Speaking of silly Psycommu Zakus, here’s the Psycommu Zaku Zeong Test Base, also known as the Z-Type Zaku. If the last one were the goofy love child of the Zaku and the Zeong, this is what happens when the Zaku, Zeong, and Rick Dom try to have a kid. This one will be a bit tougher of a project, since it’s going to need the legs of a Dom, and perhaps a newly sculpted head as well. This needs Zeong hands as well, so it’ll definitely be done after the other Zaku. Gotta use your resources well.

I actually tried to see if this could’ve been done using the legs of the old 0080 Rick Dom II kit, but I didn’t like the look, which explains why they waist is cut off here.

Lastly we have the Guncannon II… this is gonna be a doozy. I’m definitely going to have to take some liberties for the design on this one, maybe using the Mass Production type Guncannon as a base. It’s a great design, though, as Guncannon variants tend to be. This kit also includes a second set of cannons for the Guncannon II, which I may just set aside for a future project.

Oddly, the two Zakus and the Guncannon have some peculiar instructions, being printed in black and white on regular paper, with the painting instructions on a little card.

Old kits make for fun projects, especially when kitbashing. Just make sure to go in with a plan of action, otherwise, you’ll end up ruining everything. Remember, FPNYC carries old kits like these from time to time! I still need a High Mobility Gelgoog…

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Tamashii Fest!

By Loran

Oh dear, I believe it’s time for Tamashii Fest!

Usually, I find myself drawn mainly to all the wonderful Tokusatsu stuff at Tamashii Fest, I actually can’t discuss those here because it’s all Sentai stuff, which can’t be distributed in the US because of licensing issues with Power Rangers. However, that’s all well and good, because this time around, most of what’s been catching my attention is Robot Damashi releases, namely all the wonderful new Gundam releases (yes, I do tend to enjoy buying the action figures from time to time). So let’s take a look at some of my favorites…

(Images from CyberGundam blog)

First up, we have the Sazabi to go with the soon-to-be-released Nu Gundam! What, did you think Bandai was going to let this opportunity pass them up? Everyone knows the Sazabi is more popular! Heck, it even got a Master Grade before the Nu. He’s looking pretty mean here, but there’s something about the proportions that just seems… off to me. It’s similar to what happened with the Gouf Custom. It seems a little off-balance. Maybe it’s just me.

There’s also an effect part set for Nu Gundam coming, as well—the Fin Funnel shield! I might just get myself the Nu just to put these to use.

Gundam SEED is going to be continuing for its ten-year anniversary, and we’ll be getting the Duel Gundam with the Assault Shroud! No indication as to whether or not it’s removable, however, though going by some of the seamlines it looks like it can be taken off. Is it sad that I was actually expecting them to try and get more money out of us by releasing both configurations?

Altron Gundam! Heck yes. With the recent announcement of TV version Wing Zero, it looks like we’ll be getting all five Gundams in RD form. If so, that’d be great. This makes me want to track down the (webshop exclusive) Tallgeese II.

The one who stole the show for me and many others was the LEO from Gundam Wing. The Leo has more merchandise than Wing’s other grunts, but hey, that’s still cool by me. I’ll definitely be picking up at least one of these, since the accessories and base included are actually a second weapon set of sorts. Gotta put those to use, you know!

Now here’s one that surprised me: Dunbine RDs! Holy crap I hope these actually end up getting released. I have the High Grade kit of the Dunbine, and it’s… okay. Very flawed. But these action figures look fantastic, especially the Billbine. I plan on getting at least one of them for a Super Robot Wars group shot or something.

Taking a little departure (get it? GET IT?!) from Robot Damashi to Super Robot Chogokin for the last one, we have something I certainly didn’t see coming: Might Gaine! He looks great here, and this gives me hope that we’ll be seeing the other Braves in this format soon (J-Decker, please?). I’d love to have all of them lined up together.

So there you have it. Of course, this is but a small part of what was shown off at the festival. I just wanted to highlight my favorites. As always, hope to see all of these at FPNYC when they get released (provided they don’t end up as webshop exclusives, anyway…).

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Kitbashing the GM II Semi-Striker

I’m sure you all know one fact about me by now: I love stupid, obscure crap, especially when something is designed specifically to BE stupid obscure crap to drive people like me nuts. Fortunately and unfortunately, I take the bait almost every time. It really helps me add to my ranks, even if I tend to make these in lieu of cooler, more recognizable suits. But hey, I guess me buying all this stupid stuff helps pay for new stuff coming out. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

For those who have yet to see it, episode 4 of Gundam Unicorn was a smorgasbord of obscure mobile suit designs and variations. I believe the official term for this is “mecha porn”. It seems as though Bandai’s using this opportunity to crap out as many kits as possible since they’re fresh in the public’s mind again, but there are some I won’t hold my breath on, like the one we have here: The GM II Semi-Striker.

I was never that big on the GM Striker as a design. It was interesting, but I always found the weapon kinda silly. For some reason, I don’t mind it as much here. Either way, my post-0083 Earth Federation needed more ranks, and I figured this would be as good of a suit as any to add to my forces. It had also been a few months since I’d done any kitbashing, and I figured this would be an easy way to get me back into the swing of things. Continue reading

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The first new releases of 2012

By Chris Troy

Well okay, the title’s kind of a lie. Most of the new stuffs we’ll be looking at came in towards the end of 2011, but you know, I was busy playing catch up with the best of list and attending MAGfest (which again, was awesome). However most of the awesome new arrivals are STILL in stock (for now!), so we might as well go over what those things are just in case you the reader are interested. Which hopefully, you will be.

On the left, you’ll see a picture of the Robot Damashii Wing Zero Custom (from the Gundam Wing OVA “Endless Waltz”) from Bandai. I’m not exactly how new it is on the shelves of Japan, but we finally have it in at FPNYC, so that’s all that matters right? The Winger Zero Custom joins the Tallgeese 3 as the 2 Wing-related Robot Damashiis we have in, as well as the Gouf Custom and the Gundam Unicorn from the Universal Century line. All 3 of these figures are super articulated, come with a nice selection of variant parts and weapons, and are 2nd only to the Revoltech in overall mecha quality, which is impressive for a line that hasn’t been around as long. We’ve sold out of the One Piece/DBZ/MegaMan/Tiger and Bunny releases super fast, so if you want yourself a super articulated Gundam figure, you best come get them as soon as possible. Continue reading

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