Year in Review: 2011

Being the first year in which I ran this blog (after my initial unfocused blog), everything that's here is from this year. But considering I wasn't able to get all the reviews I wanted up completed, I actually accomplished a lot more than I normally would have though.


End of Year Wishlist

I couldn't go to 2012 without adding my current 2-cents (sorry Siroh32) on Gunpla's current standing. With Gundam Unicorn's 4th episode out and my mind completely blown by it, I feel this is a good time to post my wishlist for upcoming gunpla... Unreasonable or otherwise.


Copious Inactivity Ahead

If it's not completely apparent already, my reviews have fallen way behind. And, unfortunately, is unlikely to progress anytime soon.
My work has been giving me around 40 hours a week, which is roughly 10-15 more than usual. And, to top it off, holiday season is beginning, meaning when I'm there, it's complete chaos. I've had very little down time to relax, much-less even get in a reviewing mind-set. And if that weren't enough, our inevitable exodus back to Indiana is inching closer, meaning packing is soon upon us. We've got a lot to take care of before then, and job-hunting takes priority. As does saving money for a potential extended period of time being unemployed.

So, long story short, this blog's not going to see much action (if any) until all of this is settled and past. I greatly apologize to those who've been looking forward to my review series (and I do appreciate those of you who take the time to read my ramblings). Once at our new home, I plan to set up a more elaborate studio for the photo shoots, and I'll also be free to cover all of my MG's and other kits that have been packed away since the opening of this blog.

I'll keep you all updated as any changes occur, and hope for a smooth transition when that time comes.

Illustration by Morishita Naochika


*Whew*, Long Hiatus

Admittedly, I've been gone too long from this blog, and rightfully, you don't need to forgive me for that. September saw more traveling for me than I've seen otherwise in the last 5 years... My job (And it's stubborn clientele) haven't made things any easier. So I decided I needed a break from it all. But now I'm feeling up again and ready to review again!

With that said, the HGUC Char's Zaku review is all but done (missed some photos that needed replaced), and SHOULD be up this weekend. I've also changed my mind on the secret ones, since they weren't based on any poll, the options kinda overwhelmed me. So I'm gonna omit the rest of those and worry about them after the selected ones are completed.

Also, if the top pic wasn't a dead giveaway, I finally got the D-Arts Zero [1st Ver.]. That will also be in line for a review soon.


Intermission Stuff

While visiting our friends in Chicago, we visited one doozie of a Japanese supermarket called Mitsuwa. Inside was a grocery about half the size of a Wal-Mart Market, a small bakery with various ethnic pastries, and a huge bookstore. I saw a handful of Gundam and other merchandise, but didn't get anything since I sprung for gas for our driver (From Columbus, OH to Chicago, IL takes alot out of a car). I did see Gundam Unicorn novels 9 and 10, but would rather wait and get them all as a set.
The last part of this place was a food court with an array of places of different Japanese tastes. From sushi to burgers, I fell in love with this place when we went there. Due to time constraints and other plans that day, we only were in there for about an hour. If you're in the Chicago area, I recommend visiting this place. It has a nice clean atmosphere and seems very authentic in its setup (although not as tight as most Japanese markets tend to be).
No photos were taken there by me, but our friend sent a small care package with all the photos from our trip, along with some other goodies!

I was actually surprised to see anything like this in there, though:

Gundam Be@rbricks no.1: Gundam RX-78-2 and no.13: Char Aznable

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them, since the last SD Gundam charm I had on my phone vanished mysteriously, and I don't want to risk these to a similar fate. Maybe I'll put them on display with my models once a permanent location comes around.
I may have to hunt down Char's Zaku and Amuro now to complete the Pilot+MS combo!

I always appreciate friends who know me well enough to know what I would like but would never venture into getting myself.


Also, she started a webcomic blog which you can visit here or in my blog roll. If you like comics about cats, it's pretty funny!
(No, no Gunpla. Blogger is more than just Gunpla sites, so give her a break!)


Longer Wait than Expected...

So, I hit a small wall called September. Alot's going on this month that's getting im my way much more than predicted. And to top it off, work is getting more hectic as well. Meaning I probably won't have anything up before October. *sigh*
If I get a chance, I'll have that Char's Zaku and the secret follow-up before then...
*sigh again*



A Little Break (UPDATE)

I'll try to get the next review up in a couple days. Thursday, I'll be going to Chicago, IL, to see some friends I haven't seen in almost 2 years. So I'll be away from my computer for a few days. Once I'm back, I'll try to have the follow-up review shortly after!

UPDATE: We're leaving earlier than originally expected, so the next review won't be up until sometime next week. Review's written just not finished implementing the photos.

Until then!


HGUC 1/144 Qubeley Review

Another reclamation from my previous HGUC collection, the AMX-004 Qubeley has always been another favorite MS from Z Gundam and Gundam ZZ (Though I've still not seen it). Its organic design, along with its strong femininity (It is piloted by a woman, after all), makes it very sleek, endearing, yet wrathful looking. Being Haman Karn's personal machine throughout the end of the Gryps Conflict and through the 1st Neo Zeon War, this machine stays ahead of the game the whole way, thanks to the miniaturization of the Psycommu System and being the fore-bearer of the Funnel weapons.


HGUC 1/144 Hyaku-Shiki + Mega Bazooka Launcher Review

A re-acquisition from my old HG-Gunpla days (although it’s only from 2004). I still prefer this version over the plated original release.
Giant guns just win. Period.
This was also the first in a line of me waiting for more complete versions of HG kits, which is why the Master Gundam + Fuunsaiki kit will be a day-one must on my list! Hopefully…


Backlog Poll Results!!

Well, the results from last month's poll are in. And, unfortunately, only 3 people voted...
So I'm include those that were runner ups in some people's comments to bring it to five kits.
All HGUC's, no less. (Not that I gave much to vary that result, still...)
Once again, though, I will be doing a surprise kit in between each review that were NOT listed in the poll, so stay tuned for those. And then one of my own choosing at the end (Maybe was in the poll maybe not). So that'll bring it up to ten reviews!

1: HGUC 1/144 Hyaku-Shiki + Mega Bazooka Launcher
2: HGUC 1/144 Qubeley
3: HGUC 1/144 Char's Zaku II
4: ???
5: HGUC 1/144 Zeta Gundam
6: ???
7: HGUC 1/144 Gouf Custom
8: ???
9: HGUC 1/144 ZZ Gundam
10: ?!?

I plan on two-or-three a week (depending on free time). Photos have already been started and review write-ups only take a couple hours once that's done.

If I do this in the future, I would definitely love more interaction, please. I know it sounds desperate, but it's hard to know whether anyone who follows me actually reads my stuff.


Time Out for a Shout out

I'm still rounding up my necessities for my next batch of reviews, so until then, I want to point you in the direction of someone I found on DeviantART recently...

DisAstranagant is a vector artist from Canada who has very good taste in his choice of works. He's done many of the insgnias from Gundam, Gurren Lagann and the Metal Gear Solid series, and other things as well.
He's also doing the Gundam show logos at the moment, which I have to thank him personally for! Do him a favor and if you're on DA, give him +watch because he's definitely doing the Gundam community a favor by doing this!

Also, for those unaware, I'm also on DA. Username: OZKai (Of course!).


100,000 Strong

I know this is irrelevant to the normal point of this blog, but this is important to me. On July 18th, Capcom canceled the upcoming Mega Man Legends 3 Project, which was to finally bring about a sequel to the now 10 year old cliffhanger ending of Legends 2. This was one of the sole reasons I wanted a Nintendo 3DS.
It was a unified vision by both Capcom and the fans working together to realize this goal, interacting within a blog/forum environment known as the DevRoom. There, contests would be ran for fans to design enemies, characters, vote on designs from the main staff, etc. The plan was to release a Prototype Version to be playable from this info, and from that would shape the rest of the game.
No such luck. The Proto.Ver. was never launched, and fans are given a notice of cancellation stating "We weren't meeting our goals with the project." These fans that were united to help Capcom are now given the cold shoulder. Those fans aren't remaining quiet.

100,000 Strong for Bringing Back Mega Man Legends 3

This is a group rallying to Capcom, demanding the project's reinitialization. They're roughly 5% at their goal and need your help. All you have to do to take part is Like their facebook page.
This is something I'm passionate about, as I loved the original titles, and this cancellation hit me harder than being fired from a job probably would. I encourage all of you that are against this sort of injustice to help our cause.

Legends Never Die.


Review Backlog

Well, I finally got my review of the D-Arts X out of the way, and finished my long-ago started HGUC Kshatriya review done. Now, free time isn't hitting too often thanks to work and real life stuff. So, while I'm waiting on things to slow down and figure out what I'm going to review next, I figure I'll take this moment to ask you:

What do you want me to review?


HGUC 1/144 Kshatriya Review

The NZ-666 Kshatriya. Neo Zeon's sleeved beast. When I first saw this thing in images, I thought it was just bulky and messy. Then I saw the first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam UC...
Nothing prepared me for how awesome of an impression this mammoth MS would make on me. It's huge, mobile, and an overwhelming powerhouse! As of current, this is my favorite Zeon suit - "Neo" or otherwise. Say what you want about Hajime Katoki. But his designs for Gundam UC are easily the most welcome Gundam designs in almost a decade.
After the "Day of the Unicorn", this kit was a must get, and I obtained it during Ohayocon 2011.


D-Arts Rockman X Review

Image from Happinet Online
History lesson:
As stated in my review for Kotobukiya’s 1/10 scale Rockman kit, I was introduced into the Mega Man game franchise with the first Mega Man X, which I got in 1993 when it came out. I never actually beat it until 14 years later, when I got the Mega Man X Collection on the PlayStation 2. Sigma always mowed over me.
However, Mega Man X4 was what truly hooked me. My first game on the PSOne in 1997 (I played it before I played my Final Fantasy VII), the game’s story depth (for an at-the-time Mega Man game) and graphics blew me away! The anime-like cut scenes alone were enough to hook me.
Flash forward to 2008. Long after Bandai’s Mega Armor Series died off, I managed to get some of the 2003 re-issues at a very reasonable price. I loved these little things. Even with all of their flaws, they represented the little bit of MMX that I loved… And then came 2010.


DW:Gundam 3 Rant Ensuing

I know people are still waiting on my D-Arts X review, and it's still going to be a minute thanks to camera issues. But I feel the need to discuss a recent purchase I made that I'd been waiting for since I've heard about it...


Tools of the Trade

Since my HGUC Dendrobium review brought up many of my advanced techniques (if you can call them that), I'm going to go into detail on my workstation, tools and materials I use with almost every kit.

I: Layout
Here's everything that's required for me to complete any kit that comes my way. Well, most of the time, but I'll get into that in a bit.


HGUC 1/144 GP03 Dendrobium Review - Part 3 [Finale]

Ending this series with the docking procedure, complete weapons payload and my final verdict.

Previous parts:
[Part 1] [Part 2]


HGUC 1/144 GP03 Dendrobium Review - Part 2

Picking up right where I left off, part 2 will focus on the core of this beast, the Gundam itself.
Don't worry. The longest part is over. ^_^; *phew*

OMG-SUS! Finally!!

At last! I finally received my D-Arts X from Rockman X today!
*Cheers* *Confetti* *Applause*



HGUC 1/144 GP03 Dendrobium Review - Part 1

I can say that since it's announcement back in 2002, I wanted this kit. The final product of Anaheim Electronics’ GP Development Project, The RX-78GP03 Gundam GP03 Dendrobium mobile armor is one of the most remarkable and overpowered units ever to be given to a borderline retard*!

*For the record, I hate Kou Uraki, and felt he had no right using such a marvelous piece of machinery.

Anyway, it's not until 2010 that I'd be able to realize this dream. Thanks to a three-check month and Christmas funds from family, I was able to obtain this behemoth!


Sorry for the Wait...

Apparently my D-Arts X (might as well just say it) has been delayed until next Tuesday before shipping, so reviewing that is still a bit off.
If you're real curious about it, read Z's review, as his photos blow anything I can take out of the stratosphere!

So, to ease the patience of, what, all 2 of you, I got a small (understatement) review coming up in the next couple of days. Photos are being taken today, and hopefully resizing them and writing the review won't take too long, so I'd say Saturday at the latest.

I don't want to rush it like I did the Endless Waltz ones. Only to have to fix it later...

UPDATE: I probably won't have this up now until maybe Wednesday. Turns out it's a bigger project than I thought. That, and schedule conflicts...

UPDATE 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: Part 1 of the new review series is up now!


Review Tab Added!

Should have done this sooner, but a page listing my reviews has been added!
So, no more going through my archives to find where I reviewed so-and-so (To be reviewed next month)!
As I start to cover what I've got, this section may branch. If so, I'll keep you updated.

Also, changed the main template and layout for the page as a whole. Still fine-tuning some things, though, so sorry if any visual inconveniences come up!

Oh, and for anyone curious about the Figure List tab, this is more for straight listing and no photos are planned. If they happen, they happen. But most are still packed away, so don't expect much on that front at the moment.

On a closing note, I'm still waiting for my item for the next planned review. For those who've already guessed, apparently, I pre-ordered the domestic release, so whenever they can get it in, I'll let you know. For those who haven't guessed yet... Go here.


Kotobukiya 1/10 scale Rockman Review

Having been a Mega Man fan for not as long as most, I came in during Mega Man X, so I honestly didn’t know much about the original save for what I “learned” from the old Ruby Spears cartoon. Yes, it was pure cheesecake, but it was entertaining for my young age. I own all of the classic series and have beaten 2 ~ 5, most of 1 and 8, and only a couple of levels of 9. With the exception of character introductions, I know there’s not a lot of story to miss. >_>

The announcement of this kit was definitely a blind-sided left hook. I had always wanted a Mega Man (or in this case “Rockman”) model kit since my discovery of the Mega Armor Series back in the late 90’s.
I wasn’t able to obtain it right when it launched, but I still got mine prior to the official US release (which I think is still pending), during Ohayocon 2011 in my “Tax Refund, I Don’t Want You No More” spending spree…



D-Hell and H-Arms Review Updates

I finally added the missing photos for the back views and weapons, as well as some revised textual information. Their links can found below.

HG 1/144 "Fighting Action" Gundam D-Hell Custom (UPDATED)
HG 1/144 "Fighting Action" Gundam H-Arms Custom (UPDATED)

To be honest, I feel a little ashamed over the half-assed reviews I slapped up on here. I assure, from here on, all reviews will be completely photographed and written BEFORE being posted...


Some Things GET and Other Bits

Well, it's taking longer than I thought to get what was going to be the topic of my next post, so I'll show off my recent finds until then.


D-Arts Fan Servey Results GET

Over at Capcom's Rockman Unity, Ucchy-san (ウッチーさん) had run a poll seeing what characters fans would like to appear in Bandai's D-Arts figure line.

Now, the poll ran from April 1st and ended just a few days ago. I, myself, participated, and thought I'd let you know the results...


1/100 MBF-P02[F] Gundam Astray Red Frame "Stray Fenrir" Custom Paint Scheme

Image courtesy of Hobby Search.

We all know the 1/100 Gundam Astray Red Frame kit from the SEED MSV line. It was the thin line between the traditional 1/100 HG's (which this is not) and at-the-time MG's (Also, is not).


Limitless Potential...

Photo manipulation : Dustin "OZKai" Wilkinson

Oo~hoo, the suspense~!


D-Arts Zero!!!

D-Arts Rockman X Zero [1st Ver.]
Bandai / Release: Late August / Price: 3675 yen

I couldn't resist! This is so awesome it makes my face hurt!
First off, it's X1 Zero! I don't think anything has been made for this version. Plus, knowing Bandai, there will be variants, so heads up for the X2 and up Zeros down the line!


HG 1/144 "Fighting Action" Gundam H-Arms Custom

Ah, Heavyarms... I'm quite certain the first thing I thought of when I saw this thing was, "What happens when it self-detonates?" Aside from such an apocalyptic side-thought, the overall design and color scheme makes this so much more menacing than the original white/red/orange combo of the original TV version. That and double double beam gatlings!?

HG 1/144 "Fighting Action" Gundam D-Hell Custom

It's been 11 years since I first seen this kit, back when Gundam W was airing in the U.S. and Endless Waltz, it's OVA/movie sequel, wasn't far behind it. I had pretty high expectations for these kits, being the first time I'd seen the "HG" moniker attached to a 1/144 scale line. (I would later find out about the first 1990 High Grades as well as the HGUC line.)
When I went to Toys R' Us one day back in 2000, I first saw this kit. Asking my mom to by this was difficult (I was 13 at the time) because of the $14 price tag. But she caved and got it for me. I can remember now, the thin layer of red paint along the face and chest vents, the ridiculously unremoved sprue flash, and the foil sticker eyes... sigh. Well I was young.
Anyway, 11 years later, I meet this kit again at a chance encounter on the east side of Columbus. Almost like fate, as I'd never been to this store, only hearing about it the day before, going there with the intention on picking up some 1/144 Endless Waltz kits. Destiny, right?
Ironically, the prices for these were $12 and $11, respectively. Eat your heart out, Bandai America...


D-Hell & H-Arms Customs COMPLETED

Currently in the process of taking photos of these now ancient kits. Because of their age, I'm still in limbo about reviewing them, as it would seem unfair in comparison of many more recent kits... (exposed polycaps are always a downer)

In either case, photo posts will soon be up (probably tomorrow) for both of these, and I'll still give my base opinion on my likes and dislikes so... Review enough?

Stickers? No Thanks.

I know it's not for everyone, but I feel as a modeler for 12 years, the foil stickers these kits come with are a bit of an insult. It may be time consuming and sometimes expensive, but painting parts to correct colors to spite their stickers always bring a much more satisfying result!

Take for example the HGUC kits of MSN-06S Sinanju and NZ-666 Kshatriya. These delicate tiny foil stickers would end up being more of a nuisance. They could fold up on themselves, be wrongly positioned, rip, come loose around bends, wrinkle around curves... I could go on. And, unfortunately, these problems also exist with the more necessary clear stickers, too...

But, with some patience and a lot of effort, you CAN get a beautiful result, even on these small kits!


Gunpla List UPDATE

I have finally finished cataloging all of my models in my Gunpla List, and have added some photos (some rather poor quality) for reference!
I'll try to get some more photos out when the camera will work.

Also, I've added two new kits to my collection! Although, I prefer "Nostalgia GET!"

HGFA 1/144 XXXG-01D2 Gundam D-Hell Custom
HGFA 1/144 XXXG-01H2 Gundam H-Arms Custom

This starts my obtainment of all of the Endless Waltz 1/144 HG's. I had most of these when they first came out stateside in 2000, but as with most of my old kits, they were either destroyed or lost.
Both are marked NEW, as well as all future kits will be prior to completion.

Until next time!



My final photo (currently) showcasing my HGUC's. So far, I've kept my collection pretty neutral!
Not pictured: Dendrobium (for space reasons) and Gundam GP01Fb 'LPE' because of it's unofficiality, and Unicorn U-Mode. ^_^'

As you can tell from the horrendous quality of the photo, this is the biggest reason my new reviews have been on hold. Hopefully, a new camera will be able to be acquired soon...


Last Shooting Project

Logo artwork and design by Dustin "OZKai" Wilkinson.

While these are older models I've done, these also qualify as my first attempts at dioramas. The Last Shooting Project reflected what, at the time, was the peak of my modeling skills. I did three of these displays, all using Master Grade kits. I plan to eventually take more updated pictures, as these were taken back in 2006...


My mascot: Why?

I'm sure for the few of you who are wondering where the picture in my logo bar comes from, this may answer some questions...

"GerberaXTiger" by Dustin"OZKai" Wilkinson


Gunpla List Added!

I added a page to keep track of all model kits I currently own. I'm currently updating these to have some photos for each one, but will probably be a while before that gets completed.
The link can be found here, or right above this post!

HGUC 1/144 Gundam GP01Fb "Linkin Park Edition"

This is, probably by far, one of my holy grails of Gunpla, as this was a very limited release in Japan, and it ties one of my favorite albums from one of my favorite bands to my favorite hobby. The Linkin Park: A Thousand Suns ‘Gunpla 30th Edition’ blindsided me the moment I heard about it.

1/48 scale MSN-06S Sinanju Head Display Base

This was kinda one of the things I opened this blog for. To share my hobbies with, like, 2 people out there. Well, anyway, this is a bit less of a review as more an ease into reviewing.
Moving forward! I ordered this a bit on a whim, but I knew I couldn't miss this...

Dengeki (Monthly) Gundam A (Ace) No. 101, January 2011.

Now, you're probably thinking "It's not a first issue and you can't read Japanese (perfectly)?" Which you're right about, Person Who Quoted Me Exactly. No. I had other reasons for this purchase...

... Curious, now?
(Also note the thickness of the mag itself! This is a monthly publication!?)

Included with the magazine is a Bandai 1/48 scale MSN-06S Sinanju Head Display Base, to be used by the HGUC 1/144 MSN-06S Sinanju model kit!

As you can see it's a kit in itself! Although, I have no qualms about that. Though this has larger parts needing painted than I'm used to, it was still a quick build.

The assembly instructions were printed inside the magazine, and (not at fault to my lack of Japanese-e-ing) was not listed in the contents. So it took me a minute to find, because these pages are thin! But construction is fairly simple, and allowed me to do something to make this a little special...

I painted the parts after removing all of them from their runners, instead of one at a time. Which, by the way, I see so many Gunpla reviewers do and don't understand how they don't lose track of the parts O_O'

Anyway, heeeeeerrrrre's the final product:

I know you can't tell from the one photo at the end, but the monoeye can turn with the head, in lieu to how the Master Grade 2.0 Zaku kits have been. However, it sticks way easier (i.e., the MG Zaku's eyes don't), and in result, kept looking to the right more than centered >__<. So... I glued it, 'cause I'd rather it be centered than perpetually to the right.

And, as you can see, I do not yet own the HGUC Sinanju, so a very confused Sazabi will have to make due for now...

In closing, this is an awesome stand, and I definitely can't wait to get the Unicorn Gundam one with it's HGUC kit!

Rating: 4 out of 5