28 September 2008
Due to a change of location since last week, I will not be able to blog or to check other people's blogs until I gain my Internet access in the coming weekend. I apologise for the inconvenience, and will try to get back whenever I have the time.
Can you endure days (or months) without Internet, or has it long been integrated as part of your life? Read More!
24 September 2008
As I've got curious requests from Meronpan and James on my 1/144 scale tank collection, I got some time to take some pictures before I have to leave home for UK.
Well then, let's have a look at the other side of me.
Before I heard of Danny Choo, before I have come across figures/figurines from Radiant Dreamer and Valiant, and even before I've resumed interest on Gundams and anime, I was a 1/144 tank collector and a fan of military (mainly ground warfare and WWII) for the past 4 years. Out of my 200+ (I guess) armour miniatures, I have mostly 1/144 German panzers, as they have the greatest variety.
As I have no proper display sets, these little models tend to build up a lot of dusts just like figures and gunplas.
From small to big: The German panzers grew bigger and bigger as the war progresses.
The smallest Panzer I on the left can sit nicely on top of my thumb.
For some reasons, I've got these trays to hold some of my collection. The three trays further away from the camera are the mordern tank collections.
The rest of my collection are on these paper trays as a comrpomised solution. I have some Soviet and US tanks too but they lack variety compared to the German armour.
My collection are mostly shokugans, which are similar to gashapon toys. Their small sizes and cheap prices make them very collectible. Will talk a bit more about shokugan next time.
Strange looking vehicles, and they all exist.
These are specials that are available rarely in some sets/collection series. Getting one of those are usually via pure luck, but there are local shops that pre-open them and sells the whole set with the special item for a certain price.
Some specials are the tanks from well known aces. Shown here are Michael Wittmann's and Otto Carius's from Takara WTM series.
I have a few 1/144 planes in my collection too, but they tend to have parts falling off. The strange plane shown here is a German Do-335.
One of my latest to my recent collection: German bridgelayer tank from Metal Troops. Metal Troops makes very high quality models, but they are also unbelievably expensive as well as in limited numbers. Just two of those and I can get myself a figma with some change left over. >_<
I hope you've enjoyed seeing 'the other side of me'. If time allows I would like to show more of my collection, but I have to leave it for a later time. It will be getting harder for me to keep up with the Internet and the Blogosphere as I am now in UK, but I will try my best to update whenever I have the time to do so.
18 September 2008
I've finally preordered figma Miku online orz
This is how I feel about online shops - temptations.
Now and then, I've read about how bloggers can't resist preordering more than they have anticipated. Meronpan and Lsio have expressed their feelings. To me, online shops can be pretty scary; you see one thing you like and you preorder it, then you see more goodies as you browse around more and you'd eventually go out of control (time to kiss your wallet goodbye). This is partly the reason why I haven't used it until now.
When the I first saw images of figma Hatsune Miku in Orange Horizon I wasn't planning to get one despite the high quality of the figure. Then, well, the temptation grows as I start to see more pictures of the figma, but I still resisted. Curiosity materialises into by the time figma Miku starts rolling into local shops in Hong Kong, and as soon as I saw the real product in my eyes I felt that I would like to have one in my collection. Unfortunately I've noticed that it suffered distribution problem like figma Fate, which I fell for so badly that I've spent a week to look for one without ripping myself a big time.
Got tired of the high prices and poor distribution of figma Miku in Hong Kong, so I've finally decided to preorder second release on Hobby Search. This is actually my first time doing purchases on an online shop rather than online auctions, so I'm kinda excited for this (or should I be so?).
It's definitely good news that Max Factory is giving Miku a second release. I'm surprised that there's still no news for possible re-release of Fate-chan despite the popularity.
Image via Hobby Search
I'm pretty sure that those who want a figma Miku would have preordered the first release and some would have even got it by now. But for those who have missed it (like me), don't miss the second chance while it's still available!
14 September 2008
Sometime this month last year, a bomb was unearthed accidently by workers in a construction yard, not far from my apartment.
Full story after the cut. (Top image via James Lo)
It all happened on an ordinary weekday. Just when I've decided to go out for a stroll, police came right to me and asked me to evacuate the area.
I had no idea what they were on about at that moment.
It was soon revealed that a group of workers have unearthed a Japanese World War Two era bomb in a construction site, no more than 50 metres away from my apartment. One of the policemen misinformed me that it was an unstable 1000lb bomb (~450kg), but the bomb disposal expert explained later in the news that it was actually a 400lb bomb (~180kg), and it had to be detonated with great care as it was rather unstable. Well, that policeman did get the 'unstable' status right.
Different kinds of vehicles rushed into the scene: bomb disposal vehicles, police vans, motorbikes, and fire engines. All residents in nearby appartments had to be evacuated, and my appartment was one of the closest in the vicinity. Despite the apparent threat, I got one of the closest view of the situation from above before I evacuated.
On the right, dozens of sandbags were piled on top of the bomb to minimise the impact of the explosion. Bomb disposal personnel and firemen could be seen working together in the site.
On the left, 4 police vans were parked near the site to keep things in order. That road had to be blocked until the completion of the bomb disposal.
The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) uses mostly vans as their main patrol vehicles. It's quite a rare sight to see a police car.
The bomb had to be detonated twice; first time to remove the outer case of the bomb, and second time to detonate the bomb itself. I wasn't there to take a photo of the bomb exploding for obvious reasons, but I have managed to snatch one from a local news website, of which the original url is now long lost. It's not easy to find links and articles relating to this event anymore.
Hong Kong was invaded by Imperial Japanese Army in December 1941. Although it has been more than 60 years since the end of the war, news of unearthed bombs and ammunitions can still be heard infrequently to this day. Does your region still have scars and objects left over from previous wars?
Image of Japanese soldiers attacking a powerplant in Hong Kong from Wikipedia
10 September 2008
It's not easy for me to find a Shana figure that suits my taste. I've always wanted a Shana in flaming hair with a cold tsuntsun look (before she meets the harem loser Sakai Yuuji).
After reading Valiant Ho's review and taking his recommendation I decided to go for the Max Factory one, but mine did not come in mint condition. Much thanks to the comments and suggestions I have been able to fix the arm successfully, and I am very pleased to see Shana holding the sword like that.
The 1/8 Max Factory Shakugan no Shana was released sometime in November 2007. It's pretty much sold out by early December so the only places left to search for are on online auctions, and they definitely don't come in cheap. The box size is normal for a figure, but it's already one of the biggest boxes I've owned so far! ^^;;
I haven't got any suitable backgrounds for this photoshoot, so for a change I've decided to give this Shana some sunlight instead.
Since I'm still new to figures, I didn't know that there's gonna be a lot of wrappings to remove when I first opened it. Is this due to the cast-off feature?
Her skirt is unbelievably short. So short that you don't really need to take much effort to "accidently" see her undergarment. This means that I took more effort than I've expected to try not to take an "accidental" shot. Quite ironic, isn't it?
The pendant is attached with malleable metal wires so you can position it in mid-air.
A very Shana look, as if she's saying "I'll cut you up into pieces in 3 seconds" o_o
While I know that there are people who prefer Shana with black hair, I like the flaming hair, and I personally think that the transparent hair is pretty well done.
That's some long and slim legs for an "o-chibi-chan".
The katana Nietono no Shana, where Shana gets her name from. I've made a comparison of it with that from Kotobukiya's Candy Bikini Shana (of the same scale). Max Factory one has silver accent on the grip and it's curvier, whereas Kotobukiya one has golden accent with a straighter, broader blade.
Last but not least, quite a lot of fans would know that this Shana figure is based on Noizi Itou's drawings from artbook KA-E-N, and Max Factory did make a very good job on this (including the fluttering skirt). I've used part of a wallscroll of the same image to try to imitate the scene. It's not too far off from the original art I hope?
Despite the scratches and flaws I got with my particular figure, it's still a worth the money as it's not easy to find one these days, and when I have the time I'll see whether there are ways to fix the scratches up (mainly on the hair).
Pictures are available via my photo album
For more pictures and reviews, check out Toys Workz and Exelica Meteor.
6 September 2008
(A depressed Shana taken from Random Curiosity)
I was supposed to do a 1/8 Max Factory Shana review/photoshoot today as I thought it's about time to open the box (which is in mint condition), but things didn't go as planned, as my inspection and test fitting has hit a snag.
All those who have owned this figure would know that fitting the sword through the hair is a pain in the neck, as the hole is barely wide enough for you to push the sword through. Mine is no exception, and I have a constant fear of breaking the sword accidently.
Before I have begin the attempt on fitting the sword, I have noticed that there are already some scratches on the right shoulder, which are might have come from early test fitting by
And for some reasons I do not know, there are already noticeable scratches on the surface of the hair. Fitting the sword through one way is already hard enough, and now I have to reverse it so the handle should tug nicely into the right hand, which would require me to have my nails going against the surface of the hair. This does increase the damage surface as the top layer is already peeling off in the first place...
Then to my surprise, the handle doesn't go to the hand properly; the angle is not quite right! I've tried pushing the sword a bit more while readjusting the arm to let the sword through, but to no success. I was worried that any part of the ribbon, sword or arm might break off if I continue due to clumsiness. I couldn't take the risk and had to stop.
For now I've given this Shana a beam sabre to hold on with. It doesn't look too bad for a hasty compromise, as there is something similar in the anime already (from Random Curiosity). Jedi Shana anyone?
As for the sword (or katana) Nietono no Shana...
A 1/100 Tieren (incomplete) is currently wielding it. Again not a bad compromise either, and I was suprised that it could hold on to it pretty well ^^;;
This Shana was acquired via Yahoo Auction Japan with the help from a friend of my sister in Sasebo. It's claimed to be unopened, and the seller has a very good reputation with no negative feedback from any buyers. I can't exclude the possibility of the figure not being treated well by the seller or from previous owners (if there were any), but I'm still surprised with the problems I've met.
Directly or indirectly, this has been my second problem with a Max Factory product so far (first one being figma Fate for no official distribution to Hong Kong while the majority of the line is available). I guess it's just my poor luck, but I've been wanting this Shana ever since I read Valho's review on it 9 months ago ._.
But rants aside, I'll need to poke around and see whether there are similar problems to this reported and find a remedy to it. I hope I can resume to the photoshoot sooner than I think.
2 September 2008
Itasha (痛車) is a term for cars that have been decorated with decals of moe female characters from anime, manga and visual novels. These cars are popular among otakus and can be seen in places such as Akihabara and Nipponbashi.
Just as the kanji has stated, Itasha literally means "Painful Car". I've heard of two reasons behind the naming: One is that "pain" is used as in "painfully embarrassing" (or something similar), the other one being a pun for Italian car (イタ車) of same pronounciation. (via Danny Choo and Wikipedia)
Let's have a look at various kinds of Itasha out there~
A Nanoha (from anime Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's) Itasha spotted somewhere in Akihabara par moi 3 months ago. I wonder whether it's the same car as the one featured on Japan Times Online?
A Shana Itasha in a Chevrolet car show in Singapore, via DarkMirage
Not a real Itasha, but a 1/24 scale plamodel of Suzumiya Haruhi Mazda FD3S RX-7 from Aoshima. Image from Hobby Blog via DarkMirage
Popular, moe and little Primula from eroge and anime Shuffle!
Lelouch and C.C. from anime Code Geass. Is Lelouch moe too? o_o
Bulky cars can be Itasha too! Fate Testarossa from Nanoha A's is win~ (laughs)
Nagisa from visual novel and anime Clannad. Having nice anime/visual novel girls on your seat surely look nice, but I don't think I really want to sit on them... ^^;;
Pimp My Ride otaku version?
Moe girl treatment doesn't apply to cars only!
This sleek-looking motorbike got the moe girl decal treatment too. Such vehicles are called Itansha (痛単車).
Normal bikes can get them too! Those are called Itachari (痛チャリ), but this one is kinda forcing itself to be one... ^^;;
These are the more "normal" Itachari found in Akihabara. The Hare Hare Yukai album picture is seen on this front wheel.
The character here is Sumomo Akihime from eroge Nanatsuiro Drops, artwork by Noizi Ito
They surely are interesting to look at, but I'm not too sure whther I want to convert mine into one. ^^;; If you have the money and resources, would you "pimp" your ride into an Itasha?
More pictures of Itasha via Danny Choo, Yoshimu, and Otasuke.