Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mega Size Gundam - Building the 1/48th Scale Giant Part 2

Finding the time to work on this is kit is harder than I thought, The Stanley Cup Playoffs and lots of overtime at work are making free time scarce. But as I said in the first post, this kit is really easy to put together, I figure 3-4 hours maximum with no painting or detailing.

Looking at reviews of Gunpla kits online is making me wish I had worked on the panels, it's not too late the kit is large enough and can easily be broken down but I'm not 100% confident in my skills just yet.

Smooth sailing, this thing is going together like a dream. And just like when you start thumbing that last 50 or so pages of a good book, I'm taking my time.

I attached the legs to the crotch area and built up the torso. The amount of articulation and range the joint have is pretty amazing.

I also attached the back pack and rockets, again these parts are aching for some weathering and details, but I'll just have to be happy with a more toy like finished product.

Next up the arms, shoulders and the head, and we're pretty much done. I'll be sure to include more detailed pics of the finished piece.

I'll tell you, trolling the Gunpla sites if anything re awakened my interest in Turn A, so much so that I'm considering the MG kit for my next project, this time with plans to paint and detail.

Stay tuned for the last part this week.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mega Size Gundam - Building the 1/48th Scale Giant Part 1

Jumbo Love

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Gundam Bandai released what is still to my knowledge the largest Gundam kit ever created, at 1/48th scale, 375mm or 15" this thing is huge, the box it's self is almost Jumbo sized.

Gundam never 'worked on me' as I often say to JohnnyBoy, no matter how much I've been into Super Robots, I've always found the overly complicated tech of Gundam unattractive compared to the brighter, simpler 60's-70's Robots that dominate the shelves of my collection. The only Gundam I own is a Chogokin from the Turn A Series, which of course is the least popular of all the designs due to it's elegant simplicity.

In the past year or so, the older designs of the original1978 series started becoming more prevalent due to the Anniversary and the latest series being a throwback design wise to the first series. The more I was seeing the RX-78, the more I finally realized how beautiful it was in its simplicity, and like any compulsive toy addict, I had to have at least one. But not just any one, the biggest one.

I was fortunate enough to have a co worker from Japan that was visiting her family in Osaka over the Christmas holidays, anything you'd like me to bring back she asked...well there is one thing I replied.

Scoring a great deal off of, within a few weeks a giant box arrived at my workplace containing two of these giant beauties (one for me, and one for JohnnyBoy). And then like all of the model kits I've accumulated in the past 20 years it sat there in it's box. I used to love building model kits, but full time work lazyness and other adult commitments have prevented me from making the time to sit down with some plastic and glue and make the magic happen. The advantage of the latest Bandai Master Grade kits is the builder has the option to paint all the details they desire or leave it as is and the kit still looks great. These kits don't even require glue or paint, they are so intelligently engineered, they're practically a fully functional toy puzzle.

So I sat down the other night, determined to at least make a dent in the kit. I had a personal bet that it would take me an hour to make one leg, and I wasn't far off...I got two done in an hour and a half.

The box once opened was pretty intimidating, to be honest. Over a dozen cellophane bags filled with color coded parts and despite the lovely full color instruction booklet, everything is in Japanese but very easy to understand. It only took me 20 minutes to make my first mistake, which required me to struggle for 10 minutes to unsnap a portion of the leg I had just tightly secured. I guess they assume that more seasoned model builders are assembling these kits, and I overlooked the fact that due to the symmetry of much of the robot, most related instructions are only shown once, lesson learned. After that it was smooth sailing. The parts detached neatly from the plastic sprues, everything fit together perfectly, and all of the joints were beautifully articulated with a nice firm stiffness and even as a life long fan of Japanese toys it was never more apparent to me how incredibly well designed and engineered these pieces are, pure genius. Anyway, as I stated, after a little over an hour and a half both legs were done, I was mentally fatigued and I want to savor the experience as much as possible so I'm saving the rest of the kit for the remainder of the week. Stay tuned...

   almost 10" of pure leg

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Toy Beauty - Taekwon V

Taekwon V, D-Model Korea, 2007(?)
Image courtesy kaijutoho

Toy Beauty - Kotetsushin Jeeg

Kotetsushin Jeeg Tin Walker, Takara Japan 1970

Collectors or Hoarders?

As I was going through things yesterday to prepare for a post, rummaging through numerous plastic bins it hit me how much of a fine line there is between collecting and hoarding, and how quickly one can accumulate and ungodly amount of stuff. This after my fist major move in over 5 years and finally being talked into thinning out my collection via a dealer table at a local show. But this is what this blog is all about, the sickness and disease that is collecting, ugh...some days it makes me sick to my stomach and feels like an overbearing monkey on my back, whereas most, I love everything I have and could not bear to part with one piece...this sickness.

Toy Beauty - Magnemo Love Edition

Left to right: Baron Karza, Mego U.S.A, 1977; Totila, GIG Italy, 1985; Microman T401 Cerberus, 1975 Takara, Japan; Wiscid, GIG Italy, 1985; Koutetsu Geeg Robo, Takara Japan, 1998 (re-issue)

Many of the luckier collectors my age played with Mego's Barzon Karza or Force Commander when they were kids back in the 70's, but who would have thought that all these years later we'd be discovering more cool variations of the basic magnet construction.

One of the more interesting finds I've come across in the internet age are the Fantanauti line from GIG Italy. Basically an inventive substitute for Mattel's uber succesful He-Man line of the mid 80's, not quite bootleg but to my limited knowledge never saw distribution out side of Italy. The line seems to be made up of two humanoids and two vehicles, all utilizing magnet joints making them completely compatable with the other similar Mego, Takara Magnemo action toys. And the most amazing part, they are in scale with the new Mattel MOTUC toys, were the Four Horsemen perhaps inspired by these toys when they decided on the size of the Classics line? Who knows, if I ever bump into them at a Con, I'll be sure to ask if Totila may one day join the line.

Another great figure is Jeeg, based on a popular cartoon series and created by Go Nagai, originally released in 1970 by Takara, they were kind enough to reissue him in 1998 after prices for the original were shooting through the roof. Pretty much the same body used for Karza with a new head and much more colorful palette, this is easily one of my all time favourite toys.

Takara also released Magnemo toys in the smaller Microman scale in 1975. I recently picked up this sample with no previous knowledge that it even existed. Despite being a bit too small to swap parts and a tad rusty, he's a really great piece.

The coolest thing about these toys is the ability to exchange parts enabling you to make your own fun concoctions. I'm a bit too old for that part and definitely keep the pieces with their original owners, but it's nice to imagine a kid on Christmas morning with a few of these making his own imaginative and bizarre creations.