Dean

Dean

Thursday, 10 January 2019 00:00

Photograph: Mononoke spirits

When I saw a set of five tiny mononoke spirit dolls from some random seller on Ebay, a scene popped up in my mind. Now, the photo didn't exactly turn out the way I wanted but this was the best I could do.

Those dolls glows green in dark once it soaks up some sun light and I felt I could make the glow (fluorescence) work in the photo. Sadly though, it turned out that the glow was just too weak for my camera to catch. It couldn't even catch any light from the dolls in complete darkness. So, this was the alternative version I came up with.

The scene is that the spirits are looking up night sky. The bluish light would be moon shine.

There are actually five dolls (shown below). Four are sitting and the 5th one was standing. I couldn't get the standing one blend well with the rest, so he was omitted. I grabbed the dolls for 20 CAD (free shipping) on Ebay. I could find them cheaper on Amazon but they'd ship from China which meant that I'd need to wait around a month for them to arrive. I just didn't want to wait that long.

Yeeeeah, that's genuinely how I feel about this.

When I started collecting figures, I simply kept their original boxes with parts in. But, as my collection grew larger, I began to see what every figure collector would experience at one point: lack of storage space. I do have my basement to put more boxes in, but it's damp down there and spiders would likely somehow get into boxes and make boxes their home and whatnot.

So, I needed a solution and above is what I eventually came up with. I started to throw away boxes that I didn't feel worthy of keeping and started to gather parts in this transparent plastic box. This case is originally intended for small jewelries or so I read. It was sold as "jewelry box".

The downside of this solution was that I couldn't help feeling myself for being a mad doctor of some sort.

I mean, let us be honest here. What do you see? You see heads, arms, hands .... Then there is a bazooka (Thanks, Okita) and a mayonnaise bottle (Thanks, Hijikata). Whenever I need a figure changed, I'd open this box, pick out body parts and swap them out. If that is not what a mad doctor is, I don't know what else qualifies to be one.

Regardless, this solution works. It keeps out dust and other elements, and it keeps parts in an organized manner.

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 00:04

Fate Stay Night collection

When I began this collection, I set few rules.

The first rule was that I would not go beyond Fate Hollow Ataraxia. I would not purchase characters outside of that. Another rule was one figure per character. 

Overall, it was relatively easy to choose which figures to purchase. My biggest hurdle was choosing which Rin figure to go with because she has like 6 different ones in different scales. Saber has even more figures than Rin but surprisingly Saber was easy to choose, for me at least.

When choosing Rin figure, I wanted a dynamic pose. I also wanted to stick to 1/8 scale if possible. I eventually ended up with Enterbrain version. While I loved Souyokusha version of Rin, she was 1/7 scale with its height at 25cm. Enterbrain version of Rin is also 1/7 scale. However, in reality, the figure is almost 1/8 scale. If it wasn't for her pose, the figure height would end up around 21cm. I also took figure base off to reduce further height of the figure.

Finally, I read that the foot joint of this figure might be fragile, but it seems rock solid to me.

 

Another hurdle was choosing which Rider figure to go with. There were three choices. The first one is from GSC (1/8 scale). The second one is also from GSC in a maid uniform (1/8 scale). The third one is from Enterbrain (1/7 scale). Since I was sticking with the original atmosphere, the maid version was omitted. Eventually, I also chose Enterbrain version because I felt GSC version was too small and I did not like the pose (On four with her butt high up which is an iconic pose for Rider but well).

Despite being 1/7 scale, Enterbrain Rider figure blends well with the rest of figure. You can hardly tell she is a 1/7 scale due to her pose.

Choosing Archer was easy but took years. Like Rider, there were three choices. Alter had one (1/8 scale, 25cm height). Aquamarine had one (1/7 scale, massive 30cm height). Enterbrain had one (1/7 scale, 20cm due to pose).

I wanted the Alter version, primarily due to a fact that Alter version had Emiya head and a bow. Aquamarine version wasn't even considered due to him being massive and face being completely off.

The trouble was that Alter version was in demand and aftermarket price was insane. Thankfully, Alter chose to do a re-run for this figure and released the re-run in 2017. So, I was able to grab him at a normal price. I wasn't even going to start Fate stay night collection without Alter archer that my real efforts to finish this collection began after I acquired Archer.

Sakura also has several choices but this one was a no-brainer. 

Illy was also easy to choose because I basically had one choice.

So, there you have it. This is my complete Fate Stay Night collection, for now. I say "for now" because Chulainn (Lancer) is going to be released later this year by Orange Rouge. I am 100% going to grab him because I like the dude and this collection needs more males. I am not betting on a Berserker figure. As for Assassin, I thought Furyu might go for it but they didn't.

Finally, Medea was very unlikeable character in original Fate stay night until her death scene, so it comes no surprise to me that her scale figure is not available. One could say the same for Rider, but you know, Rider is sexy. Sex sells after all.

As for individual reviews on figures, I've done so on Alter archer and Enterbrain Rider.

Monday, 31 December 2018 00:55

God Eater collection

This is my God Eater collection. This includes figures from God Eater 1 to 2. I realize there is God Eater 3 coming out but it will take some years for figures from GE3 to be released.

Thus, for the time being, this is the complete collection, minus Livie Collete because her scale is way off. She is more of 1/6 scale and she is a giant. She simply does not fit with the rest of figures. Therefore, I chose not to collect her figure.

All figures in this collection are 1/8-ish. I say "ish" because some figures by Plum claim to b e 1/7 scale when, in reality, they are 1/8 scale.

Collecting God Eater figures is a little different from regular figure collecting. This is due to their giant God arcs. In other words, you look forward not only for the figures themselves but their God arcs as well.

The first figure I got was Cannon because she was the favorite character in God Eater series for me. I played the PSP game and favored her ever since.

The second figure I got was Julius because he was on a mega sale on Amazon. This was how I decided to collect the entire cast.

The third was Lindow at which point I realized Ciel's price was going haywire due to supply & demand. Thankfully, I was able to acquire her at a decent price of 250CAD brand new which I consider very lucky. Secondhand is going for 350ish now.

 

Alisa was the last one I got due to the sheer amount of different versions of her available.
Plum made 2. GSC made 2. Alphamax made a borderline naked Alisa. Those I mentioned are 1/8 scales ones. And there are more, 1/4 scale bunny version, action figures, trading figures, and then big dolls w/ real clothes...

What I am trying to say is that it took me months to finally decide.

To be honest, I am not entirely happy with this collection due to harem element. I mean there are only two guys there. I really, really, wanted Soma or at least Lenka.

Hopefully, God Eater 3 will bring more male figures? Probably not. I am sure we will get at least one male figure though and then like 4 female figures.

Quality wise, Ciel and Alisa have got the best quality. Lindow is also very good. The rest are B+.

Saturday, 29 December 2018 20:27

Swimsuit or no swimsuit

At the moment of this writing, I now have 80+ figures and, out of those, about 60 of them are scale figures. The rest are either trading figures and non-scale figures.

And, among the scale figures I have, there are just three swimsuit figure: Tessa from Full metal panic by GSC, and two swimsuit figures from Dead or Alive by Kotobukiya.

Do I have a reason for not purchasing swimsuit figures? Yes.

 

My main issue with swimsuit figures is their pricing. They charge full or premium price for swimsuit figures where less effects are required for figure production and paint.

If you look at body shapes of swimsuit figures, their bodies are almost always identical. There are some exceptions here & there but majority of them appear to be sharing the same body shape which by itself is not a fault since that is Japanese’s perception of beauty.

Sculpting is much easier as well since there are no clothes and other minor items they need to add on. Painting & shading? It’s just a body with (usually) bikini. It’s just easier. Yeah, sometimes they’ve got something on them but I’d say it’s still easier to paint.

Then why am I paying the normal, if not more, price for swimsuit figures? This is my primary reason for not buying swimsuit figures. I feel as if they are simply using the male desire to make us purchase those. “Sex sells” is what they are doing.

 

Now, I don’t have this issue with lewd (NSFW) figures. I do have a small collection of Queen’s blade figures as well as few other NSFW figures. NSFW figures usually involve cast-off pieces which require planning and efforts. Then there is genitalia sculpting. Granted, I am not happy with majority of NSFW figures I have but those cast-off pieces aren’t easy.

Swimsuit figures feature none of those features with the same price tag. If so, I’d rather buy lewd figures.

This is Rider from Fate Stay night.

I have mixed feelings about this figure. When I was making a decision on which Rider to collect, there were three choices. One was by Good Smile company 1/8 scale. The second one was this and final one was another GSC figure in a maid uniform. Wanting to stick with Fate Stay night (original) atmosphere, the maid uniform version was kicked out.

Ultimately, I favored the pose of this figure over GSC version's.

This figure is of 1/7 scale and is by Ebcraft / Enterbrain. Even though she is 1/7 scale, it goes okay with 1/8 scale figures due to her pose. She goes quite well of Archer 1/8 scale by Alter.

I was very, very, careful when taking her out of the box. Her medusa-like hair feels very stiff and will likely snap if you handle it roughly. While the hair does look impressive from a distance, I'd be very wary of handing this figure. Dusting her hair off is going to be an issue.

Additionally, connecting the figure into its base wasn't an easy task, either. When eventually installed very carefully, the figure felt stable and firm. The paint job has some faults, not to mention blatant bad gluing jobs they did with her hair. But this is a 10+ year-old figure now. I will give it a break.

Aside of the issues with her hair, the figure overall does look nice. The chains are metal while her weapons are plastic. Paint job elsewhere is alright. I mean you can't go too wrong with pitch black coloring.

The base is as simple as it can; it's just a plain black plastic with a single joint. The joint is very short but secures the figure rather firmly. Her face sculpt looks accurate enough and her eye mask is optional. You can also arrange the chain however you like. Just ... be careful with those hair strands. 

I feel this pose is superior to the pose of the GSC figure where Rider is on her four with her hips high up.

I acquired this figure at 80USD brand new from Ebay. This figure is hard-to-find though, especially brand new.

I'd give this figure an overall grade of B. Her hair has too many issues. It looks good on her and that's about only positive point. Mismatched colors (or just bad shading), bad glue job, and its potential to break is just too high. Another minor issue I'd like to bring up is that her hands don't firmly hold onto her weapons. The weight of its chain certainly doesn't help. Her right hand holds her weapon just firmly enough, but her left hand gave me issues. Not wanting to mess with her fragile hair stands, I am probably going to take her weapon off her left hand.

I also did not bother with equipping her eye mask. I was hoping it was magnetic but it wasn't. I had to push it in and let it hang between her hair which wasn't something I was going to risk.

I wager this figure will look far better in a distance rather than close up. Angle will matter as well. Look from below and the figure looks better for more than one reason.

 

Wednesday, 26 December 2018 04:50

Fate Stay Night: Archer

This is Archer from Fate Stay Night / Hollow Ataracxia. For the record, I no longer follow Fate series because they changed it too much and have been milking it years, but those two Fate Stay game boxes I have. they are first box editions.

That's right. I was a diehard fan of Fate series back when it just came out and was relatively unknown due to a fact that they were "hentai" (adult) games. I was completely blown away by original Fate Stay night, especially Unlimited blade works arc was a sheer masterpiece.

Back then, I wasn't at all interested in collecting figures and completely missed out this figure. Thankfully, a re-run was issued about a year ago and I grabbed him without hesitation.

This figure is by Alter and is 1/8 scale. However, the height of this figure is 25cm and the figure itself is massive, making it feel like more of 1/7 figure. If you take a look at height comparison in Fate characters though, you will find that his massive size is justified in spite of it being a 1/8 figure. I will cover more on this later.

The quality of this figure is absolutely outstanding. It's heavy and securely firmly. Painting & shading is well done without any visible faults or whatsoever. The figure also offers an extra head (Emiya version), an extra left arm, as well as a bow in addition to dual daggers.

But the bow is fairly fragile and the bow string is EXTREMELY fragile. The string itself is metal but it's so thin and loosely attached to the bow that, if you aren't careful, you are going to either bend it out of shape or rip it off the bow itself, which all means you shouldn't swap out the accessories frequently. 

The arrow is glued to the hand and cannot be removed. The daggers and its handles can be detached for easier insertion into the hands.

If you are looking for Archer/Emiya, this is probably the only choice. Enterbrain has made a 1/7 scale archer but his face seems quite off and doesn't offer Emiya's face, either. While it does have a very dynamic pose, that doesn't make up for other factors this Alter figure offers.

Now, I am going to show off the game boxes along with a bonus shot with Saber. This is quite off topic for this review but fairly relevant.

Now, it's worth a mention that both are 1/8 scale figures and it is also worth a mention that the size difference is almost accurate. Saber's height is 154cm. In other words, she's tiny. Archer's height is 187cm which is well above average height of males.

Supposedly, tip of Saber's head is supposed to reach the top of two white flower-like decorations on Archer's chest. Overall though, this is close enough and the size difference is almost correct although I must add that Saber's base is a tad taller.

Finally, scroll down to enjoy some extra photos.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018 02:04

Gintama collection

Gintama collection is my largest collection and was my first collection I attempted. This whole collection is also my largest dedicated to a single series.

With over 40+ Gintama figures, this collection takes up one of my entire display units (4 levels).

While it should be fairly obvious, I will state that Gintama is one of my most favorite series. This series has a habit of breaking the 4th wall whenever the characters feel like it and it can be dead series or hilariously comical or even might make you wail like a baby. It is also a long running series and has most of characters in figure forms.

All (1/8) scale figures are from Megahouse with a sole exception of Kyubei which was made by Alpha x Omega. And Kyubei figure happens to be my #1 favorite figure in the collection as well followed by Hijitaka figure.

The beginning of this collection started with me collecting cheap Gintama figures from Banpresto. At that time, I wasn't fully aware of quality differences between premium figures and low-end figures because, on pictures, I couldn't see much difference and, thus, preferred purchasing cheaper ones. However, when I happened to snatch a cheap Gintama megahouse figure, I began to see the clear quality differences.

Long story short, I stopped purchasing Banpresto figures since then unless I had no other choice which brings up Shinpachi. He appears in almost all episodes and, yet, due to his low popularity as well as him being "95% glasses, 3% water, 2% trash" (by Gintoki).

I am being quite serious here. Shinpachi's glasses are actually, really, available for purchase but his scale figure is not. Yeah....

I also wanted Sadaharu (The big white dog) but there is no figure for him. However, there is Sadaharu piggy bank which is almost like a figure, so I grabbed it. There are also Sadaharu pillows & cushions but they are way too big.
So, I settled on that Sadaharu piggy bank model.

The most expensive Gintama figure was Kamui & Souko both at 150USD.
The most inexpensive Gintama figure was Gintoki at 25USD.

The whole collection took 2 and half years to reach this point. I still collect some (rare) trading figures if found though. You may have noticed that I've collected some voice trading figures. Those are hard to find at good prices.

Another aspect I do like about this collection is a healthy ratio of males and females. I don't like it when it's all females or harem (1 male & ∞ females).

Sunday, 23 December 2018 13:52

Chika Ogiue

Released in 2007, this figure is more than 10 years old now. This is a 1/8 scale figure by Alter and the figure stands at 19cm which is average for a 1/8 scale.

She is Chika Ogiue from Genshiken. Although she is introduced in mid season 1, she takes a major role in season 2 and onwards. Ogiue is a typical case of tsundere although, in her case, she does have valid reasons to close her mind to those around her other than trying to simply be "that type of girl".

For a figure that was produced in 2007, the quality is well above average. But this is not exactly top-of-line quality figure. But then, it isn't price exactly high, either. You can probably grab this real cheap on Ebay or Mandrake @ around 40 ~ 50 USD. Choose free SAL shipping and it will get to you in a month or so.

A distinguishing feature is that the figure's entire school cosplay uniform is cast-off (can be taken off). Ah, yes, she is cosplaying. She is also a university student, so you are not looking at an underaged character, either. She may look as if she is cosplaying against her will but I assure you that she volunteered to cosplay, sort of.

This is where you run into some issues. Her arms aren't really secured and can easily fall off. Additionally, her uniform is secured by plastic needle joints. This method is used universally for cast-off clothes on figures.

In my experience, though, it never works too well. It works, sort of, but it just never secures firmly. Thankfully, Alter used large joints, so in this specific case, it works. However, I've experienced cast-off figure clothes with tiny needle joints that weren't really doing anything to keep clothes shut.

You may also see her cosplay glasses still wrapped in its package. They kindly included a fair in case you break one. Me though? I didn't even bother opening. I don't know what it is made of, but it is paper thin and I didn't want to risk anything because I was fairly certain that I was likely break it while trying to equip it on the figure.

Once you take her uniform off and swap out arms, you now have Ogiue in a school swimsuit cosplay. She is basically cosplaying in two layers. Talk about being hardcore.

She looks fine in either outfits, so it's entirely up to you which outfit you want her to be in. Personally, I am going to put her uniform back on, mainly because I do not want to keep her uniform parts separately kept elsewhere.

My verdict on this figure is that it is worth acquiring her if you are into collecting Genshiken figures. The figure as a standalone figure would look nice with Genshiken manga books as well.

The shading is good. Cast-off parts are fairly good and her face is well sculpted. Minor details are well taken care of. I can forgive some minor painting faults for a figure that costs relatively cheap. Price quality wise, I'd give it A+. Finally, below is a manual that came with the box, kindly explaining what you need to do in order to change her outfit.

Saturday, 22 December 2018 06:01

Photograph: How was your day?

 

It seems I favor sunset sceneries. It's true; personally my most favorite moment of a day is sunset where the sky and clouds becomes drenched with bloody orange color. I often sit outside and stare at twilight until it becomes dark enough.

The archer is Chester Burklight from Tales of Phantasia. The cook is Lilith Aileron from Tales of Destiny. The girl in middle is someone I don't know. I merely purchased her on Ebay because I felt she'd eventually be useful for some projects. That was like 6 months ago though. I am glad I got to use her in this occasion. If you know who she is, let me know.

The grass is one of those fake golf grass tiles. The backdrop is a cheap painting from China. The structure is a small doll house I made. I think it turned out okay overall.

I took a little different approach this time and added text to describe what is going on in the photo.

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