28 November 2012
Minecraft is a rather unusual game. With its randomly generated gaming worlds consist of simply pixelated and textured cubic blocks, there are users who can come up with all sorts of creativities with the available in-game resource (such as a functional graphical calculator), or simply the dedication recreate sceneries from other contents or media.
While there is no remake of Final Fantasy VII, Kotaku recently reported on the recreation of Midgar city from Final Fantasy VII, and it's quite stunning at the least to say, with a lot of the areas as seen early in the game appearing in Minecraft blocks, though in third party texture packs in these screenshots.
Sector 7 slums
Shinra headquarters' main lobby
Children's playground in sector 6 slums
Interior of Mako Reactor
Bird's eye view of Midgar city
On the other hand, I also spotted Junon port city that also appeared in Final Fantasy VII. In the screenshot above one can see the Sister Ray cannon and the airship Highwind. You can download the recreated Junon here if you have the game!
Perhaps not everybody appreciates or understands the what makes Minecraft so appealing, but the dedication of some of its community can be quite breathtaking! Recreating cities Midgar and Junon with the correct proportion and relevant details, with features easily identifiable is not easy, and surely takes a lot of time.
Or you can say that some of the guys perhaps have a bit too much time to spare... ? ^^;
27 November 2012
Photo of Tokyo Skytree under construction in June 2010 as seen from Asakusa, from my older post
At the time this blog post is up, I should be somewhere in a plane sleeping, or at least trying to get some sleep, on the way to Narita Airport.
I wanted this trip to be a relatively relaxing one, but after looking at what my sister plans to do, it looks like we may have to do a bit of rushing here and there, even though we'll mostly be in the vicinity of Tokyo city itself.
But it's been nearly two and half years since I last visited Tokyo. I am a little intrigued to see how much will have changed, and how much won't while I'm away. We shall see once I've been there and back! Read More!
21 November 2012
A beast of innovation, tainted by the stigma of its former master, is dignified with grace, and flies over the sky once again.
At last, after a long wait, the HGUC 1/144 Byarlant Custom is out! I wasted no time and built it over the weekend. It's an enjoyable build, and also satisfying seeing its size! Without further ado, let's jump in and see how it is!
The Byarlant Custom was released earlier this month for 2600 Yen. Being an original unit first debuted in episode 4 of Gundam UC, it attracted attention for its unusual design and stellar combat performance against the Zeon remnants.
Originally an experimental unit from the Titans, an elite but corrupt division of Earth Federation, the Byarlant is unique in its ability to fly without having to transform or rely on a support flight system thanks to its powerful thrusters. With the defeat of the Titans after the Gryps War (as seen in Gundam Zeta), a lot of powerful mobile suits were scrapped due to negative stigma influenced by their former masters. Byarlant was one of them.
But a small number of Byarlants were kept and converted into technology testbeds. The one seen in episode 4 of Gundam UC and here in the review is Unit 1. It gains extra propellant tanks on its back for extra range, as well as parts cobbled from other Titans' units such as RX-110 Gabthley and NRX-055 Baund Doc, hence the nickname "chimera" which it earns as a result.
One of the big features for the Byarlant Custom is the number of articulated joints for the unusual arms.
Back propellant tank thruster has some joints as well.
Torso has a ball joint and the legs have fairly standard articulations compared with recent Gunpla.
Head unit has a small clear green visor. The original Byarlant had a monoeye, but this was replaced by twin eye system along with visor as the sole requirement for the modification of Byarlant by the Earth Federation.
Byarlant Custom does not have normal arms or manipulators (i.e. hands), but instead claws derived from RX-110 Gabthley, and mega particle cannons that can also be beam sabres.
Beam sabre part for Byarlant is very long. In fact it's the kind normally used for 1/100 scale Gunpla. The Byarlant Custom is not the first 1/144 scale Gunpla to use 1/100 scale beam sabre though; the HGUC 1/144 ZZ Gundam made it first.
A few random fights with other models I've also built fairly recently to show it off. Vs Marasai (another Titans unit, but here in captured Zeon remnant colour).
Vs Zaku II FZ (aka Zaku Kai)
Vs Zaku Mariner
As Byarlant Custom has no proper hands, it cannot hold hand-held weapons (and it has none in the first place). But it simply shoots beam weaponry out of its 2-in-1 arm cannons.
The kit comes with adaptor parts to fit Byarlant Custom on Action Base 1 that is normally for 1/100 scale Gunpla. Unfortunately I lost one of the parts vital for connecting the base to the adaptor part, so I have to compromise...
Showing off the rear thrusters~
A lot of the red parts inside the thrusters are provided as stickers, but I coloured mine (rather hastily) with Gundam Markers
Comparison with an ordinary (but different colour) HGUC 1/144 GM II. The size difference and mere appearances make the two leagues apart!
The Byarlant Custom is huge, and it has a lot of parts to make up for its size. Even though it lacks accessories due to its design (apart from the beam sabre parts), the wide range of articulation is nice to play around, with . It is a tad back heavy, so a bit of care is needed for posing. There are a number of stickers included but I did not use them - a lot of them are for the inner sides of the thrusters, but looking at other reviews they don't look too bad or out of place because they are not too obvious. A separate decal sheet with several EFF and Titans markings are also available for the kit, or for sticking onto other existing models.
I'm glad that I did not go for the expensive Robot Damashii version earlier and waited it out. If you like its unusual design or something mean to boast the Federation apart from Gundams, I do recommend the Byarlant Custom!
18 November 2012
I'll be off to Tokyo from 27th November to 3rd December. It has been approximately 2 and a half years since I last went there.
The trip will mainly be for relaxing and possibly sightseeing. The Tokyo Sky Tree will be one fo the places to visit, as well as the Gundam Tokyo Front in Odaiba, where the 1:1 scale Gundam is back since it first stood in 2009.
Akihabara will naturally be a place I will visit again, but I would probably have to do some research on some of the shops' relocation, since Radio Kaikan is now in the process of reconstruction.
I don't really expect to go and buy lots & lots this time. But one may never know what I will find. We shall see.
I'm sure there will be a couple more I should consider visiting. If you do have any suggestions, please do let me know!
13 November 2012
After X and Zero, the third character introduced into Bandai Tamashii's D-Arts line for the Mega Man X series is the villain Vile, also known as VAVA in Japan.
I actually got him since June, but procrastinated reviewing it until now. For the review I will refer him as "Vile" as mentioned in English versions of the games.
Vile was released as a Tamashii Web Shop exclusive figure back in June, which means overseas buyers would have to use proxy service to acquire it.
Vile is a recurring villain in Mega Man X video games. The original games provided litle details of him, apart from being a lackey under the main villain Sigma. His background is explicated in the PSP enchanced remake Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, and is even featured as a playable character there. Originally in the same organisation as the protagonists X and Zero hunting malfunctioned and dangerous Mavericks, Vile's circuits went haywire one day and became unstable, acting ruthlessly in his missions. He was locked up for being too dangerous and ruthless, but chaos broke out in the headquarters (an act secretly carried out by Sigma, then leader of the Maverick Hunters but now a Maverick), and Vile used this oppurtunity to escape, while developing a strong desire to defeat X. Ultimately Vile lost to X, and Sigma retrieved him and revived him as his ally for the future.
Vile comes with 2 shoulder cannons, joints for the cannons, a special leg joint for a leg cannon, firing effect, ammo belt, open muzzle parts for inserting effect parts into the cannons, as well as 3 hands - a pair of open palms, and one extra right hand for holding a glass of bourbon.
Equipped with Vile's signature shoulder cannon. It is connected on his blue backpack via a joint, with ammo belt linking from top of the backpack to the top of the cannon.
The back of the cannon. The ammo belt feed and the joining arms can be seen.
Effect parts can be inserted by swapping the muzzle part
The leg cannon can be deployed via part swapping. A shortened left thigh comes attached to it as well. One needs to remove Vile's existing left thigh and insert this part.
Vile sort of dislocates his left knee to bring out his leg cannon. While it's not used as often as his shoulder cannon, the leg cannon is by no means a weaker weapon.
A closer look on the leg cannon itself. Nice details are displayed there, including the red gem for the cannon muzzle, as well as the red and black cables.
Closer look on the head. Unlike most reploids, Vile's eyes cannot be seen, but apparently they do exist beneath the dark T-shaped visor (which resembles Star War's Bobba Fett in a way). The symbol on the forehead is Sigma's logo, which indicates allegiance to Sigma's maverick forces.
VAVA also comes with a glass of bourbon, which needs a special right hand to hold it. The bourbon glass only appears in one of the manga adaptations, where in one of the encounters with X Vile states that the glass could have been filled with bourbon or mud, but it would make no differences to Reploids as they wouldn't be able to identify them, challenging X his identity before he smashes the glass.
Vile also comes with an extra shoulder cannon for his left shoulder, so he can have two shoulder cannons at once like the Guncannon from Mobile Suit Gundam. This does not appear in any other media, but only as an original feature for the figure.
Random extra photos before concluding the review
The shot effect parts seen on the shoulder cannon here are from D-Arts Mega Man X
Showdown with X
Tea time with WRS~
Comparison with X and Zero. Vile has a slightly better finish with pearl-like coating overall rather than the raw plastic surface on the other two.
Vile comes with a fair bunch of parts, which is nice to play around with and to accompany X as well as Zero. It's a pity that he ends up as a web shop exclusive item; future Mega Man X related figures may also end up as so.
One main complaint I have with Vile is that some parts, especially his shoulder plates, pop off way too easily. The same can be said for the shoulder cannons as joints don't hold on well to the backpack, which can be a pain when one is posing them. It can be frustrating to play with as a relatively expensive limited figure compared to the X and Zero, which are regular release figures!
Overall, Vile is a nice figure to have if you like the game, the character himself or his accessories. I somehow quite like his bourbon glass there even though its purpose is not for drinking. The loose parts are little difficult to play with, and its price may make it not so appealing to acquire due to its exclusivity, but then there are hardly any alternatives apart from 10+ years old kits which may even be harder to acquire.
Several more Mega Man X-related figures are showcased in Tamashii Features event recently, including Sigma, a black version of Zero, and even Vile's own Ride Armour. I do have my eyes on them, but we shall see whether they will end up as exclusive items or not...
7 November 2012
Hatsune Miku is liked by many with her appearance and the songs she sings. She's now very popular that many variations are created via different means, but a recent one from this year becomes popular not for the same reason, but perhaps for something else.
Mikudayo (ミクダヨー) is the moniker given to the kigurumi of nendoroid Miku originally for promoting the 3DS game Hatsune Miku and Future Stars: Project Mirai.
While the costumed Miku is supposed to resemble nendoroid Miku, the overall appearance looks... Slightly different. Be it the relatively stout appearance, those "flappy twin tails", the looks of the eyes, Mikudayo simply gives off a different aura than the one we are usually familiar with...
Then all sorts of parodies come in thanks to the fascinating creativity from the Internet communities. Here is a snall selection of them:
The Gaijin 4koma / Reaction Guys Miku Dayo edition
A doctored image of Iran's missile launches, although this is not the most used image for editing.
Char stabbed the GM in the famous scene in Mobile Suit: Gundam? No. Mikudayo did it (image from pixiv).
The Shining. Heck, it now even looks creepier than the original cover.
GM II got owned by Gumako and Mikudayo (scene from episode 4 of Gundam UC OVA)
Gohan couldn't stand a chance with her
What's more, Good Smile Company even announces the nendoroid of Mikudayo, which is set to release in March 2013 for 3000 Yen. It is now available for pre-order via its web shop, as well as other online shops such as Hobby Search, AmiAmi, and HLJ.
Miku kick! The GM action figure in question is Banpresto's S.C.M. EX line, known for slim proportions and great articulations.
Look at the poor GM orzing in the background... Terrified with his pride lost, it's unlikely that he will get back up anytime soon.
So, anyone interested in getting this nendoroid?
Just be careful and make sure you take full alert of your surroundings; she may be just around the corner, ready to take you down by surprise... ^^;