31 December 2013

End of 2013

2013 has come to an end.

This year has not been stellar, to put it least negatively. The last quarter of the year has been especially less enjoyable; we had a family member suffering from ill health for many years, and seeing her suffer throughout the year until her final day was quite a toll for us. Luckily the week-long trip to Tokyo just before Christmas brought things to a lighter end to finish the year off.

Let us look back at the some of the highlights of the year.

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USS Peleliu visited Hong Kong in April. It was my first time seeing an active warship up close!

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The larger-than-life giant Rubber Duck was a big fad in Hong Kong; you couldn't get away without hearing or reading something about it every day while it was here!

Gundam Docks at Hong Kong! A 6m tall Gundam, as well as an equally tall Char's Zaku, made appearance outside Times Square.

Distant Worlds concert tour finally made a stop in Hong Kong for the first time! Being a fan of Final Fantasy's music, it was really a great pleasure to be able to listen to the concert in person!

Toy reviews had been minimal this year, which is a real pity. I did build a few Gunpla kits this year, but haven't got around to take photos of them. Hope I will get around to do more in the near future.

Nevertheless, the trip to Tokyo was a pleasure. Again big thanks to Arab-san and his doll Sakuya-san for taking me out around Akihabara and Dollpa event!

Well, the year has past, and let us look ahead to the new year and hopefully look for a brighter future!
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30 December 2013

D-Arts Black Zero Review

The final purchase of the 2013 was D-Arts Black Zero from Rockman X / Mega Man X video game series.

The Black Zero is basically a colour variation of Zero Type 2 released in 2012. It is a Premium Bandai Tamashii Web Shop exclusive item sold for 3500 Yen.

There are 2 kinds of Black Zero in the Rockman X / Mega Man X video game series: The first one is a fake copy that will be quickly be destroyed by the original in X3, whereas in future instalments it is an optional "upgrade armour" for Zero, which usually boosts his power.

Accessories include 3 types of Z-sabres, a normal right arm, 3 optional faces, 2 pairs of hands, and a muzzle part for Z-Buster for inserting effect parts (which are not included but can be used from other figures).

The Black Zero figure is pretty much the same as the red one, whose review can be seen here.





Readies the Z-sabre...

... And slash!

Zero with his Z-Sabre. It's purple with hints of foggy white, whereas the original has a solid pearl cyan colour instead.

Crouching with his Z-Buster ready

Action pose. Firing effect part is from D-Arts VAVA / Vile.

Various action poses

Black Zero has a total of 4 faces. The default face is the same, whereas the two on the left of the picture are minor variations of the red one, with the eyes looking at different directions. The fourth one on the right is a face based on the manga version.

And here is Black Zero with the manga version face. All I can say is... I am not used to it. ^^;

But I guess Zero approves this new face?

Comparison of original red Zero with Black Zero. Overall the red parts are replaced with black colour, whereas the hair becomes more of a dull cream colour. The paint job looks better than the original as there is now a nice finish surface, unlike the original which looks more like cheap plastic here and there.

The Black Zero may just be a colour variation of the red Zero with minor deviations, but the quality and finish is good. The helmet problem I faced in the red one is not observed here. The eyes still seem a bit too far up for the faces, hence it's difficult to take pictures of him while seeing the eyes clearly, but this seems to be a design issue rather than a quality one. Overall, this long anticipated black colour version of Zero is pretty satisfying to play around with. I do wonder who will be next in the line for D-Art's Mega Man series action figures?
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29 December 2013

Nendoroid Snow Miku Strawberry White Kimono Version Review

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Better later than never, a review of this year's Snow Miku, the Strawberry White Kimono Version, is up!

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The box is quite big for a nendoroid, and is currently the biggest I own so far. Unlike many nendoroids, Snow Miku Strawberry White Kimono version is packed in a windowless box.

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The box is different to most other Nendoroid boxes; it is a hard paperboard gift box with top and bottom wrapped around by a thin paper jacket. Overall it gives an impression as if it's a gift box for seasonal confectioneries.

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The contents: Snow Miku figure, 2 faces, 2 pairs of arms, open palms and a pair of hands for holding the umbrella, a body for sitting down, an umbrella, and a base.

Also not shown here is a red round plate, a toothpick, a snow rabbit, and head part with Miku's signature twin tails

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Front view

As the name suggests, Snow Miku wears a white kimono, which is also known as shiromuku (白無垢). White was considered a sacred colour, and the shiromuku was worn in important occasions or formal ceremonies. The strawberry part of the name is hinted in the red accents in Miku's kimono, as well as the inner surface of the hood.

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Side views

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And rear view

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Snow Miku with the hood removed, revealing a hairstyle not seen with Miku before

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Snow Miku holding an umbrella

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Snow Miku holding dish in tears of joy

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The parts that are not shown earlier: A red dish, a toothpick, and a daifuku in the shape of a snow rabbit.

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Miku sitting down on the dish.  With the snow rabbit and the hood looking like daifukus, the whole thing looks almost as if it's edible from a distance.

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Miku sitting down with her second face, which has a wider grin and looking slightly to her left. Lots of part swapping is required to move the parts from the standing body to the sitting one, including the arms, head, as well as her left leg.

While the shoulders have pegs to prevent the holes from shrinking (which is a good thing), the hole for the neck joint did not have one, and as a result the head would not fit into the body in the first place. I had to quite a bit of work to cut open a larger hole to get the head in.

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And a few pictures to finish it off.

Nendoroid Snow Miku Strawberry White Kimono Version is pretty satisfying to have. Overall quality is good with few complaints. The main issue I had was the neck hole for the alternate body part, and that there are a few parts such as the hair that are delicate, and caution is needed when handling. The design is very different to that from last year's Fluffy Coat Version, as Miku now embodies a traditional Japanese look. What's more interesting is the food theme behind this year's Snow Miku, with daifuku being represented on the hood as well as the white rabbit, together with the red confectionery plate and even the packaging itself.

Although the quality problem from last year's Snow Miku got me worried quite a bit, this year's Sakura Miku and Snow Miku reassured me a bit. Looking forward to next year's magical girl theme version!
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27 December 2013

Gundam Front Tokyo 2013

I visited Gundam Front Tokyo in Odaiba last year, and it was a great time out there. This year I visited it again with my old schoolmates, and while a lot of things are expected to remain the same, some exhibited items have been changed.

1/1 Gundam in red lighting. Looks very much like Char's Gundam now~

There is a special video projected on one side of the mall behind the Gundam promoting its appearance, as well as showing Acguy in Gundam colours, which one can buy its model (together with other Gundam Front Tokyo limited models) in the souvenir shop.

Gundam Build Fighters, promoting upcoming Star Build Strike Gundam

Kampfer Amazing

MG 1/100 Gundam 3.0

Gundam heads in 1/10 scale

Lineart of MG 1/100 Gundam 3.0

And many linearts for other MGs (click to open)

1/10 Hyaku Shiki

1/10 weapons

1/10 shields

1/100 scale weapons

1/100 scale shields

Various shields from 1/100 Gunpla, showing the variety in shapes and functionality

A small section is dedicated to the mass produced MS of the Gundam series. It mentions how grunt machines are added in the Gundam series to add the sense of warfare and reality.

Zaku type MS of the Universal Century

GM type MS of the Universal Century

Some display samples of Zaku type MS, for example MS-06RD-4 and Zaku tank from The 08th MS Team, which are not released as models as of today.

GM type MS model samples on display.

1/10 scale Blast, Force, and Sword Silhouette packs for Impulse Gundam

Wing / backpack part for various 1/100 Gunpla, showing their different appearances and functions

Drawings for the 1/1 scale RX-78-2 Gundam, with details showing the measurements and colours on individual parts

1/10 scale Strike Freedom Gundam on display

A specially customised MG 1/100 Strike Rouge in the image that Matsui Rena of SKE48 designed, together with a custom colour HG 1/144 Build Strike Gundam on display next to it

Char's customised Canon printer on display, which is available for order

And finally some beef udon to finish up the night~

Gundam Tokyo Front 2013
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