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Sunday, September 26, 2010

踏破铁鞋无觅处,得来全不费工夫 。。。 。。。

in short; finding something that has always been around you but yet, time and distance was wasted in travelling looking for it. So much for the contribution to Chinese after one week in Beijing.

Well, I knew my chance of finding toys there is slim but still I had to go on a hunt for it. Asked around on my last day in Beijing and ventured to北京国际玩具城, Beijing International Toy Centre. Took me 2 hours to get there and 10 minutes to get out; enough said.

Pictures found on one of the websites looks decent enough.

Then, the next place was 天意市场, Tainyi Market and that took me another 30 minutes of subway ride but sadly, I ran out of time and did not managed to see what they have to offer. Partly because I went to the wrong building in the first place when I arrived at the subway station. However, I doubt I will buy from these places as the toys and the packaging looks very bootleg.

Rushed back to the hotel to get ready for check out but had 4 hours to spare before heading to the airport, so headed to 王府井, Wangfujing; which was 10 minutes of walk from the hotel. Lo and behold, I found Kidsland in 北京新东安广场, Xindongan Market in Wangfujing! There were loads of Star Wars on 50% sale and I bought clones and cross-overs at $9 and $18 respectively. 

Xindongan Market

 Space Gear Cloney

Something I noticed about the packaging of all the toys there is this huge disclaimer sticker that explains what the content and hazard of the toys. The sticker is so huge it covers 50% of the packing!

Finally found my shinnies which I had customised all of my initial purchases. 

Well, toys prices there in Beijing (the genuine ones of course) is relatively similar to ours with the exception of certain items that cost more. It's an irony when you think about it. Almost 90% of the toys sold worldwide is Made In China but yet finding it there is so difficult and there is no price incentive for the China market. That's the mechanism of Economy at play.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

30 Years Making Kits REAL ... ...

and in the scale of 1:144.  Gunpla latest release is the Real Grade RX-78-2 under Bandai which in my opinion is a scale down version of a Perfect Grade (1:60). As of all Gunpla's various grades of Gundams; the iconic RX-78-2 being the first Gundam to make it to the tele is the initial release. This is also to mark the 30th anniversary of Gunpla which is followed by the 1:1 scale installation and display of RX-78-2 in Japan earlier last year. (link courtesy of fellow blogger Ngee Kiong)

Bandai is taking this new grade of Gunpla into a whole new different dimension with the packaging. Gone are the artist impression of the Gundam in a flight or fighting pose. Instead it's a very classic feel of the actual product on black and the close up head of the actual 1:1 scale model.

To justify my opinion that this is a scale down version of Perfect Grade (PG) is the internal frame of the Real Grade (RG) which can be found in PG. The fingers to my surprise have knuckle joints on the  thumb, index and a combined middle to pinky finger. 

The main draw for me to purchase this for a trial has to be the decals provided but too bad they are not the water slide type. Approximately 200 of them to be applied if you want the model to look realistic.

Here is the inner frame made of ABS PP material which is a mixture of flexible yet strong plastic.

Another surprise is I presumed that in a PG, one will have to fix every single part of the frame. However, in the RG, they come pre-assembled.

However, I do not understand the rational of having pegs at some parts which must to be removed and discard of as seen in the back of the feet here. That part if my interpretation is correct; it is useless.

Another PG likeness is the articulation of the inner frame. Fantastic articulation for something of this scale. This may be a prolonged relationship in terms of my purchase but Gunpla needs to give me something I prefer; like 00 or at least Strike Gundam.

The last time I build a 1:144 (HG Exia) took me 3 hours and to reach this stage of the RG took me 8 hours so far.

My gripe about the RG is again the decals. I still think Gunpla should provide the water slide ones instead. The decals provided are the adhesive types and it is really a pain in both eyes to get them in the right position.

I decided to replace the copper colored decal with my Gundam Marker paint instead as it did not stay on very well.

The figure is completed after spending about 15 hours with some decals applied (some very difficult places) and removed.

The final stage of decal applying started after panel lining and creating a bit of the weathering effect on the figure, the weapons and core fighter. A note here is that the core fighter is fully transformable and can be fitted inside RX-78-2; but I left it out.

The decals really did the job in bringing the realism out in this figure and the additional 5 hours spent to apply almost all the decals was worth the time. I've chosen the Gunpla 30th anniversary scheme as seen on the shoulder and feet since this is to commemorate 30 years of milking model kit fanatics.

Comparison between the decal applied one and the plain one (without panel lining)

I'm glad I took the plunge into RG and although RX-78-2 is not my favorite (ironically I have many versions of it), I really appreciate the articulation and the realism this release provide.

I would strongly recommend this to all model kit builders as it is really worth the money and time spent. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gundam has landed ... ...

The Gundam Fiesta 2010 is being held at Compass Point Mall from now till 13 September. This is the second year running and the event is to me very lukewarm. I mean, prices aren't that fantastic if you know where to get your stuff.

This scene above is at 11am which only invited guests are allowed inside. So, have to roam around Compass Point which is quite pointless. The event opened to public from 12pm onwards and from tomorrow onwards, it will start from 11am.

Basically, it has the regular display of completed model kit (well made of course) and then a pawn shop liked point of sale area. Here we have RX-78 without his shield (see left arm).

So, is it really that pointless to be there. It all depends, once you are there, guess you will be compelled to spend a little. At least for me. I bought
1. Robot Spirit Cherudim - for my son (Robot Spirit items pricing are attractive)
2. MSIA: Custom Wing Zero (regret!!!)
3. RG 1/144 RX-78-2 (impulsive buy because it actually did cost more than what I was offered before)

However, there are hordes of buyers queueing up waiting for their turn to make payment. Perhaps there is a draw which I am not so certain what that might be.

GREAT expectation for MAZINGER ... ...

which arrived in the month of August to much great delight.

Packing is the same as Mazinger Z from the earlier release except for the golden hue.

Contents are as seen above and it is indeed adequate for great playability and poseability.

Out of the packaging, you have the Great Mazinger without the Brain Condor which is really tiny as seen in the pix above. The film container there gives a relativity reference of size.

One noticeable improvement is the fitting of the Brain Condor onto Great Mazinger as Bandai did it right this time with a perfect fit.

Articulation is as superb as the previous release and it's again up to your imagination to make the best out the figure.

The Thunder Blade (pix above) in action after Great Mazinger channeled the energy from the atmosphere (pix below) to create the natural lightning. Cool accessories in my opinion and great for display.

The drill blades emerged from the forearms getting ready to perform the Drill Pressure Punch.

Fire away just like Mazinger Z and the blast off accessories is from the Mazinger Z Weapon Set. There are 4 in total so no need to fight over them.

In a nutshell, this figure is a must get for collectors who do not have any SOC version before. Again, like the Mazinger Z earlier, it is still worth the purchase with all the gimmick accessories provided. The small size makes it a display piece that does not take up too much space as well, so do consider this item when you next visit your favourite toy shop.