Thursday, April 28, 2016

Gunplanerd in Seoul Part 2 - Cafe Unipla in Hongdae

During my adventure in Seoul, I stumbled upon this gem in the Hongdae neighbourhood. It is literally a Gundam Cafe, where you can build kits while sipping a cup of latte.

I'll let the images do the talking!

Gunplanerd in Seoul!

If you've been following my Instagram (@jamespartan) regularly, you would know that I recently visited the land of kimchi and hot girl groups with my significant other as a short getaway from reality. Naturally, I sought out the one place in Seoul I HAD to visit: The Gundam Base!

It's a pretty snazzy place, chock full of Gundam memorabilia and paraphernalia. Their posing game is also strong as well, with kits on display posed beautifully and more dynamically than many local toy stores and some hobby shops. 

Don't expect much in terms of kit selection though, although the myriad shelves are well stocked (to the brim) with the latest releases and older ones alike. What you can find here can be found via the usual channels as well, although prices here are definitely lower than all retail outlets in Singapore, especially with tax refunds for us tourists.

For example, the RE100 Efreet Custom costs S$42 at The Gundam Base (Seoul), with tax refunds lowering the price to a sweet S$40. In Singapore, the same kit retails for S$86.90 in toy stores and $50 at the cheapest hobby shop. So all in all, I got a pretty sweet deal for the RE100 Efreet Custom.

On a side note, South Korea is also the manufacturer of Academy Hobby military model kits, so prices for that are low, low, low in Seoul. Snagged a 1/72 F-22 at the Lotte Mart Toys'R'Us, just because it's cheap.

So if you're in Seoul, do pop by The Gundam Base, it's a must-go for all Gundam fans! Hit the jump below for more images of the awesome location!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

[Metal Build] Bandai Tamashii Nations Metal Build 1/100 MBF-02 Gundam Astray Red Frame with Flight Unit

There isn't much to be said about the Astray Red Frame. 

There is just something about that sleek design, that overall look that screams Japanese by blending traditional elements with futuristic technology as well as that massive katana that is rather out of place in a mecha universe where laser beams fly fast and furious. However, the Astray Red Frame has transcended expectations and soared to immense popularity, more so than any of its other coloured brethren and arguably some of the protagonist mobile suits with plenty of airtime in the mainstream series.

Therefore, it was only a matter of time before Bandai dropped the Red Frame in Metal Build format. The groundwork has already been laid via the Metal Build Gundam Astray Gold Frame Amatsu Mina, which is a beauty in its own right, and fans have been clamouring for the Red Frame ever since. What was surprising however, was the fact that Bandai dropped the Flight Unit along with the release of the Metal Build Red Frame! As an Option Set that doesn't exist in any official 1/100 format, the Flight Unit can be seen as the final piece to the Red Frame puzzle, the one thing that completes a standard Astray Red Frame. The Red Frame by itself is a bare skeleton, while the Tactical Arms frankly looks bulky and awkward on a mobile suit as sleek and agile as the Red Frame. Hence, the Flight Unit complements the Red Frame perfectly, it is THE backpack for the Red Frame. 

The Metal Build renditions of both the Red Frame and the Flight Unit don't disappoint, although I feel that Bandai is cutting back on the die-cast quotient in their recent Metal Build releases. That's not to say that the Red Frame feels cheap and light; the main body has a nice heft to it and all the shine associated with the metal frame is there in beautiful, marvelous shades of metallic red. 

Of course, Metal Builds are not perfect, and come random nub marks or blemishes can be found here and there, although most of these are few and far between. One gripe however, is the design of the V-Fin attachment point. Rather that affixing the V-Fin to the head unit as per all other Metal Build releases, the V-Fin of the Red Frame is packaged away from the main body, and you'll have to pop it in place during "assembly". The design here is a little flawed, as the V-Fin pops out with the slightest touch. If you're not careful, said V-Fin can disappear into the 4th Dimension. However, this is an easy fix with a drop of glue or cement, but you'll have to be very, very careful.

Overall, the Metal Build Gundam Astray Red Frame is a sexy beast, definitely a must-get for all Red Frame fans out there.