PS. Happy Holliday-mas and New Years, people!
"Michinoku Hana-Densha" is a rare, discontinued kit by Aoshima. It's a very nice dekotora kit in 1/64 scale. I've sought this kit for over a year due to its kick ass design, but have come across many listings in stores for hundreds of dollars. I lucked out and got it for less than $20 on HLJ.com through some kind of freak accident that worked out in my favor.
I'm planning on posing my MG Shining Gundam surfing on top of this thing when I eventually finish the 2. A good part of the fun in building kits is creating nifty scenes with them. More pics will come in the future, stay tuned!
PS. Happy Holliday-mas and New Years, people!
So I have this cheap airbrush I bought on Amazon. I was leery at first but it seemed to have overwhelmingly positive reviews. I took a chance at 30 bucks and bought it. The crappy pictures are below:
I have a better one I'm borrowing from a friend, so this one hasn't been used as much. It's definitely cheap as far as airbrushes go, but it's honestly not that bad for the price. I've used it on some SD Sangokuden kits (will make a post about that eventually) with pretty decent results. All in all, if you're strapped for cash but can't resist your hobby, this might be the brush for you.
So I'm aware there's a true to life, full size Gundam making his rounds on display in Japan. What I'm not certain of, however, is where he is right now. Apparently he's been torn down and reconstructed somewhere. All I know is I'm definitely paying him a visit when I go to Japan next year if he's still around.
I had mentioned in an earlier post that I recently obtained a few World of Nintendo figures. What I forgot to do was upload pictures of the rare 4" Link. I've also obtained a few other, smaller figures in the meantime. As you can probably tell, I'm a fan of the Zelda series.
The 2.5 inch figures of Wind Waker Link and Tetra are considered fairly uncommon and they come with little accessories like a shield and stand. The ultra rare 4 inch Link comes with a "mystery accessory" which is a Hylian Shield. He also has decent articulation and a sword with holster. He is modeled after his Skyward Sword incarnation, which, if I'm not mistaken, is similar to the Figma version of Link, another figure I will review soon. World of Nintendo is a nice line of figures and plushes and most of the common ones aren't too expensive.
One of my favorite things about modeling is seeing all the creative ways people expand upon their models, like through custom parts and dioramas. I've seen some really impressive Gunpla Dioramas and they're always so motivating and cool. Sometimes I just Google diorama pictures to get ideas for my own models and it always gets me really excited to start a new kit and plan a background. I'm a huge fan of water effects for one:
Seriously, how freaking cool is that?? The underwater view makes it ten times better too! And then there's the ones with LED lights (great for Christmas!):
Note the nice fire effects. And there's even a water effect in the pool, too. Another really nice kit and diorama combo.
This diorama really captures an action scene well. This looks just like a shot from a fight scene in the anime and really shows a lot of motion. Also check out the weathering on that building.
But my all time favorite Gundam Diorama in the world is still this one:
Absolutely everything about this is 100% amazing. It has it all. ALL of it! and a bag of chips! Look at all those paper craft boxes, those micro models, the car model with water effects of its own, and the Gundam RX-78 just chillin' out, making his models. It's surreal, intricate, and even hilarious. I remember being so disappointed when this diorama didn't win a prize because it's literally one of the best dioramas I have ever seen, Gunpla or otherwise.
All dioramas found on the blogs GundamGuy, GunJap, and Figure.FM.
A couple of years ago I was a poor college student. One fateful afternoon, I was uploading a paper to one of my professor's dropboxes when I noticed my computer being slow as crap. It took forever uploading a small file, and then everything just stopped working altogether. So I did what I would normally do in case of a freeze, and i rebooted that sucker. Now, instead of being greeted by the friendly neighborhood "starting Windows" screen, there was a brief flicker of something bright followed by a looping pattern of rebooting and said bright flashing screen. After some finagling, I got it to stop rebooting, and turns out the flash I kept missing was one of these beauties:
Considering I had very little money at the time, I had to budget a way to fix my computer using less than $150 that was in my bank account at the time. I was weary of buying things online at the time and none of the stores in my town sold internal hard drives, so I did the best I could and sunk about $90 of those dollars into an external hard drive, because, as it turns out, the BSOD was caused by hard drive failure and there was no way to recover any of my stuff without some other drive to put them on, let alone some other drive to re-install Windows on.
Because I wasn't going to have the money to buy Windows for awhile, and I couldn't install it on an external drive anyway, I was left with an unexpected alternative. In a tutorial for migrating files, I read about making a USB with the Ubuntu OS installed on it. As I did that, it wasn't the same as my familiar desktop, but it was still comforting to see my computer "alive" once again. Unfortunately, I was unable to save too much of my data before the drive went completely kaput.
Now, what does this have to do with Gundam? Well, I ended up moving the grand total of 20 Megabytes of salvagable data (it still hurts) to the same USB and ended up installing Ubuntu on my external drive. Turns out you can totally do that with Linux. Upon trying to fill the void left by my 500 GB of lost data, I began searching the Webs for Linux-compatible games. As it turned out, there's a lot of crap Linux can't do because of its lack of support from certain companies and communities. It's nice for something you get free, but the gaming compatibility department is sadly lacking. I discovered amongst the games I actually COULD play was a little game known as Gundam Capsule Fighter.
Holy crap, look at this game! I was blown away at how it looked and played. I blew away hours of my young adult life on this game. And to think, all it took me to discover it was a horrible accident that cost me 2 years of un-backed up data. If only the Universe didn't hate me so much.
This game was pretty cathartic for my situation, but it also piqued my curiosity for more Gundam games. Upon which, I discovered the amazing world of Japanese arcades. Behold:
Sheez, now that I have more money, I should buy one of these!
Nope, still not enough money. But at least I can afford Windows now. :')
There are a few basic grades to Gundam kits, but many more special grades such as SD (non-scale Super Deformed), HGUC (High Grade Universal Century), and Reborn One Hundred. The basic and common ones are High Grade, Real Grade, Master Grade, and Perfect Grade. The grade mainly determines the scale but also indicates the number of parts and the difficulty of the kit. Grades also determine the level of detail and articulation, with High Grade kits (1:144 or 1:100) being the easiest to build but the most basic ones in terms of quality, leading up to Perfect Grade at 1:60 scale which are made of higher quality plastic and come with the occasional screw, metal part, or LED light. It is advised that beginners in Gunpla building go for High Grades and SD kits because these are easier to build. Master Grades and Perfect Grades are more challenging but rewarding for advanced modellers and builders. Depending on my mood, sometimes I prefer putting together a small kit like an SD because they're cheap and fun to build when I don't feel like working on a bigger project. All in all, every scale and grade has something nice to offer no matter your experience level.
Below is a chart comparing the sizes of different grades:
G Gundam is one of my favorite Gundam series. If I had to pick an absolute favorite, it would be a hard decision between Mobile Suit G and the original cartoon. I don't want to spoil anything, but I really enjoyed the plot twists and characters. Domon Kasshu is likeable enough, but I really like how Rain was always calmer than him. Given that I tend to be an emotional person, I identify with Domon quite a bit, but you gotta love when a show turns a gender stereotype on its head by making the man emotional and impulsive instead. Rain was written as much more than just a "girl" character. In fact, every character was like a real person instead of some cartoon stereotype. I still remember them all and their mannerisms very well.
Mind you, I haven't seen that many other Gundam anime, so maybe it's just a high standard for character writing the franchise has set in stone. The premise was really alluring too. It was a story of family betrayal and space mecha warfare. It was action packed but emotional as well. It followed Domon on his journey to find his brother who stole a highly destructive Gundam that feeds on evil or some shit. On his way, he makes friends with people from different space countries who each pilot unique mobile suits. They eventually fight in a tournament and Domon kicks everyone's ass because he has the special protagonist's weapon move known as the Shining Finger. Yeah, I know that sounded really sarcastic, but it's hard to talk about the plot in a meaningful way when there's far too many potential spoilers and I haven't seen it in a good 10 years. Guess it's time to re-watch it!
I honestly don't remember who the girl on the left is. And according to the Gundam Wiki, Domon is one of the oldest franchise protagonists at 20. Talk about making a person feel old. At this rate, I'll never be a Gundam pilot!
Okay, so I'm a huge fan of Ty The Tasmanian Tiger. Mostly the first game, but still. That game had cool characters, great music, and a lot of stuff to do in each level. I recently played it again on Gamecube and it was quite a nice nostalgia trip for me and my girlfriend. But I can't help but wonder something. Why doesn't Ty have any merchandise. The closest thing to any merchandise I've ever seen was a zoetrope featured at an animation exhibit in Melbourne in 2009. Which is cool. But I can't help but feel like Krome could have totally made a killing off some Ty toys. I would personally have loved to get a couple figures or plushies. Thinking about the lack of marketing for Krome makes me kind of sad still. They're a pretty small group of people making great games. It would have been absolutely killer for them to get some kind of brand deal with a major toy company like Bandai or something. There's definitely a market for it, and it would help Krome raise money for more great games. I find myself thinking about this at least once a month. Call me obsessed but...
I have to say, I much prefer using a wash to using Gundam markers. This might not be the most popular opinion, because it takes a lot of precision not to screw it up with smears. This is just a matter of preference and convenience. I often feel that using markers results in lines that are a bit to bold looking. Especially if you're using a black Gundam marker.
Also it just seems to me like you can totally tell it was scribbled in. I mean, it's a method many prefer because of the convenience, and from a zoomed out pose it looks just fine. I'm just really anal about detail so it bothers me a bit. Not to mention, there's just something really satisfying about dabbing a bit of paint on something and watching all the panel lines fill up nicely. It's like something out of an anime where a mecha gradually lights up or something. So instead of markers, I often make a wash of black enamel paint and thinner. I use about 3 drops of paint and 2 drops of thinner, but you have to play around with your own paint to get the best ratio. Consistency wise, you'll want to aim for something that rolls down the dish but not too much. Something a bit like this:
The trick is finding a really fine point brush. With one of those, you'll reduce the chance of smearing paint where you don't want to. After the paint dries (I try to give it a good 30 to 45 minutes), you can clean up using a Q-tip lightly moistened with thinner. Try not to put too much pressure on it though. You don't want the thinner to leak down into the cracks and ruin what you've just done. After it's all said and done, you should be left with some pretty sweet, clean looking panel lines! Until next time, ciao!