Monday, December 16, 2013

One day at PhLUG meet: Lego-Bots


PhLUG is the Philippine Lego User Group of which I am fortunately a member.  We had our last meet-up of the year last Dec. 7, 2013.  So aside from buying a bunch of Lego sets I was awestruck by a couple of Lego models that formed what else - MECHA!

So prepare for a feast for the eyes of MECHA-inspired brick creations!  






Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sneak Peek: Kotobukiya Frame Arms Baselard and Zelfikar, Modified

Decided to do some parts-swapping for color. I also shifted the Baselard weapons to the Zelfikar, so that means I had to find other weapons for the Baselard. More in a future post.

Baselard and Zelfikar

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review and Modification: HGBF 1/144 Gundam X Maoh | "X-Niten Ichi-Ryu"

I've always been a fun of the Gundam X design, even if the asymmetrical design took some getting used to. To my joy, the new series, Gundam Build Fighters, has an X variant known as the X Maoh. Thankfully, my friend Zero Four had some stock available.

I decided to get two, and then bash some parts together with some X Divider weapons. The following mobile suit became the result, and I've taken to calling it the X-Niten Ichi-Ryu, which sounds much better than Maoh-Maoh.

Without further ado:

Standard Mode

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review and Modification: Kotobukiya Frame Arms Wilber Nine

When I received the Wilber Nine from my friend Winn, I realized that I was less than thrilled with the endoskeleton's color.



Photo taken from main Kotobukiya Frame Arms site: http://main.kotobukiya.co.jp/fa/rf12wilbernine.html
















I decided to replace the skeleton with a Frame Architect 001 - For Modeler's Edition endoskeleton, so it would be in metallic grey. I was pleased with the results.




Yes, I removed the waist plates. More on that later.


I figured, since I'd done this already, that I should go forward and do even more, given all the spare parts I had.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: Sluban M38-83387 Morking-Hanries Mecha

The Side Story


Hello it's me again Ron bringing you your dose of non-GunPla mecha in the form of brick toys.

One fine day I was walking along The Landmark's brick toys section when this caught my eye:



Well I knew I wanted to get it.  I mean wouldn't you want a mecha named MORKING-HANRIES!?!?!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: HGUC 1/144 Victory Gundam (by Miko)

HGUC 1/144 Victory Gundam


Hi! I'm Miko, one of the contributors to this blog. As my first post I'd like to show you guys a little review I made for one of my (now) favorite gunpla kits; The HGUC Victory Gundam.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kotobukiya Frame Arms: Modified Architect Frame

What I really like about the Frame Arms series is how you can literally just make your own mecha, no questions asked. Here's one that I made out of scratch parts and the new Grave Arms Heavy Weapons Add-on:


Kotobukiya Frame Arms Architect Frame with some add-ons, and the Grave Arms Weapons system
Architect Frame + Grave Arms + Zen Knight Bazooka Cross + assorted extra armor and weapons

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Article - The Greenhills toy store crawl


Photo taken from http://www.greenhills.com.ph/details.asp?storeid=2822



For many toy collectors in Metro Manila, there has always been one place they could go to: Greenhills. This shopping center has been a toy collector’s Mecca since the 1980s (when I first visited), and through fire and renovations has survived and thrived, with older shops closing, and newer ones taking their place.
For now, let’s look at some of the shops that sell toys. I’d like to say, though, that in the interests of keeping this article short, I only included the ones that either I usually go to, or the ones that I know can offer interesting deals or finds. There are many more shops, and I’ll probably have a sequel to this article to present more of them. Anyway, here are some of the more popular toyshops within the Greenhills area....

To read the full article, please go to The Philippine Online Chronicles

Friday, November 8, 2013

Kotobukiya Frame Arms: Scratch Builds and Mods

This is an "improvement" over another design I've been showing around. Of note are the new shoulders (from the Griffen Extend Arms set),




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Assorted Takara Microman Toys

Here are some of the assorted Takara Microman toys that I've picked up across the years.

EDIT:
These units are apparently from a sub-line of the Magne Power Series from 1999, as documented here.

Thank you, Microman/Micronauts MicroFan FB Group!


029 Hurrican Bird
This unit is apparently an upgrade for Robotman units of the line. 


0030 Magne Cats: Magne Cougar, Magne Jaguar
These two are also upgrade parts for the Robotman Units. They turn into complete legs and feet. The black one has spear-throwing systems, while the blue one shoots spinning razor blades.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Takara Microman: Magne Power Giant Acroyear

I bought this set out of curiosity almost a decade ago in a nearby mall (Ali Mall, so named because Muhammad Ali supposedly is a part owner). Yes, it's not in good shape, and I regret that fact. If anyone can contact me in the comments about how to clean this properly, I would be very grateful.

This Takara Microman set is composed of three smaller units that combines into a larger unit. After some research, I think it's called the Magnemo Acroyear. The whole Magnemo line can supposedly gattai with each other.

EDIT:
The kind folks over at the Micronauts/Microman FB page have been kind enough to point me to a source for more information about this toy - apparently known as the 055 Giant Acroyear from the Magne Power Series.

Acro-Alpha
This seems to be the "main robot," and closely resembles the classic Acroyears. The arrow-like missile on the right hand is a pressure click system. When the toy was new, this was definitely an eye hazard.
 
Takara Microman: Acroyear Magnemo, combiner/gattai toy set
Acro-Alpha

Sunday, November 3, 2013

HGUC: Gundam X Combination/Waiting

I'm just waiting for the Gundam X Maoh-type to be released in the Gundam Build Fighter line, then I'll probably combine parts from that with this. It should be interesting.

Mecha and Bricks

Hello all!

Most of my friends know I'm a person who's into a lot of different things.

My day job has me developing mobile applications for Android and iOS.  I also play bass for the alternative band Blue with Envy

As a self proclaimed geek I've gone through collectible card games (top ranked in asia for the late lamented VS), video games, books and various other geek pursuits.

As for Gundam I first got introduced to it via an unsubbed pirated betamax copy of Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories way back in 1992.  Before that I was huge fan of giant robo like Voltes V, Daimos, Mazinger Z and Mekanda Robot.

Before I got into gunpla I was heavy into scale modelling particularly jets from the 70s and 80s.  I was also a big fan of Lego. In fact my favorite toy was my large collection of Lego toys that started when my parents first gave me a set when I was 3 way back in 1978.

My first gunpla was an old 1/144 Wing Zero Gundam pictured below:

HG 1/144 Gundam Wing model kit
Picture from: http://joesgunpla.blogspot.com/2010/09/1144-wing-gundam.html

So I managed to get a couple of kits with a lot from the Seed series as well as the Double 00 mechas.  Along the way there were also a few from Macross Frontier.

But sometime in 2010 I was able to come across a few small sets of Lego on sale and it rekindled my obsession with the little plastic bricks.  Come 2011 I had to pick one hobby to maintain and Lego had won out.  Lego and other bricktoys have been more of an obsession of mine than gunpla ever was. It was put to a stop when I was in highschool and robbers broke into our old house in Muntinlupa.  We woke up before they were able to make off with our stuff but they did snatch my big box of Legos.  

With the burgeoning industry in China of lego-like toys and the amount of tie ups Lego had with other intellectual property like Star Wars, Marvel and DC Comics, it was a great time to get back into the toy that I most love.


Here are some examples of Lego and various brick toys:

Lego Mini Figures, Retro Robots
Lego Minifigs retro robots

Hasbro Kre-O Transformers
Hasbro Kre-O Transformers

Sluban Red Flamingo Transformable Fighter
Sluban Red Flamingo Transformable Fighter


But leaving Gunpla for Brick toys did not mean I would also leave my liking for Gundam because of stuff like this all over the intarwebz:


Lego V Gundam:
Lego V2 Gundam
Image from: http://ravenrepublic.net/2010/02/11/most-awesome-lego-mech-ever/

And here's the original Japanese site: Lego V2 Gundam

Even Macross's legendary co-creator Shoji Kawamori uses Lego bricks to explore some of his mecha designs as chronicled here.


Shoji Kawamori, using Lego to make proof-of-concept Macross mecha mock-ups.
Image from: crunchyroll.com

So eventually I want to be able to build this:

Lego Macross Valkyrie that actually transforms

Transformable Lego Macross Valkyrie
Image from: http://kotaku.com/macross-robotech-lego-that-transforms-i-can-die-now-473075192

Or this:
Lego-block-type Strike Freedm Gundam


But for now I have to content myself with mecha kits from Lego and Chinese manufacturer Star Diamond like:

Star Diamond Super Blocks Deformation Soldiers
Star Diamond Super Blocks Deformation Soldiers


Lego Chima
Lego Chima

I will be posting my reviews of Lego and brick toy mecha sets in these pages for the foreseeable future.  If you are interested in more Lego and brick toy reviews you can also check my brick toys blog: Brick Stories.


Until the next time!

*click here for more Lego articles

00 Gundam and XN-Raiser Support Units

A "family" pic of what I'd consider a full attack squad comprised of the 00 Gundam and its accompanying support units. THe support units are two XN-Raisers, one outfitted with missile boxes, and the other with extra shields. One is also piloted (orange cockpit), and the other one is a remote/AI system (cloudy blank cockpit shell).


00 Gundam with two XN-Raisers, one with shields, the other with missile boxes
00 Gundam "full" mecha and support team


Monday, October 28, 2013

Article - Opening the box: Grown men who collect toys

One of the more popular articles about hobbies that I wrote for The Philippine Online Chronicles.

Opening the box: Grown men who collect toys
The following scenario could quite probably be many a woman’s nightmare:

You’ve just met a good-looking, well-mannered, educated guy, who looks like he’s also wise enough to be able to save up for the future. So a few dates later, he asks you over to his place. The moment he turns the lights on in his apartment, you are suddenly surrounded by toy robots, all in glass cases.

Oh, the horror. You’ve been dating a toy collector.

Click here to read the full article over at the Philippine Online Chronicles

Friday, October 25, 2013

Article - Adultescents: Playing in the fountain of youth

Here's another article I wrote for the Philippine Online Chronicles that touches on hobbies.

Adultescents: Playing in the fountain of youth

It’s one of the newer terms inspired by the mish-mash that is pop culture: the Adultescent.

Forever young
Do you have a friend who still acts and sometimes looks the same as he was in high school? Does he still dress up in clothes that belong to a younger generation? Is he totally immersed in youth culture, playing their games, listening to their songs, and watching the same TV shows?

Well then, chances are, you have a person who could be an adultescent. However, it’s not just acting young that makes the adultescent what he (or she – there are female versions, too!) is. And just like many things, there are both good and bad sides for adultescents.

Click here to read the full article at the Philippine Online Chronicles

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Article - Married, with hobbies!


This is one of the few times that the articles I write coincide with my hobbies. Here's the quick blurb, and I surely wouldn't mind if you do read the whole article over at the Philippine Online Chronicles. Enjoy!

------------------------------------------------

Now that my generation is mostly married, many people who aren’t our age – normally the younger ones – ask how it is that we can keep up with our hobbies once marriage and kids are involved. After all, hobbies involve money, and with children and house expenses to think about, hobbies are definitely way down on the list. Even more unusual is the fact that my generation seems to be one of the first to invest deeply in “geeky” hobbies – hobbies that revolve around toys, TV shows, animated shows, science fiction, or fantasy.

And yet, many married couples now challenge that notion. I contacted three of my friends, and they willingly contributed their experiences with being married hobbyists...

Read the full article at the Philippine Online Chronicles

Monday, September 30, 2013

Snapshot: Kotobukiya Frame Arms Griffen with Extend Arms 03 Set

The upgrade set for the Frame Arms Griffen just came in, and I have to say this: It made it look like some sort of mutant Macross Destroid. It's nice, but yes, you really have to paint all the rocket warheads read for a better effect.

Click here for the official Kotobukiya page for the Frame Arms Extend 03 Set
Click here for the official Kotobukiya page for the Frame Arms Griffen

I'll make a more detailed photo set and review soon. :)


Oh, and if you didn't see it (because I uploaded it late at night, I was so excited [facepalm]):

Frame Arms: MSG Heavy Weapons Unit 04, Grave Arms (Modified)



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Frame Arms: MSG Heavy Weapons Unit 04, Grave Arms (Modified)

So, I was able to finally get my hands on this heavy weapons set from Kotboukiya's Frame Arms line, and I have to say, I am impressed. Here is one of "scratch" units, outfitted with it. I've added some handles to the original Grave Arms, for more logic on how it's supposed to be held.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bandai HGGS 1/144 MBF-P03 Astray Blue Frame Second L - Review - Part 2

Welcome back!

I'd like to apologize for the long wait, but things got a bit busy in real life. Anyway, here's the second part of the Blue Astray Review.

Gundam Wikia: MBF-P03 Second L
MAHQ.net: MBF-P03 Second L
Click here for the first part of the review

The Tactical Arms Weapons System
I'm a big fan of multiple-mode weapons systems, but even I have to admit, the TA system for the Blue Astray was quite a surprise. It's a flight pack with a "tailgun" that transforms into a cannon/artillery unit, and of course, it has a BFG (Big F***ing Sword) mode.

We've already seen it in the flight mode in the first part of the interview, and as observed, it didn;t look too good in it. Here, in Gun/Cannon mode, it looks passable.


The two ammo clips at top and bottom are stored at the back waist plates.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Random Mecha Photos: Gundam Strike Brothers

Since we're coming into the age of the Gundam Build Fighters anime, I figure that I should take some random photos of all the stuff I kitbash.

Here's two of them: Strike Sword and Launcher units with some additional parts.


More about Gundam Build Fighters at the Gundam Wiki

Here's a promotional video for Gundam Build Fighters:






Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

HGUC 1/144 RX-0 Gundam Unicorn 03 Phenex [Destroy Mode] Ver.GFT - Review

I admit, I do have a fetish for the Gundam Unicorn design, though some of my friends find it entirely too complicated. I also admit that I sold my MG 1/100 version of it, since i found it too fragile. However, the 1/144 model kits seem to be a fair representation of the kit, even though you have to buy two kits for the different mecha modes.

And now, the latest version of the Unicorn is the supposed third version, the Phenex. I actually thought the name was a piece of Engrish, but apparently, Phenex is an actual name - a demon who appears as a Phoenix, and is a patron of sciences and art.

Click here for more information on the Phenex, from the Gundam Wikia.

HGUC 1/144 RX-0 Gundam Unicorn 03 Phenex [Destroy Mode] Ver.GFT

Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Banner Image!

From a good friend, Atan Abenir: Mecha Toys' new banner. Thanks, FB Group guys, and keep on sending!  
Original image of Voltes V, rights reserved to owner, please contact me if you wish to have to taken down.


I feel that this actually gives a good representation of the local mecha culture, as Voltes V has cultural, political and generational meanings for Filipinos.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bandai HGGS 1/144 MBF-P03 Astray Blue Frame Second L - Review

This is one of my favorite designs from Gundam Seed - scratch that, from all Gundam! The basic design is known as the Astray, and this particular variant is known as the Astray Blue, Second L.

In a nut shell, this mecha is an upgraded unit, now boasting of a multiple-mode weapon and propulsion system known as the Tactical Arms, which has three modes: a winged flight pack, a gun system, and a large sword with rocket thrusters.

For more information, you can check out the history in the following links:

Gundam Wikia: MBF-P03 Second L
MAHQ.net: MBF-P03 Second L

Bandai HGGS 1/144 MBF-P03 Blue Frame Astray Second L
Yes, it can be balanced while at a relaxed stance - but not with a straight-on, equal-footing stance.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: HGUC 1/144 ORX-000 Messala, Part 2

Welcome to the second part of the Messala review!

(Click here for the first part of the review)

Backpack
The backpack is a combination of both simplicity and a bit of complexity - the actual backpack "shell" part has a lot of moving parts, so that the thruster pods can be positioned correctly in both forms. The thruster pods themselves have a lot of empty space inside - you would almost suspect that they want people to do LED light-up mods...

However, even with all the joints in the backpack thruster connectors, the thruster pods still tend to hit the shoulders, given the design. These pods are also the reason why you have to balance the Messala carefully, if you're going to be showing it standing on the ground - the pods make the whole mecha top heavy - and at this point, they're mostly hollow!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: HGUC 1/144 ORX-000 Messala

Admittedly, I've been waiting for the Messala to be updated as an HGUC kit, though one reason for that, I will reveal later. As it is, it's one large and impressive-looking kit. The Messala is a historic mecha of sorts, being the first transformable mecha to appear in the Zeta Gundam anime series.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Vintage Kitbash: Astray Gold with Blitz parts

Now, this is a bit funny in origin. I had gotten a Gold Astray, and at the same time, I had a scrapped Blitz Gundam with a broken leg and missing head pieces. And since the Amatsu came out with Blitz Gundam parts, I decided to emulate it with this one, as well.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Vintage Kitbash: Astray Amatsu

Some further photos on my kitbashed Astrays. In this case, I minimized the weapons load out of the Amatsu type. In retrospect, though, I think I'll remove the long missiles.




Thursday, August 8, 2013

Angel Versus Devil - Gundam AGE style

I got this idea from thinking about the ever famous St. Michael vs. Lucifer imagery.


Vintage Toys: Saving the Past

I've had quite a few toys that were sold off at garage sales (thanks, Mom...). But I've managed to save a few. here are some survivors. I'll be featuring them more in the coming weeks.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Vintage Kitbash: Gundam Astray Options

I've been going through my old stuff, looking for what I can sell, and I'm coming across ideas that, though old, I should really get into a "done" status.

Here's one: I'd always pictured that the Astrays from Gundam Seed would be a bit more modular - so I came up with this: A pair of Astrays - Normal and Amatsu - that have an option set of weapons and arms. To be honest, though, if I had more budget, I'd get myself two red astrays and then remove as much of the gold plated parts as possible.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy! I'll probably do more shots of this set... After I take photos of other stuff I found... (wink-wink!)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Group Picture: Jegan/Jesta Team

To be honest, I didn't like the Jegan design when I first saw it, mainly because it was destroyed so utterly in F-91. However, the design has grown on me, and I've been doing some kitbashing with my Jegan kits, as well as weapons-swapping. The Jesta Cannon, however, is a stock kit.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bandai HGUC 1/144 Banshee Gundam Kitbash

Okay, so I thought it would be a great idea to combine as many of the Banshee weapons systems into one unit as possible, and then include the Unicorn FA Weapons System. It actually was, until the Phoenix came along. Ah, well, such is life. This mecha kitbash will still look good in my future display case.