31 January 2013

Dragon Can.Do 1/144 "Bergetiger"

I haven't bought a lot of stuff from my latest Tokyo trip in November/December, but there are a few items that I have managed to grab after seeking in vain for several years. This Can.Do 1/144 "Bergetiger" is one of them.

The so-called "Bergetiger" is a bit of a mystery in itself. It's essentially a Tiger I tank with a crane attached to it instead of the notorious 88mm gun. Widely rumoured to be an armoured recovery vehicle of some kind, i.e. mainly to tow away damaged vehicles out of the battlefield, some observers argued that the crane looks too small and weak to handle such task. Unfortunately not many original German records are available to document this particular vehicle, but it may appear to be a field modification for demolition charge and possibly for field workshop assistance.

This Bergetiger was a secret item for 5th series of Dragon Model's Can.Do 1/144 miniature tank shokugan toys. It is stated to be under sPzAbt 508 heavy tank battalion, and according to the battle log I saw from a book, there was indeed a record noting that one of the tanks damaged from action was converted for demolition charge purpose, but no picture was available.

A small half-figureis comes with the tank that sits loosely on top of the cupola with opened hatch. And for only approximately 6mm tall, he really is small!

A mini diorama to depict the Bergetiger "in action"... Well moving crates I suppose, but it's important duty nonetheless. :P

In case one wonders how big the tank is along with the diorama setup, this picture with a pencil and Nendoroid Nekomimi Shana may bring light to you. One thing what I like about 1/144 miniatures is how one can build a diorama just in front of your desk! ^^

I start to feel that my point-and-shoot camera is really starting to struggle to cope sometimes. For example, the macro shot of the diorama was actually taken with my phone. Many people are now taking pictures with interchangeable lenses, and that smartphones effectively take over the role of compact cameras. I am still stubborn and trying to stick with my 4-year-old compact digital camera... Well until it breaks I guess?
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30 January 2013

Z'gok Tofu Photo Contest Results

Remember the Z'gok tofu I blogged about earlier? A photo contest for the amphibious MS-shape hot pot tofu was held from 21st November 2012 to 11th January 2013, with results announced recently for winning entries! Let's see what hot pot dioramas there are out there!

Take this! Launching Z'gok missiles!

Red (Z'gok) tofu! Could it be Char?!

Z'gok tofus (and mushrooms as Acguys) preparing for Jaburo assault!

Re-enacting the famous scene with Char's Z'gok and GM!

The Z'gok has a new opponent to face in the hot pot!

I like the way the claws are made for this particualr entry!

A relatively thin Zock is also in the pot with Z'gok tofu and mushroom Acguys!

Z'gok team with Acguys!

More entries can be seen in their gallery!

Pictures from Z'gok Nabe Contest website
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29 January 2013

GUNDAM THE ORIGIN to air in 2014?

A website called Gundam Intellegence Agency (GIA) reported that the anime adaptation for GUNDAM THE ORIGIN manga is set to air in 2014.

The project was first announced not long after Gundam AGE's annoucement back in June 2011, but very little info is available since then.

Hayamimi Gunpla Jouhoukyoku also reported about this rumour, and found one additional image from imageboards that has a caption describing that the Gundam series is going back the origin after 35 years since the first series first aired in 1979.

While it's exciting to know that there may be more Gundam anime available after Unicorn OVA, whose 7th and final episode will air sometime in 2014, there are fairly few Japanese sites actually talking about it at the moment. Maybe we should be more cautious about it until we get more info? We shall see. :o
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26 January 2013

Nanoha Ichiban Kuji Sellout in Akihabara

Banpresto's Ichiban Kuji Premium Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A's starting selling today (26th January). Many fans are queuing early in the morning before the selling starts in Akihabara, with people reporting about it with photos on twitter.

The Ichiban Kujis are basically lottery of which has various kinds of merchandise available for purchase via a lottery draw. Each are available in finite numbers, and usually there is a sheet indicating what has been sold / drawn and what hasn't.

Like most Ichiban Kuji series, the top 2 prizes are usually high quality PVC figures. Prize A is Takamachi Nanoha as depicted in the 2nd movie of Nanoha movie. This image of Nanoha figure on display in Gamers store was dated back earlier this month.

Prize B is Fate T Harlaown (aka Fate Testarossa).

Approximately 30 people queuing outside Gamers store at 6:25 am. (http://twitpic.com/by7ohi)

By 7:18 am, the number of people waiting outside Gamers store has doubled. (http://twitpic.com/by7ykp)

Tables with boxes of raffle tickets lined up outside the store entrance. (http://twitpic.com/by84pj)

Outside Volks Hobby Tengoku just a few blocks away, cartons and cartons of Nanoha Ichiban Kuji items are lined up ready for the sale. (via @mohukan)

Someone by the name of Ninja (にんじゃ, twitter username @NinjaExpress) bought a total of 192000 Yen worth of Nanoha Ichiban Kuji there, which amounts to 240 tickets! (http://twitpic.com/by807w)

The stockpile is astonishing to look at, even taking over the kitchen! While apparently not all of them are to himself, as he mentioned on twitter that these are shared with 8 others, this is still approximately 22000 Yen per person! (http://twitpic.com/by9lps & http://twitpic.com/bybx84)

The whole thing was sold out before noon, which was less than 4 hours in total.

Never underestimate the fans' eagerness to buy what they want. Wanna get something hot? You'd better beat them to it! o_o;

Info via Hachima Kikou (はちま起稿)
Other images from Seaside Tears 2 and @NinjaExpress
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15 January 2013

figma Emiya Kiritsugu review

It appears that I have not reviewed a figma for more than a year, with the latest one being 2011 version of Racing Miku! This time it's a bit different from the ones I have so far, as it's a guy - more specifically Emiya Kiritsugu from novel and later anime adaptation Fate/Zero.

Emiya Kiritsugu is the protagonist of Fate/Zero, the prequel of Fate/Stay Night. Trained in magecraft, and also an expert in tracking and assassination, Kiritsugu is known to be a "Magus Killer", killing or crippling his magecraft capable enemies with ruthless tactics.

Anime blogger Nopy made an interesting post discussing on the character's ideals and personality. I personally like how Kiritsugu stands out from other typical heroic protagonists due to his beliefs and "relatively" realistic approach towards moral issues, which isn't all that glorious.

The figma was released sometime in September 2012 for a retail price of 3800 Yen.

The figure and accessories: Calico M950, Thompson Contender, Walther WA 2000, firing effect parts for Calico M950 and Thompson Contender / WA 2000, a pair of lower arms for shoving hands into the jacket's pockets, 6 extra pairs of hands, a figma stand, and 4 cigarettes (not shown in the picture).

Front view of Kiritsugu. His large feet compared to the female characters mean he stands quite easily.

Back view.

His default face has his eyes looking to his left. He may look a little strange head-on as there's a hole in his mouth, which is a slot for inserting a cigarette.

Cigarette in his mouth. There is a spare one in case you lose it, as it's pretty small to handle with.

Apart from the chewed and smoked cigarette, there is also a different one, which looks new and unused, and can be held on a special right hand as seen in the picture.

Introducing the sidearms: First is the Calico M950 pistol, which is capable of automatic fire.

The Calico M950 can be coupled with a firing effect part.

The second piece of sidearm is the Thompson Contender. Historically a single shot break-action pistol, Kiritsugu's gun is special as he has access to special cartridges specially crafted to take out his magus enemies.

The Contender can break open. The figure has a special left hand holding a cartridge for Kiritsugu to reload the gun.

A different firing effect part is provided for the Contender, which is also compatible with Kiritsugu's third weapon - the WA 2000 (to be mentioned below).

Dual wielding the Thompson Contender and the Calico M950

Both of the lower arms can be exchanged with those for Kiritsugu to put his hands in the pocket.

Kiritsugu's third gun is the Walther WA 2000 sniper rifle. It's historically a heavy sniper rifle with fewer than 200 units produced, and Kiritsugu's rifle has two scopes mounted for tracking his enemies down.

Holding the WA 2000 with a pair of hands specially provided for the rifle. It's not easy putting the right hand into the rifle's grip though!

Holding the WA 2000 in a very impractical way... But that's the best pose I can come up with to make him look like aiming down the scope. ^^;

The third and last face is a smiling face featured in the last episode after the showdown of the final battle. I won't put spoilers as for how it comes about. Nevertheless, it feels odd and is not easy to implement it on this particular character most of the time.

And a few more poses before the conclusion:

Emiya Kiritsugu is my first male character for my figma action figures, as well as the first character I've bought that is from TYPE-MOON's Fate series. He comes with a good number of accessories, and it's quite easy to pose with. While his smilig face looks a little odd in character, the other serious faces are a pleasant to display with.

The figure is also fairly tall, making him stand out among most other characters, especially the girls. While figma Saber Fate/Zero version and figma Irisviel von Einzbern will be great to complement Kiritsugu, for some reason I feel that figma Golgo 13 can be a nice match for him too due to their job as assassins. :o

One final picture to put the mood of the figure in place. I hope it looks okay!
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10 January 2013

Gundam Front Tokyo Part 2

After visiting the 1:1 Gundam outside, it's time to check out the indoor features inside Diver City Tokyo. It's situated on the 7th floor of the plaza. Upon entry, it's split into the free and paid admission zones.

The floor guide. The grey area on the left is free area, while the black area on the right is admission zone.

Gunpla Tokyo, a general collection and display of Gunpla that are released so far since 1980

The evolution of RX-78-2 Gunpla for various scales

1/100 MSV Zeon mobile suits: Agguguy, Agg, and Zogok

From left to right: One of the early 1/144, HGUC 1/144, and RG 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam.

1/144 MSV Zeon mobile suits: Zaku Cannon, Zaku Tank, and Zaku Marine Type

More 1/144 MSV Zeon mobile suits: Zaku Reconnaissance Type, Zaku Flipper, and Zaku Minelayer

1/144 Earth Federation mobile suits: GM Sniper Custom, Guncannon 2, and GM Cannon

1/144 FAZZ and Zeta Plus from Gundam Sentinel photonovel

Mobile Suits from Gundam ZZ anime: Jamru Fin and Ga-Zowmnn. Hope a lot of these MS from the pictures above will get an updated version for future release soon or later!

1/100 Earth Federation mobile suits Heavygun, Javelin, Gundam F-91, and Guntank R-44 from movie Mobile Suit: Gundam F-91

1/100 Crossbone Vanguard mobile suits Den'an Zon and Vigna Ghina from movie Mobile Suit: Gundam F-91

α Azieru

The first 1/144 and the recent HGUC 1/144 Nu Gundam and Sazabi in comparison

SD Gundam Epyon and Wing Gundam (and a tiny SD Shenlong Gundam)

Always wanted to see in person how big Gundam 0083's GP-03 Dendrobium is compared to Gundam SEED's METEOR~

(Then) Upcoming new Gunpla in December, including the highly anticipated RG 1/144 Zeta Gundam and MG 1/100 Nu Gundam Ver.Ka

Limited merchandise from Gundam Front Tokyo. Most of them are slight modifications of existing Gunpla

Large mural of Wing Gundam Zero Custom as I queued up to watch a short movie before entering Dome-G, the paid area for the venue (1000 Yen per adult)

While queuing for the entry to watch the short movie in a dome shape theatre, there are cautionary videos telling you what to do and what not to do by Gihren Zabi and Lacus Clyne in turns, with anime clips from Mobile Suit: Gundam and Gundam SEED Destiny as background reference. ^^

The short movie itself introduces the world of Gundam, briefly mentioning each of the video series released so far, as well as featuring some of the big battle scenes, and finally showing off the duel between Amuro in Nu Gundam and his rival Char Aznable in Sazabi in CG.

Huge diorama with Earth Federation forces clashing with Zeon forces!

Design schematics and mockup up the first ever Gunpla on display

Gundam diorama kits

MSV (Mobile Suit Variation) design arts by Okawara Kunio

Box art for Gundam 0083 Gunpla

S Gundam

Some of the early Gundam-related gashapons

A large Gundam Ryubi statue from SD Sangokuden

Gundam related gashapon pellet shooter

Gundam 00 Gunpla box art

Gundam AGE Gunpla box art

Huge signboard of various seiyuus (voice actors) of various Gundam series

1:1 scale magnetic coating part for Gundam joints

1/20 scale RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. G30th, based on the 1:1 Gundam

1:1 scale Strike Freedom Gundam's bust. The wings are only background image on the wall though

1:1 scale core fighter from the RX-78-2 after the final battle

Inside the cockpit of the core fighter

Depictions of how big the warships in Gundam franchise will be in 1/144 scale. It's a size that won't be practical to build as models for sure!

Zeon's final space fortress A Baoa Qu in miniature form!

A poor picture, but one worth noticing: The White Base infiltrated the base, with 2 Guncannons below it. There are also a pair of GMs escorting a escape craft as depicted in Gundam The Ride: A Baoa Qu.

There are display screens of characters projected in 1:1 scale whom you can choose to take pictures with together. For a random character the peculiar Death God from MS IGLOO 2 is displayed here.

Leaving the admission zone and one will see the Strict-G shop, which sells items like t-shirts and bags with Gundam references

Some of the Strict-G t-shirts on display

A huge mural of the Gundam above the entrance as I was leaving the place.

The whole Gundam Front Tokyo feature had been a blast to visit: Getting to see the Gundam in life size, as well as going through the history of Gunpla, seeing what has been released in the past, as well as the grand displays in the admission zone, and of course the short movie in the dome-shaped theatre (of which photos and video recording are not allowed so I can only describe it in words)! Unlike previous features, the Gundam Front Tokyo does not seem to have an end date at the moment, so I do recommend Gundam fans who are planning to visit Tokyo to check it out!

Odaiba Gundam Front Tokyo

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