Sunday, June 16, 2013

Photos: ToyConPh 2013

Had a fun time while I was exhibiting some Frame Arms kits in the IPMS-BA Display. Here are some shots from today, the last day of ToyCon.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: RG 1/144 Gundam Seed Destiny - Destiny Gundam

My initial reaction with Real Grade kits has always been one of suspicion, thanks to my bad experience with the RX-78-2 RG kit, which probably winds hands-down for Gundam kits that simply have too many parts that tend to fall off and get lost. However, much of my faith was restored when I assembled the RG Destiny Gundam - though I still have some major gripes about it.

Head and Torso
The head itself is rather simple, with a gray internal block that seems to have some internal details... that do not get seen anyway. Also, the front and back main sensors and the eyes are all part of one transparent piece. If you use the right set of eye stickers, you can technically make the eyes light up by simple shining a light at the back sensor. I'll take more about the stickers later.

The torso itself is... simple. Given the complex internals I saw in the RG RX-78, the Destiny's internal torso mechanics were straightforward, and definitely devoted more to mobility than internal detail. In fact, the cockpit seems to have been designed as an afterthought, and I for one am not complaining, as there are no micro-figures to show such a detail off with.

Arms and Legs
First, the arms: They are nicely proportioned, and the mechanics are top-notch. Nothing much to say, as the only extra gimmick would be the mounted boomerang-sabers at the shoulders.

As for the legs, they contain one of my major gripes - the shifting or moving parts that, while they look impressive, mechanically, don't really makes sense, since armor is supposed to be a fixed plating for protection. Still, I like the proportions, except for the Donald Duck feet - and even then... Well, I'll talk about that later. 

Backpack and Accessories
The back pack and the attendant weapon accessories make sense from a toy  point of view, but I'll say it now: the backpack is HUGE. And the wings look somewhat stubby when in passive mode. They look great when fully extended, though.

The rifle is a standard thing for me, no great shakes, and the shield also has more detail, but isn't much more than an upgrade of the old HGGS Destiny's shield.

And the Blast-hands? They're large! I know it's a bit of an emphasis, and it looks photogenic, but in real life, it makes the whole kit look like an overgrown.... kid.

The beam effects and the energy shield are perfectly detailed, no complaints there.

As for the NUMEROUS markings? I am not a fan. I understand if it will make it look like some sort of Ver.Ka. in 1/144 scale, it's just that it looks like it will make the mecha broder on being tattooed all over the place.

One gigantic negative is the fact that the Destiny can hardly stand on its own - you will really need to buy a proper action base for it, Make sure, too that it's the right kind (the smaller one for 1/144), as the kit has its own connector end for the stand. Oh, and the wrist plates? be careful, they tend to get lost.

I will be honest, I am not a fan of RG kits, but this Destiny kit made a believer out of me. I heartily recommend this kit to anyone who wants to collect a high-quality Gundam kit in the 1/144 scale.

Click here for more reviews!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Review: Gundam HGUC 1/144 RX-79(G) Ez-8, Part 3

I'm not that big a fan of markings and stickers, as I think that at 1/144 scale, it's kind of ridiculous to have such large artwork painted on. However, in this case, I wholeheartedly approve, as the utilitarian/military starkness of the markings appeal to my "realistic" mecha aesthetic (at least when it comes to vehicle artwork).

Now, about the straps for the parachute: Don't be afraid to wrap the stickers around them - the sticker and the strap's material do not form strong adhesive bonds - after some time, you can slide the straps in and out of the sticker buckles. Still, I feel bad that they had to resort to stickers, as the original HG Ez-8 had small plastic buckles that actually worked!

Again, another gripe of mine are the strap handles on the shoulders - in this new version, they are fixed in place, but in the old HG version, they are fully functional, swiveling handles.

The internal calf mounts for the beam sabers is something I highly approve of - after all, it's a mecha, so "non-anthropomorphic" storage space should be no issue.

The beam rifle looks much better to go with the Ez-8, and its design is very much similar to the RX-78 first-gen beam rifle, except that it does not have a swiveling scope, trading it in instead for a vertical-mount fixed sensor. Do take note, though, that the hand grip has a raised area to fit into a slot in the gun hand, so this rifle may not work with some hand types, unless you cut off the raised area.

This is a shot of all the accessories that the basic mecha comes with, aside from the parachute backpack.

I know, some of you may be wondering: why didn't I feature the parachute backpack more? To be honest, there isn't much value in the backpack aside from it being an addition for the accessory completist. What should be noted is that the Ez-8 is compatible with most, if not all 08thMS HGUC accessories and weapons systems, and that includes RG weapons kits. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this kit is perfect for bulking up with all the existing and incoming add-on kit packs.

Is it a good buy? My answer would be: Yes, if you plan to add more stuff to it. As it is, aside from the backpack, it's a bit thin on the accessories. Part of me thinks that a good part of the push for coming out of this kit is based on teh popularity of the mecha itself. However, I really do wish they could have added more weapons, or kept some of the original HG kits details, like the working strap buckles, shoulder strap handles, and the support pistons to display the chest with the front armor disengaged.

Me? I'd buy this kit, simply because it looks cool,and yes, it would be a worthy addition to any collection on looks alone, and would probably be a good competition entry, once you have the right accessories for it.

Update: Click on the following links for the other parts of this multi-part review.

Part 1 - Part 2