Friday, March 31, 2006

Stargazer: Buster Kai & Duel Kai

Another two mecha being announced for Gundam SEED Stargazer: Buster Kai & Duel Kai. Again, recycled stuff from previous SEED anime. Buster Kai looks pretty cool though, with the protective veil over the eyes.

HG 1-144 Gaia Gundam

Gaia posing with beam rifle on my laptopIn Gundam SEED Destiny, three new mechas introduced at the initial part of the anime are Chaos, Abyss and Gaia. Developed by ZAFT as new weapons after the war, each of these Gundams can transform into different MA modes to give them advantage during battles in different terrain. However, news about the development of the three Gundam reached O.M.N.I and three strengthened humans were sent to hijack these MS. Of course they succeeded in doing so; else we won’t have much to watch in SEED Destiny. Chaos, piloted by Sting is adapted for air and space combat; Abyss, piloted by Auel for underwater combat, and Gaia, piloted by a girl, Stella, specialized for ground battle.

Among the three Gundams, my favorite is Gaia. Partly because I like the color scheme of black and yellow on this MS, another reason is that the pilot, Stella’s development in the story is quite tragic. A strengthen human who was erased of the memory of the past, and trained only to kill, Stella tried to break free from such contentment with the help of Shin. Being unsuccessful, Stella was brought back by the Blue Cosmos, the organization behind O.M.N.I to pilot the devastating MA, Destroy Gundam, and ended up being killed by Kira with his Freedom Gundam.

If you compare the three characters mentioned, This time with a beam saberI think Stella’s story is the most intriguing one. So, I bought the HG version 1-144 scale Gaia immediately when I saw it on the shelves of Packson Toy Department. Don’t get me wrong, Chaos looks cool as well, I even got a 1-100 scale model on that one, but Gaia is still my favorite.

On the model, I have not much to complain except for the details of the shield. You can see that I don’t paint this model because I ran out of Gundam paints. Stickers are provided but only cover the little vertical bar in the middle. I was looking for the yellow stickers for the top and the bottom bits of the shield but have to settle with what Bandai have for this box. You can see that the rifle is in plain grey as well.

On the transformation of this model, the arms of Gaia don’t fold up to form the paws for the cat-like four-legged MA. Instead, you have to swap them with extra parts to get the paws. The transformation is pretty cool, but since the legs have to fold to the front to form the MA, Gaia ended up with no knee cover (which is in practical battle condition, a total disadvantage). The legs look extra skinny as well.

SEED destiny ended a long time ago, there is no news on any plan for more models on Gaia, so I don’t think Bandai’s going to release the 1-100 scale version for this mecha. So for a model below RM 100, this fella is quite a good choice to be added into another one of your Gundam list.The MA mode for Gaia, looks like a cat for me Closeup with the head of Gaia in MA mode

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

High Grade Model for Strike Noir

You have seen the principle design for GAT-X105E Strike Noir, now have a look at the model to be released on this mecha. The official release of Stargazer's website is coming soon. So sit tight and get the pop corns ready, guys! You can see the beam sword detached from the backpack of Strike Noir
The background image shows Strike Noir holding the beam swords. Also shown is Buster Kai (see posting above)

HGUC Zeong

Who needs legs in space?

I guess that must be the principle behind the creation of MSN-02 Zeong, the legless MS/MA in Gundam UC0079. MS refers to mobile suits, robots with humanoid body parts and mobility. So Gundam, GM, Zakus etc are all considered as MS. On the other hand, anything without humanoid body parts and mobility is considered as MA (really, it’s as simple as that). So, Byg Zam, Ball, and this Zeong are considered as MA.

Well, that’s all for today’s MS/MA differentiation class. The main idea is to introduce you to this nifty model of mine – HGUC 1-144 Scale Zeong. Some background on Zeong first: Zeong, initially can be considered as the ultimate manifestation of Zeon’s ambition in creating a perfect MS. The development of Zeong halted when the Federation turned the tide of the war and marched against the stronghold of Zeon in space. For the sake of defending a losing home ground, Zeong was rolled out before the legs and the arm armor can be finished.

Armed with particle beam cannons in the ten fingers, torso and head, this fella is packed with the firepower of a couple battle cruisers. However, the deadliest weapon of Zeong is the pilot. Assigned to ace pilot Chat Aznable who is a Newtype with excellent reflect and incredible preemptive abilities, there is no match for the Federation’s MS against Zeong, until Char meets his archenemy Amuro Ray, the pilot of Gundam RX-78-2, who is also a Newtype. Both of them have their duel at the very end of the war, which ended in Amuro destroying Zeong but with the Gundam’s head blown away by Zeong head cannon.

Now on the model. If my old man’s memory is correct, I bought this model around a year ago. The design of the model is quite good. The notable part being the skirt armor, which was molded as a single piece. Looks like a small love-shape bowl when holding it. Unfortunately, there is not much mobility in this model. The main action is from the individually-movable fingers. The body can be moved to pose in a looking upward position, and with the display stand given, can make up some pose on your table. The arms are detachable as seen in the anime, but too bad the weight of the arms is too much for the wire to hold. Hey, this is not zero-gravity space anyway.

If you’re interested, check out the Master Grade version, as well as the Perfect Zeong, aka Zeong with legs, a character which appears only in comics.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Master Grade Gyan

Gyan is one of “older type” MS design among the many Gundam superstars we have today. I say it’s the older type because it appears in the first Gundam anime series in the 80s. Given the fact that the quality of the anime is nowhere near to what we have today, Characters like Gyan, which are like cameos on screen for Gundam to destroy once it comes onto the battlefield, didn’t get as much attention as it supposed to have.

I always fancy Gyan being the MS size French knight (see the image attached). Especially the design of the helmet, a cross split on the face for the mono-eye camera and the spike on top of the head made Gyan looks less menacing as Z’Gok or Dom, but some special quality of it being a warrior type MS. By the way, here’s some background info on Gyan: Gyan was designed by the Principality of Zeon solely for close combat. The generator of Gyan was modified so that it can incorporate a huge beam sword, which looks incredibly like the jousting lance used in Medieval Europe. With that in mind, there is no range weapon like rifle or bazooka for this fella.

Over the few years, Bandai released many Master Grade Zeon MS, like Zaku 2, Gelgoog, Gouf, Z’Gok, Gogg, even the strange looking Acguy got the Master Grade treatment. Gyan seems to be left out of the picture. But recently, Bandai released news about the MG Gyan coming out at the end of May. The price is around 3,300 to 3,500 Yen. Personally, I looking forward to this model, not only because I’m a fan of Gyan, but the modeling technology of Bandai gives me confidence that the articulation and possibility of this model is going to be excellent to justify it being a close combat MS. There is surely tons of fun posing it together with its archenemy, Gundam RX-78-2.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My top ten Gundam models

I started collecting Gundam models for a good nine years now, and my collection reached 100 about a year ago. Currently, I have 117 models, mainly the High Grade 1-144 scale models, which you can find much easier here in Kuching. If you’re thinking of bigger Gundam models, not only High Grade but Master Grade as well, Kuching is really not the right place for you to do your shopping. The models you get are either too insignificant (Zaku 2s, GMs, Strike etc) or the price will be the greatest barrier for you to make the final decision.

Nonetheless, I like all the models I have in my collection. For me, every single one of them is good, there are certain specialties in them which made me made the purchase in the first place. Attributes like richness in pose-ability, elaborative array of weapons, or sometimes, the looks of them as displayed on the box cover is enough to made up the reasons for me to buy them.

Here are my top ten models in my collection:
1. MG 1-100 Scale Kampfer
2. PG 1-60 Scale Strike Rouge
3. MG 1-100 Scale GP01A
4. MG 1-100 Scale GP03S
5. MG 1-100 Scale Rick Dom
6. HGUC (High Grade Universal Century) 1-144 Scale Operation V (Gundam, Guncannon & Guntank)
7. HG 1-144 Scale Astray Red Frame
8. MG 1-100 Scale Ex-S Gundam
9. MG 1-100 Scale S Gundam
10.PG 1-60 Scale Gundam Mk2 (Titans Version)

…and the top ten models I would like to add to my current list:
1. MG Sazabi
2. MG Nu Gundam
3. MG Freedom Gundam
4. MG Gundam RX-78-2 (One Year War Version)
5. PG Wing Gundam Zero Custom
6. HG 1-100 Scale Destiny Gundam
7. HG 1-100 Scale Duel Gundam
8. PG Gundam RX-78-2
9. MG Gundam Mk2 Version 2 (AEUG’s Version)
10.MG Zaku 2 F2 (Zeon's Version)

GAT-X105E Strike Noir

This is GAT-X105E Strike Noir, the main character for the upcoming SEED Stargazer. I have to admit it, Bandai is really very good in repackaging some of the old designs from previous SEED mecha, and still got enough confidence to throw them at you in some flashy animation. For me, Strike Noir is the combination of the following:

There, can you see it? There's hardly anything new about this mecha. So, Bandai and Sunrise, please be more creative~~~~ -_-++

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Gundam SEED Stargazer

Well Gundam SEED fans, Sunrise finally broke their cookie jar on the sequel to Gundam SEED Destiny. The new series' name is Stargazer (whatever that means). Much to my surprise, it's not going to be an anime series, but consists of just three episodes, much like a very short OVA. The synopsis of the story is still unclear but you can check out the official website for Stargazer on 10 April 2006. Lets hope they don't disappoint us again like how they did in SEED Destiny!

The image below is taken from Danny Choo's Blog (

Friday, March 10, 2006

Underworld: Evolution

I watched Underworld: Evolution recently and really enjoyed the show. Definitely great to see Kate Beckinsale in her tight leather suit fighting vampires and werewolves ^o^.

The storyline is OK, but I think the director could have given more emotion to Selene, instead of just kill-kill-kill-perfect-assassin type of huntress without much human sense in her. On the action and special effect of the movie, none of the them is really new actually, For example, the helicopter crashing into the ruined fortress scene, I remembered watching that in some movies years back, so there is not much excitement there.

In terms of pace however, this movie is definitely better than Van Helsing (2004) . The two shared a lot in common, like the theme of vampire and werewolves stuff, crossbows as one of the weapons, damp and dark dungeons etc. But Van Helsing is so action-packed you don’t have time to grasp the story. I think there are like three or four major battle scenes throughout than movie. Quite excessive actually. Underworld: Evolution shifted the major battle scenes to the very end, and typically average movie viewer like me will not have heart attack catching vampires flying around and stuff like that on the screen. However, I like the werewolf design in Van Helsing better than this movie, and the transformation sequence in Van Helsing look more genuine as well. Apart from that, this movie is good choice to fill up your boring night.

Fatal Error on Gundam Model

Now this is something you won't find very often from Bandai - errors on the Gundam model design, on Master Grade series which made the whole mistake even worse. Freedom Gundam released in 2004 was a major model for all Gundam fans, partly because of the fame of Gundam SEED and partly because of the excellent design of the model itself - great posibility, flexibility etc.

But the decal design spoiled the rosy picture. See for yourself.

Since error rate on models are so rare, I would take this as a joke rather than to make critique on the company. Quality assurance is of course very important, but people do make mistakes now and then. Since the decals are just for enhancement and cosmetic, it doesn't really matter if you can't put one of them on your precious model.

1-144 Astray Red Frame

This is one of my favorite models in the shelf – 1-144 Astray Red Frame – the Gundam with the Samurai Sword.

I finished this quite a while ago actually; I guess it must be December last year. Since then, I’ve playing around with it quite often, like posing it with the Samurai Sword in different action sets, rifle action, sword with shield etc. The design of the model enables a great range of action, which was used in both the smaller scale version – this one, and the bigger 1-100 scale version. If you have the 1-100 scale version, you can see that the major joints – shoulders, arms, knee, and the ankle and the feet are just magnification of the 1-144 scale model. So, other than the matter of size and color details, there is not much difference between the two. Rumors had it that Bandai is going to release the MG interpretation of Astray Red Frame, but I haven’t got any update on that for sure.

The good thing about Astray is the great sense of mechanical design, especially of its legs. There are many interior mechanism poking out from its armor (another way of saying this is the amount of armor being insufficient to cover all the endoskeleton), so if you put bright color onto those interiors, the whole model will look great. If you use gold as the color, the model will look splendid, yet gives it a different feel than, say Akatsuki or Hyaku-Shiki as those two models involve golden armor all over the body, in Astray’s case, there are still an elaborate amount of while armor remaining on the model.

That strength can also becomes a weakness for the model, because the foot, shoes you might call them, seem to be too flat and small (as compared to Strike, Freedom, Providence etc), and the red interior looks a bit goofy. Depends on your opinion, because there are praises as well as critique for every single model.

The trademark of the model is of course the sword. The whole sword comes in silver, which sounds cool, but it also means you have to paint some of the details, like the handle of the sword, plus the scabbard as well for all the strange-looking red lines.

In conclusion, I think this is a neat model for such a small size. Tones of action and moves. Definitely looking forward to assembling the 1-100 scale version.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

GFF God Gundam

GFF (Gundam Fix Figuration) is another line of products by Bandai, the leading Gundam related product manufacturer. Most GFF figures are in 1-144 scale, meaning that they are quite small, around 13 - 15 cm tall, I think. Because they are small, GFF figures are quite popular in Japan and Hong Kong, since the people there got limited spaces in their houses for these accessories.

I'm not a real fan of GFF, though I must admit that some of the releases are quite impressive, for example, GFF God Gundam I would like to introduce here. Those of you who watched the anime series of Mobile Suit G Gundam will definitely know this mecha, since he is the main character in it. The storyline changed dramatically from huge battlefield in anime series like UC0079 or Zeta to Street Fighter type of Gundam duel competition. Very bizzare. Also, many kung-fu moves was used during battles, which was named in Chinese. Cool!

I didn't watch that anime series, but I do have some of the models featured, like God Gundam, Master Gundam, and Rising Gundam. I got the Master Grade God and Master, with the famous action frame feature,enabling those two models to do some kung-fu poses with no problem at all.
While the Master Grade version of God Gundam emphasized a lot on the action, GFF God Gundam seems to be focusing on heavy mecha design, i.e. very mechanical-like. Pretty impressive as well, since it gives God Gundam another interpretation, this time closer to it being a humanoid machine instead of a mechanical human being (mimicking human action which is not possible for a machine).