Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to all!!!

It's that time of the year where we share in the festive atmosphere of Christmas.
It's a time of giving and loving. So be sure to have a Great Merry Christmas. Give your love ones special gifts and just take in the Christmas spirit of giving.

And since it's the time of giving, GIVE yourself that Model Kit or Miniature figure or Wargaming stuff you always wanted! That is if noone was able to get it for u ;)

You gotta understand, the hobby of wargaming, model kit building and niche toys aren't exactly a typical gift that people who give each other. So be UNDERSTANDING.. HEHE

Nonetheless, Merry Christmas to all reader and fans of Toyconstruct. may you have a festive and blessed Christmas with Good tidings and great fun!

And Have an Awesome Happy New Year ahead in hobby, family, loved ones and life!

Thanks for giving this blog an awesome year and we shall see you again with many more great stuff soon!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Things you can get in Tokyo for Model Kits

So after the trip was all said and done, my hobby goodies was a pretty substantial one.

Trinkets and Treasures of a fine expedition.

From the two Models I purchased from the streets of Akihabara...

To the Shizuoka Hobby Fair 2010,

I was able to get quite a sizeable amount of stuff back to tinker and feature in the near future of the Toyconstruct blog.

One thing that I left out that requires honorable mention is the model display casings and spray cans that I bought from Daiso in Japan.

For those who don't already know, Daiso sells almost all items at 1oo Yen (1.2 USD) in Japan.
Aside from the spray cans and the plastic container, the display casings were a little more expensive but they were still very very reasonable in comparison to the Tamiya model casings that would cost 20-30 bucks. Each of these casings are big enough to store at least two ships of scale 1/700 (Destroyer or Cruiser class, NOT bigger) and they cost about 300 yen or so, which is no more than 4 USD. So you can imagine how much you save.

Wanted to get another one, but I was worried about my baggage space. Turns out it was barely enough spare baggage spare for me to bring everything back to Singapore. So do take that into account.

On a sidenote, Will be featuring the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention soon and it will be followed by heap loads of stuff from me and Joshua.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Model Kit History and Gundam

Japan Part 2

In my follow up to checking out and seeing the awesome model kits, I decided to travel to the birthplace of model kits for Japan. This place is none other than the city of Shizuoka in the Shizuoka Prefecture just south of Tokyo. Taking a 2 hour bus ride, this place is near to Mount Fuji and is famous for growing tea leaves and strawberries.

It is also has a long history in the craft industry which gave rise to the emergence of Plastic Model kits. Shizuoka is also a resident place for major plastic model kit companies such as Tamiya, Aoshima, Hasegawa and Fujimi.

So as mentioned before I left, I went to Shizuoka to see the Shizuoka Hobby Fair.
However upon arrival to the fair, i think i might have mislead many on what I have describe in my post about what the Fair is about.

Initially i thought it was about the major companies (Tamiya, Aoshima, Hasegawa, etc) coming together in one big convention to showcase their products and their new releases, but I was mistaken. Apparently, this fair that I went to is focused more on showing about the history of plastic model kits and showcases a few of what is popular among the various major model kit brands, It also had a part of the Fair celebrating Gundam's 30th Anniversary.

The one i was expecting in actual fact was the Shizuoka Hobby SHOW (not fair) which showcases new release and sells all their new stuff and great stuff for each of the model kit brands. This is usually held in the Twin Messe Shizuoka every May for 3-4 days, which means it was impossible for me to see as I missed it totally.

So what you saw on my previous post, in terms of the Youtube Vid is separate from the fair itself. I am sorry for misinterpreting the mess up.

However, there is no love loss as this fair that is held almost half a year provides a lot of insight to the hobby I am doing and it was worth the trip to see all the awesome stuff.

Wooden Model Kit of various Japanese WW2 battleships.

In the beginning, Hobbyists' scale models derive from those used by firms which made the full-sized actual products. From architecture to engineering, these craftsmen from these areas use scale models of the actual product to provide an outlook and idea of the design and structure. Originally, "scale" was a physical measuring instrument which was first used by shipyards to derive anything bigger than a house to express something proportionally.

It was from this origins that model industry emerged with hobbyist delving more into model kits of certain scale. The Japanese model industry traces its legacy back into the late 1920s where it used wood to make model toys. Using sashimono woodworking joinery techniques, the industry made these toys purely for educational purposes. This can be seen from the picture above and below.

Simple Wooden Models of the 1930s for kids to fix up

Following World War 2, many scaled military models were used for recognition and military purpose but some pre-war consumer models were also sold. Nonetheless, plastic soon entered as the main material for model kits from the 1940s-1960s. As such, during this period, with the importation of US built scale models, many Japanese companies either turned to plastic models to compete or went under.

Robot Model kit with missiles flying out of it's head.... Crazy.

On top of cashing in on the making of plastic military model kits of various war eras (Particularly World War 2), Japanese model kit companies also decided to cash in on BANKABLE Japanese characters to diversify their production. From Astro Boy to the Bat Mobile, such model kit companies wanted to ensure that they capture a big consumer market for their manufacturing purposes.

Alien Model Kit?..Hmm interesting. Car Model Kits are also really popular during those times and it stretches all the way to current day Car Enthusiast.

While the model kit market has become pretty niche and hobbyist are not your everyday person that you would meet on the streets, the museum chronicled how the hobby and model kits as a whole have developed across the years. From 1960-1970s, it was pretty much the "Military" era of model kits where Military model kits such as those my dad has been collecting were pretty much the coolest toy in town. These kits ranged from WW2 to Vietnam Era Warmachines.

From the 1980s onward, we see the emergence of Gundam Model kits. Later on, Tamiya cars soon entered and dominated the model kit scene in the 1990s.

As the new millennium begin, it can be easily observed that the model kit industry started shrinking as model kits were not much of a commodity toy and it was hard to fight against technologically advance toys and games that have taken control and become an integral part of a kid's life.

But that has not prevent the Model Kit industry from changing itself to cater to its niche market and the Hobbyist generation of people.

An Awesome diorama display of some WW2 Model kit stuff

There is a great feeling inside of me to explore the small museum and realize that there is still a market for model kits which gives impetuous to these model kit manufacturers to develop more kits for me to build, enjoy, admire and play with. The future is still an unknown but I am excited to see what the Model Kit industry and the manufacturers in it have in store for me, especially in terms of Modern Military stuff!

This hobby has almost become a certain form of art in itself. But since it has also been coined or associated to the nerdy part of society, it isn't something that can be always appreciated by all. I am pretty sure it isn't a popular trendy thing to do too. But good model making and good painting would always be a great sight for all people to enjoy and that is what Hobbyist do!

While the model kit museum would be one of the main attraction of the fair, the biggest attraction would be the scale 1/1 Gundam. With Gundam being in existence for 30 years, it celebrates its anniversary by reassembling the famous original RX-78 (2) Gundam
that was seen in Daiba in Tokyo in Shizuoka. Noone knows whether this will be the last time you can see the actual size scale 1/1 Gundam and therefore it was a must for me to go check it out.

And I was truly not disappointed by the massive size of the Gundam with all its detail and splendor.

Located near the NTT Docomo Building, this awesome size Gundam is something you would see any other country build of one of their favorite mascot. (I like to see America build Megazord.) Then again, in terms of Mecha and Robots, nothing can be as Iconic, Relevant and in continuation as Gundam.

And with such a big following, this 30th anniversary was a great way to get Gundam fans to gaze at the real deal of awesomeness

Furthermore, it is able to move its head and has certain real effects of a Gundam. Obviously, it can't move on its own like the Gundam in the show but for me, it was good enough.

Shoe size sir? hmm not sure if we got that size around.

Even though I was sort of a Gundam Modeller back in the days when I barely was 8 or 9 years old, it brings back memories and it also had impose a great feeling of Awe to see such an awesome build.

If you do not really care for Military Models or even the Model Kit Museum but you are a fan of Gundam. Going to Shizuoka to see this awesome Gundam model is definitely worth the journey.

All in all, the two days in Japan that I dedicate to seeking and sightseeing my hobby stuff were worthwhile and something that will remain in my memories for years to come!

I do hope that you guys enjoyed my review of Japan in terms of the hobby aspect of it. And for those who take a similar interest as I do , I recommend you to visit the places I have recommended to get a feel of how awesome is the hobby world in Japan.

Check out this Biggest Toyconstruct Facebook album here


Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Back

Hi there all, After two weeks in the land of the rising sun I have return. (That goes for those who do not already know.)

Its been crazy for me as I have so many things to show yet so little time to blog and do everything. Just today, I have also been to the Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention and that is not all that I will have plan for the craziness of my life so far.

In any case, I shall start with the Tokyo Review of what I have been doing and pretty much show you where to go and what to do if you are a modeller or model kit enthusiast.

Unfortunately for Tabletop gaming or Warhammer fantasy, it is pretty hard to find anything around Tokyo area and I am not sure if there is even an interest or a market there. Either that, or it is too remote or unknown in the mainstream society of Japan for me to know.

First of all, in terms of model kits, Japan is one of the major places in Asia to get really great model kits. With brands like Tamiya, Hasegawa, Aoshima, Bandai and Pit-Road. It is a major centre that has a strong model kit industry with these major manufacturers. The only other big manufacturer of model kit would be the Dragon Brand which is based in Hong Kong.

So first and foremost, if you were traveling in Asia, based on where model kit brands originated from, Japan would be leading in terms of brands. However, even in the great labyrinth of Japan's capital, Tokyo, Model kits aren't really the biggest "in" thing for teenagers and young adults

As such, don't expect to get your armor/airplanes/warships in your nearest department stores.
You won't find it in the common street shops too. But of course, there are a lot of shops with model kits around Tokyo if you know your way around.


Also known as Akihabara Electric Town, it is an area just 5 mins off Tokyo Metro Station. For those living or residing in accommodations near Shin-juku or Shibuya, it will take u a lil longer to get there through connecting subway stations. Take note: This place is specially known for its electronics, computer, anime and otaku goods.

Some of you might be wondering how does model kit fit into the categories of what this place is known for. Model Kits are categorizes under otaku goods. The word Otaku in Japanese terms would mean someone who has an "obsessive interest" in something.

While it may seem a bit extreme to term Modellers as Otakus, it is normally used to describe people who are into anime and cosplaying. However, in modern Japanese slang, Otaku just literally means a fan of a particular theme or hobby interest. So Modellers are pretty much Model Kit Otakus.

When you emerge from the Akihabara Subway station, it is easy to get lost and disorientated. However, I am pretty much suffering that effect every time I arrive in a new area in Tokyo.

It doesn't really help when everything is in Japanese. Thankfully for me, My gal is able to communicate in Japanese and get our way around. However, because this isn't really a hobby that she is familiar with, I had to also look out for the military model kits too. But fret not, as it isn't really that hard to find model kits once you explore the area a lil bit.

A junction in Akihabara.

It is common to see many electric stores as u walk the streets of Akihabara. It is also not surprising to see Japanese girls advertising for their Cafe which are called Maid Cafes. Akihabara is known place to have Maid Cafe, which sort of became a trend in Japan.

It wasn't long before we were able to locate several hobby shops. These hobby shops do vary in sizes. Some could be several stories in size or just one small shop like the one above. Your best shot is to go to those big ones as most of the small shops usually sell things that are more popular and common like PVC Anime figures, Cars and Gundam Related type of model kits.

Be sure to look out for words like 戦車 which means Tanks or Armoured Vehicles, 飛行機 which would be Airplanes and Fighter jets, 戦艦 which would mean warships. In general though, Model kits are represented by the kanji words "模型".

Most of the big hobby shops have sorted their toys and model kits into categories, in which they dedicate one level for each type. Therefore, Gundam would have one level, Military model kits would have one level, Anime stuff would have one level and Railway trains would have one too. (These would be the main categories in the big hobby shop)

Once you locate found these big hobby shops, you will realise that their array and variety of model kits are huge. While it is predominantly Japanese brands, you can still see a sizeable amount of other model kit manufacturers from China (Dragon) to American and European (Revell).

As my main model collection being 1/700 modern warships, they are not say the biggest mainstay of the model kit industry. So because of that you would think that these hobby shops like the ones in my home country, would not have much.

But I was dead wrong, on the contrary, they have a huge stash. Needless to say, it is predominantly Modern JMSDF naval ships but there are also US and Russian Modern Naval warships here and there.

One of the big hobby stores with its array of just solely Modern Naval ships.

With Military model-kit making being a very very niche hobby in the world today, I usually have to resort to buying my kits online. Worse yet, it is almost very rare now for me to actually pick out a kit that I mean to build from a retailer.

TamTam Hobby Shop, ( Military Models Level

However somehow, I was able to get the specific model warship that just got release from a big hobby shop by the name of Tam Tam in Akihabara. The irony is that the Model Kit was a Dragon Model kit (Not Japanese) that just only got release recently.

it is the 1/700 Type 45 Daring Class Destroyer from UK and they had it. While it took us a few searches from various model shop, I was surprise to find it easily.

I must point out that this example goes to show how huge the collection of model kits that each of these Big Model shops have in terms of variety. If it were armor or planes, they have a very good stock of many brands so you need not worry much.

Gundam still seems to be a real big thing with regards to easy model kit making and it still has a big impact on Japanese Modern culture. I will be elaborating about Gundam even further on my next post of my Japan trip with relation to Toyconstruct. But as my pictures show, Akihabara has many hobby related stuff around that area and it ranges from Robots to Model Kits to even..

BB Guns!

Akihabara have shops selling shit loads of BB guns that look almost as real as the real guns. Obviously they cost quite a lot to get.. and its a pity i can't really buy and bring this back to singapore. Firstly, U can't really bring this on the it through your check-in luggage or on-board the flight. Secondly, Singapore bans such items and therefore it is impossible for me to collect such weaponry.

Lastly, some of these hobby shops sell loads of mini-toys. These mini-toys are collected from japanese candy boxes that feature some array of toy collectibles in it. Usually, people would buy these candy product to get a Randomised toy collectible in it.

As such, hobby shops use these gimmick to their own benefit. These hobby shops would buy a whole batch of candy boxes that come with some sort of toy collectible and take out the toy to sell it seperately from the candy box (usually at a more expensive price to gain profits). However, this benefits the consumer as they can choose what mini toy they want to get without having to go through buying loads of candy box and not getting a specific mini toy they want.

Toys Toys Toys.. Akihabara is filled with niche products and toys. So if you are one who is interested in buying model kits and anything that I have shown in Japan, Akihabara would be ur first choice place to go to do some Retail Shopping!!

That's it for now. Next entry will be part 2 of hobby stuff in Japan.

For more pics on my journey in Akihabara, Check out my facebook album at


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Game of Thrones (HBO)

Hey Everyone

Hope you all are doing well and enjoying the hobby we all share :) I love fantasy and sci-fi, which either makes me a geek or a Games Workshop/Star Wars cash cow lol. Winter is coming where I am at, and I am not a big fan of the cold...I really hope JQ is having an awesome time right now!

Anyway, have you heard of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series? If not, you should read it! It's a dark fantasy series that some have compared to Tolkien, with quite a lot of gore, sex and betrayals. The basic plot goes like this: there's 7 kingdoms ruled by the King (who originally ursurped the throne), his rule is unsteady and forces around him are moving to secure the King's throne...the geographical range is great, as it spans from medieval settings to oriental environments.

Fan-made map of the world in the Game of Thrones

The books are written from the perspective of the many characters in the book. All the characters are really complex and you may start hating one character...but once you read through his/her'll get to appreciate who they are. I did read it since last summer (under influence from JQ) and I have to say it's one of the most compelling reads I have picked up. There are a total of 5 books, with 4 published so far...and I am reading the 4th one right now.

Ned Stark and his greatsword, Ice...he's played by Sean Bean who was also LoTR's Boromir. The tree is some sort of totem the northerners pray to, and have faces inscribed on them.

Jaime Lannister sitting on the contested Iron Throne, which is a mass of swords/blades molded together to form a throne. The intention was that the king had to be vigilant all the time, and if he slipped, he'll be cut by the throne..

Well, HBO is in the process of making a TV series of the books and it's slated for an April '11 screening. HBO is pretty much known to be kick-ass when it comes to making series (eg. Band of Brothers, Pacific). It really looks like a lot of good work has been put into this, such as the artistic effort to ensure the world looked authentic, and having the author on board for the production (which is unfortunately rare in book to film adaptations).

At the bottom of this post are some teaser trailers and a behind-the-scenes feature...which makes a very compelling trailer itself for the HBO series. If you have read the books, you'll be close to crying when you watch the feature as it brings to life the scenes from the book. Personally, I am excited about this new series coming up, and it'll be a treat for all fantasy fans alike...especially if you're looking for a gritty and artful treatment of fantasy.

In the meantime, I am about 2+ weeks away from coming back home, which means that the WFB battles we promised are indeed coming up on the horizon. I am still in the process of getting my tripod together as I am missing a tripod head...and would be able to take some pics soon (explaining why my past few posts aren't about my minis). Plus, we have JQ coming back soon from his adventures in I guess there's quite a bit of stuff to look forward too in the near future!

Thanks for your loyal support, JQ and I really appreciate the time and color you all add to this tiny space on the internet. It is always a pleasure to read the stuff you guys write on this blog!

Till next time, do take care and stay geeky my friends.


Behind-the-Scenes Feature

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cybernet is Coming...

Hey Everyone!

As JQ is off for his really awesome Japanese adventure, I'll be continuing to post on this humble blog of nerdom...and we all wish for JQ to have a great time over there, and hope he'll bring back juicy tales about his geeky encounters in the Land of the Rising Sun! (plus, he's meeting his girlfriend there too)

Well, I recently re-watched the Matrix (the first movie) and man, it still captures my imagination and I am really surprised at how much information there was in that movie. I kinda forgot that the Oracle told Neo that he was not the One...not sure if you all knew that by heart, I am sure I didn't.

Speaking of the Matrix, aren't we seeing more and more robots in everyday life? Since the iconic Asimo, the Japanese have been developing a lot of robots that walk and even help care for the much so that there's the running joke that they'll invent the Gundam first and rule the world.

The world-famous Asimo robot, capable of smooth walking and even playing soccer (

Recently, I bumped into this really interesting article on the New York Times about the US Army's effort in roboti-zing its units.

In the real world, robots are actually coming into the forefront of warfare, as we hear of Predators flying the skies in Iraq and Afghanistan, or robots disarming IEDs and saving soldiers from such devices. I guess this proliferation of robotic technology is fueled by drastic decreases in the cost of chip technology + rare earth magnets (it's just my gut feeling).

US Army's Big Dog, a weight bearing quadruped robot that will be tested soon in Afghanistan. (Scientific American)

USMC's Gladiator, armed with a SAW and grenade launchers, developed by Carnegie Mellon and it's controlled by a suit that is worn by a soldier. (

Not surprisingly, these robots do not have humanoid forms...and do many things a human soldier can't: guard compounds without losing focus or going hungry/tired, do things without complaining/discipline issues, accurately aim weaponry without shaking from hands, carry loads tirelessly, follow rules of engagement to the letter etc. There is a lot of potential for military robots and they are a very promising and yet cost-effective advancement of military technology.

But for some, it does feel kinda creepy to have robots serving at the front...afterall I have been exposed to movies/shows like the Terminator, Matrix series, Battlestar Galactica etc. which predict that our over-dependence on machines can lead to our own destruction. Real-world A.I can still go awry and make mistakes (such as aim the gun at friendlies by mistake), they still make mistakes in killing innocent civilians (which is perhaps impossible to avoid)...and interestingly some foresee robots to be the next arms race as countries can mass produce robots and perhaps be more eager to engage in military conflicts.

What do you all think about the development of military robots? One thing for sure, it seems to me that it's pretty much inevitable that we'll see the on-going advancement of robot technology and I won't be surprised if the world 40 years from now will resemble what we have in Science-Fiction today (which also explains why I love sci-fi a lot).

Just a geeky sidenote: If you did watch the Animatrix, my favorite part was the Second Renaissance series, which provided a very believable timeline detailing humankind's use of robots in the future. It explained the tragic backstory behind the Matrix, where humans created robots, mistreated them and eventually went to war that effectively wiped out the humans and brought them gruesome slavery under the machines. Man, it makes pretty scary watching and what if it became true?

The devastating Machine War depicted in the Animatrix, image's kinda blurry but it shows gigantic robots (predecessors of the Sentinels) that are invulnerable to enemy fire and move to massacre human forces...(

A short video clip from Animatrix showing the disastrous Machine War (Operation Dark Storm).

Friday, November 19, 2010

2 Week Hiatus and Ongoing Events

Greetings All and I am back again,

But this time, my entry is more about what to expect from the blog and upcoming stuff.

First and Foremost though, I would like to thank all the readers and people who come up here to casually relieve their time or take interest and get involved in discussions on our blog. Josh and I fully appreciate it and it is one of the motivations for us to keep doing what we are doing. SO A BIG THANK U!

Next, I will tell you that in the lead up of things to come on the blog, I will be taking a 2 week hiatus for personal reasons. In truth, I'm going to JAPAN for 2 weeks for a holiday.

And since I will be in Japan, I will be going for the Shizuoka Hobby Fair 2010! As such, I will be featuring some stuff for all you model kit enthusiast! Be it Ships, Tanks, Planes or even Gundam.

For those who do not know about what the Shizuoka Hobby Fair is about, every year in Japan, they hold a hobby fair where the biggest guys from the Japanese Model Kit Industry come to showcase their stuff. From Tamiya and Hasegawa to Aoshima, Pit-Road and even Dragon from Hong Kong and your Gundam brands like Bandai will be there to show what are the latest release for their model kit ranges.

Furthermore, there are shops there for me to buy my new kits that I am planning to get and also a museum that will showcase some great works. Last but not least, the Scale 1/1 RX-78-2 Iconic Gundam that was featured in Tokyo a year before, is appearing as it got reassemble this year again for the Shizuoka Hobby Fair!

Here is the Gundam that is shown in the Hobby Fair! Pretty Amazing Stuff especially the effects from the Model and the Head moving mechanics!

This fair is Being held from 24/7/2010 - 27/3/2011, it is quite a long period. So for those interested, you still have ample time to go. I will give the review in December and for those who have time to visit Japan and are keen modellers, that would be a great place to visit!

Here is a preview of some features in the Hobby Fair.

After the 2 weeks hiatus though, I will be featuring lots of miniatures, a couple more models and reviewing several community websites and model stuff that would definitely perk you up. There has been in-depth discussion between Josh and me about coming up with videos to do some painting stuff but at this moment, I am still pretty unsure with the time constraint that is at hand. Videos of our Wargaming Exploits could be a potential, especially when we are embarking on GHQ war-gaming system and also the New Warhammer Rules. One thing is for sure with Toyconstruct: Busy Busy Busy! All I hope is we can be on par and satisfy our readers

In addition, There will be entries on Anime and Mecha stuff too so stay tune for that.

And as for Warhammer fans, We got lots more to give and feature, so you be ready for that too. In fact, even Joshua and Wei Ting doesn't know what I have been up to in terms of painting stuff so stay tune. ;)

Lots in store and Now that I am back in my homeland, I promise you a lot more things I can put into the hobby of Toyconstruct.

Till then, thanks for the support and see you soon!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bretonnian Mage

Welcome back Warhammer fans!

Today's pic is my earlier made Sorceress/Bretonnian Mage/Damsel

While she is definitely not as good as my current works, the significance of this miniature would be that she is my first and so far, only female character miniature that I have painted.

Somehow or another, I seem to have a problem painting female miniatures. I would always fret about wanting it to look damn good and quite honestly, even professional or high standard quality paintings at times don't really get it right in my opinion. But okae, Who am I to criticize when I wouldn't be able to paint them well myself. :S

My next female miniature that is in line for painting is my Fay Enchantress. But with so many miniatures waiting to have its turn to be painted. It will be quite a while before I get to her. BUT when I do, I am going to use all of my ability to make her master class quality or at least my top-class painting standard of all that I have painted so far.

On a wargaming note, I must say. the damsel/Sorceress has played her part well. But more often than not, it is to fend off magic attacks from the High Elves. Because I have had plenty of battles with High Elves, most of my magic elements are rendered handicap or left to contend with dispelling duties. Nonetheless, I cannot forsake these damsels or Sorceresses as without them, the repercussion of Magic damage to my army would be great.

On another note, I have been reading the new edition Warhammer rules and lots of things have change. If u wanna know more u can go to the Warhammer Battle Reporter under this link: They feature many battle reports that will give u a gauge of how the new flow of the game is like. This is especially helpful for new Warhammer gamers and work as a good refresher for old Warhammer gamers.

According to a survey done by Warhammer Battle Reporters, Bretonnian is said to be one of the worst armies of the 8th edition rules and I guess that is pretty much a downer for my mainstay Warhammer army :S.

Well in a months time or so, the battles will begin again, as me, Josh and Wei Ting come together to pit each of our armies against each other and then I will see how my army really fairs in 8th ed.

So do check it out as we feature the battles soon :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Unofficial WFB Armies

Hey Everyone

Hope you all are doing well and welcome once again to this bastion of nerdiness...where we converge with our passions for all things collectable/geeky.

Well, fantasy to me always made me think of knights, castles, elves and orcs. Stereotypical settings of medieval Europe come to mind as great works such as LoTR and WFB have been prevalent in my fantasy geekdom. Perhaps I failed to ask myself this: why is the fantasy genre dominated by western imagery? How was the rest of the world like during the same time? They must have their share of warring warlords and armies of renown...

The college course I am taking now is exploring eastern themes in fantasy (albeit still written by American authors), and it is indeed very interesting to learn about eastern themes that deeply move us inside - such as the need for balance of power, acceptance of both good and bad parts of oneself, and the inter-relatedness of all nature (mankind included). It's my observation that fantasy is a literary form shared across all cultures, as each has its own unique stories that have their own heroes and villains...and perhaps non-Western themes mainstream fantasy have much to offer beyond the staple of Western fantasies (part of the reason why I shunned the Fable series).

While going through a list of WFB-themed blogs (courtesy of "Sigmar"), I came across a forum that posted unofficial WFB army lists that include armies such as Cathay, Nippon and Araby, armies that I only read in the background but never see on the tabletop, with the exception of JQ's warhammer campaigns. Go ahead and check them out...and they somehow added an "Amazonian" army list, perhaps after the upcoming Blood Bowl video game announced the inclusion of Amazons as a playable faction. Read: nubile scantily-clad women = fanning the fires in potential male consumers.

The army lists look kinda cool, and I am not sure if we could try a playtest of the lists and see how the armies work. Some of the cover-art look really well-done too, apparently it's mostly the work of a guy called Mathias, who works to put together an army list replete with histories and illustrations.

When it comes to fan-related stuff, they have my utmost respect...spending the time to create their own original additions out there for others to see. Somehow filling the gaps left behind by the official-creators - who are also pissing me off with increasing prices and changing rules. Man, their creativity is really something and I guess playing out their army lists could be a way of recognizing their dedication!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Land Air and Sea. Navy Seals

So today, its back to Military stuff again. And now, it is featuring the Navy Seal Boarding Soldier from the Todd McFarlane Military Series.

However, I must point out that the gear that he is wearing is not always ubiquitous to the Navy Seals

What is ubiquitous about him is that he suits up like many Special forces units.

Through Rain

Or Shine.. The Navy Seals will operate and get the job done.

AND like most special forces units, the weapons they use or have are customized to their own preference. Their M4 Carbines and MP5 would have their own personal zeroing. Furthermore, Combat fatigues are usually pretty less regulatory compared to their standard infantrymen counterparts.

However, if you think that their training is any easier, you would be dead wrong. The Navy Seals go through many layers of physical, intellectual and mental training programs before they can become actual Navy Seal Personnels. Furthermore, they are picked from the best.

With the requirement to be highly flexible and adaptive, the Navy Seals need to have uncanny situational awareness and operational precision that are above par. As such, it is highly essential that their discipline and combat abilities be more exceptional than your normal infantry. With regards to their battle experience, the Navy Seals have been in every conflict since their establishment, so I guess we can't really put any doubt of their operational record

Furthermore, Seal Team Six is under the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group which oversees Covert Operations and have frequent collaborations with the CIA.
Displaying their diverse abilities in the theater of conflicts and war.

For more on Navy Seals:

In relations to Special forces like the Navy Seals, it is only 2 days left to the release of Modern Warfare: Black Ops.

But don't go crazy and buy it before knowing this.
It is TREYARCH who is doing this game. Meaning, it could SUCK.. as there have been pretty much no Call of Duty (CoD) that were really great under the Treyarch development team.

However, Trailer looks pretty damn fancy and nice, but we have yet to find out the reception from the gamers themselves.

Nonetheless, It does make me disgruntled as i have yet to get a new laptop to play Modern Warfare 2. DAMNIT. :S Sometimes, it just suck to be way behind the trends and games that people play.

And I am feeling the full effect of it, especially when it comes to games related to my hobby and interest. FRACK.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bleach: Shuhei Hisagi

Today, yet another anime figure from the Bleach anime as I have mentioned before

This suave cool guy samurai is called Shuhei Hisagi of the 9th Division. he is a Vice-captain/Lieutenant of the Squad and is a Soul Reaper/Shinigami.

What appeals to me about him is that throughout the anime, we never really see him use his ultimate power of his sword.

Which means, he pretty much takes down the bad guys with his sword skills or the basic "Magic" spells of a Soul Reaper

There's a sense of "bad-ass"ness in him. However, sadly enough, he doesn't get too much air time as he isn't really that popular with the mainstream fans of the Anime series.

All in all though, when he was finally the central role in the show, I must admit, his fight scene was pretty epic. And this would be the first time he releases his sword's ultimate power as shown below.

Of the almost 300 over episodes, there are a few dozen in which the animation of the fight scenes are really detailed or dynamic and I gotta say, this is one of them. In this scene, Shuhei takes on the Arrancar (A Baddie) called Findor and tells him the whole concept of his sword before finishing him off.

I must admit though, in a critical standpoint of view, Bleach anime is getting real draggy and the fillers are boring the shit out of me. Furthermore, the whole concept and mentality of the main character, Ichigo (which i will feature way later) is not that profound. It has come to the point where I am only hoping that the main story arc would provide more intrigue and that they would just stop putting damn lame ass pointless fillers.

While a couple of my friends got interested in the anime, I am pretty doubtful any of them have follow up since. And I can largely account that to really retarded fillers that include stupid forgettable characters. Pardon my frustration but its almost like reading a real boring 3 chapters of an exciting book and the reason why they put the chapters there is to elongate the anime series and give time for their manga line to catch up.

All in All. Good points: Fight scenes and Some Cool Characters, Bad points: Main character and Fillers

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good Knight Stories

Hey Everyone

I guess you could have noticed that I was kind of absent for the past few weeks and JQ has been constantly updating the blog. Thing is, I lost my tripod head (somehow) and now it is difficult to use my macro-lens to take new pictures of the minis/models :( Unfortunately I've been quite occupied for the past few weeks and personally to me it's a bad excuse to say "I'm busy"...especially something that I am quite passionate about! In the meantime, I will try to get more posts up and running, another tripod soon...or maybe come up with new ways of taking shots of models aka 'stretching my imagination'.

Fantasy fans, the time has come for more fantasy posts! Over the summer I visited the Metropolitan Museum of New York, and the best section is of course...WEAPONS AND ARMOR. I'm a guy and these things turn me on right away and I loved to just look at the suits of armor and various weapons all across the world during medieval times. European full plate, Japanese Samurai suits, and even Middle-Eastern calvary armor. Awesome stuff...just being face-to-face with actual objects that are ubiquitous in the fantasy genre makes fantasy feel so real.

Italian Cuirassier Armor (aka Empire pistoliers, mobile shooting calvary), with a bullet dent.

Well, I am taking a course called "Religion and Fantasy" in college...which has turned out to be a really insightful experience. It talks about the various religious themes behind the fantasy novels/movies we have today, through examining essays written by the authors themselves and studying how fantasy (which includes sci-fi) profoundly touches the inside of our souls. For a long time fantasy got 'bad rep' from the general public and only recently is fantasy starting to generate active interest in it.

In essence, people who baulk against our nerdom do not understand fantasy at how it touches our deepest desires (eg. escape death), how it consoles its audiences (especially for kids in fairy tales and the complexity of life), how it calls us to live to our 'higher natures' rather than 'lower natures', how it critiques current social institutions plus many other aspects. To some, it may seem to be child-like play of make-believe, and even others think it is just a form of escapism from the realities of life. And yet, I cannot deny being overwhelmed by well-developed fantasies such as in Star Wars, Blade Runner, LoTR, Alien etc. There is just this force of attraction it has for me, and I'm sure it's the same feeling you all get from fantasy too! Even imagining modern military (as in JQ's Dashland) can be considered fantasy.

Some images to capture the smaller details in armor...

What experiences do you guys have with the fantasy/sci-fi genre? How does it attract you? Those are indeed deep questions and I find that they reveal the true power fantasy has to give to the world we live in. A part of me wonders why medieval times appear to be the staple of a lot of fantasy novels, games and movies, like LoTR, D&D, Warhammer, Dragon Age, King Arthur, the Hobbit, Narnia...

PS: I intentionally left out the Japanese/Middle-Eastern armor...they'll be coming in future posts!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sojiro from Rurouni Kenshin

For all those anime fans out there, to not know Rurouni Kenshin or Samurai X is like not knowing anime at all. To those who are unfamiliar to anime and are wondering about what the hell is this, Samurai X is an anime set in the Meiji Period of Japan about a Samurai Assassin by the name of Kenshin Himura.

In my opinion, it is by far the most intriguing and captivating anime tv series of all time. To give a brief summary of this anime story, it begins with two original version anime (OVAs) films called Samurai X revolving on the life of this guy by the name of Kenshin Himura. In the movies, he was trained by a sword master and became a Samurai with exceptional swordsmanship. While he didn't finish his training, he became an Assassin for the Meiji Government, and because of his assassinations, he was played pivotal role in the Meiji restoration.

To put it simply, this anime involves real actual history and many of the characters you see are actually based in some way to real historic figures in Japanese History. While Kenshin is fictitious, the OVA shows his exploits and his prowess with the blade and his cold-hearted life as an assassin with no remorse and no mercy.

The OVA ends with him reaching a revelation of his life and after a few very heart-hitting tragedies, he establish his resolve to not kill ever again.

Then comes the TV series which is called Rurouni Kenshin, meaning Kenshin the Wanderer, talks about his exploits as the Wandering Samurai.

The last OVA which is called Seisouhen talks about Kenshin and the ending of his life.

The entire story of him was just so moving, tragic and yet philosophical. In addition to the historic value, there is a sense of Japanese warrior culture that you can grasp and understand from this anime. As i feature more of these Samurai X figures I will elaborate further, or you can check out the anime films and TV series urself ;)

Seta Sojiro is one of the antagonist in the tv series anime Rurouni Kenshin. he appeals to me as he is probably one of the only few characters that really pose a serious threat to Kenshin Himura. Furthermore his speed is exceptionally fast and can be comparable or surpass Kenshin Himura own prowess in speed. Furthermore, in Rurouni Kenshin, even the villains are appealing too.

Face-off between Kenshin and Soijiro

What is iconic about Seta Soijiro is his ability to be exceptionally fast but more importantly, he's ability to be unpredictable in his sword attacks as he displays no emotions and his insensitive mentality. Finally, he is fluent in the sword style practice by Kenshin, and with the combination of his ability to be fast, he has name his own sword technique known as "Shutensatsu" meaning to be killed by Heaven's sword

Here you will see the rundown of his battle between Kenshin which is through episode 54-56 of the TV series. While these episodes also tells a history of Sojiro, this clip only shows the battle prowess of these two warriors.

My next post will be yet another anime figure before I get back to Fantasy and Military Stuff.
As of now, I have am finishing up and completing a couple of Modern Warships from the GHQ Harpoon series and also One or two Dragon Model Ships. I have also begun painting the GHQ Modern Warfare Micro Armour stuff. On top of that, I am also in good progress with regards to Warhammer. However, I will be taking a break for a while after this week as I start to my exams but I can assure you there is so much to come between now and the end of the year.

Not to mention a lot more events and other things.
I will like to take a moment to also thank all the readers and active people who comment (POI, Desolater, Killers, Yur, hawaiiwarhammerfan, Shen and Redchina to name a few of the many peeps, Sorry if i didn't mention u all. ) in our blog. We really appreciate it and you guys are the drivers to us continually making semi-weekly to weekly posts of toys, games, models kit and wargaming activities.