Friday, October 26, 2012

Marvel's Galactus

Good day to all again!

And today, I would like to show you all a really awesome Sideshow Collectible Maquette. This would be the first time I am featuring a collectible/model kit/miniature that I do not own and reviewing it.

While we have done many posts that do not feature the toys and collectibles that Josh and I have, this is something that I really think is worth a mention.

For starters, if you are a vivid collector of high grade action figures, statues and head bust. You probably would know of Sideshow Collectibles. Not only are they the main distributors of Hot Toys Collectibles in the US. They are a store that provides many limited edition figures and collectibles from Marvel, DC and other epic franchises.

Galactus, The World Eater

So for all those living in the US, you got a real awesome source to get your collectibles from. So much so that when there were a few Hot Toys pre-orders that I missed out in Asia and were completely off the market, I was able to get Joshua to help me pre-order it from Sideshow Collectibles. Of which, I opined that Joshua should be given a membership card to their online store for the crazy purchases he has/had been making for himself and particularly on my behalf. We shall feature these collectibles soon but I ain't telling much. (WIDE GRIN)

In any case, I happen to stumble upon this Sideshow Collectibles Galactus Maquette that looks super wicked awesome. Being one of the Top 5 most powerful Marvel Characters in the Marvel Universe, you could come to a reasonable agreement with me that he is pretty badass. With his insatiable hunger, he consumes planets constantly and is known as the Devourer of Worlds.

Going to be release in February 2013 (On my birthday month! and I wouldn't mind this as a birthday gift :p), this Galactus will set you back 800 USD. (around 1200 SGD) And this excludes shipping which could be a real bomb since this guy weighs a whooping 12kg. But the detail, paintjob and sculpting for this figure is phenomenal. I do very much lack lots of space to display much of my hobby collection so this figure would also be quite a pain to put in my already limited space room.

But it does compel me to have awesome dreams and delusions of grandeur on what I would do should I hit the lottery and how this would fit perfectly as one of my epic pieces in my "hobby" room

What is even more cooler about this Maquette is the fact that he has his Herald which could either be Nova or Silver Surfer place on his Hand.

How Epic awesome is this? There are of course many more Sideshow collectibles that are really great but this would really place me in euphoria should I have him in my collection of nerdy stuff.

Here is a Vid featuring him in the San Diego Comic Con.

 I would elaborate more on Galactus Origin sometime in the future, but for all those who are Marvel Fans, just enjoy one awesomely cool sculpt. For those poorer souls who cannot afford to get this sculpt, there is the Hasbro Galactus Figure that is pretty awesome and 15 times cheaper than this.

Aside from this feature, how many of you have dreams of grandeur? How would your "Hobby" room be like? What centerpieces would you be getting should Finances not be an issue. Do write down your comments (:

Till the next post, Cheers!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dust Tactics: Laser Grenadiers

Hey Everyone

Sorry for being away for awhile, moving into a new neighborhood and a new school made me quite busy for quite some time :/ For the past 2 weeks, I have been trying to find a satisfactory way of shooting my minis in my current apartment...which is tough given trying to keep an eye for light and finding suitable backdrops.

Without further ado, today's post would be about Fantasy Flight's Dust Tactics, a wargame made by a company well known in the board game scene. As a sidenote, I absolutely love playing their Battlestar Galactica board game!

Dust Tactics is a Sci-fi take on WWII created by Paolo Parente, who is best known for the AT-43 series. Dust Tactics is set in an alternate universe where aliens crash into a world caught up in WWII. The Germans first find the alien spacecraft in Antartica, and promptly use the superior technology to turn the tide of the war by winning the Battle of the Bulge and Stalingrad. The Allies successfully steal the technology and soon catch up to the Germans with walking tanks of their own. However, the Soviets break away from the Allies over disagreements to form the Sino-Soviet Union with China, and world domination is now fought over by 3 major political blocs.

Dust Tactics reminds me of Metal Slug/Machinen Krieger where advanced/alien tech is implanted into WWII fighting machines. I can't put my finger on it but the combination of WWII and mechs does have a rather cool aesthetic to me, and I wanted to try out some of their figures just out of interest.

Fantasy Flight Collector is a line that has professionally painted figures for the games the company carries, and they currently have figures for both American and German figures for Dust Tactics. To check out how the quality is like, I proceeded to order myself a squad of Germany's Laser Grenadiers. As it is true for quite a number sci-fi WWII settings, you'll always find gas masked German soldiers.

The figures came rather well packed in individual ziplock bags and a unit card used in Dust Tactics games. The box is shrinked wrapped to please geeks out there who enjoy breathing in the fresh air of a new toy :) I believe Fantasy Flight keeps a stock of pre-painted miniatures in the US as my order took about a week to arrive. They cost about 40 USD, which is rather comparable to painting services out there (~$10/figure if you include shipping).

The laser grenadiers are equipped with lethal laser weapons that can cut through all known armor, making them a feared threat on the battlefield (very unlike the laser rifles of the Imperial Guard). Each squad includes a heavy support laser soldier, and a little tidbit on German WWII infantry tactics: the squad was centered around the MG gunner, which was opposite of Allied tactics that had MGs playing a more supportive role for riflemen.

Paint job quality-wise, I think Dust Studio did quite an admirable job. The soldiers are not simply painted over, but also have believable weathering/wear done on them...such as the worn helmets, rust on shoulder pads, and scratched armor plates. A couple of nice touches that stand out to me would be the soot effect of the barrels of their laser rifles, and the fact that each soldier is given an individual skull decal (to tell the whole world that they're bad guys).

Unfortunately, I have not played Dust Tactics and cannot divulge any wisdom on deploying these guys. Dust Tactics is scaled to 1/48, and I am not 100% confident if they could be used in conjunction with a 40k Imperial Guard Army, which I think is 28mm (and not a scale).

The painted figures cost about 3 times more than their unpainted brethren (~12USD)...every website I have looked online is selling Dust Tactics minis for discounted prices, which may mean that the line isn't doing too hot at the moment. If you're into WWII, Dust Tactics would provide a fun distraction from your other projects, and I have seen some well painted examples of Dust Tactics minis.

For this series of shots, I have tried to zoom in tightly with my macro lens against a backdrop (a photo of a destroyed city) from my laptop screen. Lighting was provided for by my iPhone and it was a challenge to get the figures lit well. I dream of getting desk studio lamps (with the professional white umbrella attachments), but that's another financial consideration to make in the future.

If you're interested, you can find more information at Fantasy Flight's Dust Tactics website, a good and concise summary of the history of Dust Tactics by [So]Rice, and there's even a modeling magazine/guide (15USD with shipping) out there too that features some backstory and photos of well painted minis.

And of course...Dust Tactics is not complete without a mech, but that's for another post in the future :)

Hope you've enjoyed this post and may you continue to prosper in your geeky pursuits!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Optimus Prime

Hope you are liking the Robot galore that I have been featuring over these two months.

Today, I shall introduce to you the infamous Leader of the Autobots. He is none other than Optimus Prime. This version of Optimus is from the War of Cybertron Game.

Optimus Prime has been synonymous to Robot Leadership and is the iconic Robot leader of the Autobots which everyone should know! (I cannot recall any other Robot that is as iconic as Optimus in terms of leadership) 

Optimus in a "badass" pose

In Generation 1, Optimus Prime is able to transform into a Kenworth K100 cab over a truck. In the G1 animated series, he is able to fire short range optic blast (Like Cyclops from X-men), project holographic maps and is also able to retract his right hand unit to reveal a glowing axe.

Bad Ass Optimus Aiming His Gun at the Camera

In the G1 Animated series, Optimus Prime was first known as Orion Pax (from the episode War Dawn), a dock worker that had little to no defenses. During this Golden Age of Cybertron, a new breed of transformers known as the Decepticons were lead by their Leader Megatron. Orion had admiration for these all powerful transformers and was swayed by Megatron to show him their dock warehouses. An altercation ensued which lead to Megatron severely wounding Orion Pax and his girlfriend Ariel. Aided by the Aerial Bots, Orion Pax was upgraded and fixed up by Alpha Trion to become who we infamously know as Optimus Prime.

Optimus in Cybertronian Vehicle Mode

In Transformer's War for Cybertron, Optimus isn't the leaders of the Autobots just yet. However, he is a warrior trying to rally the Autobots against the Decepticons amidst the reported death of Zeta Prime.

Optimus' Vehicle Mode on a road with the Planets in the Background.

Speaking of Transformer's War for Cybertron, I have already completed the game and it has been a great fun to play the campaign. The critique of it being repetitive in graphical environment and its limited ammos issue isn't really much of a big deal to me in my opinion.

Cybertronian Designed Optimus is super awesome!

Furthermore, I feel the storyline and plot of the game does bring back much of the G1 series that I really like a lot so I do not really have much critique in the game. The weapons are pretty awesome and while vehicle mode isn't particularly needed in most of the game, it has some relevance in some missions. In any case, just transforming to vehicle mode and back is pretty darn cool.

Whoever designed the Icon for the Autobots and Decepticons is a Genius.

Autobots, Transform and ROLL OUT!

Back to this Action Figure, as stated above is the "War for Cybertron" version of Optimus Prime. As many of you may know, the Fall of Cybertron sequel to this game has been released recently and there have been some major redesigned on the new Optimus Prime.

Newly Designed Optimus Prime from Fall of Cybertron (Still contemplating whether to get it as the design does not go down well with me compared to the feature Optimus)

In-game Look

There are consensus that this action figure by Hasbro look way cooler than the new one. What is your verdict? To me, the older one looks sleeker yet hulky and strong. The new one (especially the toy), looks a lil more blocky. Furthermore, the toy is smaller in size compare to this original version.

Thus, I have my skepticism on the new design. Let me know your opinions on it.

Till then, Stay tune for more Awesome posts! And when I get around to it, i will give you a review on the Fall of Cybertron game!

Toodle loo!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Thane

It is that time again where we delve into the fantasy world of Warhammer.

This week I shall write about Utheroth, the Thane of Karak Gothrak. He is the current general for my Dwarven army. Untested, I will be putting my Dwarven army into harms way soon. For a start, I might have them face-off with my other armies. If I do, I would be sure to give you guys a rundown on the battles.

Utheroth, Tactician and Vice-Commander of the Army of Karak Gothrak

My contemplative Dwarf Thane is one who contemplates much about war and is one to be many moves ahead of his enemies when executing tactics in a battle. Utheroth is the opposite of a Slayer as he ponders upon various strategies in defeating his enemies. As such, he is one to think much before dashing head on into battle. While a great warrior himself, he is known for his wits and military tactics in battle.

The Thane ponders..

Aside from the background story, I decided to choose this figure for my Thane as he looked really composed and cool. I do like the fact that he rests his hand on the hilt of his giant axe while his beard droops over his hand. Another cool part of the figure is his helm that he carries on his other hand.

Unfazed by the Black Orc in front of him

It is also the posture in which he stands that exudes battle-hardiness and life-long experience in war. And to that extent, further elevates his "cool" factor. More over, the calm and cool demeanor that is express from his face gives some sense of silent dread.

Dwarf and Stone.

The Thane and His Commanders

One thing I do like about Dwarven Heroes and Lords is their ability to customize their weapons with Runes. In some cases, stack up runes on their weapons to make them even more deadly. Similar to Bretonnian Virtues, these runes enhances weapons, armor and the Dwarves' innate ability. The difference would be its stack ability and there are way more runes compared to Bretonnian virtues which gives the Dwarves more option to customise their characters' abilities.

Another option a Thane has is the ability to bring an oath stone with him. This essentially compels him to join a unit which gives the entire unit the ability to disable enemies from getting flank or rear bonus when engaging the Thane an his unit. However, this also means that the Thane would have to issue or accept a challenge whenever engage in close combat. If the Thane and his unit of Stone-bearers lose a battle, the Thane's Victory points will be awarded to the enemy regardless whether the Thane is slain or not which can be very costly.

Since I am pretty much a noob in the area of customising runes for my Thane, what would you guys suggest as a great combination of runes for Utheroth? Give me your opinions!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

JMSDF SH-60 Seahawk

I do hope you like the regularity of our posts now. Josh and I really like how you readers have been with us for so long and we are always trying to provide great interesting posts on this blog and on Facebook.

In this post, I would be featuring the SH-60 Seahawk from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). 
SH-60 Seahawk JMSDF

I got this 1:144 scale SH-60 Seahawk from the Kotobukiya store in Akihabara. This model comes from F.Toys Confectionery and is part of the Heliborne Collection Special. Since I was unable to get anything due to my BUDGET trip to Japan, I decided to at least get a trinket in terms of Modern Military Models.

Pre-painted Model Kit

Even though it does not require any painting, there is a fair amount of assembling. However, as always Japanese quality pre-painted stuff is pretty good. I did need to touch up on various areas to improve the paint job though. Furthermore, some of the parts did not fit perfectly and required some putty to fill up the gaps.

Side Profile of the Seahawk

Opposite Side Profile

In the end, the Seahawk does look pretty gorgeous. It was also quite a delight to take pictures of it. I had to make pilots out of green putty as I always preferred my vehicles to have personnel inside them. Especially if you can see them from transparent glass windows.

Seahawk in the Air!

SH-60 doing Maneuvers

As many of you modern military enthusiast might know, the SH-60B or in this case SH-60K (Upgraded SH-60B, Japanese Naval Version) primary role is anti-submarine warfare. (ASuW). It also function as a special warfare insertion vehicle and a Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter.

Backshot of the SH-60 Helo

It is interesting to know that the SH-60B has 83% commonality with its Land Brother, the Blackhawk UH-60A. Unlike its brother, it can carry 3 Mk-46 or Mk-54 torpedoes. The SH-60K can travel at speeds of 270km/h and has a service ceiling of about 3580m.

 Mount Everest: 8848m

I am an admirer of the Blackhawk and Seahawk Helicopters. They are masterpiece of Helicopter Aviation that have accumulated from the days of the Huey to present. One recent milestone would be the raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout using a Stealth version of the Blackhawk.

Despite that, I marvel at how Nature still dwarves mankind's innovation with its natural structures like Mount Everest. Mount Everest is 8848m. An impossible height for the Blackhawk to scale even half way up the Mountain Peak. Even the CH-47 Chinook, known to be one of the most powerful Helicopters today, has a service ceiling of only 5640m.

Kind of put things into perspective yeah? So unless you are going to parachute from a plane onto the peak of Mt. Everest, reaching the summit really is a huge accomplishment. But I digress, in any case, the Seahawk is still a great aviation machinery. It is still one of the coolest trooper transport helo I know.