Monday, December 31, 2012

One more thing.

Built this today. I'm sorta on and off when it comes to gunpla these years, but this one turned me around.

posts related to gunpla will probably pop up more frequently in the coming year as I try to see how far I can go and how much I can learn when I start modding kits.

Maybe I might actually finish that HG Zaku.

In regards to this particular kit, It's amazing, really don't know why I never bought one before, and the only other kit I did from this line was the Genoace (and that was for my thesis defense).

Well I already have an idea of how I want it to look (something like a G3 or a Karaba look in regards to colors... predominantly bluish gray and purple).

I just wish i could get my goddamn download of GIMP working so I can test it out on some lineart.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I haven't taken outdoor pics in a while. I forgot how fun it was searching for locations that would complement the figure. In retrospect, I should have brought Kuuga instead when we went up to Baguio, as there were so many rock formations I could use as a cliff backdrop while posing and taking a pic of him.

But Momotaros fits the location as well haha. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Year-Ender custom, Kamen Rider Kuuga Ultimate Form

And with that, I take a break from 2012. Hello, 2013.

 I see you over the horizon, I look forward to meeting you soon!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Kuuga Ultimate Form Modifications

Argh. still not done with this, the alternate hands and the alternate head need to be finished and a final topcoat over this figure to seal in the paint but I'm very glad the idea worked. Almost makes me hopeful an official one might get released for this line haha. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

FOC Grimlock: A Transformers Review

It's probably been well over a year since my last TF Purchase, but I really liked the previews we had of this guy, and his inclusion into the Voyager size class was a big factor in me buying him. When I came across the figure in Hong Kong while on vacation I didn't hesitate to get him, and after I opened him up to see if he was as good as I'd hoped, well....

Let's say I he's not much of a keeper (at least to me.)

This is my review of the upcoming Fall of Cybertron Voyager Class Grimlock, a very awesome looking figure and the most recent iteration of the Dinobot commander out there, so to start off the review let's talk about the T-rex mode.

At eye level it looks good, it has a nice, hunched profile that's more evocative of the modern T-rex stance but with a more G1-ish feel to the shapes from the blockish head and the fat and bulky dino-legs It's not at all like the sleek, almost cyborgish look of the IDW grimlock design that I like. 

But despite that this looks very imposing and 100% dinobot-like. 

The front profile seems wonky but honestly you're never gonna look at this guy from any angle other than from the sides or a 3/4ths view now, are you? 

A closer look at the head shows an autobot insignia on the top of the eyes. it's connected to a transparent red plastic assembly that houses the LED gimmick.

And this is what it looks like lit-up. Pretty cool in my opinion and way cooler if seen from a dark background. I only wish there was a lock to keep the head lit instead of relying on a springing mechanism that only makes it light up when you open the mouth. 

Now that we talked about some of the good points on the figure, let's cover a few bad ones. The most immediate to me is the fat tail. It not only looks fat from the side but from the front as well and it's one of those things that takes some getting used to.

they just did a terrible job of hiding the feet in dino mode, though I can understand the challenges of designing  the toy based on the 3D render/concept art... the art always cheats.

And then we have the lack of a stomach. If you keep grimlock hunched it won't be such a problem but damn it's pretty annoying that the dino mode has this big, hollow gap where his gut should be. It perpetually throws me off.

You'd think they'd hide some of these flaws by integrating the weapons into the transformation but they opted to really cut corners (which is kinda normal for FOC toys). 

So where do the weapons store in bot mode?


Now I've never played FOC, but looking at the screencaps the dino mode looks pretty close to the game model, most of the gripe again is on the tail  and the missing stomach though they really could have thought it out more but hey, they have budget restrictions in designing the damn thing.

 Moving on,  I love the detailing they did on the figure, and despite having minimal paint-apps and relying on the base color of the plastic it's still pretty good. I can only imagine the Takara version (being painted as they usually are) will top this already neat looking color scheme. 

Let's talk about the Robot mode next. But before that, let's briefly tackle transformation. It's literally very easy to do and I think only requires one picture to get the gist of how it's done

*insert "looks like it's break dancing" joke here*

Robot mode. Boy is he chunky in all the right places. This bot succeeds in bringing bulk to both his modes but I think the robot mode wins out between the two modes. Mainly because all the mass is placed in locations that help establish Grimlock as one menacing robot, from the huge limbs and wide chest to the tapering waist.

 Looking at it from the front there are little to no gaps for you to focus on, everything gives the illusion of being solid. And I use the term illusion because whatever works for the front...

is only about a third true for the back. If you're really anal you'll notice the hollow shins/feet. the hollow back and inner shoulders. It's bad but not Swindle bad (you're welcome, Perry.) so it (just barely) works out. 

A lot of parts are again wonderfully sculpted and designed. I love the headsculpt on Grimmy here, though the  now classic "teeth on the side" look might make it even better in my mind. all the techno greeble is pretty nice to look at too, especially at how some parts are colored in red. If painted just right they'll look like they're perpetually venting energy.

Another thing I dig is how the normal autobot insignia in dino mode now transforms into a more custom one with more angry looking eyes and a toothed mouth. 

And the light-up gimmick reaches here as well. since the dino head is stored in the cavity behind the chest, activating the light makes it bleed into the transparent plastic parts of the robot chest though it's not as cool as the dino mode light-up head since not a lot of light bleeds through. 

Articulation isn't really hindered with Grimlock in this mode (at least when you're not expecting RD/Revoltech levels of articulation) and he can pull off some good poses. Since he has some nice ratchet joints in the limbs and pretty tight articulation overall, you'll have hours of fun posing

Though there isn't much beyond "charging, slashing, defending or kneeling".

His weapons in this mode definitely feel undersized. Especially the sword, but I'm half-expecting 3rd party companies to pick up the slack. 

Is FOC grimlock worth it? it depends on how much they sell him for. Personally I wouldn't buy him beyond the  150 HKD ($19) I got him for, which is roughly 800PHP. I'd actually keep him if I got him for lower. Why?

The plastic feels cheap, as my friend put it: like the plastic they use to make clothes hangers

Which if you've ever owned a few will break oh so easily. Then there's the simplistic transformation that isn't really what I'd expect from a voyager. Not like RTS Lugnut or ROTF Bludgeon, which were good toys and definitely worth calling a voyager this one, an oversized deluxe. Hell I'd go so far as comparing it to an oversized Activator class/Scout, Not unlike the oversized bootlegs of Animated grimlock that used to be so abundant in flea markets in South East Asia.
 Then there's the gimmick which, when you consider the transformation scheme feels like it stole the funding for a better transformation.

I share the sentiments of people who would have preferred a better toy overall over one that lights up and amuses your toddler or dog. 

You should only get this if it's at a sale price or you're bored and have a lot of money, but even then, for the reasons stated above this toy will only really deliver if you love the character enough to glaze over its faults. 

And that pretty much sums up Grimlock. 
Not worth an initial release price, definitely worth getting once the price drops. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Onore Decade! A Kiwami Tamashii Kamen Rider Decade Review

I have to confess that I've never watched a single episode of Kamen Rider Decade in my life. 

I've been advised by friends to stay away from it because of the badly executed premise and supposedly rushed production that affected the overall story, well that and the confusing storyline (I've read summaries and they give me a headache).

Still I thought I'd give the Kiwami a chance, it looked good in the production pictures, so does it deliver in-hand? Mostly, anyway.

It's quite obvious how most of it is based on the full scale SIC figure, except he's not hilariously fat, and you can see the attempt at a good SIC design better when he's had some bulk shaved off. the paint applications are pretty good, though my preference for a silvery white wins out over the dull white they used for the figure, and the pink painted parts could use a detail wash of dark red ink to make the sculpted details come out more.

Meanwhile, the articulation on the thing is rather stunted. 

It's this type of shoulder joint again. Everytime I see it on a figure I cringe. It's so unnatural, and restricts movement. Luckily there's enough swing range for the arms to do some decent poses but nothing really frontal or convincing due to the orientation of the shoulder armor.  Then there's the issue of the neck; while it's thankfully double jointed, the ball connection at the top of the neck is too loose and wobbly. you can fix this by adding another layer on the ball joint with superglue but these are the types of errors that ideally shouldn't exist in production figures.

waist and leg movement isn't so bad, they have a wide spread and can do a variety of stances, but the armored design can really limit the good poses. 

I haven't tried this posing test on any figure in a while. I am glad to note that the Kiwami Tamashii line hasn't lost its affinity to be well balanced. Again though, another flaw may hound you. The thighs on my copy tend to pop off the ball joint due to the ball itself being too small. Again, another layer of superglue fixes this, but again, minor flaws like these shouldn't have to be fixed by the consumer in the first place. 

Despite this, the figure is still likeable, and the sculpt is pretty good. 

 definitely a nice rendition of the decade design, not too adventurous but not plain as well. the little extra details help a lot in making the figure attractive. Had they made the suit like this on the show I'd give it a chance. 

The back though ends up being far too wide and covers a lot, including the back of the upper arm (triceps). It gives a shelled look to the design and makes a connection to an insectoid motif with some robotic elements mixed in. Others dislike it, I personally see it as cool

the leg and arm detailing are consistent with the detail on "tech" riders like faiz and to a degree, Den-O. it really gives the rider design a more "armored suit" feel rather than a spandex and fiberglass costume.

The accessory count isn't too bad. 

Extra hands,

Handles and a blade for the different modes of the ride booker

and my favorite, the Violent Emotion head. 

the weapon modes of the ride booker are pretty cool though the pegs might be a bit too loose. and easily misplaced. though they could have saved time and money by just making it a hinge instead of three separate handles. 

And of course there's the stand. This is the second time we see a stand included with a Kiwami Tamashii figure and it looks nice. But I wish it came with a few more attatchments for effect parts for his Dimension Kick. 

Is Kiwami Tamashii Decade a good figure? Yes.

Should you buy him? Well it depends. He's definitely a fun toy that comes with a lot of accessories for play value, but you can skip him of you're not into the character. I've grown lukewarm towards him since I got Kuuga Rising Ultimate and that's even a figure with less in the package.

I got mine for 138 HKD ($17.81/ 730 PHP)

Pretty reasonable.

Decade is plain. He's fun but plain. A cool design though it doesn't really stick with you and unless you're a decade die-hard you'll get bored and just leave him on the shelf.