Tagged: Loran

Countdown to New York Comic Con part 1

By Chris Troy

HOWDY FPNYC FAITHFUL!  We are only a few short days away from New York Comic Con, and as of the time of writing, FPNYC is SOLD OUT of all passes for the biggest comic & pop culture convention on the Northeastern Coast (Fairly certain east coast as well, but there’s a small chance that I may be wrong). Myself and Loran will be at the con all weekend (well Loran for a day), covering the convention for Bleedingcool.com and tweeting 140 character one liners over at @anarchris if you want to keep tabs on the convention and see what X-Men related characters I dress up as during the weekend (yup, cosplay is happening).

For the first time at the  convention, Hasbro is finally showing NYCC some love by hooking the con up with not 1, but 2 Marvel exclusives for the show. Representing the Marvel Universe line is the “Compound Hulk“, who appeared in a single issue of Jeff Parker‘s current run of “The Hulk” title. Much like the silver age Composite Superman-Batman, Compound Hulk is half Green Hulk, half Red Hulk, possibly the strongest there is. Possibly. And why SDCC got a exclusive Avengers themed Mini-Mugg box set, NYCC gets one based on the 90s crossover “Maximum Carnage.” This mini-5 packs gives us Carnage, Eddie Brock/Venom, Spider-Man, Demogoblin, and J. Jonah Jameson, with mean this 5 pack is a menace and a threat (to my wallet!), and well worth the money already. Continue reading

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The Challenge of BAKUC 2011

By Loran

So it looks like the BAKUC competition is going to be returning to America again. I gotta say, I’m pretty excited about this. I thought bringing the competition to America was going to be just a one-time thing in honor of the hobby’s 30th anniversary, but I guess not. It’s really refreshing to see Gunpla getting a bigger presence in America again, especially at cons. Once again, the competition is going to be in the hands of Bluefin distribution. I unfortunately don’t know anyone that made it to the finals last year, and I doubt I’ll actually make it there, but hey, who knows. Continue reading

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Kitbashing the GM Cannon!

By Loran

Holy crap I actually finished it!

Yes, after lying for about six months, I finally got around to finishing my GM Cannon kitbash. As you can see, I decided to take a bit of a different approach with the color scheme for the finished project. Originally, I was going to paint the suit in the White Dingo colors from the “Rise from the Ashes” game, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get excited about painting a two-tone gray kit. Searching for the decal sheet and going for something I haven’t done on a Federation kit in the past few years was just the inspiration I needed to get this cannon-toting SOB finished at long last. Continue reading

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Transformers Generations Scourge Review

By Loran

While it’s taken them a few years to get to this point, the Classics/Universe/Generations line has been doing a pretty good job giving us casts from the original cartoon. We’re only a few characters away from having the entire 1984 product lineup, with characters from 1985 and 1986 not as close, but on their way. I’m really glad they’ve been doing this, since I was born the same year G1 toyline ended in the US and never had a chance to get those toys. Now I’m able to get those characters at long last, in the form of much cooler and more poseable toys!

With I think just one or two exceptions, we now have all the characters first introduced in the 1986 movie in Classics form. Scourge here is one of the most recent. It’s great to finally see the Unicronian tracker get an updated figure that’s not a Botcon exclusive, and a new mold to boot.

Scourge’s vehicle mode is a… futuristic space bomber? It’s kind of hard to describe. It’s like a souped-up Stealth Bomber. As weird as it looks, though, this is one of the cleanest planeformers I’ve seen in quite awhile; he doesn’t suffer from aircraft undercarriage! It’s a huge step up from the original toy’s bathtub mode, but it actually retains the silly head in the back which yes, can pop up just like in the cartoon. He also has two 3mm clips on his underside. Continue reading

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HGUC GM Custom Review

By Loran

Holy crap, a new Gundam article!

Bandai’s kind of a fickle company. There are tons of designs we’ve wanted to see get HGUC kits for years-most of them are GMs, when you think about it. We hold out hope that they’ll eventually see releases, and sometimes it can mean waiting years or even a decade for it, but chances are, it’ll happen. Sometimes they’d just be a few simple part swaps, and you have to wonder why they didn’t consider it in the first place. Some, like the GM Sniper II, really just need to be made so the 0080 lineup can be finished! You’d think they’d do that by now… Continue reading

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A Unicorn-y Build Log part 6!

By Loran

It’s time for the return of the Unicorn-y build log! Apologies for not delivering last week, let’s just say my finals week was like being stuck in a Zeon POW camp. Of course, I just got off pre-holiday rush at work, which is really not much better. Anyway, in what time I have had, I’ve been working on my Delta Plus. I have not gotten much done, regrettably, but I hope to get it done within the coming weeks, and heck, maybe I’ll even finish that GM Cannon kitbash I had to put on hiatus because of a shattered paint jar! Oh, winter break, where would I be without you?

…actually, probably doing the same things I’d be doing on winter break…

All I have done for the Delta Plus so far is the head, some of the torso, and the shoulders. Like I said, I’ve been busy (buuut I’ve also kind of turned my attention to G.I. Joes and Transformers lately, heh…), but that’s not the only problem I’ve really had. You see, red paint is a finicky one, and getting it to look nice on a surface without prior priming takes… a lot of coats.

When doing projects like these, I don’t like using a plain Insignia Red. The art shows a much lighter red, which looks WORLDS nicer. I also considered doing orange, but I thought that would be too tacky. Curiously, this paint mix came out a LOT glossier than I expected. I guess that International Orange was a lot stronger than I thought… Continue reading

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Transformers Generations Drift

By Loran

In the entire history of Transformers, there is probably no character more self-serving than Drift. A badass ex-Decepticon who killed a bunch of Autobots then eventually joined them? Uses swords for weapons? Transformers into a car with kanji on the sides based on a Japanese Drift Racer? It’s like someone played too much Initial D and wanted to make a character based on it… still, as annoying as his backstory and portrayal are, there’s one thing that can’t be denied: He’s one awesome design.

Drift’s car mode is (unsurprisingly) very Japanese-automotive inspired. It’s a nice sleek design and fits in with the other Classics-style Autobots very well. On each of his doors he’s adorned with the kanji for “Samurai” unlike the katakana for “dorifuto” like in the comics. I much would have preferred the dorifuto (Drift) katakana from a stylistic point, but I guess it would be pretty self-serving to have your own name tattooed on your body, even if it is in a language Drift probably can’t read (though it’s probably something he would do…). All of his wheels roll very easily, thankfully, avoiding a problem I’ve noticed on way too many figures these days.

His car mode holds together pretty well thanks to the rather frustrating pins/holes used to keep his spoiler and hood in place. He does have a lot of visible panels but they aren’t nearly annoying as his wavemate Bumblebee. His transformation is what I would consider to be “satisfyingly complex”-it’s not overly complicated but once you figure it out he becomes a real joy to transform. Continue reading

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Review: HGGS Justice Gundam

By Loran

Once again we come to another design from the Cosmic Era, and again, it’s one I’m rather mixed on. I know I seem to say that with a lot of suits from SEED but honestly it’s true. They might have elements that I find really awesome or really appealing but in the end there’s always a silly detail that just keeps it from being a suit I can really attach to. It could be anything from a rehashed design, a stupid weapon, or the common problem everyone loves to make fun of SEED suits for: The gigantic backpacks.

The Justice Gundam is probably one of the WORST offenders of that last problem. It doesn’t COMPLETELY kill the design but it really keeps me from taking it seriously. This thing is a major hindrance and it doesn’t properly translate all of the gimmicks, which really hurts its functionality.

The biggest issue with the backpack is how it relates to the head. As you can see, this thing’s head is pretty distinct, and one of my favorite parts of the suit. I love the lack of the “face lines” and the giant main camera and V-fin are both really cool, even if they are just lifted from its predecessor Aegis Gundam’s design. However, the giant V-fin is one of the main sources of the problem-you can’t swing the backpack down without taking the head off first! Really, I’m not sure who to blame here, but I think this is the designer’s fault-why make something as simple as a weapons platform that swings down so silly? Worst of all, the 1/100 scale kit seems to suffer from the same problem.

The backpack itself is detachable via a polycap joint, and if you wanted to be more “realistic” and take it off and rearrange it with the head still on, it just won’t work. When the backpack is detached, it works as a weapon platform. I say “works” in one of the loosest contexts possible. As you can see, it’s… way too small, but it was clearly designed for such a purpose. The holes that the feet are supposed to plug into are way too small. But wait, that can’t be right… it clearly matches the lineart! BUT WAIT! It was even seen flying on this in the animation! That can only mean one thing-they used this gimmick just to cheat us. Big surprise there. Continue reading

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Transformers Generations: Thrust Review

By Loran

Ah, the Seekers… the classic backbone of the Decepticon army. What’s more fun than an army of nigh-identical jet guys to fill out the backgrounds of scenes and never get seen again? Sure, some of them get redemption later on, like Sunstorm and Acid Storm (both of whom seem to have set the precedent that all generic Seekers will named after weather from here on out), but most of them just fade in the background into obscurity. But hey, it’s nice to see the classic Seekers all have toys in the new style now, with just one more that needs a mass-release to round off the set (I’m looking at you, Thundercracker).

Thrust here was one of the three Conehead Seekers from the second series of toys, and here’s his new Generations remake from the first wave of figures. He’d already received two Classics-style figures in the past, one in the Botcon 2007 boxset and the other as a store exclusive in Japan. This figure uses the same parts as the latter mold, with a color scheme much closer to his animation model from the G1 cartoon, right down to the gray face.

Thrust comes in that awesome shade of maroon that he’s most known for. It looks great here, and out of the three Coneheads, I’d say he has my favorite color scheme. Ramjet’s too bland and Dirge looks like a flying station wagon. Sorry, it had to be said. The white accents are more pronounced than they were on the original figure and are very eye-catching. Possibly my favorite touch is the chrome inside the cockpit, a nice carryover from the Japanese version of the figure. Continue reading

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Review: HGGS GOUF Ignited

By Loran ignited

The Zaku, Gouf, and Dom are probably three of the Zeon’s most memorable mobile suits of the One Year War. They’ve seen tons of variants over the years, with the Zaku having enough to fight a war with variants of itself. Because of their immense popularity, many times the Zaku will outsell the Gundam. Of course, Bandai takes note of this, and what do they do? Why, make SEED-ified versions of them, of course! Yes, a brilliant scheme to milk the classic designs for all they’re worth and keep the designs “fresh” without actually making completely new designs. And no surprise, they sold pretty damn well.

The GOUF Ignited here (remember-all caps!) is… one I kind of like in terms of design. Well, I’m mixed on it. It’s neat but not a favorite in my eyes. I bought it because I wanted to explore the Destiny kits a bit (in fact it’s the only kit from Destiny I actually own). Next to the ZAKU and DOM, it kind of falls in the middle between “great tribute” and “annoying rehash”, but it has some charm to it.

This guy’s head is kind of a disappointment. It seems… really small. The monoeye doesn’t move at all-it’ll always be fixed wherever you place it. And of course, you have to sand off some extra plastic on the antenna to make it nice and sharp.

The torso is… actually a huge improvement over the One Year War Goufs at this scale (the ones currently available, anyway). Unlike those ones, this one ACTUALLY has a waist joint! Not only that, the skirt armor’s really well segmented (though it lacks a split in the front). In this dimension, it soars way above its UC counterparts, even going as far to add forward joints for the shoulders. Continue reading

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Reviewtech:: Black Rock Shooter Figma

by Loran

It’s really weird how things seem to get started in Japan these days… Black Rock Shooter is one of those strange examples. She started off as a picture some guy drew, then another guy made a song based off it, then they worked together and made a music video that got over 2 million hits on Nico Nico Douga. After that, an animation studio contacted them , with a contract for a music video and OVA! Not only that, there’s even an RPG in the works! Geez, that’s pretty impressive-seems like if you have some pretty decent creative talent in Japan you can really go places…

This Figma had quite a bit of hype behind her, with everyone rushing to preorder her off just about every Japanese site that shipped to the US. I remember getting a huge chuckle when one pretty much crashed as a result. Those were good times. Like a lot of other Figmas this past summer, she got pushed back a bit, but hey, waiting makes the end product sweeter, right?

BRS has a really pale skin tone. Like, almost ghost-like. But it’s pretty cool and makes for a nice contrast against the black of her outfit. The paint applications are crisp and clean, the typical figma quality. Her scars are all tamographed instead of molded, which works pretty well. Continue reading

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Robot Damashii GM Sniper II Review

By Loran

Dreams really can come true, you know.

Granted, this dream didn’t exactly come true in the way I wanted it to, but hey, that’s better than nothing. Ever since I first played Journey to Jaburo on the PS2 almost nine years ago I fell in love with the GM Sniper II. I wanted a kit or figure so bad, but there weren’t any. I had high hopes when the HGUC line started doing 0080 suits, but it’s been years and still nothing. For the longest time the only way to get a Sniper II would be to pay ridiculous sums for conversions and resin kits. Well, not anymore. The Robot Damashii line, the replacement for the tired, old, MSIA line finally delivered. Has it been worth the over 20 year wait? Let’s take a look…

This figure has a nice BEE-Craft style to it, putting it in line with a lot of the HGUC kits. The coloring is nice and accurate to anime with its almost police-esque shades of blue. Everything is nicely stylized and it looks very pleasing. Sadly, he lacks any special marks, like numbers or federation logos, making him seem a bit bland. Continue reading

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Movie Review: Zeta Gundam Trilogy

By Loran

Ah, Zeta Gundam. Widely considered by fans and critics to be one of the best-if not the best of all the classic Gundam shows. I personally think the original series wins that title, but Zeta is still pretty awesome in its own right. Now, the original Gundam movies are probably the best compilation movies ever made for any anime. While they’re long (I’m talking Lord of the Rings long), they’re fantastically done and tell the story in a much more condensed fashion with all of the stupid filler cut out (White Base needs salt, anyone?) with some great little scenes and redone animation for a few bits.

The Zeta movies, however, were kind of a mixed bag. They were made to commemorate the 20th birthday of the show, though they’d been in the making for quite a few years. The plan was the same as the original movies-a condensed compilation of the series. However, these didn’t seem to do it as well as the original series movies did. Continue reading

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Reviewtech: Figma Teana Lanster

By Loran

Hey, something other than a robot for once!

You know, despite my mixed feelings on the franchise, I’m glad I got into the Nanoha franchise. I always disliked getting into Magical Girl shows because of how damn hard it is to get a hold of any merchandise for it. Well, not here. Max Factory got the license and gave us a whole crapload of Figmas for this series, and I couldn’t ask for a better for a better company to take the reign.

Teana Lanster from the third series, Nanoha StrikerS, is the most recent Figma in the Nanoha line. Unfortunately, she came out at the same date as Black Rock Shooter so it seemed like she got shoved into the background while everyone wet themselves over BRS (Yes, I have her, too, and yes, she’s awesome, but c’mon). It’s a damn shame, too, because Teana is pretty great.

She’s very nicely detailed with all the typical joints of a Figma. The paint applications are top-notch, as to be expected of Max Factory’s quality. Both parts of her jacket, skirt, and belt are all soft plastic and don’t hurt poseability at all. One issue I do have is with the belt-it doesn’t stay on very well, kind of like the G.I. Joes from the early 2000’s. It’s sort of annoying, but it can be ignored. Continue reading

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Review: HGUC Triple Dom

By Loran

Once in a blue moon when all of the planets in the solar system line up and an eclipse occur, Bandai releases a multi-set of HGUC kits as something that ISN’T a convention exclusive. There have only been five (six if you count the new “Gunpla Starter Set” of a Gundam and a Zaku), and they typically feature special color schemes, extra stickers, and on one occasion, special stuff. These kits are typically characterized by their white boxes with pictures of the actual kits on the front as opposed to a black box with an illustration. Typically, they aren’t very good deals, because you’re basically just paying the same price as you would for the kits separately with extra stickers and a nicer manual, so there’s no real value.

The “Triple Dom” set, as it’s typically called, was released to recreate one of the classic scenes from the original anime-the Jet Stream Attack. Basically, you get the Black Tri-Stars Doms in one convenient package with some optional parts to pull off the actual scene. It’s a nice little set, and a great thing for army builders, but you have to build three of the same kit, which can get kind of repetitive and frustrating. Continue reading

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