Monday, May 29, 2006

Fixing model joints

Although Master Grade models are known for their sturdy joints, allowing them to display many action poses freely, they are not invincible, mind you. If you work their joints too much, they will break. Most of the time, the problem is loose polycaps. Polycaps is one of the earliest molding techniques in Bandai’s models. They are made of rubber and used for the different joints of the models, such as arm, shoulder, torso, knees, virtually every part of the body that can move needs polycaps (although there are some models that uses bolts and screws like Master Grade God Gundam, Master Gundam, Shining Gundam and Gundam Spiegel). In Master Grade models, these polycaps are designed to fit into the joints very tightly, so that the joints are extremely strong. So if you move them too much, the friction between the joints will make the polycap to become loose, and problems like the model can’t stand up properly, lean forward or backward all the time, the arm can’t hold the shield anymore etc will start to occur.

That’s exactly what happens to my Master Grade Gouf. I guess I must have play with it too much, the leg joints has loosen and need to be fixed. The solution is to change the polycap. Here how I did it.

First, read the manual of Gouf to know which polycap it uses and how it’s being assembled.
Read the instruction manual

Second, after taking off the leg armors, separate the two pieces holding the polycap with knife. It doesn’t really matter if the parts were glued when I first assembled it, I can glue it together again later.
Separate the pieces holding the polycap

Thirdly, take out the loose polycap. You can see it’s already damaged.
Get the loosen polycap

Next, find one substitute that matches the original polycap the closest. If you have a substitute polycap, that’s great. You can pop it into the model right away. If you can’t, the closest substitute will do. Remember the hollow part must be tight.
Get a substitute polycap

The substitute I found has longer and flatter legs (i.e. parts to joint the polycap with the pieces of the model), so the extra parts need to be cut away. Just use knife, they are rubber parts, so it should be quite easy.
Modify the polycap

Put in the polycap and snap those two pieces together to see if they fit. In this case, success!!
Try out the polycap in the original parts

Glue the pieces together using modeling glue, NEVER use superglue, that’s extremely hazardous to your model. After putting the parts together, I hold them tightly for a while so that the glue will hold.
Repeat the entire process for the other leg joints.
Glue the parts


Funny Chinese Translation

I thought of trying Babel Fish Translation tool for fun in this blog. It turns out to be quite cool. Now people can view my blog in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, German and a couple other languages listed. Just scroll down and until you see it on the right panel of this page, and click the language you want this page to be in. However, don’t expect the tool to give you a 100% accurate translation. I viewed my blog in Chinese that day and almost laughed my head off. For the 1-100 Scale Infinite Justice part, ‘SEED Destiny’ was translated exactly as each word means, and Strike Freedom was translated as Freedom Gundam that goes for a strike on the street. Very funny, I guess the tool can’t identify that those words are meant to be title of items which need not to be translated, and I bet the same thing happens for the other languages as well. Those who understand Japanese and the other languages will know for sure. Funny Chinese Translation

Saturday, May 27, 2006


2046 is movie by Wong Kar Wai from Hong Kong. I watched the movie quite a while ago, and was stunned with how well the director merged storytelling with movie directing to give the audience this masterpiece. The story blends the past, present and some future elements about the leading character’s relationship with several women, with each relationship ended in regrets and sorrows. I couldn’t really catch what the story was about in the first ten minutes, but as I watched on, the story starts to take shape and I as the audience got really immersed into the movie. There were many repeating lines in the movies but as I watch on, I found that these lines have different meanings in different scenes, which astonished me of how creative the director played with the audience mindset in following the story.

The cast of the movie consist of famous stars, like Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Gong Li, Ziyi Zhang, Faye Wong, Carina Lau and many more. However, the movie is good for me not because of the huge names, but because of the story. 2046 in the movie is a sci-fi novel created by the leading character, Tony Leung who played as a writer. When I first heard about the movie, I used to think that it was about the future, but what Wong Kar Wai creatively did, was to relate the sci-fi novel with Tony Leung’s own story, tween both of them back and forth, and amazed the audience with how well all of these scenes are connected.

The tagline of the movie goes like this, “In the future there is a train that takes people to the year 2046. Most passengers who board the train to 2046 have the same objective, which is to retrieve their lost memory. They say that everything is static in 2046, but no one can be sure of that, because those who go to 2046 never return…” Although the novel is about the future, it is actually a reflection of Tony Leung’s own life experience, especially with the women he had relationship with. Even the title 2046 is a reference to the hotel room next to Tony Leung’s when he was writing the story. The room is occupied by different women at different times, including Carina Lau, Ziyi Zhang, Takuya Kimura, and Faye Wong. All of them had certain love-hate relationship with Tony Leung, and ended up as one of the many characters in the novel Tony Leung was writing at that time.

Each of the relationship was not successful, as love happens at the wrong time with the wrong person. The audience can identify for Tony Leung and his partner what went wrong with their relationship, but can just sigh at the screen. The movie ended with no happy-ever-after stuff and I kept on thinking that if the character would do something at certain moment, then those relationships would have fruited. Anyway, Wong Kar Wai never directed Cinderella or Snow White.

Other elements of the movie, like the photography, soundtrack, and the overall environment created are unbeatable as well. It shows that antiquity of Hong Kong’s society in the 50s. At some point, I sort of feel that the director is also showing the emptiness of the people’s soul as most of their night life were spent in night clubs, womanizing and ‘socializing’.

I strongly recommend this movie to all of you. Some may not be able to accept the movie, since you can’t really leave the screen till the very end of the movie if you want to know what it is all about. Don’t expect to watch the first half of the movie today, and watch the other half some time later, as you won’t get the same felling anymore. For those who are getting bored with the commercial Hollywood type love movie, you should watch 2046, and perhaps you would feel the same as me as well.

Images are from Sony Picture Classics: 2046

Takuya Kimura

Faye Wong

Tony Leung with Ziyi Zhang

Ziyi Zhang & Tony Leung

Ziy Zhang

Gong Li

Maggie Cheung

Friday, May 26, 2006

1-100 Scale Infinite Justice Gundam

Infinite Justice Gundam is one of those designs I would consider as quite unfortunate when Gundam SEED Destiny was aired quite a while ago. Since the leading Gundams are Strike Freedom and Destiny, others like Infinite Justice and Legend becomes quite insignificant. But Legend's design is too similar to Providence from the original SEED series, therefore not of my favorite as well. But Athlun's Infinite Justice features many cool designs you don't see in any MS before, especially the knee-to-foot beam blade, and the extremely versatile shield. All these make this mecha quite unique among all the other MSs from SEED Destiny, which contain too many copycats.

Bandai did produce the 1-144 Scale version of Infinite Justice, but of course with fewer features and details. What Gundam fans are waiting for is this 1-100 Scale version. Very beautifully molded, with all the armaments included, this is definitely one of the great models from Bandai lately.

Images from HLJ.

Box Image

Details of the model - click to enlarge

Best SD Gundam yet

I must admit that I don't really like Destiny Gundam very much. I guess the MS is OK, but the pilot, Shin Asuka makes it into quite a crap. But the people at Bandai came up with the SD version of Destiny Gundam, and the design is really fantastic. It can hold it's beam sword with two hands, and the backpack beam wings are included as well. For me, this is surely one of the best SD Gundam yet. At the price of 800 Yen, this guy is a must for Gundam fans.

Images are from HLJ.

Box Image

Details of the model, click to enlarge

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hildoltr: More Pictures

Here are some snapshots on Hildoltr I took straight out of MS Igloo: Episode 2: the Howl that Stained the Setting Sun. However, I recommend you to watch the anime to see the real action. Target locked... BAM!!! Right on target
Hildoltr action 1

Hildoltr action 2

Hildoltr action 3
Hildoltr action 4
An enemy Zaku standing in my way?
One AP shell is enough for the farewell gift Switching to machinegun Machine gun out of ammo...
but I got tons of firepower in this!
Zero distance contact... I win again

Monday, May 22, 2006

YMT-05 Hildolfr

I watched the first three episodes of MS Igloo recently, and my favorite is Episode 2: the Howl that Stained the Setting Sun. The main reason is because of the great performance of this tank, Hildolfr in the battle against some stolen Zaku IIs by the Federation. Hildolfr’s mission when it was sent to Earth was not for combat, but to gather field data. However, it stumbled upon those Zaku IIs when they are attacking a Zeon supply base and got into the battle.

As an experimental mobile tank, Hildolfr is armed with different types of shells of the cannon, including High Explosive (HE), High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT),High Explosive Anti-Tank/Incendiary (HEAT/I), High Explosive Squash Head (HESH), Armor Piercing (AP), Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS) and Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS). All these weapons were used in battle, shown to perfection through the skillful pilot, De Maizière Sonnen. Since all the scenes are in 3D animation, I really enjoyed all the actions of Hildolfr, even its movements in the desert seems very cool.

The best part is yet to come; Hildolfr is capable of transforming from a tank to a MA, where the top of the tank features the body of a MS. When the Federation’s Zaku IIs thought they have surrounded the guy, The MA Hildolfr came out and blown away three Zaku IIs with its machinegun and the main cannon. Absolutely cool!

Hildolfr managed to destroy all the enemy units in the end, yet it was severely damaged by the Federation commander, which saw Sonnen being killed as well. The field data from the combat survives but it’s unlikely that Zeon is going to develop any unit based on Hildolfr, since the emphasis is given to MS. Three units I can think of, which resemble Hildolfr very much are Zaku Tank, Magella Attack Tank and YMS-16M Xamel.

Some of my friends who watch MG Igloo like Episode I better, since the battle featuring Zaku IIs, especially the Red Comet is breathtaking. Some like Episode Three, as it features Zudah, a new MS developed by Zeon. For me, Hildolfr is still the coolest character yet from MS Igloo. I hope that Bandai will design an EX-Model for Hildolfr, complete with the MA transformation ability as well.

Hildolfr rear view

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shizuoka Hobby Show: Some more pics

Here are three more pictures of new Gundam kits from Shizuoka Hobby Show, including the huge MA Alpha Azieru from Char's Counter Attack, HG 1-100 Astary Gold Frame Amatsu Mina, and HG 1-100 Legend Gundam. From the photos, Legend Gundam seems absolutely brilliant, love the box image as well.

1-400 Alpha Azieru HG 1-100 Astray Gold Frame Amatsu Mina Box image for 1-100 Legend Gundam, looks pretty cool 1-100 Legend Gundam

PLAMO Review 6: MG Gundam RX-78-2 Version 1.5

I guess I don’t have to introduce much about Gundam RX-78-2, since he is the reason why there are a bunch of people, including me who call themselves Gundam fans. Although many other Gundam design appears after the original UC0079, Gundam RX-78-2 remains the favorite of them all. Almost all new Gundam product series start with him, Master Grade, Perfect Grade, HCM Pro and so on. For the Master Grade series alone, until now, there are seven Gundam kits released: the Gundam, Gundam G3, Gundam Ver 1.5, Casval’s Gundam, Gundam Ver Ka, Perfect Gundam, and Gundam Ver One Year War, which tells you how popular he is among modelers.

The only one MG kit I have is Gundam Ver 1.5. It’s called Ver 1.5 because half of the parts used are from the initial MG Gundam released in 1995 and another half newly designed, mainly the inner frame of the legs, a new head, new manipulators, shoulder armor, and some new weapons. The most notable improvement is the design of the leg mechanism, which uses the Perfect Grade design. This allows the model to have more flexibility and pose-ability. Armor hatches are also available now, so some mechanism can be revealed. However, all the armor pieces of the leg can be detached to review the entire inner frame, if you would like to do so.

A newly designed head seems to be a good idea as well, as the initial MG model’s head seems a bit ‘odd’ for me. Maybe it’s just my personal feeling, but I’m glad Bandai fix that, somehow. :-P. Other goodies include new armaments: the Gundam hammer (the linked chain is absolutely cool!), and a Gundam javelin (the beam part needs to be painted).

The only limitation seems to be the arms, where their movements are still limited to the elbow. The leg movements are close to Perfect Grade standard, but the movements of the arms is worst than models that came before this one, such as MG GP01 and even MG Dom. However, the details of the legs for this model are so well designed, only a few others can match, like MG God Gundam (which emphasizes on action frame rather than logical mechanism), Gundam Ver OYW which uses the same leg frame, and Gundam MK2 Ver2 released very recently. Therefore, I think this model is a very good design, and if you like Gundam of the original color, then this is still a good model to be considered. Gundam with beam rifle, shield and bazooka mounted on the rear skirt armor Gundam Hammer Beam Javelin Action pose with Hyper Bazooka Armor hatches available for the legs and body

Friday, May 19, 2006

New Gundam Kits Announced at Shizuoka Hobby Show

The Shizuoka Hobby Show is one of the biggest annual events for the major toy manufacturers to exhibit their upcoming products for the later half of this year. Although manufacturers of other toy series are also participating, I pay more attention to Bandai's booth, since I'm more interested in the upcoming Gundam model kits. By the way, Bandai’s major manufacturing site is situated in Shizuoka if you would like to know.

The emphasis is given to Char's Counter Attack MS, where most of the major characters are coming out in HCM Pro format. This could be the testing bed for Bandai to see the possibility producing the MSs from that series into HGUC kits. Some other models to look out for are Duel Kai and Buster Kai from Stargazer. Under development is Master Grade Gundam F91, the first Gundam in the Universal Century era featuring beam shield.

No new on any new Perfect Grade model for this year yet! T_T

The summary of the models are as below (from Gunota Headlines)

  • MG Gundam F91 (July, 3,200 yen)

  • MG Gundam F90 (exhibit only)

  • HGUC GP02A (July, 2,100 yen)

  • 1/100 Astray Gold Frame Amatu Mina (July, 3,990 yen)

  • 1/144 HG Buster Gundam Kai (Summer)1/144 HG Duel Gundam Kai (Summer)

  • EX Model La Vie En Rose (September, 6,825 yen)

  • HCM-Pro Sazabi (July, 2940 yen)

  • HCM-Pro RGZ-91 (Aug, 2310 yen)

  • 1/400 Gundam Collection Alpha Azier (Summer)

Images below are from Tsukurikake Mokei Dojo and Pam's Home Page. Click to enlarge and view in a new page.

Master Grade F91
HGUC GP02A, finally out
HGUC Zudah's box image
HGUC Zudah - from MS Igloo series
HGUC Zaku 1, many arnaments are included, although it only uses its shoulder armor to attack in the anime
Ex Model La Vie En Rose - AEUG's space maintenance port, can be used to dock previously released battle cruisers, Argama and Albion
HCM Pro Sazabi, where the big Neo Zeon marking on the shield?
HCM Pro ReGZ - Refined Zeta Gundam, the Back Weapon System is also included.
HCM Pro Gyunei Guss's Jagd Doga. I read from somewhere that it will be on limited release
Gundam Fix Figuration Zeta II, look at the high heels :-D
GFF Zeta II - Waverider form
Duel Gundam Kai, from Stargazer
Duel Gundam Kai, from Stargazer
Buster Gundam Kai, from Stargazer
Buster Gundam Kai, from Stargazer