Monday, February 18, 2013

Your Guide to Modern Military Kits.

Good day Readers,

I am sorry for the long hiatus. In this part of the world, it has been a really busy period largely due to the festivities of the Spring Festival/Lunar New Year. As such, I haven't been able to get around writing. Furthermore, my progress on my models and miniatures is at a standstill along with getting around to do my new set of features for the blog.

For now, I shall begin with a new feature I promised and that is giving a guide to finding Modern Military Model Kits. In this day and age, hobby model kit shops are scaling down. In fact, more often than not, you might not be able to even get the model kit you want without asking the shopkeeper to reserve or pre-order for you. (That is, if you manage to find a convenient Hobby shop around your area) With the continual influence of video games, building model kits has become more niche than before.  It doesn't make it easier if you wanted Modern Military Kits.

For the vivid hobbyist, you may know that the model kit markets is largely made up of World War 2 and Gundam. Thus, Modern Military Kits range is the little brother of these ranges of model kits. However, fear not, there are a few brands out there that provide you ample amount for you to suffice your Modern Military interest and start your very own Battlefield 3 line of vehicles and soldiers.

Recommended Brands for Modern Military Kits

In terms of Modern Military Armor, there are quite a few brands that specialize in various scales.

For starters, Tamiya and Trumpeter have an adequate selection of 1/35 scale armor that range from your current MBTs to your famous Modern IFVs. As such, if you are into the bigger scale Armor, your best bet is on these two brands. However, if you are into a more smaller and conventional scale (like me) and you want to do 1/72 Armor, Revell and Trumpeter are the masters of this range. These two have an extensive range of Western armour that none can compare. Of course, it is up to individual preference on which model kit set is more suited to your craftsmanship. For me, I prefer Revell as I have more familiarity with their kits compared to Trumpeter. An additional note to take account is that if you are more keen on collecting Japanese Modern Armour, your best bet would be to look out ff the Western Brand Range and into Japanese Model Makers. Aoshima, Pit-Road and Fujimi provide lots of JGSDF vehicles. These Japanese brands provide high quality model kits and are very detailed.

As for Modern Military Aircraft, Big scale that range from 1/32 - 1/72 are largely dominated by Japanese Brands. Tamiya is a good bet. They have your F-15 and F-16 model kits that come with great detailed parts and awesome looking boxes. Hasegawa, Revell and Trumpeter are also main contenders in this scales. Even hyper modern jets like the F-22 Raptor are among their selection.

However, when it comes to the small 1/144 scale. Dragon and Pit-Road provides most of the modern aircraft that I can think of at the top of my head. Furthermore, super advanced fighters like the PAK-FA T-50 and J-20 PLA Stealth Fighters are among the latest of their range. Revell has a wide range too but I have preferences for Pit-Road and Dragon. However, if you are looking for the 1/144 scale F-22 Raptor, it seems Trumpeter is the only brand that offers that scale at the moment, as featured on my F-22 Raptor post.

Lastly, for Modern Naval Warships and Submarines, Dragon, Aoshima, Pit-Road, Hobby Boss and Trumpeter are great brands for scales 1/350- 1/700. Through my own experience, I particularly favour Dragon, Pit-Road and Aoshima for 1/700 Modern Naval Ships. Dragon has a great range of US, UK and Russian Naval Ships (inclusive of the Russian Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier). Aoshima and Pit-Road does have their own range of US Naval Ships (including the US Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier [SOLD OUT]) but they are also great in providing model kits for the JMSDF or Japanese Navy.

Where to get them?

When all else fails in term of finding your desired model kit in your nearest hobby store, your best bet would be to go online and get it from an online store. To cut the search short for you, I am recommending these two online hobby stores.

HobbyLink Japan and Hobby Search are the two most extensive hobby shops I have ever seen in my life. This is taking into account my many years doing Modern Military Model Kits. Aside from their huge collection of Modern Military Kits, they have action figures, anime collectibles and many more awesome stuff. Both have really competitive prices and provide international shipping to most countries. (I would say that Hobbylink has a greater price value compared to Hobby Search but there are stuff that Hobby Search have that Hobbylink might lack vice versa)

As both companies are based in Japan, they charge their goods in Yen. You need not fret because they have a price converter for every product and would give you the price in terms of USD ot local currency. Furthermore, the yen is weakening and shopping for Modern Military Kits in these two stores would be even cheaper than before.

The good part about searching for Modern Military Model kits via these two website is that they would be able to tell you the availability of the model kits and whether they would restock it if it is sold out. If these two websites have discontinued any of the kits you are looking for, you best bet would be to find it through ebay or Amazon.

If there are no model kit brands that have your desired armoured vehicle/plane/warship, you could try finding scale resin model kit via the search engine as a last resort.

Personally, in terms of 1/72 Armor, 1/144 Planes and Helicopters and 1/700 Warships, I have never come across a situation where I am not able to find what I want. However, if you have any queries that you want to ask on how to get certain modern military kits, do drop a comment.

Other than that, stay tune for more post!

Cheers guys!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

DPRK Dreams of the Big Apple

Hey Everyone

Recently toyconstruct has just bypassed a milestone, and according to our pageview counter, we've gotten over a 100,000 pageviews! Hip hip hooray! We've gotten here thanks to you all! Anyway, back to today's post.

Once again, the Hermit Kingdom has confounded us.

Unlike Iran, North Korea has been pretty clear on their nuclear program: it's not for peaceful purposes. Recently, their propaganda department released a controversial video that is probably too wild to describe in words (you really have to watch it yourself!).

The gist of the video is this: North Korea dreams of reuniting the Koreas together, and using nuclear warfare and space tech to annihilate the United States, the Prime Archenemy, to oblivion. Its bold message wasn't the most controversial bit. In fact, the North Koreans attracted a lawsuit from Activision for completely lifting a sequence from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, specifically the "Hunter Killer" mission (and it's the Russians here, they could have used Homefront or the new Red Dawn movie).

The scene that the North Koreans used to great artistic effect.
To make this video even more bizzare, its makers saw fit to use an instrumental version of "We are the World," a song produced in the U.S. to fight poverty in Africa. Somehow that song fits in a video that wishes for the complete destruction of the U.S. That's real irony there.

The translations are as follow (from the Lede Blog, North Korean Propaganda Video Imagines a Brighter World, Without Manhattanby Marc Santora and Choe Sang-Hun):

“I had a dream last night, a dream of soaring into space on board our Unha-9 rocket,”

“Our Kwangmyongsong-21 spacecraft got separated from the rocket and traveled through space,”

“I see stars and the green Earth. I also see a unified Korea.”

“Meanwhile, I see black smoke rising somewhere in America,” 

“It appears that the headquarters of evil, which has had a habit of using force and unilateralism and committing wars of aggression, is going up in flames it itself has ignited.”

“Just imagine riding in a Korean spaceship. One day, my dream will come true,”

“No matter how hard the imperialists try to isolate and stifle us, they will not stop our people’s path toward our final victory of achieving a unified, strong and prosperous Korea.”

I am just exasperated on how you don't need humor outlets like College Humor and The Onion to get ridiculous video clips about North Korea...they are intriguingly capable of doing it themselves.

In spite of its dated graphics and blatant plagiarism, its underlying message is worrying and I fear of underestimating the North Koreans. North Korea sees the U.S. as the Enemy and would not hesitate to use its nuclear capabilities. Moreover, with their successful satellite launch and pending nuclear test, North Korea would be firmly holding onto and expanding their nuclear capabilities, which would add instability to the world and the ominous possibility of nuclear war.

This is not the only time that U.S. symbols have been appropriated by others. Hamas had used a direct copy of Mickey Mouse in their children's videos for a while (Fafour the Mouse). The program apparently teaches children the worthiness of the militant cause, and the suffering people face from Israel's occupation of Palestine.

It is interesting how disenfranchised groups/nations use the symbols of their enemies in their propaganda and literature. Another example I can think of goes back to Biblical times, when a deeply unpopular and cruel Jewish king (a Roman puppet) Antiochus IV titled himself Epiphanes ("God Manifest"), and his opponents used wordplay and reversed it to call him Epipmanes ("The Mad One").

Antiochus IV: either a god or a lunatic, depending on whose side you're on.
It's just a casual observation and it would be great to see if this indeed has been a trend throughout our history...and it does make me wonder: what makes the symbols of the powerful serve as effective/potent vehicles of communication for the oppressed?