Monday, March 31, 2014

Series Finale: Gundam Build Fighters

As to all endings, the final episode of the surprisingly interesting Gundam anime Gundam Build Fighters is packed with action, overflowing with bittersweet emotion and of course rife with the by-now defining trait of the series. It has been a fruitful, exciting GBF journey, one filled with nostalgic surprises, jaw-dropping customisations as well as bucket loads of cameos and special appearances that give Gundam enthusiasts a field day each episode. 

So it its only appropriate for me to pen down a post dedicated to episode 25.

It is my "Promise".

If you haven't watched the epic finale, please do so before reading the rest of the post as there will be MAJOR SPOILERS right after the jump.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Accessory Analysis: 1/144 Kotobukiya Modelling Support Goods (M.S.G) 05 Mega Slash Edge (Painted Build)

There is just something about blades and swords that appeal to me: the sharp edges, the tapered tips, the grace and style that adds to a kit which a gun can never achieve. Melee weapons also allow for more dynamic, stylish poses that push the envelope in terms of execution and flair, enabling kits to showcase their flexibility and prowess in close-range combat.

Kotobukiya weapons are, in a word, grounded. Most of them are logical developmental progressions of modern-day weaponry, such as the Type A and H beam carbines (as I call them) which look strikingly similar to the HK-416 and the AK-47. They also produce a number of swords and blades, most of which are based off feudal Japanese weaponry like the daisho and the fairly standard katana.

Then there is the Mega Slash Edge.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kit Insight: HGUC 1/144 RX-0 Gundam Unicorn 02 Banshee [Destroy Mode] Ver. GFT (Straight Build)

I am Lion, hear me roar.
The Unicorn series of Gunpla kits have received pretty much mixed reactions from hardcore modelers and hobbyists alike. On one side, they are lauded for their striking design, great proportions and need for little modification to look great. On the other, some have said that the series of Gundams are too "noisy", with too many things happening at once, and will need heavy modification to look good.

Personally, I dig the Unicorn-type Gundams. In Unicorn Mode, they look kickass enough, but when they transform to Destroy Mode, they look even better, with all the shiny bits throughout its frame. Unicorn kits also tend to be taller than contemporary kits, giving them the look and feel of superior machinery.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Pages

Hi folks,

Some new Pages have been created for your reading pleasure, they focus on building your kit more than anything else.

They are:

Right now, the Building page is devoid of pictures, will endeavour to add some soonest.

Please enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kit Insight: HG Gundam Seed 1/144 MBF-P01 Gundam Astray Gold Frame (Painted Build)

All that glitters is not gol-, okay this time it is.

I got this kit a couple of weeks back via the online shopping portal I frequent (i.e. Taobao) and was hoping to see an Astray Gold Frame, henceforth referred to as AGF, rolled out in its true chrome gold colours. The first release of the HGUC 1/144 Unicorn Gundam Unit 03 Phenex was a MAJOR disappointment, as it came in a colour I have eloquently termed as "Pee-Gold". For a kit that is 90% gold, you can imagine the chagrin of many modelers who got swindled by flattering photos of painted Phenexes.

So before committing to this AGF, I did my rounds on the various blogs, trying to find a hint of a runner preview so that I could decide if I really wanted to get it. I'm guessing that the kit is still too new (Feb. 2014 release) and/or too exclusive that modelers can't readily get their hands on a set. The promotional images from P-Bandai showed the AGF in a shiny, golden colour that wasn't really chrome, but still managed to come across as striking. This should have been my first clue, since Bandai had the habits of showing their chrome kits with lens flares and shiny effects. The AGF had none.

So I dug deeper, trying to find finished kits or at least a damn runner preview. All I got were exhibit shots from the various Gunpla showcases in Japan, which showed the AGF in a matte gold finish. The colour was less striking that the images on the promotional material, but it still had the luster and shine of a gold-plated finish, even if it came across as rather dull. That should have been my second clue.

Then I searched on the shopping portal I use. It was long and arduous, but I managed to find one or two shops that carried the elusive kit. However, they were no help at all, only showing the promotional image as well as hazy shots of the box. On hindsight, I probably should have read the fine print in Chinese, which might have stated that the product is not plated gold, although the exorbitant price (MSRP: S$48/-) would have justified the chrome finish.

So with sadness, I have to say that the AGF could have been a better kit. But, it still manages to look awesome, but be prepared to work for it.

This Kit Insight will be lengthy, filled with words and lots of hi-res pictures for your viewing pleasure. The Astray Gold Frame holds the distinction of being the first painted kit to be added to my collection.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Accessory Analysis: Dengeki Japan 1/144 Build Fighters Support Weapon: Mercury Rev D

Hi everyone,

I will be honest: I am weak towards accessories, especially 1/144 ones that my HGs can wield. I spend almost the same amount of time and effort procuring, assembling and beautifying weapon sets and add-ons, and then even more time trying out the different permutations and combinations across kits, dioramas and series.

It explains why I have a 20 cm deep box just to hold "gun-type" weapons.

Today, I will give a quick overview to one of the latest in a line of add-ons I like to call "magazine kits", as they require you to purchase that particular issue with which the premium comes bundled. The  Mecury Rev D kit is the latest set to to join this category, with key examples being the 1/144 Caletvwich for HG Seed 1/144 Gundam Astray Red Frame and the 1/144 XN Raiser for the HG OO 1/144 OO Raiser.

For the purposes of an Accessory Analysis, I will cover Construction, Features and Usability. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kit Insight: RG 1/144 ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam (Straight Build)

Hi everyone,

In the beginning, Real Grade (RG) kits didn't really appeal to me that much: the sheer number of stickers and decals that were required to be applied turned me off from the series, in addition to its higher cost as well as limited variety. Plus, runner previews unveiled a plate count of at least twice the usual Gundam-type High Grade (HG) kit, an important factoid for lazy ol' me.

Then the Strike Freedom came out, with its chrome gold electro-plated wings and dirty gold inner frame. I always had a soft spot for the Freedom-series of Gundams (and also shiny things), so naturally I took a second gander at this particular RG kit. Before I knew it, the box was in my hands and an order for its add-on expansion had been placed.

Thus began my RG collection.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kit Insight: HGGT 1/144 FA-78 Full Armor Gundam [Thunderbolt Ver.] (Straight Build)

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the very first Kit Insight of Gunplanerd!

Before we dive into the Insight proper, it is best if we establish some parameters and format to make the most out of the review piece. 

Generally, I will go over four main elements of the kit:
  • Construction: the ease of building, how great or tedious the building process it
  • Detail: the level of intrinsic detail before the modeler's touch
  • Articulation: how well the kit can pose and how well it can hold that pose
  • Extras: what gimmicks/extra weapons/parts are provided with the kit
I will also add in details of my own modifications and enhancements to the kit, if any, as well as tell you how I achieved the desired effect using which tools and which methods.

So without further ado, let me introduce the inaugural model kit review right now:

You can never have too many weapons.

Quick Guide to Kits

Hi everyone,

I have posted a brief overview of some of the various brands and manufacturers out there in the market, to give you a better understanding of what is available to you before making that important Gunpla purchase decision.

Rule of thumb: if you can, buy original, your fingers and sanity will thank you.

Happy building!

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Hangar

Hi everyone,

I'll be posting "important" content as Pages that will appear on the left side bar of the blog under The Hangar, these include:

  • Tools of the Trade
  • Tips & Tricks: Building
  • Tips & Tricks: Detailing
  • Tips & Tricks: Photography
  • Completed Projects

The above is not an exhaustive list, will add (or remove) Pages as I go along.

So if you ever need to refer to any of those pages, they're right there.

For now, the Tools of the Trade page is up, but like most of my Gunpla kits, it's still Work-in-Progress.

Leave a comment if you have anything to say.

Happy building!

Gundam Build Fighters Episode 22: Meijin VS Meijin

Hi everyone,

This is a pretty good episode, good mix and humor with an intense battle scene between the F91 Imagine and the Amazing Exia (pictured), each drawing their signature weapons, moves and special abilities.

I have a gripe though: what is with the Nike shoebox that held the F91 Imagine!

That aside, I'm a big fan of the Exia but the Exia plus Exia Repair II design does not really get to me as compared to the Exia Dark Matter. Let's see how it turns out when Allan tunes it to 100%.

Meanwhile, Reiji and Sei will battle it out one last time before the finals. Wonder if Sei will even put up a fight.

The series is coming to an end, I'm enjoying it a little too much for it to close so soon.

You can view the full episode here (with English subtitles):

Link to the clip on YoutTube if you can't view it from the player:

Happy viewing!

Bandai Online Store Exclusive: HG 1/144 Gundam Astray Gold Frame

Hi everyone,

Just picked up this bad boy earlier and took a peek at the contents. If you are expecting the chrome gold of say the Akatsuki, well, you are better off getting an Akatsuki. 

Bandai got me this time.

Nonetheless, it's still an Astray, which means it gonna look sexy, as sexy as mobile suits go anyway. I have a few ideas to improve this kit, let's see if I have the time to execute it properly.

Happy building!

A New Beginning (Gundam)

Hi everyone,

Finally, I've decided to create a blog to document my experiences, insights and any other sentiments I have with regards to this activity which takes up a substantial amount of my time. Instead of merely reading what others have to say, why not volunteer my own opinion? I'm sure the community can use some honest, no-holds-barred and honest-to-god rhetoric about these expensive pieces of plastic.

So to start off, my credentials. I've been building Gunpla for the better part of 10 years, beginning with the SD Gundams of old before moving on - or rather backsliding - to the now-derelict Mobile Suit In Action (and its variants) series. I finally decided on the High Grade (HG) series of kits for their compact size, affordability and poseability, and have not stopped ever since. I've built MGs, PGs, RGs, third party kits, custom sets, etc., as well as tried my hand at putting together dioramas.

Despite being distracted by other hobbies like Nerf and love for a while, I still managed to do at least 1 kit a month. To date, the tally stands at 120 odd constructed kits, with plenty more still lying sealed in their boxes, waiting to be freed from their plastic prisons. I don't discriminate from Grades, Scales, brands or manufacturers when it comes to making a purchasing decision, as long as the kit is affordable and pleasing to me, into my backlog it goes. I'd admit though, I tend to be attracted to Limited Editions or kits that are not easily obtained.

So what's the difference between this blog and the other Gundam blogs? 

Well for one, I'm not who you would consider a "hardcore" modeler. In fact, it was as recent as last December (2013) that I decided to do more than just building my kits. Yes, I previously just constructed my mobile suits and left them in the display cabinet, without nary a panel line or hint of a detail. Nowadays, I do some minor paneling, head detailing as well as basic painting before finishing, to do my kits some justice (Gundam).

So, this blog will showcase kits done by a casual builder, someone who happens to have some time to do up a little dude so that it will look better on his shelf.

I will also post on some modelling tips and tricks I've found to be useful over the years, just to share with some of the beginners out there. I didn't have the luxury of a blog that delved into the basics, but I will not deprive others of one.

I will endeavour to post regular updates (as regular as my commitments permit) on new kits, upcoming kits or just reviews of some of my older kits. If you had been paying attention, you'd know that it will take some time before I run out of material to cover.

Just like any hobby, Gunpla is up to your imagination, there is no rulebook to follow. As long as you think that your Gunpla looks good, no else matters. Your Gunpla will also thank you for the appreciation.

Stay tuned folks and happy building!