30 September 2010

Roll out the Balls!

As mentioned a few weeks ago I have foolhardily purchased 5 boxes of HGUC 1/144 Ball twin set, which yields me 10 models of the said cannon fodders. Well, here they are now, completed and ready for battle. Are you ready for war?

A brief background about these little guys: Featured in the original Gundam TV series, the RB-79 Ball is originally a civilian space construction mobile pod converted for Earth Federation's use against the Principality of Zeon during the late stages of the One Year War.

With their simple armament and thin armour, they were used en masse to overwhelm the enemy. Countless numbers of Balls were destroyed in battles, giving them a nickname of "mobile coffins". Nevertheless they contributed to Earth Federation's victory over Zeon.

Working on 10 of the same models may sound dreadful, but for a simple 1/144 it really isn't that bad at all. Line up the parts required for each section of the model (e.g. separate to main body, arms, and guns for the Ball), and build them in one go. That's what mass production is like isn't it? (laughs)

10 main bodies completed. They really look like mechanical eyes for some life size robots in a way...

Took a break and worked on the arms some time later. All parts for the arms (10 pairs) are as seen here. Lots of nub marks to remove, otherwise not a big problem at all.

"Backpack" thrusters and bottom thrusters completed along with the arms. Ready for assembly.

Everything completed except for the guns and panel lining. Now the Balls are chasing for the melonpan...

Some time later the Balls are finally here, completed and lined up in 2 rows, ready to roll out!

An angle shot as seen on typical military display.

Size comparison with a Zaku II of the same scale. To Zaku the Ball is like a big beach ball for it to play around with.

A stand is available for the Ball to 'float' on. Not much you can do with it as it has no points of articulation other than the ring which can rotate 360 degrees.

Alternatively you can use the Gundam Action Base 2 which gives it a wider range of posing. Just attach the ring that the Ball sits on to the base and it's done.

In addition to the standard 180mm recoilless cannon as seen in the original TV anime and games, there is also the double cannon as an alternate choice for the Ball to equip with as well. The double cannon is seen in the first episode of the 08th MS Team OVA (on an orange RB-79K piloted by protagonist Shiro Amada), as well as in MS IGLOO OVA.

And finally there is one thing I have been longing to do since I wanted to buy these cannon fodders:
Rally the Balls! Rush the enemy!

I don't have 10 Gundam Action Bases 2, so I tried and grab as many figma stands as possible to make this scene. The di:stage base comes from figma Miku Live Stage ver.

A vertical shot of the same scene.

A blue mobile suit joins in with the Balls. What is it? That will be the subject of my next review soon~

Omake - The crude photoshoot setup: A pillow case placed on my computer screen held by some clips with my desk lamp for the source of lighting. Yes I am quite a minimalist when it comes to such photoshoot. The same setting was used for my figma Black Rock Shooter as well.

I remember how my friend was shocked when I really did decide to buy 5 boxes of them - he thought I was just joking when I said I wanted to build multiple units like Zerg. It sounds foolhardy, and it is. I am somehow fond of building troops of grunts instead of Gundams themselves, but that's just me. Overall they're simple to build and fun even just to pose around with. Besides their innocent appearance gives you ways of abusing them...

Just like this example as Hobby no Toriko has shown ^^;

Now I just need to build a couple of GMs to accompany them.
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29 September 2010

Linkin Park x Gundam

Box art for the limited edition of Linkin Park's "A Thousand Suns"

This is about 2 weeks old now, but I think it's still worth mentioning, especially for those who haven't been following Gundam-related news (e.g. from Ngee Khiong).

American band Linkin Park will perform their latest single "The Catalyst" (「ザ・カタリスト」) as the opening song for the upcoming arcade game Gundam Extreme Vs.

Album art for the normal release of Linkin Park's "A Thousand Suns"

The song "Catalyst" has been released as a single in Japan on 15th September, and it will also be in the album "A Thousand Suns" (『ア・サウザンド・サンズ』), which will be released in Japan on 24th November. The single and album are already released in the US on 2th August and 15th September respecitively.

The limited version of "A Thousand Suns" album will also include a 1/144 HGUC Gundam GP01Fb gunpla Linkin Park edition, which features a carbon grey and white colour scheme, with the normal release's album art on the shield (I think this is a decal).

Official retail price for the album + gunpla bundle is set for 5500 Yen. CDJapan has it available for pre-order.

The opening of Gundam Extreme Vs can be watched on the game's official site, or on YouTube as shown below:


I haven't followed Western music, but having a big American band collaborating with Gundam for gunpla 30th anniversary is quite something. As for the song, I don't really know whether it's fitting to the Gundam Extreme Vs game. Combining the video teaser with the music feels like a fan-made AMV (Anime Music Video) to me; something just feels out of place... Maybe it's just me.

But apparently this isn't the first time Gundam is linked with Linkin Park, as it is said on Wikipedia that Sazabi, Wing Gundam Zero Custom, and Gundam GP01Fb can be seen in the music video of "Somewhere I belong". Nonetheless "The Catalyst" will be the first collaboration between the band and the Gundam franchise. I wonder whether they will do more of this kind in the future?

Warner Music Japan
COBS Online via Ngee Khiong
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26 September 2010

Photobucket overloaded

I can't keep up... orz

Photobucket bandwidth got overloaded (again) due to unexpected traffic surge last week. My humble blog can't keep up too well with it. Will try my best to restore the images via another image host as soon as possible.

Gotta admit that I have been using an inappropriate image hosting service for quite some time... Should have switched to other ones much earlier in the first place orz

Btw big thanks to visitors who have happened to arrive at my blog on the McDonald's Sasuke Toy post via reddit, Gizomodo, and facebook etc. I hope you enjoy what you have read there! (I hope)

Gundam 00 Second Season screenshot from Random Curiosity
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23 September 2010

The (Mighty) Chinese Red Army Orchestra

Note: This post is about a recent Internet meme. It has nothing related to politics or what has happened between China and Japan recently regarding the Senkaku / Diaoyutai Islands

The Chinese Red Army may be capable of fighting a war, but is also a mighty orchestra?

You may or may not have heard about it, but the "Chinese Red Army Orchestra" has been an Internet meme of some kind over the Chinese-speaking communities, especially for the past month. Ranging from Michael Jackson's Beat It to Saint Seiya's anime opening song, what can the Red Army not do? :o

YouTube videos available after the jump!

The original video clip is from a 1967 musical singing Red Army Long March Song Cycle (紅軍長征組歌) to commemorate the said event back in the 30s. The first parody clip was first created and released within China back in July, and it soon spreads to Hong Kong and Taiwanese communities. As the clip features solo, group singing, as well as a good variety of instrument performance, the clip can be parodied for all sorts of songs, as long as the editing is done well.

Below are a few examples of what the Red Army is capable of doing:

Michael Jackson's Beat it:


Honey - Park Jin-young


GO!!! - FLOW (Naruto 3rd opening song)


Saint Seiya opening song


There are a lot more of these songs including those of Chibi Maruko, Sergeant Frog (Keroro Gunso), Lady Gaga, Wonder Girls, and even World Cup 2010's theme song. o_O;;

Soon after a flood of these videos came in, the netizens claimed,
"From Michael Jackson to anime songs, there's nothing that the Red Army cannot sing." ^^;

Info source:
The Encyclopedia of Virtual Communities in Hong Kong (EVCHK, Chinese wikia site)
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18 September 2010

What's in the bag?

Bought a large bag of gunpla earlier this week. Man I kinda wish they have other bags for me to hold them other than this which looks like a bin liner of some sort...

What on earth have I bought? You shall see after the jump.

And here's the answer:

5 boxes of HGUC 1/144 Ball twin set. Yes, that's 5 boxes there, which will give me 10 Balls to work on.

And yes I sure have the Balls to do that (laughs).

Oh yes mass produced cannon fodders for the win~ Having 2 Balls from each box is like spawning zerglings in StarCraft and StarCraft II, and just like the Zerg counterpart the Balls excels in quantity, overwhelming their enemies in numbers ^^;

Zergling rush from StarCraft II. This is a screenshot from development stage (pre-beta).

I am actually nearly finished on building them. If you have been following my twitter then you may have seen some 'progress' pictures already. Stay tuned for the "ball rush". :o
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12 September 2010

figma Black Rock Shooter

Got figma Black Rock Shooter since the night before it is officially released. Been procrastinating on posting about it until now.

Despite having procrastinated on reviewing it, I really like this figma ever since I got it on the first night. Taking pictures literally took me hours to do doing the poses until I am satisfied. Let's get straight into it!

figma Black Rock Shooter is officially released on 25th July. I luckily got mine the night before boxes of them arrived at local stores.

About Black Rock Shooter (BRS), she is an original character designed by artist huke of which the illustration was first posted on pixiv. ryo of doujin group Supercell composed a song sung by Hatsune Miku program about this character as he expressed great interest towards the character. Apparently the illustration of Black Rock Shooter symbolises the low point of huke at the time he drew it. ryo materialises the character and the world she's in via the song and lyrics he composed, and the music video he created has become a great hit in the NicoNico video site, and eventually on YouTube as well.

It's nice mentioning that the box uses a new tab and slit, which makes unpackaging a lot easier without ripping any parts of the box for those who want the boxes clean and undamaged from opening.

For 2800 Yen, this figma is quite rich with accessories. The huge and symbolic Rock Cannon, Black Blade, 2 chains, 4 extra pairs of hands, 2 alternate faces (one with mouth open, and one with eyes closed), an extra front hair piece with the blue flare, as well as two sets of stand and a grip unit to hold the Rock Cannon.

A standard figma bag is included as well (not shown in photo).

Front. Black Rock Shooter can stand on her own without the aid of a stand when positioned well

Rear. The two joints for tails of the coat and the hole for the stand can be seen below the white star.

First off the Rock Cannon. The Rock Cannon is even taller than Black Rock Shooter herself.

Sitting on Rock Cannon. To be honest I really didn't expect the whole thing can stand on their own without a stand. Impressive.

Moving the twin tails backwards to imitate wind blowing

Equipped with Rock Cannon

Aiming with Rock Cannon

Posing with Rock Cannon in the air is not easy, even with the aid of a stand, because you have to fiddle with two things at once and make sure hand won't fall off from the arm. Inserting the hand back in is also a real pain as well as there are a lot things on the Rock Cannon getting in the way... -_-

Closer shot

A pose to replicate the original illustration that huke has drawn.

That will be one way to use the chains. Some people ask on forums about what those chains are for. Well, they are for tying things up. What you want to tie up kinda depends on your imagination (or fetish, if you want to put it that way...)

Let's have something more of a dynamic pose here. Man this took me forever to pose right - it's really difficult to put the hand back in the arm as the Rock Cannon really gets in the way.

Blocking Fate's Zamber Blade

Clash of the Big Weapons

Dual wield charging

Since we have the Black Blade here, we will go to that weapon next.

Next comes with the Black Blade

Another pose with Black Blade

A showdown with Signum.

Bit of an omake: Hatsune Miku with Black Rock Shooter side by side. Please do note that despite the similarities, the two are not the same character, nor is one based on the other.

A 50-minute OVA DVD comes along as a bonus. The reception of the OVA is kinda mixed, but hey I am not complaining when I get this with no additional cost.

Phew. I am tired after hours of posing and taking pictures. Thanks for the hard work, Black Rock Shooter. You deserve a good rest too!

This figma Black Rock Shooter is overall a pretty good release. A really good quality action figure and plenty of accessories to play around with. Haven't really heard of much defects or problems other than the potentially fragile joint between the chest and stomach (just beneath the bikini top) as there are reports of breakages out there, but it's not a widespread problem it seems.

The only real problem I have is holding and posing with the Rock Cannon. It's not easy to put the gripping hand onto the Rock Cannon's handle, and putting the hand back into the arm is even harder! I've spent a lot of time trying to put it back on when trying to pose it and fell off again and again, which can become kinda frustrating. I probably won't try doing another pose with her holding the big thing again for the said reason ._.

But really, this is a really nice figma. The paint job is in general fabulous - I can't really find complains on that aspect, and even though the open mouth expression seems kinda unlike BRS's character (IMHO), I really, really like her closed eyes expression. There is a calm touch and elegance to her with it. Makes me wanna fall for her (*Come on man, gotta snap back onto reality* @_@)

Not trying to be a fanboy out of it, but this is really worth getting! Great playability, lots of accessories, great price. Highly recommended!

More reviews can be found from:
  • Member 小櫻 from Our Toys Land forum

  • Hacchaka {Japanese site)

  • Asuka

  • Zh3us

  • Optismistic Penguin

  • Shewsbury

  • Open The Toy

  • Vixion

  • Read More!