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.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dashland Infantry Rifle Man

Part two of my Dashland Infantryman.

So here we have the frontal view of the 1/6 Action Figure.
In terms of this Action figure market, there are a few major players. They are Dragon (the company that also produces excellent model warships that I like) from Hong Kong, DID, Hot Toy and BBI.

While Military Figures of Modern and WW2 are the mainstay, these companies also specialize in Movie Characters and Action Heroes like Batman, Leonidas from 300 and many more.

The cool things about these figures and their accessories though is that there is lots of attention to details. The sculpt of the face looks realistic enough. In addition, the magazine cartridge of the M4 carbine my Action figure is holding has literally 1/6 5.56 rounds in it. Furthermore, it is fully poseable and its has numerous articulation points making it VERY VERY flexible.

Decided that every soldier deserves to have a side arm and thus I equipped the Soldier with a Beretta that u can actually cock it.

Here we see him aiming with his pistol.

In this pic, the pistol is holstered. I do want to add on that I really do like the whole new digital camouflage design. While it looks pretty weird, the apparent ability to easily camouflage or blend to its specific surrounding is evident through testing.

However, the these camou that is equipped on this trooper is an urban/desert camouflage and would be pretty ineffective in the usage of it in the tropical jungles. Thus, a jungle digitalized version would be required in such an environment.

The Singaporean Armed Forces have used such a version for their Armed forces, and while it looks even weirder in the setting of Urban Singapore, it blends well in the jungle as shown below.

On a side note, I have started to do a few model kits again after more long hiatus due to heap loads of work. There are so many new stuff pending that Josh and I haven't have the opportunity to take pictures of but the good part of it all is that there is heap loads of new stuff that will be featured in the blog.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Everyone has an Imagination. Yes?

Welcome back to another week of Toyconstruct!

Today we feature our first 12 Inch Soldier Action Figure.
For those who don't know, this re pretty much the "Barbie Dolls" for guys. (But really expensive ones)

Basically you start with the basics of getting ur plain action figure which have a range of races from Caucasian to African to Asian, of which are one of the major selections. After which, you proceed on to dress him up and equip him with the selection of weapons and equipment.

Well after ogglnig for years, i thought why limit myself to the basic model kits and collectibles and start up with my own Action figure.

And here is how he looks like, dressed up in battle gear that resembles something like the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) of Modern USA. The scale for these action figures are 1/6 so u can roughly guess how big they are.

So basically, this would be my imaginary armed forces infantry man from the fictitious Nation of Dashland. I would rather not go into the details of the background of Dashland but basically its my fictitious entity that i use for most of my modern warfare and conflict.

All I can say is the "Dash" in Dashland is taken from DSHCC which like S.H.I.E.L.D from Marvel represents an armed forces unit that I made up called the Defensive Sabre hand Command Corps.

And like the U.S Ideals, its objective is policing the world and keeping the "bad" guy nations in check and not all the time it does this on the basis of its on national interest. So technically, my imaginary nation is like Superman, FULL of GOODY ideals without the gritty baggage of say Batman.

Whats your imaginary nation for those who do have a collection of military stuff? Or better yet, what imaginary forces have u constructed in your mind. I'm sure any person who has delved in military toys or collectibles or anything that even remotely requires the mind to be active will have an imaginary "Something". Even in Warhammer 40K, I'm pretty sure people do personalize dear own chapters in the Space Marine Armada.

Do share about it in the comment section.

As for this infantry man of mine, I chose the Asian Figure just because I'm Asian. Gotta have a lil pride in my own race. The modernized design of the ACU also attracted me and therefore, with the intention of wanting to display that the Dashland Armed Forces in its basic form was a Modern Developed Armed Forces, I equipped my figure with it and a Camou M4 Carbine Rifle.

I must add though that while Most people by ready-made figures with their default uniform, it is much more rewarding to customize ur own. However, it could be more costlier. And as this is also a niche market like Warhammer Tabletop gaming and Modern Military Model Kits, finding the PARTS you want can be a real challenge even online.

My next interest would be to equip a figure with the Advance modern ACU war gear that I found in Sunway, Malaysia. Whether to equipped it to my current figure or get a new one is still something I will be debating.

But seriously, its so costly, I would have to take into consideration whether I would even get it, considering I have so many hobby stuff that are soaking the life out of my MOOLAH. :p

Till then, enjoy the pics and more of the Figure in the next week entry. :) Cheers

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Los Angeles Class Submarine

One of the most iconic submarine in recent history, the Los Angeles class Submarine is the mainstay of hunter-killers submarines for the United States Navy. Not only is it the backbone of the submarine fleet, but it is the most built of any class, nuclear class submarine in the USN.

While this is a micromachine model, I tried to modify or convert it in such a way that it looked like the iconic LA-class Submarine.

Modifying its top part by adding extra periscope and poles, I was able to convert two unassuming generic submarines that were produced by Micromachine into a vague semblance of the LA-class submarine.

SSN 688s cruising on the surface.

These Silent killers carry about 25 torpedo-tube-launched weapons and all boats of the class are capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missles horizontally (from the torpedo tubes). The last 31 boats of this class also have 12 dedicated vertical launch (VLS) tubes for launching Tomahawks.

I can still remember the days I go to the my Secondary School Library to borrow a few Tom Clancy books and you are bound to find the presents of these class of submarines in his Naval Novels. Better yet, I always was fascinated by his Naval Guide as he points out the various specifications and capabilities of this hunter killer.

Back then, which was about a decade or so, the SSN 688 was the pinnacle of modern submarine technology. In fact, to accompany that statement, the LA-cass sub was also famous in many submarine games such as the Electronic Art 688I Hunter Killer and more recently, Dangerous Waters.

It also starred in movies such as the infamous Hunt for Red October (which to me is by far, one of the most compelling submarine novel and movie) and Terminator Salvation.

Its glory days are almost over though, with the new Virginia Class Submarines taking over as the lead hunter sub class in modernization. It is planned to phase out and replace the Los Angeles Class Submarines in the distant future. However, as for now though, it still remain the mainstay until total replacement by the new class of Submarines.

Whatever is future status maybe, it is considered to be the most famous of all submarines in the USN and unless the world takes interest in Submarine warfare once again, it will continue to be the icon of submarine warfare.