Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saito Hajime

Saito Hajime. One of Japan's famous character based from the Anime, Rurouni Kenshin. In fact, he was a distinctive character from Samurai X before the TV Series of Rurouni Kenshin was even created.

Having fought with Kenshin Himura back when he was Battousai the Slayer, Saito Hajime has proven to be one of his most powerful adversary.

As shown on this video, (English Dubbed)

While I am unable to find the climatic Sword fight scene when He fought with Kenshin back during the Meiji Restoration period, He returns to the TV Series as a Secret Police working for the Meiji Government.

Once they were sworn enemies, now Uneasy Allies, Saito has to prepare Kenshin to face his worst enemy in the TV Series as shown in the next clip.

(My Apologies for the Horrid Latin Sub)
In this scene, Kenshin actually reverts back to his old self of being the Killer Assassin he has tried so hard to shun away from. In fact, this would be the only time, he would be driven so hard by Saito to actually rehash his old ways in the TV Series.

Saito Hajime uses the Gatotsu sword technique. While it is a similar description to his original sword technique that he used as a Shinsengumi, it is purely fictional and not entirely true to real sword fighting.

Gatotsu Technique Ready Stance.

Saito with Dark cloud behind him.

The "Aku Soku Zan" motto he lives by (悪即斬, most literally, "Kill those who are evil immediately,", translated as "Slay Evil Immediately" in the English dub and as "Swift Death to Evil" in the VIZ manga) is most likely fictitious, though it does encompass a common sentiment of the Shinsengumi during the Bakumatsu.

As I have said before about the Samurai X and Rurouni Kenshin Anime, a few characters are based on Historical figures. Saito Hajime was one of them. While there are many dramatization and not all attributes and character traits of the Anime Saito is true to the real person, the show does enlighten on the basic background of Japanese History.

Saito Hajime doesn't really look too hot compared to his anime "Badass" version of himself. However, this picture is only believe to be depicting him and might not be his true identity.

Furthermore, while the anime doesn't really provide a detailed illustration of his life, he did serve in the Shinsengumi. After the Meiji Resotration, he did become a police officer for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD) and He fought on the Meiji Government's side during Saigo Takamori's Satsuma rebellion, as a member of the police forces sent to support the Imperial Japanese Army.

It was said that he is a mysterious and introverted man who was not predisposed to make small talk. Perhaps that is definitely one trait that can be associated with Saito Hajime's character in Rurouni Kenshin.

If there was a category for Badassery in this anime. He take the top spot.

Till next time, Cheers

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Phoenix Pt 2

Hey Everyone

Hope you all have been doing well and thanks to JQ for posting up his Chaos Knights from paintedfigs. JQ and I will be joining our talents this summer to get a batch of photos together, with new stuff from the both of us. From experience, our best shots and experiences come from working together, and I am thankful to have a geek partner-in-crime like JQ :) Apparently JQ is looking into being more involved in the local warhammer scene and I think that is absolutely awesome.

Today, I will be making another post on Kotobukiya's Bishoujo version of Phoenix/Jean Grey...this time with a different space background and a focus on her face. I have to admit the figure is growing on me the more I look at it.

Close-up shot of Phoenix's face, a mix of Western and Anime styles.

A half-body shot of Phoenix, showing the intricate detail of her waist sash.

This also makes me reminisce about the X-Men Animated Series back in 1990s, which was a huge part of my childhood and remember being super-excited whenever the title screen and theme came up on TV (with "available in stereo" in the bottom). The X-Men theme is one of the best (or probably is) that I have seen in my rather short life, the introduction of each character really captures my imagination:

One thing I notice, people usually comment that they miss the cartoons of the "old times" = 80's or 90's, and not the newer cartoons that are being produced now. I don't watch much cartoons now and I have to say the few I've seen show that production values may have increased...with improved computer graphics that give cleaner images/smoother animation. Plot-wise I can't judge because I haven't seen enough yet. This is probably the same with video games, where people do bemoan the past greatness of the C&C series, or other greats like Diablo and Doom.

It's my guess that we are seeing an increased commercialization of the games/cartoon/movie industry, the younger generation has more spending power than before and especially for is no longer an exclusive domain of geeks or hardcore fans. Companies are moving into catering to a popular tastes which equals money and profit. So we lose out on creative impulse and get fed tried and tested formulas. Call of Duty is a fine example...from a WW2 shooter trying to recreate accurately battlefield experiences, it has become an "action movie shooter" of sorts.

For cartoons I can't really say if I know any solid examples of this commercialization/"dumbing down" of cartoons today. At least I can say I can't watch current cartoons on Cartoon Network without cringing, and the current Batman series doesn't look as impressive as the animated series back in the '90s. does give a list of 10 cartoons that are "making kids dumber". You can check it out here.

Right now, I am on vacation with my family and my toys are all packed up...which means I might not be able to put up new posts for awhile, but I will do so whenever I can. Thanks again for your continued support, and JQ and I are happy to share our geekdom with you all :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Treasure Chest...

Greetings to all,

I am back again with Modern Military stuff. Sorry, it has been a while since the last post.

From my last entry on the blog, I have mentioned how Warhammer has taken over in terms of models completed and done. While my net value of Warhammer figures have increased due to my interest in making new armies, My Modern Military Collection still holds a dominant position in terms of collectibles. Furthermore, I shall be stepping up the game by increasing my effort into making new models and also miniatures of the GHQ modern warfare series.

So this time round, I shall be featuring a rare collectible given to me from my dad. Quite a few years back, My dad had business dealings with the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. As such, he was given a few of these souvenirs due to business relations.

Knowing what an Avid Modern Military enthusiast I am, He gave me this gold-plated metal model of the J-11 or Su-27 Flanker Model Piece.

Stored in this Grey Colour Hard Box, this Su-27 model is made by Ning Bo Jiang Dong Le Li Airplane Model Printing Ltd.

Its body is made of alloy zinc with 24K gold-plating and has the iconic "August 1st" Red Star emblem of the PLA printed on its wings. Apparently, this model was made as a souvenir for the China Aeronautics and Astronautic International fair.

Unfortunately, being made in China, the English description slip of the souvenir is poorly written with many spelling and grammatical mistakes made in describing the souvenir.

There are also rubies (that might be faux) embedded in both side of the plane's inlets and pearls on the exhaust. It is pretty weird for such aesthetics to be placed on a souvenir but I can safely say it is a rare opportunity to have such a souvenir in my possession.

The Monetary value of such a collector's item is definitely in the hundreds but I am definitely not putting this for sale.

Speaking of things being made in China, it is quite evident that China has a big manufacturing sector that pretty much produce many products for the world. However, there are a sizeable proportion of products that still lack the quality that people can learn to trust.

And it is pretty embarrassing to see a rare souvenir of the Chinese Aviation Industry being flawed with BAD English. Then again, certain Japanese products also do have their fair share of bad English translation.

But it is definitely uniquely Chinese to see a certain amount of flaw in their products (Unless it is governed by MNCs)

Ironic isn't it? Hahaha but China does make so many stuff. So it isn't too surprising. All part and parcel of the Growing Economy that is China..

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's Hammer Time

Good day to all!

It's been quite a while and without the help of Joshua's awesome posts, I could not get toyconstruct to the best that it could be.

Finally though, It's Warhammer time again! Many apologies though. I can recall that I said I would promise providing pictures of the various things I have been involved inside the Warhammer Community. Unfortunately, I don't have any, and work has kinda taken me away from my hobbies by quite a bit.

But let's get back to what we do best.

Today, I shall be featuring my Chaos Knights! These figures that were painted by Paintedfigs was a gift to me by Joshua for my 23rd birthday. Furthermore, these are the new edition Chaos Knights. Not only do they look cooler than the older edition, they are cheaper than the previous edition. (One of the only few units that got cheaper due to the conversion from metal to plastic)

Blood for the Blood God!

With the revision of the Chaos armies being separated into Warriors and Daemons, Chaos Knights became a little more powerful compared to their old stats.

I really like the detail painted by Paintedfigs on the shield of this particular knight. Daemon skin and weird chaos apparels make these Knights more fearsome than any other cavalry unit in Warhammer.

Playing Warriors of Chaos in a few matches in my local Warhammer club, I get to realize the power and tenacity of these Knights and the damage they can cause on a charge.

What makes them more cooler is their Lances that look like blades carved out from the blood of many.

And here we have the standard bearer, wielding the sign of chaos to notify the doom their enemies will face...

These models are also apparently slightly bigger than the old edition Chaos Knights which make them look all the more terrifying. I gotta say, this is another quality paint job by Paintedfigs.

On the topic of paint jobs, I have been "outsourcing" my Warhammer painting and assembling to painting services. This is due to the fact that I have started working and find it harder for myself to dedicate the time to paint or assemble new armies that I want to play in a short period of time. I do not really make things easier for myself as I am on a Warhammer craze in which I wanna build up 2 more armies apart from the current Bretonnian and Warriors of Chaos army. (Dwarves!! and Daemons of Chaos)

However, I have not entirely given up on the model making and painting aspect of Warhammer. After all, it is my mainstay hobby and I still take great joy in painting and assembling model kits and miniatures. One thing has been changing in terms of the dynamics of my Nerdy hobbies. And that is, Warhammer seems to be taking over in terms of the amount of painted models I make and churn out as compared to my Modern Military Model kits and miniatures. While size and scale and numbers differ and can't be compared in a practical way, I can say that GW is definitely a Big player in the model kit industry that could possibly compete with the likes of Dragon and Tamiya even though they are catered to different markets.

While the financial valuation of Warhammer is catching up on my Modern Military Collection, there are many other things in my main hobby that still out value the stuff in Warhammer. Of which, I will be showing you guys soon.

Till then, thanks for reading!

Transformers 3

Hey Everyone!

Hope you all are doing well and thanks for dropping by at toyconstruct! Today, I will be featuring an 'artsy' shot of Barricade of Transformers fame:

Barricade, Saleen S281E Police Car mode.

I did it with inspiration from the coming Transformers 3 attempt at making a "reveal" shot of a partially shrouded Barricade in police car mode, only to realize/remember that he actually died by the hands of Optimus Prime :/ Oh wells, you could consider this a little tribute to Barricade haha...

IMO, he's one of the better looking transformers from the Michael Bay movies. I kinda like the Saleen police car mode more than the robot mode, I haven't gotten used to the new bug-like robot style design. Below's the trailer for the upcoming Transformers 3 movie for those who are interested:

Well, Transformers 2 did disappoint me I am not sure how good a movie the next one would be. Transformers 2 appeared to be more of a commercial product aimed at making tons of money, crude jokes, awesome explosions, Megan Fox, glorification of college party scenes...all tied together with a poor storyline.

Of course you can call me a stickler, but I guess making money is more important than making a movie that challenges norms or even 'reinvent' their sources. This might be the growing trend among sci-fi/comic book movies trying to satisfy more profitable tastes. I haven't watched Thor yet, but a NYT review actually found it a "triumph of commercial calculation over imagination".

I guess it's pretty obvious that movie studios are out there to make $$$, since it makes sure they stay afloat and make their investors happy. It simply doesn't make good business sense to make an awesome movie that can only be appreciated by a few (aka geeks, nerds, hardcore fans...Empire Strikes Back comes to mind). If you do watch Thor, do wait till the end to see some teaser about an upcoming Avengers movie. Truth be told, movies like the Dark Knight appear to be the minority in the steadily growing body of comic book-to-movie adaptations.

Coming in 3-D in Feb '12, Jar Jar Binks at your service.

Here's another example of shameless $$$-making: Lucasfilm is busy making 3-D remakes of the prequel Star Wars movies. To me, superior effects do not make crappy movies any better. Of course, you are free to disagree with me...George Lucas is known to emphasize technical detail in his movies so the 3-D effects *might* be one of the best on screen.