Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

First post of the year and with this I'd like to look back and introspect on the amazing things that happened in 2012. Its been quite a while since I wrote a yearender, 2011 was very devastating for me and my family so I didn't post anything hobby related then. 2012 however was very different. It was still a trying year but compared to last year this year was not as bad. The good thing for me is that in times of trouble I have my Faith in God and love of my family to give me strength to make all trials bearable. Then of course there is this blog and hobby that momentarily gives me respite and a welcome escape from the trials of life.

I'd first like to give my Deepest Thanks to all the people who dropped by this site to partake of the dribble that the meanderings of a middle age man that likes to grasp and cling on to the wonderful childhood memories that he spews copious amounts of posts about here. It doesn't hurt too that site traffic had throttled up quite a bit in 2012. A very special mention goes out to those people who email me to express their Thanks for the times that I have been able to help them in their moment of quandary. Those testaments give me fuel and inspiration to continue posting here.

I'd like to give a voluminous amount of Thanks to HobbyLink Japan, for sponsoring this site. When there are times I don't feel like posting (even when I have the bandwidth to do so), because sometimes I get hit with the flaky question on whether what I do even makes a dent in the hobby universe or just contributes noise. The thought that there are people out there who appreciate what I do enough to back me up, gives me confidence to continue tapping at the keyboard as well as explore further this hobby that makes me happy.

As a Christian, I'd like to Thank my God for giving me the opportunity, the strength, the time, the desire and the inspiration to continue writing in this blog.

Before I continue I'd like to just remember the victims of the 2011 Japan Earthquake a long with all those in the world who had suffered from calamities and strife and with it I'd like to offer a prayer for relief and peace. March 2012 was the first year anniversary of this very tragic event.

This year also marks the passing of the some memorable public figures in my life who I'd also like to pause and remember. Mr. Gerry Anderson and Mr. Ernest Borgnine.

For my year ender post this year I'd like to focus on the best of 2012, that in my humble opinion, simply made it amazing for me.

Best New Items of 2012

Best Master Grade Release

Two notable Master Grade releases by Bandai stuck out for me. First was the MG RX-93 Nu Gundam Ver Ka. Particularly because the Nu Gundam is a very iconic mecha, considering that it was the last ride of Amuro Ray and because its design was refurbished by the man, Hajime Katoki himself.

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

Then there was the MG Dark Hound from Gundam Age 2. I'm not a fan of the Gundam AGE series but there is something seductive and mysterious with the design of the Dark Hound that compels me to snap my head whenever it passes by. And yeah it looks like the Crossbone... hehehe

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

Best High Grade Release

Bandai likes to bring out a lot of High Grade kits every year because it is its bread and butter. Just the right price too so that it fits easily into the budget of modellers. The most notable kits for me in the High Grade line all seem to come from the Gundam UC series.

RAS-96 Anksha, which was based off the Asshimar from Zeta Gundam was one my most favorite designs. Its a testament to the genius of the designer of this, who was able to make an art form out of a piece of hockey puck...hehehe

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

I liked the Byarlant Custom because of its brilliant fight scenes in the Gundam Unicorn OVA. Which proves once again that brilliant fight choreography and mind blowing action scenes are more than enough to sell a product *snicker*

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

If the High Grade Base Jabber was a type punch then it would be a sucker punch, because I definitely didn't see that coming. The Base Jabber is not a mecha per say, but more like a mode of transportation that any mecha mounted on top of it would definitely increase its coolness factor by a hundred fold.

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

Best Zoids Release

Shift gears now and head on to the wonderful world of Zoid models. Specifically the High End Master Model of Kotobukiya. There were two kits whose coming to being were something that I was looking forward to.

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

One was the HMM Liger Zero Jager of Bit Cloud from the Zoids New Century Zero. In my opinion, while the New Century Zero storyline seemed cliche already with the already historical output of contest-battle-to-win style mecha storylines, what made it appealing for me was the brilliant designs coming out of that series. One of the most notable was the Liger Zero and its other weapons pack variants, one of it being the Liger Zero Jager. Aside from the cool lines, the beautiful blue color scheme makes it stand out from the other battle pack designs of the Liger Zero.

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

Then there was the RZ-046 Shadow Fox. After seeing the Command Wolf of Brad Hunter that was released by Kotobukiya, I often wondered when they would release the HMM Shadow Fox? That question got answered this year when Kotobukiya released it. In photographs it doesn't really look striking, but having watched the awesome action scenes of it in the anime, especially the brilliant execution of the episode where Brad takes hold of it, it suddenly looks special to me.

Best Frame Arms kit

The Frame Arms line of Kotobukiya is their in house originally designed model kit line that they specifically own. I always admired the Frame Arms line of Kotobukiya because as an engineer it attracts me with its design tenets of recycling good designs to use in other applications, also because the designs look cool *snicker* The base kit starts with the Frame Architect that is the inner frame that all the models in its line are based and built upon.

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

The one design from the Frame Arms line of Kotobukiya that stuck out for me was the Type 48 Model I Kagutsuchi-Kou. That is one mean looking mecha with a great color scheme. Something that demands to be assembled and properly weathered just by looking at it.

Best Macross Release

Best Macross Release

Ah Macross, 2012 was your 30th Anniversary. 2012 seemed to be a bad year to host an anniversary. Compared to the 25th Anniversary celebration, the 30th year didn't seem to have as much fizzle. No doubt due to the drab world economy. Still Macross, my beloved Macross. In the entire anime franchises that abound, you will be the most memorable. In a family sense you are the first born. The spark, the inspiration that ignited that nostalgic fire that engulfs me and inspires me every day to write in this blog.

Two great new products for the Macross 30th Anniversary line that stood out for me. First was the 1/60 DX VF-171EX Nightmare Plus (Alto Saotome ver) from Macross Frontier. Made by Bandai, fans have been clamoring for this modern variant of the VF-17 Nightmare from Macross 7. The downside of this toy is that there isn't enough to go around and second, they should have included the fast packs with this kit rather than offer it as a separate. Macross fans are the best but Bandai is the worst company that treats Macross fans bad. You guys should be stripped of your Macross toy license! Macross Model kits are different and you guys are the best *kiss*

Mech9 2012 Year Ender

The other was the 1/60 VF-4G Lightning III released by Yamato Toys. The only downside of this toy is that Yamato Toys wasn't able to get the Macross 2012 Flashback license, hence it doesn't sport the Skull Squadron Colors of Hikaru Ichijo. Other than that it truly is an awesome design, especially the engineering employed for the transformation sequence. Which is once again a testament to the brilliance of the designers at Yamato Toys.

VF-4G Lightning III

If Bandai for me is the worst in their treatment of the Macross fans, then Yamato Toys is definitely the best. If it were up to me, they should have a perpetual and exclusive license to produce the toys of Macross.

One other memorable release for Yamato Toys was the 1/60 Perfect Transformation VF-1D Valkyrie No Paint kit w/ Option Parts. Having built a no paint kit myself this is a perfect product for Macross model builders who can't afford the regular assembled toy. Prior to this they had already released an unassembled 1/60 VF-1S, VF-1J and VF-1A. Priced at near model kit levels prices they are surely affordable and not as burdensome on the wallet. I wish Yamato Toys would continue with this trend and release their popular Macross toys in No Paint kits variants.

1/60 Perfect Transformation VF-1D Valkyrie No Paint

Best Re-releases of 2012

These were the products that have gotten scarce already and the only hope of buying them would be breaking into the room of your rich neighbor with the anime addiction. Then there was ebay or second hand shops, but those toys wouldn't have the newly minted smell.

Soul of Chogokin GX-04S Grendizer “King of Space Set”. Oh man, this was the one that got away, the unrequited love blah blah and well worth it because you got the whole shebang. Always been a Grendizer fan because of the Jim Terry Force Five series packaging of the popular Go Nagai animes from Japan and although it seemed silly right now in hindsight to shout what weapon you be using to attack with, back then it sounded pretty cool *snicker*


When fans clamored for this, Yamato listened and Yamato delivered: 1/60 Perfect Transformation VE-1 Elintseeker, they also one-upped the fans by offering additional option parts.

Then there was also the 1/60 Perfect Transformation VF-1D. The first VF-1 in the Macross anime that all fans gets to see up close in personal and internally in Battroid mode. Also repackaged with option parts so it made it all the more special.

Mech9 2012 Year Ender