Sunday, November 27, 2011

That one guy who hated everyone but Mari (Review of Kiwami Tamashii Kaixa)

Oh man, I've been anticipating this guy for a while now,  having high hopes and such that he'd surpass Faiz in coolness, and in some ways he does, bringing a lot of nice features into what is primarily a heavy retool/remold of the old 2009 Faiz design. In other ways though he falls short (literally!) of what I had thought he'd be. 

He looks badass enough though, with the black, steel, and gunmetal color scheme and golden trim,  the mean-looking arched antennae and broad, pointed shoulders Kaixa definitely has a grimdark feel to him which I like. It also helps that he looks like a dwarf with his noticeable lack of lower torso.

The helmet and chest detailing  is absolutely amazing, with cracks and seamlines everywhere, the tech greeble making him look very assymetrical and such, really making it feel like his armor assembles itself in layers and sections instead of single unified pieces. The eyes are a  nice shade of dark purple, which is cool but I would have liked a lighter shade of purple, if only to enhance the ring detailing underneath the lens. 

Now this is one of those improvements in design I'm talking about, having the neck joint as a double ball post with the "meat" of the neck only acting as a sleeve really adds to the poseability of the figure, too bad the neck still ended up looking a tad short though.

 Another fun thing to note about these figures from the 555 series is that the designers paid attention to their specific personalities, providing enough mobility for them to do their trademark poses, like Takumi's pre-kick pose or his wrist flicking, or  Kusaka's collar-popping pose.  Unfortunately, no matter how well he can do it I am very very distracted by how so damn squat he looks. This is mostly because of  him almost having no waist or ab crunch to speak of. 

Going back to poseability, this figure suffers a little. What you see above is the limit of the figure's lateral motion. It's not as limited as say Blade or Knight but it really falls short of Hibiki, Agito or Faiz, at least to me. 

Frontal motion though, not much of a problem, he can do high-kicks and stuff, punching poses are also negligible.  Also another nice detail is the tech greeble on his foot soles, very nice. 

Kaixa comes with a lot of accessories, namely two sets of hands aside from the fists (yes, fists. Something faiz could have used) with hands that are noticeably more bony and claw-like, his Kaixa Gear which includes; the Kaixa -shot, -phone (with blaster mode), -pointer (which opens up for his Gold Smash kick) the -blaygun holster, the -blaygun, and the sword blade.

One fun detail I like is how the blaygun, pointer and phones all have individual Kaixa mission memories molded on them. Faiz only had it on his phone and phone blaster. Weird. 

Here's the Blaygun in action, the holster was really a great touch and I think the figure would lose a lot if they only made a peg on the side of the blaygun to attach to the waist instead of molding a separate holster part.

The Blaygun in sword mode. The yellow transluscent blade fits a little too loosely on the bottom of the gun, it hasn't exactly fallen off everytime, but it's less than snug in the mounting hole. 

the Phone blaster. I never understood exactly how the phone would look good as a swing-type phone, but the blaster mode makes a lot more sense. It reminds me of a Sentai weapon. 

Kaixa's really a decent figure overall, but there's just one teeny tiny detail that derails all of the good points about him.

The only consolation for this is if they made Delta.

What. The. Fuck.

Why is he short? Why is the greatest antagonist of Faiz (no, Kiba doesn't count. He was more of a rival, Kusaka though was an absolute dick) so damn tiny? He looks like friggin' Wolverine standing there next to Faiz. What the hell? It's not even funny how squat he looks.

Would I recommend him?

Let's recap:
Nice, detailed molding, decent articulation (slightly better than Faiz), a lot of fun accessories, but he's short. 

at 680 php ($16 more or less) he's a good buy, definitely a fun toy, and worth picking up. Get him if only for his eventual ride: Sidebasher. There will be more reason to pick him up once Kiba (Horse Orphenoch) and Takumi (Wolf Orphenoch) reach your specialty stores. 

Just ignore the height issue and you will be fine. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Will post a review soon, also, I already modded his torso to be a bit higher, fixes the height issue I had with the figure before.

Friday, November 25, 2011

One day I shall wake up to find my house is made of cats.

Meet Derpy. He's one of the three, month-old kittens we have hanging around the house. I haven't even bothered naming the other two yet, only because I lack creativity in that department and they haven't really had any defining characteristics other than Derpy here, worth basing their names on.  

Anyway, our family is slowly getting used to owning cats, after Razorclaw, their momma moved in with us after I made the mistake of feeding her one night. 

the cat never left and got pregnant twice,  and both times we lost the litter to the outside world. Derpy's batch on the other hand has gotten on the good side of my mom, hence allowing them to stay around (but I let them out every night to avoid getting cat shit fucking everywhere), thus giving them the impulse to climb and explore everything and anything. I pray, every day that I leave the house, that they don't mess up my workshop, or leave mouse corpses on my seat with their tiny, vicious, hook claws.

I've had terrible luck with the kittens in the past, oftentimes they'd scuttle off after tipping over my paint bottles and huddle into tiny, unreachable corners to escape my wrath, climb up the table and just insist on sleeping on the keyboard whatever it is I'm reading, and hiss at me when I pick them up, or tip over a mountain of my readings or books and cause an avalanche. This new batch is no different, cats being the insufferable and unruly little bastards that they are.

why are you adorable? damn you.

And yet, at the end of the day, after many tiny cuts on my hands and arms, I still can't let these little guys go. I carry them around, pet them and play with the little guys, getting more used to them, and become a bit more patient, no matter how many times they knock shit over. 

I mean, it's just natural after all, this curiosity they have, this obsession with every nook and cranny. They're learning, and so am I, eventually this house will seem small to them and they'll be fit enough to leave home, they might not come back again but I hope they do, hopeful that one day they'll grow up like their mother and just be annoying when they're hungry and then bugger off when they're full or bored of me, or hop on the table when they need someone to scratch the back of their ears. They're not really that bad, when they get a sense of the place and the people they live with, the cats become pretty chill, and in those evening that require me to burn myself out writing papers a night before the deadline, having a cat just hop up next to you and sleep by your laptop just takes the edge off everything (to me, at least). Never mind that they've torn the sofa into unrecognizable fluff, broke a few vases and shred up the long-ass set of .pdfs you're currently printing and need to read before 3pm the following day, they will take time off their busy schedule of daily chaos to just sit next to you and thank you for keeping them around. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No harm in starting again.

This is the start of another Masamune Shirow based custom and my second attempt at Motoko Kusanagi, this time, being closer to her Stand Alone Complex appearance, so it'll be pretty straightforward. So far the hair still needs work, and the corset might need a bit more raising on the side of the body. will wait until I get a white microlady body before I start on the legs though. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

something I threw up for Geol 1.

Just felt like sharing this, really, not really becoming an eco advocate but this was actually the first time in a while where I felt that writing was relaxing to me, despite the subject matter being otherwise. 

On “Prehistoric Greenhouse Data from Ocean Floor Could Predict Earth's Future, Study Finds

In an article found in the website Science Daily dated October 31, 2011, University of Missouri researchers have found that certain climate patterns indicated in the circulation of ocean dated from the Late Cretaceous period might be the key into predicting the current trends of climate change in our time.

 This information intrigues me in that it supports an earlier discussion in class (notably the Daisy world experiment from the Gaia Theory) in which the cycles of warm and cold were brought up. While this study does confirm to my mind the essence of the daisy world simulation (, where everything is right with the world and we just need to sit back and wait to shrivel up from dehydration until the next alpha species comes along, (and according to something i watched on Discovery waaay back, they'll be squids.)  it is rather alarming that in the article, it is mentioned that collectively we—as human beings—are able to match the climate conditions inferred from the fossil records of fish found during that period, meaning that the heating up of the planet that took millions of years to achieve naturally is being repeated in an accelerated rate by the activities of human society and our hummers within a short span of time. Somehow,  part of me is proud of it like it was some  Guinness World Record.

 Research like this serves both as a warning and more importantly a step in the right direction in terms of formulating contingencies to climate change, by referring to what has occurred before and predicting where it could possibly lead.  Having an understanding on how the planet regulates itself and how we can manage ourselves in the midst of this event, and ensuring that we can prolong our existence on the planet--however a bother it might be for everything else on this rock-- helps me sleep at night,  amidst the constant possibility that the world might go kaput on me any day in my lifetime.

Work Cited: 
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Prehistoric greenhouse data from ocean floor could predict Earth's future, study finds." ScienceDaily, 27 Oct. 2011. Web. 22 Nov. 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

lol hardener.

Oh boy, a whole new world of chemical fumes. 
Seriously though, I can't wait to experiment with this, I have a bunch of stuff I want to try and cast. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


She definitely needs Briareos to keep her company. 

Check out more figures at the Works Page. 

easy Motoko custom version 1

Well,the bare thighs partswap didn't work, mostly due to the screw on the back of the flesh colored thighs on the materialforce body being a bastard and refusing to be removed, I settled on using the bare shoulder look instead for Major Motoko's body for now. Which isn't all that bad honestly, I think it looks sleeker and more covert ops than the regular "bare thighs domintrix" vibe of the SAC design, but I might consider making a more SAC major when I buy another set of white and light flesh materialforce bodies and another, thinner looking resculpted gashapon head. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Odd Day Out.

I'm chewing right now on a KFC chicken burger that I bought around 7 in the morning and totally forgot about until right now. I had today planned out supposedly, as I was set to attend The Great Philippine Book Cafe aka the second  Manila International Literary Festival at the Ayala Museum. around 9am I was already inside the lobby, waiting for the opening ceremonies to start up, and wow, I found myself really inadequately dressed--with my gray t-shirt, black pants and mud caked rubber shoes--and in the presence of the big names in Philippine Literature (most of them I hardly knew, sadly).  I wasn't planning on staying the whole day, even if the registration was 800 for one day, the faster I could haul ass out of there the less inadequate I would feel for every moment I did stay.
As I sat there with nobody less than Junot Diaz chilling behind my seat, sipping complimentary coffee and indulging in chit-chat with his fans and other authors and that made me feel even more of an outsider than I felt the moment I passed security, with nobody to talk to and nobody in the crowd that I could recognize. 

God I couldn't wait to get out of there. 

In the middle of listening to sir Resil Mojares' keynote speech and disagreeing to his short comment on Rizal not coming back to his own language (tagalog), a curious woman wearing a strong cinnamon perfume and  her hair short, in a gray cocktail dress and a black top underneath, with zebra print boots asked if the seat beside me was taken. Without making much of a sound I indicated it was free and she sat down. 

when sir Resil's speech had ended, the woman asked if I could watch her bag for a bit while she got in line for the complimentary coffee with everyone else. Again, I didn't make any eye contact and said sure. I never got up to get my coffee, being the stick in the mud that I was so I spent the next thirty minutes just skimming over the program for today. When she got back she started to strike up a conversation which sort of disarmed me and yet at the same time made me glad that someone was actually willing to have a conversation with me. 

Okay cool, I thought. She was fishing around for the usual details: where I'm from,Why I'm here, and Who sent me which I all answered without question. At the moment she didn't give me much details about her but she ,and proceeded to talk about the programs for Day 1 and which ones I would attend. When she heard that my plan was to just stay until 12, she convinced me that it was worth staying for the rest of the day for the lectures.

"You're gonna tag along with me today, darling."

Next thing I knew, she was introducing me to some great poets and writers and holy shit I felt really sorry for myself for not being a wide reader. But  she kinda eased me out of that 'outsider' feeling I had as the day pressed on, from lunch at coffee bean and tea leaf to introducing me to some of her other friends and basically disarming me from my anxiety of being there.

 We kept talking about life and writing, joined her for lunch with friends at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and she basically picked out the lectures I'd find very useful, "In Search of the Next Great Philippine Novel" with sirs Jose (Butch) Dalisay Jr., Charlson Ong and, CripYuson, and "Talk to the Litcritters" with sir Isagani Cruz, Ferdinand M. Lopez and ma'am Priscelina Legasto who gave a 15 minute or so crash course on literary theory. She even introduced me to Carljoe Javier while she was in line to use the ladies room. Man, he's shorter than I imagined, and quite friendly.

After the events of the day wrapped up I hung out with her for a while at a restoas she took her smoking break. I didn't bother to remember the name of because my mind was still catching up to what the hell just happened today, and yet I didn't care, I was out with someone cool who just picked me up from my isolation in the event and started becoming a friend to me. Hardly anyone does that, and I found her weird, yet insightful and really charming. She taught me not to be afraid of the silence in between two people and to not doubt myself too much. She amazingly made me drop all my regrets for the day and just freakin' live in the moment.

My whole day was drastically rearranged but it didn't matter, today was fun. I'll manage the rescheduling of things after I finish writing this down or I could just say fuck it and ride the wave, but all in all, this chance meeting with a complete stranger actually turned out quite well and I did get to meet some new people along the way. I should take her advice and actually live more. I don't even care right now that this day-old KFC chicken sandwich is so soggy.

Oh yeah, I told her I'd google her name when I got home, to find out stuff about her after I'd actually spend the day hanging out with her and getting to know her on the spot. I did, and-

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Steady Hand

Spent tonight making my eyesight worse and my hands hurt, but I thought this would be a great exercise to make my brush strokes more precise when painting these tiny, tiny anime faces. Someday I'll put up a step by step when I get real good at it, but for now here's the three-stage process of the painted face. 

The result's not bad, and I'm hopeful that it'll only get better at this point.  I no longer have to deal with  having the base gashapon heads looking somewhere else which is preferable anyway, and makes a good patience challenge, since the most annoying part of this all isn't in painting the eyes, but in prepping the flesh color of the face. It took a lot of coats to get it even, and the only enjoyable time I felt was when I was painting and retouching the eye details. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

For tonight's experiment!

Progress in just two days. I admit, as much as I hated working on the face I'm pretty happy how it came out or maybe i'm just happy that it's finished for the time being. now the body for the major here will take a bit more time, but when this is done it's another figure off my mental wishlist. 

Satisfying my own curiosity here,  wondering if I can make myself a Motoko Kusanagi microlady from a different character figure. Needs a bit more refining but it's doable.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What I know so far about Toy Customizing and Repairs (Part 1)

Okay, this post is the result of me making a write-up about the general things you need to know about custom toys and toy repairs. Originally I wrote this in the vernacular (Taglish) for the toy group it was for but I realized it might also be useful as a resource for people who read my blog. This is just a collection of general info I accumulated over the years and some specific entries link to other articles that will tackle the subject better.

Part 1-Paint:

What to buy:

*Primer- usually a spray paint that’s used to supplement your paint and helps it grip the surface it’s applied to. Don’t abuse the spray primer because it can gum up joints or ruin the surface to paint and erase some fine details on the figure. (suggested brand: BOSNY.)

* Acrylic Paints- ideal  for hand brushers , very durable when used right and it’s very easy to clean up, you can thin it right up with water, rubbing alcohol, or pledge wipe & shine floor polish—since it’s liquid acrylic—and you can easily mix the colors. It has to be used carefully though and with several thin coats to achieve a solid color, which can make the wait a pain, but when done well, your patience will be rewarded with a nice, even paintjob. If you rush it, it will definitely show, from uneven applications to brush marks.(Brands: Tamiya, P3, Vallejo, GSi Creos/Mr. Color, Citadel)

*Enamel Paints- dries quicker than acrylic but eats plastic when applied raw (no primer) or thickly. In my experience, the paint as well as the thinner also eats through brush bristles, and the paint itself refuses to dry on soft plastics like PVC or Vinyl. It’s much better if used with an airbrush, and fewer coats will be necessary for achieving the solid color you want. Mineral spirits or industrial enamel thinner—readily available in any hardware store, is usually used to thin the paint. Oh yeah, since it eats a bit of plastic as it dries, it actually bonds with the surface and becomes resistant to most wear and tear. Ideal for metallic models.
 (Brands: Tamiya, Academy paints)

*Lacquer Paints (usually Airbrush)- I swear the fumes will get you high sometimes, but it dries very quickly and it’s very resistant to chipping, and like enamels is best utilized with an airbrush. The thinner I usually use is Mr. Lacquer thinner brand or the industrial kind sold in hardware stores.
 (Brands: Tamiya, GSi Creos/Mr. Color)

* Spray Acrylics/Enamels- Usually a person’s cheapest and quickest alternative,but it eats up a lot of paint when used due to alack of control in the spray itself, and can usually be found in hardware stores. If you’re in a rush to finish a paintjob this is definitely up your alley, but make sure you keep an arms length between the spray can and the thing you’re painting.
 (Brands: Pylox, Bosny, RJ London)

*Handbrushes- cheap and easily replaceable (well unless these are Sable brushes) they’re easy to learn at a basic level and when you begin experimenting with techniques you will become attuned to using it, the drawback is that it takes a looooot of time to finish a project. Make sure you get soft hair brushes that don’t easily lose bristles or can leave strong brush marks on the surface you’re painting. Usually soft bristled brushes are brown in hair color and are very soft and cuddly  to the touch. The ones that are sold on retail are usually  called artist’s brushes, and for beginners it’s best to get a cheap pack with assorted brush types.

*Airbrush- imagine the convenience of spray painting with the control of a hand brush, with little wasted paint but you’ll need the power of an air compressor to make it work. Stuff like this is very expensive, with the most basic set being around 3k php ($70) and that’s Tamiya Sprayworks Basic, with the higher-end components bought separately averaging around 1k php ($23) for the airbrush alone, and 5k+ php ($116+) is the usual price range for the air compressor.
 (Brands: Badger, Iwata, Tamiya, Hasegawa)

*Topcoat-  this isn’t usually needed, but if you’re paranoid about paint chipping off or you want to reduce the retouching you have to do later on,  you need this. Topcoat is usually applied to give the finished project a specific finish: Flat/Dull/Matte, which gives your paintjob a “realistic” , toned down look, and Glossy which is way shiny and much more durable, giving a sports car-like finish to something. It can be applied through spray cans or airbrush like tamiya clear coats or Mr. Topcoat, or it can be brushed on like Vallejo or Pledge Wipe & Shine/ Future Finish Acrylic Floor Polish. I am totally serious about that last one; it’s tough and glossy and can level paint when it dries, and it smells good too!
 (Brands: Tamiya, GSi Creos/ Mr. Topcoat, Pledge Wipe n' Shine Acrylic Floor Polish)

Where to buy (in the Philippines):
*Ace Hardware (Spray Acrylics, primer, thinner, topcoat)

*Lil's hobby shop (hobby enamel, acrylic and lacquer, hand brushes, airbrushes, thinner)

*Special Toy Center (hobby enamel, acrylic, and lacquer, hand brushes, airbrushes, thinner)

*Deovir (Artist's acrylic and enamel paints, hand brushes, airbrushes, thinner)

*Neutral grounds( Citadel Paint, hand brushes).

*Fortress games Greenhills (P3 Acrylic)

Tips on painting:

·          When you lack primer, sandpaper will do, usually 600 grit to make the surface rougher so the paint will grip better.
·          Make  sure you wash your figure with soap and water to remove the mold release agent found on the toy’s plastics that might inhibit the grip of the paint to the plastic.
·          In any event that you need to strip paint off a figure use rubbing alcohol or windex, or any corresponding thinner of the paint used and a rag or Q-tip to wipe off any paint mistakes.

Games Workshop How To Paint Citadel Miniatures (.pdf)-   

Testing out a new background

Just posting up some shots using this new background I'm using, which is a silver colored pvc sheet. Might use this for review pictures from now on.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Things and more things.

Whew! Okay, I think I'm calling this side-kitbash of Happy Lemon/ Kikay Asuka (friends of mine suggested the names. Happy Lemon because she looks like one of the types of customers there, and Kikay because... well she's kikay.)

As for other projects, the build on Ibuki is almost done, just gotta fix her bracers, and Deunan is pretty much finished. I'm just not motivated right now to make a full gallery for her.

Over the weekend as well, another friend donated a Kiwami Tamashii Zanki for a project, gonna attempt to make a KT Ichigo to pal around with this dude down here:

Now I need fifty more Superhero Showdown Daredevil figures and sofubi mooks to make an army of combatmen... or Shocker riders

Speaking of Shocker riders here's the current state of their Heisei Equivalent, my S.I.C. Kiwami Tamashii Riotrooper (first of my target of six units).Still a lot of work to be done but the look is there.

Oh yeah, since I did some partswapping to complete Asuka, I'm left with another spare microlady to work on. So far I don't have a definite idea what I want to turn her into but that cycling shorts look is kind of neat looking. I wonder what character wears shorts like that.



Friday, November 4, 2011

What does the acronym even mean? A M.A.R.S. Heroes figure review.

(As always, click the pictures for a bigger resolution.)
In the middle of a taxing afternoon, I decided to check the toy section of a local mall after I heard that these guys were put up for sale from a post in this  toy group on facebook, and I remember seeing these figures being used by some customizers and general collectors. They looked cool enough in pictures, and I was really surprised how solid they were in-hand. 
Since they were also cheap I splurged a little and bought three of them for 100php (about 2$) each. 

The ones I got were the MARS Alien and MARS Megabot (both blue). in retrospect, while the blue bot guy is neat, I should have gotten the green one. I didn't bother getting one of each since I'm kinda "meh" on the trooper figures. the Aliens though are pretty cool.

This is the catalog of the available figures in this wave. Seems like what we got in stores is the first wave of the line. 

Out of package these guys are pretty nice, stuff's not as hollow or cheap feeling like I thought it would be, in fact it seems like these were mostly cast in hard PVC and not rotocast as well, so yes you can chuck these things at people you hate and they won't break. Well they will but you can rebuild them again and they'll be fine.

Height wise here's how they fare. In between Microman (well microlady) and Marvel Universe, the Megabot is just about the same size as Sakura, while the Alien is about as tall as Iron Man. either way, if you're a 3 3/4" collector these things are right up your alley. 

These things are held together by ball joints which is pretty useful on the ankles, hips, legs and shoulders but limited on the elbows and knees. If you're into He-Manesque or Warcraft 3-ish squat posing, then you'll love these guys. 

Here's the blue bot's removable weaponry. the shoulder missiles and the two-barrel gun have gaps on their back and undersides, respectively. And I really hate that. 

Did I mention  that the parts held together by joints also come off? The ball posts are bigger than 5mm though so no luck in mixing and matching from other toylines. 
As mentioned,those are the hideous gaps on the back of the missle racks, and there are additional mounting holes at the back of the thighs, I assume it's for the mix and match gimmick of these toys.

visually, the designs aren't half bad, and it even managed to blend in with this Starcraft Terran Marine figure (that belongs to my brother), with really nice sculpting and lots of mechanical detailing. In contrast,  I think the MARS guys are way more solid and less prone to loose joints unlike the marine up there. 

The Megabot, overall is a pretty nice figure to have and if it wasn't for those gaps on the shoulder weapons, or ill designed elbows and knees he'd be near perfect.  Now let's move on to the other figure in this review, the MARS Alien.

I picked the blue guy out of the lot because he has this sweet transparent energy blade. Another draw to the figure is his being cast in translucent PVC which is just so beautiful up close, and has that Microman/Acroyear (or if you're feeling artsy, GLYOS) feel to it. Very nice.

Removable parts from the main body, the green...thing(?) and an energy blade. 

 In terms of design he's way more flexible than the megabot due to the long slender limbs, but loses out because of having slightly loose sockets holding him together. Because this is PVC being held by more PVC there's not enough friction or grip for the joints to really hold. The heavy, full cast body parts doesn't help either.

In short, he falls apart too easily. 

Of course the main draw to these toys is their ball and socket system which allows you to mix and match parts for more fun. Nice touch, if only they allowed for compatability with other toys as well, and like I mentioned before, the ball and socket system also has its drawbacks in terms of poseability.

Are M.A.R.S. Heroes figures worth getting? Well, honestly yes. At their cheap price range you get a solid toy with decent enough paint apps and nifty designs, as well as good playability and decent poseability. making good on any or all of those criteria would usually mean a bigger price range, but these toys in their own peculiar way deliver very well, and are well balanced in all of those aforementioned aspects . 

Just be prepared for some really minor flaws like hollow molding on some parts or loose joints, but these figures will definitely be fun and enjoyable. Definitely recommending these things.