Friday, August 31, 2007

Childhood Nostalgia 3 – Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs

Like the title suggests, I talk about the nostalgic memory of mine, mainly on the cartoon shows I watched and the few collectibles and toys I played with decades ago for this section. Part 1 and 2 were written many many moons ago, which are among the earliest postings in my blog.

Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs was a cartoon series I watched even before there was Power Rangers. I supposed I was about five or six years old back then, and it was almost the same time when Voltron was aired. Every Wednesday or Thursday evening, at 4.30pm, I would definitely be in front of the TV to catch another episode of this cartoon series. When the familiar electric guitar opening theme was played, wow, my mind would be completely off to the world of the Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs :-D and there was no way my parents could ask my to do any chore.

Remember the same old opening? Saber Rider throws his sword, which will land in the middle of the title.

Like Voltron, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs originated from Japan, the birthplace of many mecha and giant robots. In Japanese, its title is Star Musketeer Bismarck (星銃士ビスマルク, Seijūshi Bisumaruku). Of course when I was a kid, I never knew anything about that, since the only thing important was the story, the fighting and the robot. Hehe!

The story of Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs is set in a futuristic world with a very Western Cow boyish feel. Even the town and the people looks like they are from some old Clint Eastwood movies, complete with the Cow boy hat and cape. So it was a bit difficult for me to believe it when I found out that the anime actually came from Japan, since the whole setup of the story was very Western-like.

Anyway, it is not a peaceful world, as the people are constantly under attack of the Outriders, lead by a demon-like creature called Nemesis. The character does not make his appearance in most of the earlier episodes actually, as he is always hiding in his lair, vowing his revenge and evil plan at the very end of very episode after his goons are defeated. Typical of every cartoon I suppose :-)

So that's where our heroes and heroine come in. The team is formed rather accidentally in Episode 1. Saber Rider is the leader of the team. With his tall helmet, complete with an English flag symbol on it, as well as his English assent, it's easy telling where his is from. Fireball is a race car Champion from Japan, Colt is a bounty hunter from America, who pilots a mini-plane with a rather cool name: Bronco Buster :-D April is the daughter of the Commander of Calvary Command, the leader of all Star Sheriffs. She seldom joins the team in real combat actually, and is seen ready on the battleship Ramrod most of the time.

Saber Rider is the leader of the team.

He reminds me quite a bit of Quatre Raberba Winner from Wing Gundam :)

One of the beginning scenes of the anime, Fireball with his race car.

Fireball is actually the leader of the team in the Japanese version.

Being a character from America, Colt is the one with the best sense of humor among his team members.

His curly hair kind of reminds me of Amuro Ray from the first Gundam anime :)

April is actually the engineer of the Ramrod Project.

Speaking of Ramrod, now that's where the funs begin. Like most other Japanese sci-fi anime, when the Outriders are losing the battle, they would call upon a giant robot called the Desperado Unit to finish off Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs. Of course they have their own giant robot to fight back as well.

The most awaited moment in the whole episode for me ^o^

Press it! And we are going for rock-and-roll!

"Ramrod will now take navigational control~"

"Head 'em up, move 'em out."

"Power stride and ready to ride!"

Ramrod is the most Coy boyish character in the team (if you call him a character). He is designed with a Cow boy hat, a cape and a pistol mounted on his hip.

Ramrod's ultimate weapon is an array of cannons on his chest, which can shower any Renegade Desperado Unit to smithereens.

If you remember the voice character of Ramrod well, you would have no problem recognizing him to be Peter Cullen. Yes, THE Peter Cullen who voiced for Optimus Prime! Peter Cullan also voiced for Commander Eagle, April's father, as well as Nemesis, the ultimate villain of the anime. Talk about being on both extreme ends of good and evil :-D

Anyway, here's a little remedy for those who watched this anime as a kid like me.

If you can't see anything, follow this link to Youtube.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Alien Versus Predator, Again

Still remember the first AVP three years ago? Personally, I think that movie killed the image of both Alien and Predator in one evil-Hollywood-money-making-flick. Making the Predator helping the human to fight against the Aliens in that movie was like, well, Darth Vader asking Luke Skywalker to help him fight the Sith Lord.

Again, that's just my personal opinion.

However, get ready for the second installment of AVP, called Requiem (as well as "Survival of the Fittest" or just AVP2 in the U.S.) coming on Christmas this year. More blood, more gruesome effects, fast-paced action sequences, more fighting, and more people to increase the body count. It's so violent that the trailer on Youtube can't get a MPAA rating lower than Restricted. I wonder if this movie can get into Malaysian cinema when it's released?


This time each race just slaughters whatever and whoever stands in their way. In a sick way, I suppose that's the right way to characterize the Alien and the Predator? Text link to Youtube.

I'm a huge fan of both Alien and the Predator, so this movie is definitely not to be missed for me. But then again, after the disappointment of the first movie, I'm wondering, can Part 2 salvage the damage done three years ago to the Alien and Predator franchise, or will the new movie break the fans' heart again. Is it really going to work?

Let's just wait and see.

Girls Build Gunpla Too

It's hard to find people who are interested in Gundam here in my home town Kuching, so it's ten times harder finding a girl with such interest. Apparently this hobby is deemed too "boyish" by them, and spending that much of money (like 4,800 Yen, RM 168 for MG Strike Freedom Gundam, or 600 Yen, RM 21 for a smaller SD Stargazer) on Gunpla is of course unimaginable for them.

That's definitely not the case in Japan, the birthplace of Gundam (and of course Gunpla). I've seen not one, but many female Gunpla supporters from Japan. The number is also growing in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan. Some of their work are extremely refreshing and creative. Some however, are a bit girlish for me ^^ Here are the winning work in the girl's category of Hong Kong Dengeki Gundam Model Tournament 2006 (Images from CatCat Forum - Mandarin):

1st Place: The Lost City - Praise the hard work and effort on that Dom!

2nd Place: A Girl's Prayer - the staff Wing Zero Custom is carrying kind-of reminds me of Sailormoon.

3rd Place: BB Senshi Advanced Hazel - the 1/144 scale HGUC version is my current work :-)

Special Prize: Reflection - a reflection of winter and autumn. Cool!

Also, there are Gunpla tutorials aimed for girls that you can download from They are quite informative actually, even if you're not a girl ^^ and have plenty of experience in assembling Gunpla. Although I personally do not like the paint scheme of blue and yellow on that MG Crossbone Gundam Ver. Ka, and I do think that very girlish cape (supposed to be the Anti-Beam Cloth in its original mecha design) is really funny :-D, the girl teaching the tutorial is super cute ^^ which is more important actually. Muahahaha~

Having such a cute girl to teach you Gunpla is a real blessing ^o^

You can download the tutorials (in WMV format) here:
Part 1 (21MB)
Part 2 (17MB)
Part 3 (30MB)
Part 4 (22MB)

You can also watch Tomoe Ogoshi, a famous female Gunpla artist working on MG Qubeley on Youtube. Tomoe Ogoshi, who is also a singer, is quite a big name in the Gunpla world. She published many work in Hobby Japan and have her own Gunpla magazine as well. Fancy that :)

Part 2 - if you can't see anything, follow this link to Youtube.

Part 1 - if you can't see anything, follow this link to Youtube.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SD Sangokuden Lu Bu and Chi Tu

Finally, some news on the release of SD Sangokuden Lu Bu. Unfortunately, his mighty halberd will be molded in one piece, meaning it will only look good on one side, while the other face will have some ugly hollow spaces. Why can't Bandai just create a piece of covering to give the halberd details on both sides? It will be just another piece of plastic anyway.

But the biggest surprise of all, Lu Bu will come with his horse Chi Tu (赤兔).

That's not all, because the horse can actually...

...transform into a motorbike!

That's right folks, a transformable horse. Somehow everyone is in the craze for Transformers, and SD Sangokuden is in as well ^^ With Lu Bu's devilish face design, he looks very much like the Ghost Rider to me.

Anyone interested to modify Lu Bu into something like this :D Image from Upcoming Horror Movie.

Because of the horse, the price will be much higher than the regular SD kit: 2100 Yen (around RM74). It will be released in November.

On the other hand, two kingly kits are confirmed as well: Cao Cao (曹操), king of Wei and Sun Quan (孙权), king of Wu. It seems like Cao Cao's left hand is fixed in his "point-the-finger" pose. That's certainly going to make this model looks funny in certain poses.

Cao Cao Gundam, 525 Yen (around RM18), coming in October.

Sun Quan Gundam, 525 Yen, coming in November.

Also, two new characters: Xiahou Yuan (夏侯渊) and Jiang Wei (姜维).

In the original novel of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Xiahou Dun (夏侯渊, left) wielded a sword. He was also exceptionally good in archery. In Sangokuden, his primary weapon seems to be a huge mace, probably to emphasis his strength.

Infomartion on Jiang Wei can be found in my previous post. Xiahou Yuan is Xiahou Dun (夏侯惇)'s younger brother, and like his older brother, was an extremely loyal warrior to Cao Cao. His record of victories was countless, and earned the title of General of the West (征西将军) among his rank. He was finally killed by Liu Bei's old general, Huang Zhong (黄忠) in one battle. In Sangokuden, his design seems to be based on XM-04 Berga Dalas from Gundam F91, identified from the mane, or headgear on his helmet, and the mace, which replaces the Shot Lancer from his original design.

For both Jiang Wei and Xiahou Yuan, it's not sure at the moment whether they will be released as model kit, but one thing for sure: the world of Sangokuden is getting more and more interesting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I am... Megatron

A real treat for all you Transformers fans out there: a Transformers quiz to see which one you will transform into. Don't treat the quiz seriously, because it features some of the funniest questions I have ever seen ^o^, and with equally funny answers to choose from as well. I just can't help myself from laughing out loud halfway through. The background music is quite cool too.

As for me...

I'm... Megatron! Muahahahaha.
Find out which Transformer you are on LiquidGeneration!

*Warning: the site loads like snail :(

September Goodies

As you know, September will be the starting point for Gundam 00 flood of Gunpla and other merchandises. Starting with three First Grade models, villain mecha, HG 1/144 and 1/100 scale Gunpla has been planned all the way till the end of this year. Gundam fans beware.

Some goodies from The Gundam Base Side 1:

FG Gundam Exia, Dynames, and Kyrios - As compared to the 1/144 scale Collection Series of SEED and SEED Destiny models, these FGs are definitely better in terms of articulation. Now these low price Gunpla have joints for their elbows and knees, while the price remains at around 500 to 800 Yen.

Also, the box covers of the FGs when put together will give you a background image of the mothership Ptolemaios. Cool!

FG Gundam Virtue coming in October will complete the whole picture.

Gundam Exia

Gundam Dynames

Gundam Kyrios

HG 1/144 Dearka Elthman's Customized Zaku Phantom - a recolored Rey Za Barrel's Zaku Phantom. Collect this to accompany Yzak Jule's Customized Gouf Ignited.

I lost count of just how many versions of Zaku Warrior and Zaku Phantom Bandai came up with from SEED Destiny. Hopefully this will be the last one.

Speed Grade Gundam RX-78-2 and Wing Gundam - As mentioned before, these small scale quick Gunplas are really a huge surprise amidst all the regular model kits. Now it seems that the display bases are molded with the names of the models, and the stand can be fixed beneath the base when it's not in use. Bandai really throws in all the tricks for this line of product. I'm definitely looking forward for more i the future.

Speed Grade Gundam RX-78-2

Another cool bazooka action pose. The angle of the display stand can be adjusted.

Speed Grade Wing Gundam

HCM-Pro Evangelion Unit 00 (Movie Version) - Rei Ayanami's mono-eye Eva. The emphasis is of course the huge shield used together with Eva-01 in Operation Yashima. The support rack can be used by the previously released Eva-01 as well to hold his rifle and knife.

Will Asuka's Eva-02 will out as well?

As compared to the anime version, the shield is much more colorful.

Also, if you're a fan of frog-alien mecha :) check out Keroro Gunsou Plamo Collection Giroro Robo Mk-II.

All images are from The Gundam Base Side 1.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Current Gunpla Work: HGUC Advanced Hazel

I'm currently working on HGUC Advanced Hazel, one of my favorite mecha from the AOZ series. At the moment, progress is around 40 percent, since the major work on panel-lining and painting the details have barely started. Another week before the review then...

Advanced Hazel is probably the only mecha equipped with three shields even though he has only two arms :)

Love the She-Devil clear sticker.

Friday, August 24, 2007

MSN-06S Shinange

I must say, the mecha from Gundam Unicorn totally kick-ass.

First off, Gundam Unicorn in normal mode might seems plain, but when it's in the Destroy mode, it's just as awesome as awesome can be.

The novel features a Zeta variation called ReZEL, which is the combo of Zeta and Methuss.

Image from Gundam Unicorn MS/Mechanic page

Next, the almighty MS/MA NZ-666 Kshatriya.

And the all-new mecha announced in the latest Gundam Ace magazine: MSN-06S Shinange.

Image from Mecha Talk.

Wow!! Is the the best Zeon mecha in red or what? Although the designation code of MSN-06S is so close to that of MS-06S Char's Zaku II, Shinange is way better than that One Year War MS. Currently there's not much information about its design, or armament list, except the thruster output (that means how fast he can fly :) is 128,600kg, which is a little bit less than Gundam Unicorn (142,600kg). Will Shinange be the final boss to face Gundam Unicorn?

But, the thing that troubles me the most is the header of that image of Shinange that says that the Red Comet is returning.

Is the Red Comet referring to Char Aznable?

Gundam Unicorn happens in UC0096, which is three years later than the event of Char's Counterattack, and everyone knows that Char vanished with Amuro at the end of the war, and presumably, dead.

So, will Char be resurrected through Shinange?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bumblebee Beyond Ultimate Class

If you think you can be dua-ki after getting yourself a Ultimate Class Bumblebee...

Ultimate Class Bumblebee (Takara's version) - $109.95 from

You should have a look at this:

Bumblebee made from paper!!! And a big one too!!!

If you have all these materials, can you make one Bumblebee as well?

Mr. A Pei, I really want to kow-tow (bow) to you.

More images on A Pei's Diary.