Monday, December 25, 2006

New Gundam Stuff - Coming Soon!

As usual, there'll be some new media releases on upcoming Gundam merchandises. This time we get to see the full picture of MG Hi-Nu Gundam from magazines scans I found on a French website, Plamo-News. and as usual, Gunota Headlines.

The big guy features a newly designed beam rifle and bazooka, and will be released at the end of February 2007 at 7000 Yen.

Here are some more updates:
HGUC GP02A MLRS Specs (February 2007, 2200 Yen) - Beats me, I don't even know where this guy originated. Picture from Gunota Headlines.

HGUC Gaplant TR-1 (Late Dec 2006, 2400 Yen). Picture from Gunota Headlines.

UCHG EFSF Land Team (January 2007, 5500 Yen). Picture from Plamo-News.

HG BuCUE (January 2007, 1400 Yen). Picture from Picture from Plamo-News.

HG Civilian Astray DSSD Custom (February 2007, 1500 Yen). Picture from Gunota Headlines.

And for those who are not a fan of GUNPLA, check out these two products:
MIA Gundam Hazel TR-1 (February 2007, 2600 Yen). Picture from Gunota Headlines.

MIA Zudah (January 2007, 1600 Yen). Picture from Gunota Headlines.

P/S: Thanks to Andrea for the new Transformer trailer link. Can't wait till it really hits the cinemas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Top Selling Gundam

Gunota Headlines reported the on sales of Gundam models and Gundam games. Not sure about the scope of the statistic, i.e. worldwide or in Japan alone, but the figures are pretty awesome nonetheless.

Yearly Gundam sales: 57 billion Yen (around 10 percent increase from 51.8 billion Yen last year)

Top selling Gundam game: MS Gundam Federation vs Zeon DX (950,000 copies)

And my most concerned issues of them all:
Top Selling Gundam model (based on HG and MG from 1995 to September 2006): Gundam RX-78-2, and none of the MS from SEED or SEED Destiny made it into the Top 10. Strange? Not for me.

The original is still the best I guess

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

PLAMO Review 16: MG Sazabi

Reviewed by MG Strike Gundam

Hi! Everyone, I'm Strike Gundam from Gundam SEED. Today I'll be doing the review on MG Sazabi, and I hope that you'll like it as with all the other reviews.

Sazabi is a customized MS for Char Aznable, the commander of the Neo Zeon in Char's Counterattack. Char has the nickname of 'the Red Comet' since the One Year War, so his MSs are naturally colored in red. The special design about Sazabi is the design of the helmet is pretty close to the one worn by the pilot during the One Year War, although in the anime, Char no longer wear any disguise on his face.

Front, side and rear view of Sazabi. Gunpla models need a good neck design like mine to be able to see him clearly!

As compared to Nu Gundam, Sazabi featured many different equipments and weapons, even though both of them are being produced by the same company, Anaheim Electronics. Apart from the beam shotgun, shield, beam sabers, and funnel system, Sazabi is also armed with a powerful Mega Particle Cannon in the waist, the one similar to Full Armor ZZ Gundam. The two standard beam sabers are stored in the forearms of the MS for backup. Sazabi's choice of melee armament, or rather Char's, is a huge beam sword stored in the shield, which can generate a beam tomahawk, mimicking the famous Heat Hawk used by Zakus during the OYW. I'm sure Char would remember that weapon as well.

Char usually lead his team of MSs into combat himself, even though he is the most important person in his country. This, I'm sure, is the source of inspiration for his soldiers. Moreover, 'the Red Comet' is considered a legend in the Universal Century, and a humongous red MS coming into combat would definitely strike terror among the EFSF's fleets, even though they have their own triumph card, Amuro Ray.

Read more about Sazabi's mecha details on

Let's move on to the model itself. First of all, it's huge. You can see from the photos that I only stand up to his waist, one leg of his is equivalent to a few of mine. If you only start GUNPLA-ing recently, you would be interested to know that Sazabi is the first MG to reach 8,000 Yen, and the first one that requires two of my boxes for packaging. Imagine the commotion created when it was released. It's been on the list of my master since then as well, but he was always complaining that getting it in Kuching would cause him a few bombs, and the plan of getting it together with Nu Gundam would definitely nuclear-bombed his bank account. He finally made the purchase in Kuala Lumpur mid this year, which he made some noise in this blog of his as well.

8,000 Yen for this kind of details and size seems a real deal, at least my master think so

My master was quite excited when he assembled Sazabi. Apart from the size, red is his favorite color and he fancy Zeon designed MSs, not to mention that Char is also one of his idols. Hoverer, I couldn't help noticing how dull it has become half-way through the process. For instance, there are four thrusters for the each leg, and all of them are identical. Repeating eight thrusters weren't fun at all. I can't imagine how he managed to ink the panel lines for those parts in the first place. Not to forget another six thrusters for the waist armor, and another six for the shoulder armor. Must be quite dry, and there are those six funnels as well, which seems really boring to assemble for me.

Luckily I don't have any of those parts. :-)

The funnels take quite some time to assemble, but being able to switch between attack and retrieve mode without the need to swap parts is cool

Apart from those repetitions of parts, everything was quite simple and straight-forward. But it was fun anyway, because of the special Zeon design for Sazabi. For example, assembling the head was quite a joy because that's where the cockpit is situated as well. It was quite a cool design, because after it was done, not only the cockpit hatch can be opened, the mono-eye camera is still moveable. Assembling the rings for the waist's Mega Particle Cannon was another thing. Here you have the biggest MG model ever, and you still get tiny rings like the ones for the conductive pipes found on Zaku II and Gouf. It's like the combination of all elements you can find on a single model.

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The parts for the cockpit and the completed head. The mono-eye sensor is carefully painted actually, to get the effect of the green targeting sensor in the middle

There are no metal die-casts for Sazabi, even though its size is larger than Nu Gundam. There's no need for any of that since the completed model is quite balance. It doesn't have huge fin funnels burdening his back threatening his spine anyway. It has PG-size feet so standing firmly is no problem for him at all.

As for the weaponry, I must say that the shield is really cool. Rounded and curvy Zeon design plus the size: a whole plat of plastic big enough to cover my entire body as the base of the shield, very intimidating. The shield isn't complete with the Neo-Zeon marking on the top, so for those planning to get this kit, don't get that marking wrong, else you will cry your eyes out. The beam sword is another interesting thing. I'm sure it's the biggest in the collection as well. As a matter of fact, the length of the blade itself is the same as my height! As for the two back-ups beam sabers, my advise is not to put them back into the forearms after assembling them because it's so hard to get them out. My master face the same problem with MG Qubeley, where the beam sabers are also stored in the same place, and taking them out is equally hard. He was wondering when Bandai's going to improve on that.

Beam sword, beam tomahawk and the rifle. Powerful weapons but incapable of posing them :-(

Surprisingly, there are tiny locks on the handles of beam rifle and the beam sword, so Sazabi is able to hold them firmly. I use the word 'surprisingly' because such feature should have been inherited by MG Nu Gundam reviewed yesterday, since it's been released later than Sazabi. But Bandai decided to omit that anyway. Anyone know why? The manipulators of Sazabi are as big as the ones on Dom and Rick Dom, where each finger is movable. All these sound really great, right? But guess what, there's a major flaw that cuts a lot of marks off Sazabi: the hands do not have much room to move because of the chunks of armor around them. The piece of armor covering the top of the palms is especially troublesome. It's hard to even pose him with his beam rifle on.

As with Nu Gundam, Sazabi doesn't move well. Worse than his arch-rival, there's no way for Sazabi to turn his waist because of the Mega Particle Cannon in his belly. All these are understandable with all the armor on and the significant weight. It's possible nowadays with the technology and the reduction in size, as seen in the HCM Pro version. But for a 1-100 scale model, it isn't to be played like how I'm capable of. Let's not forget that I was born years after this big guy. There's no display stand as well, so you can't do much with the Dragoons, I mean funnels if you're thinking of reliving some of the magical moments from the anime, unlike the coming MG Strike Freedom Full Burst Mode, who is so lucky to get a display stand for both the model and all his funnels, I mean Dragoons this time.

Anyway, my master seems to be quite happy with just posing Sazabi standing straight side by side with Nu Gundam. A huge red model taller than anyone else around him is the center of the show, really. He's much better looking than I do, even though he can't move as much as me, at least he won't be tortured with the all the action poses my master made me do now and then.

You can view more images of MG Sazabi and MG Nu Gundam in their photo albums.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

PLAMO Review 15: MG Nu Gundam

This time, let's talk about MG Nu Gundam.

I'm sure most Gundam fans will know about Nu Gundam, not only because of its suerb action and mecha design in Char's Counterattack, but because of the pilot who made it special, Amuro Ray, who is also the pilot of the first Gundam in Universal Century.

Front and rear view of Nu Gundam

Amazingly, even though Amuro Ray is a Newtype, Nu Gundam is actually the first MS that take his psychic ability to the battle field, and ultimately the last one as well. Featuring six powerful fin funnels, Nu is deadly in both close range as well as distance surprise attack. Although similar to the funnel system on Sazabi, the design on Nu Gundam seems to be more superior. The funnels are capable of generating beam shield to protect Nu Gundam, and can sustain longer time in battle, away from the MS's main body

Apart from the funnel system, Nu's weaponry follows the standard of a typical EFSF MS: head Vulcan, beam rifle, shield, bazooka, and two beam sabers. There are four mini missiles underneath the shield, probably for close range counterattack. The more special design is about the beam saber: one is mounted on the backpack, while another one, a smaller one is 'hidden' in the left forearm. The one on the backpack is more like a beam sword, since the blade has a bit of curve, and there's a small beam jut at the end of the handle. Not sure about the real purpose, but my guess is for stabbing enemy coming from the back.

That's about the mecha design. Now let's talk about the model. The main reason for the purchase is the size of the model. This is the biggest MG Gundam yet. Others like Full Armor ZZ and Ex-S Gundam are big because of the extra stuff on their body like armor, missile launchers, propellant tanks, giant rocket thrusters and so on. For MG Nu, it's just plain big, with or without the fin funnels. Assembling MG Freedom Gundam after Nu was felt like assembling HGUC then MG for me :-)

The head of Nu Gundam, as compared to RX-78-2's

Another important thing to note about the model is the metal die-casts, one for the hip and two for the ankles. The die-casts are to balance the weight of the fin funnel when mounted; else the model will suffer from back injury. Those metal parts add quite some weight to the final model, and make it much sturdier, even with all the funnels mounted. The negative side is the legs become so tight and heavy; it's hard to move them around.

The three die-cast parts

The inner frame of Nu Gundam is also quite detailed. Of all the MG offers during its time, Nu is the only one featuring the inner frame for the arms and shoulder armors. Even though given the standard set by F91 (smaller size model with PG details) nowadays for the MG line, Nu Gundam is completely out of the league since it's a much older model. However, I personal like Nu Gundam details, because it's easier to ink the panel lines, and size does matter here, because Nu Gundam's massive size enables people to see the details with ease.

The leg unit of Nu Gundam

Nu Gundam also features a very posable 'neck', enabling you to pose it looking up as much as 60 degrees. That's pretty cool, but the designer at Bandai must have overlooked the design of the collar, because it blocks the turning of the head left and right. That's quite bad, imagine you can't even turn your head to see your own shoulders, your line of sight is limited to pretty much what's in front of you right?

Now let's move to the weapon. The beam rifle is OK – pretty much straight out of the anime. The problem is, it's so heavy on the front end, it's hard to make Nu Gundam holding it, since it will keep on dropping. Nowadays, the handles of the weapons come with a little lock so that you can attach them to the palm of the models firmly. Guess that they learn that from Nu Gundam and some other models with this kind of weakness. For the bazooka, the handle is moveable, just like the ones from PG Gundam Mk. II or the Version 2.0 of the same MS in the MG line. Since it can be mounted over the shoulder, there's no complaining about the handle from me here. Most MSs carry their bazooka mounted on their hip armor, Nu Gundam's one on the backpack. Those who watch Char's Counterattack would remember that Amuro actually utilize this feature as one of his offence maneuver. The beam sword is also great; it's a bit longer than the ones for other models, which are understandable given the proportion of Nu Gundam. However, since there isn’t much action for Nu, the beam sword seems wasted. The shield is like a huge piece of metal plat, just plain and simple. As a matter of fact, it's almost too simple. However, it has more to do with the mecha design than the model, so I'm not complaining.


The beam sword and saber

Then we have the funnel system. I was quite excited when I finally finished assembling the funnels and have them attach to each other. It forms a huge letter 'A', signifying the pilot Amuro Ray. The locking mechanism is designed to be hidden when the funnels are detached, so on or off the backpack, they look really cool. On the other hand, the backpack is also strong enough to hold all the six funnels, which I think is quite amazing. However, you have to be extra careful when assembling the funnels. Even though all of them look alike, there are parts that are used to distinguish each one of them. If you're confused over the parts, then the funnels will come out wrong.

The funnel system of Nu Gundam

Now here a problem with reality: the funnels when mounted on the backpack are on the left side, and the left arm is also used to carry the shield. So the shield will actually hit the funnels if you move it back too much. I'm sure they didn't figure that out when they are sketching Nu Gundam, or maybe the designer would say, "when Nu Gundam is in action, all his funnels will be launched, so the shield can move freely," Very convenient.

Anyway, my idea about Nu Gundam is an elegant model, the one that will look awesome when it's being pose standing (just like that) with all the equipments and weapons mounted. Just like Sazabi, the weight of the model and the tight inner frame deter Nu from all the action poses like how you would treat MG God Gundam, Gundam Ver OYW, and so on. With the lack of a display stand to show the model in cruising mode, as well as the funnels in action, I say just leave it like MG Ex-S Gundam, standing with the beam rifle in front. That’s the best way to show off this model.

Reviews on MG Sazabi coming soon!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wedding Dinner

I went to my cousin's wedding dinner last night with my whole family held at a local restaurant. Although quite crowded, everything went along smoothly. We sat quite close to the newly wed couple's table, so we get to see the 'action' in close range; the down side is that the Karaoke system is booming in our ears while we were eating, and Jay Chou or Yanzi wasn't in the house last night. The food was nice, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves all the time.

Wedding dinners seems to be quite uniform nowadays, what I mean is the sequence of the whole event actually. Waiting for the bride and bridegroom, wedding cake, 'yum-seng' session, the bride love-fed her husband with cake, a kiss in front of everyone ?and the MC will cheekily say that it's what the audience wants, then, it's over. I don't mean to be pouring cold water to anyone in Kuching who just got married or is planning to do so, but it is THE ONE AND ONLY wedding dinner in your life right? Why must it be 'safely' similar to everyone else's dinner? By saying it's safe, I mean that maybe the dinner is being arranged by the parents, and parents of course knows how to handle all the relatives in a proper way, according to family customs and so on. But as long as we're able to keep to the meaning of a wedding dinner, I see no problem in some deviation from the conventional arrangement.

There are so many girls dressed up super-duper trendy coming to the dinner, I wonder if they would be bored if it's the 'as-usual' stuff again all the time.

I think for my wedding dinner in the future, I'm going to ask one of my friends to be the MC (I hate MC addressing people's name by reading from paper - there'll be just two names on the list right? can't even by-heart two names?), probably shows some of my photos with my girlfriend on Multimedia presentation - better than 'enforced KTV' right?

And NO cake, no cake at all. What's the meaning of a wedding cake in a Chinese dinner anyway?

Friday, December 08, 2006

MG Strike Feedom Full Burst and Other New Items

We all know that Strike Freedom has a shiny golden interior, and we also know that Bandai isn't the kind of company that will pass the opportunity of making money out of it. So, there we have it, apart from the normal MG for Strike Freedom this month, people with extra money can go for MG Strike Freedom Full Burst Mode, which isn't just some bling-bling pretty face. The kit comes with an action display where the eight Dragoons from Strike Freedom's wings can be mounted. Not to mention each Dragoon has their little gimmick as well. The beam saber seems different as well, the ones featured here seems to have a bit of curve. Images are from The Gundam Base Side 1.

Apart from MG Strike Freedom FB, there are a few new items and updates on announced products from Hobby Shop Midori:

MG Crossbone Gundam - 4,500 Yen. We finally got to see the 'Peacock Launcher' and his new pirate sword. The armor seems wicked as well~

HGUC GM Quel - 1,200 Yen. I was wondering how long Bandai was going to hold this model from being released, since most of the parts' design can be found from their previous releases of Gundam Mk II and Gundam Hazels. 1,200 Yen seems quite an offer if the two MGs mentioned are out of your plan.

HCM Pro Hyaku Shiki Gold Coating and Qubeley Pearl Coating - 2,625 Yen and 2,310 Yen respectively. An upgrade for Hyaku Shiki, and Qubeley joins the HCM Pro train~ Can't be left out if you have all the collection for Z Gundam right?

HC BuCUE - 1,400 Yen. Quite a long haul since BuCUE is from Gundam SEED, and that must be what? two years ago? the HG version is out probably because of the previous release of HG BuCUE Kerberos. Almost the entire body can be replicated to come out with this one. Bandai is smart... ...

Gundam Collection DX6 - 294 Yen each. Normally I don't talk about capsule toy, but this one is special. Look at the size of each model! I can't believe that they are releasing S Gundam Deep Striker at 294 Yen. Other models like Hildoltr and Gundam Hazel are also in. Quite a bargain really~

Except for MG Strike Freedom Full Burst, all the other items will be out Next January.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The 08th MS Team: 134 Screen Shots!!

As mentioned yesterday, here are the screenshots from the OVA. Forgot to mention that there's a movie version of The 08th Team, called 'Miller's Report', but I guess it's really for those who never watch the OVA. The story is about how Shiro went missing after the combat with Apsaras in the desert where he is reunited with Aina for a brief romantic moment. After he is rescued and the remains of the damaged Apsaras are salvaged, an investigation is carried out by Miller, a tough female EFSF Officer trying to interrogate Shiro. Some new scenes are added, but none of them mean much anyway.

Episode 1: War for Two

Episode 2: Gundams in the Jungle

Episode 3: The Time Limit on Trust

Episode 4: The Demon Overhead

Episode 5: The Broken Order to Standby

Episode 6: Battle Line in the Burning Sand

Episode 7: Reunion

Episode 8: Duty and Ideals

Episode 9: Front Line

Episode 10: The Shuddering Mountain (Part 1)

Episode 11: The Shuddering Mountain (Part 2)

Episode 12: Last Resort

Movie: Miller's Report