donderdag 17 april 2014

Inspirational Lego: Aliens, Babylon 5 and more...

It has been a while since I penned down one of these overviews from my strollings around the web, and as such I have a lot to show for on what I have been drooling over lately.

First, let me start with the headliner of this post, an excellent fortress build by fellow Eurobricks and Guild of Historica member Gunman, he is even in the same guild as me, and this is his take on the Age of Mitgardia phase 3 barracks.

The fortress is so much pure awesomeness, it even made the front page of Eurobricks.  I like the ingenuities in the build like the use of brown chairs to serve as roofing and the likes.

But Eurobricks had more excellent eye candy these days, as I stumbled upon this awesome gunship from Aliens in the scifi part of the forums:

More science fiction themed builds, especially in the typical japanese style, have been encountered on my wanderings over the internet, like this attack of Godzill`s Mothra and the big Japanese mech launching his fist.

Not to mention even this big Babylon 5 spacestation!

But the absolute eye gasm for me was pointed out by this blog follower and dutch mate Gunman a few weeks ago through Facebook, an impressive, three feet high build of Cherno Alpha.  Many drooldrips have been spend while watching the pictures here...

Not all has been fantasy and scifi though, as this amusement park has definitly been a looker. with lots of small details and great rides:

Another thing I liked, though not my `franchise` has been this build from the Lego Disney Princesses range.

And me?  Well, I have been building some things, finishing my first entry for the next contest part of the Book II of Guilds of Historica, which takes us this time to Avalonia and players can choose to either fight a Drow invasion or contain a plague.  More to be seen of that on a later date.  Other projects have been building further with my Silvermoon inspired creation, and I started a small oriental fantasy styled build.

Yes, I really should make work of further AoM builds, I know...

But a few weeks ago I did play the Harry Potter game with the GF and the Munchkin.  In the end, the kid `won` (because I got tired of the game), compared to other LEGO games, this one isn`t a quick and simple amusement game, but it`s a bit like those sliding puzzles of years ago, as you move the hallways around by pushing them.

Lots of thinking was required... hard thinking...

I don`t really think this one of Lego`s best games.  It`s pretty to look at for sure compared to some other games, but it isn`t really suited imho for smaller children as it takes a long time to finish even with only three players, can cause in-family stresses if one starts playing the sneaky bastard focussing more on blocking off then advancing (I quited doing that halftime) and plainly isn`t a simple game.

Oh well, as Grumpy Cat would say...

woensdag 16 april 2014

Saint Seiya cards: an absolute top day

Today the postman has been my greatest friend, as I received a LOT of Saint Seiya cards from all over the world, adding almost 100 to my tally.

The first parcels where from ebay, conatining in one enveloppe from Taiwain two foils of the Amada 2000 series, a card from the Badai Power ccg from Japan, and from the states the Aiolia promo card from the Knights of the Zodiac series, as I could score a dvd of the anime version there still sealed, meaning the card was inside.

From another ebay vendor, coming from France, I gained 12 of the Amada 2000 series cards.

But the best was yet to come, as thanks to a fellow Facebook card collector from a group I`m in, I managed to get more then 80 cards from various series, for a decent price and some of my doubles in trade.  Thanks a lot Anthony!

It included Amada 2000 cards (the one single double I`ll be adding in my trade binders)

As well as a card from the original Saint Seiya CCG, 2 more recent italian Lamin cards from their card game edition, a holograph card from the film sets

As well as a few film set cards themselves

A bunch of silver saints mostly from the 2003 TV series set from Amada

And a lot of cards from the Hades set

All the cards where in Near Mint and better condition, and he is a guy I`ll happily buy some more cards from when he ever has some up for trade!

dinsdag 15 april 2014

Spring Anime season - my picks

Well, Saint Seiya Omega has ended, Gundam Build Fighters is over... and so we come into a new season of fresh series as the spring time began about two weeks ago.

Now, I personally picked 4 series `to follow` from what has been coming out, and either that is going to be decent material and I`ll do a review on when they end, or they will get like 2 or 3 episodes of watch time before dumping it.

The first series I already went `WOOOOW` on has been Captain Earth, which has a sort of Goldorak of the 21st Century feel to it.

And the `Expansion Enhancement` from the very first episode has already gotten me nailed on the series!

Second series I have very high hopes for after seeing the first episode yesterday, is Sidonia no Kishi (Knights of Sidonia), the second mecha series this season being released, and in a very artwork drawing style.  The series is perhaps best to be looked at from an Evangelion perspective, as it does give the same dark mood so far.  Then again, so did the first Muv Luv Alternative, but that got a lot `friendlier` after the rock hard pilot.

Thirdly there is Blade and Soul, based on the Korean video game.  Is till have to start watching it, but it might be amusing.

The fourth pick I made isn`t really new.  Dragon Ball Z Kai is a digitally remastered and recut 20th anniversary commendation of the Kai series, but it is Dragon ball and I hope the cutting works make it an enjoyable series like his predeccessors where.

So which will prove worth my time?  Or which will be flukes?  Only time will tell, and there is nothing to say that perhaps one or other series drops in the coming weeks that`ll be enjoyble as well...

zondag 13 april 2014

Unboxing The World of US Manga Corps

Now that I`ve gotten pulled back into the world of more regular trading cards with the 1000+ cards I still lack from Saint Seiya as well as the upcoming Pacific Rim set, I tend to look around `the Bay` for some cheap booster boxes.  

Recently, I found this nice little box from 1994, together with a Harry Potter widevision set to bring the munchkin into the hobby he is quite HP crazy), each box costing 12.10 euros.  The US Maga Corps box contains 48 packs of 10 cards each, and an insert breakdown as follows:

90 card base set
6 Chromium cards at a 1/16 pack ratio
3 Women of US Maga Corps chase cards at a 1/48 ratio
500 signed cards by Koichi Ohata over the whole production run.

Now, since I don`t expect the final one to be pulled, statistically I should end up as such with three Chromium cards, 1 Woman card and 4 to 5 base sets.

So let`s start pulling open packs and sort everything out!

After about an hour of opening packs, and still busy as we speak to note down the left over cards, this box was a HUGE disappointment.  First things first, let me complain about the 10 cards per pack. In each and every pack, one card was `double`, so you actually only got 9 + 1 cards in a pack.

On the level of inserts and chase cards, this box has been to cry for.  I have gotten 1 measly Chromium card, and that is it of the advertised cards, as well as 3 promo cards for the (back in 1994) upcoming Norman Rockwell 2 series.

Not only that, but out of the humongous pool of cards, I only managed to complete 3 full 90 card base sets...

This box is going to be needing some very creative trading to get a NVT of 12.10 out of this heap, but who knows perhaps I can get rid of one or two of the base sets for some Saint Seiya cards or so, as Manga and Anime tend to hoover within the same niche collectioners...

zaterdag 12 april 2014

The Plan - Week 9

I have my Cromwell, I`m happy now!  And she is fully tuned, camo painted and labelled with the irish flag (in rememberance of my Flames of War never came to be irish division of the 8th army) and called her `Gnome`.

But wait?  Wasn`t this a weekly post about World of Warcraft?  Weeelllll, technically I never said that in the title, but yes, it was supposed to be that.  But the truth is, even with Darkmoon, I barely played at all this week.

You see, I still had that raffle price of 7 days of premium and 1000 gold I won through an Outpost Facebook page contest, and last week I finally redeemed that one.  So taking the opportunity of the additional experience gained and higher income, I played mostly World of Tanks. 

Thanks to this, I managed to `upgrade` all my vehicles by at least a single tier, kept some of the older ones I like playing with to get their `Elite Status` experience to use in the development of other tanks, and of course been racing around in my Crusader (see that earlier Killer Crusader post of this week).  Whom also received a new paint job, the aussie flag for the 9th DivCav I did field in Flames of War with a fair ratio of success, and a nice For the King motto on her nose.

But I did play some WoW though, namely sunday and monday, half an hour each or so... it`s not that I`m tired of it or something, I just didn`t came around to it as WoT is an addictive game, and I still have some Perfect Worlds games I`m wanting to give a shot.

In the end, it is all in awaiting until Saint Seiya Online gets available to play over here ;-)

The coming week will see a low WoW gametime still, as I have a lot to do for my collections and related stuff, so bar the weekly Karazhan run it`ll be lowtime in Azeroth, not setting any goals there.  Next week though it is the two weeker back to back world events of Noblegarden and Children`s Week, and then I`ll be `at it` again in full swing to try and get my hands on the easter egg Strider mount and the week after to complete my pet sets from that event, before having to wait another year!

Never the less, I did get Mr Pinchy from my caught Crawdad, and the Dancing Bear Mount from the Darkmoon Faire, the ticket hunting there for the Strider will have to wait one or two faires longer...

This week, I`m going to continue aiming to upgrade my Alecto into an AT-2 and my M8A1 into a Hellcat though hehe BOOM BOOM...

vrijdag 11 april 2014

Anime Review: Gundam Build Fighters

The latest series that has run in the immensely popular, and long running Gundam franchise, dating back to it`s debut in 1977, Gundam Build Fighters had a hard job layed before it:  could it wipe away the sour taste of the, sorry the word, crap that Gundam AGE was?

The asnwer is difficult, as the series is build on a completely different concept then ever before.  In BF, the mobile suits are toys modelled by enthousiast fans, and with the help of Plavsky Particles become life-like combatants in a sort of 3-D video game.

Yes, the wet dream of any fan...

The danger of the series was that it might become one long 25 episode commercial for BanDai`s GunPla line of model kits, but FORTUNATLY the battles make up a LOT of stuff.

The wet dreams are galore, and a lot of cameo`s of famous suits, wether or not `conversions` of the original sets, as well as characters from all over the series are in there.  The story itself centers around a boy named Sei and his desire to build and win with a gunpla the world championships, but he is hesitant to have his models damaged so is a bad pilot.  In comes the mysterious Reiji, who is willing to pilot the suit together with Sei.  Reiji claims to be a prince from the planet Arian, and has excellent suit and battle controls.

Other `main supporting characters` are Yuuki, who becomes the Meijin, a legendary, company sponsored and backed warrior; Mao, a farmboy; american science prodigy and after the secret of the particles Nils; Italian Dandy Roberto Fellini with his beautiful Wing Zero Fenice and Alia, a girl used by a rival company to wear a suit that controls her power to see the particle dispersal.

As Sei and Reiji go through the finals after drawing against Fellini, they have to face their friends one by one, until in the end they will battle the Meijin, now mindcontrolled by the same technology used on Alia. 

The chairman of his company turns out to be a minor thief on Reiji`s homeplanet, having made name and fortune on Earth after stealing some Arista crystals, jewels that resonate with the particles.

That is the stroy in a nutshell, and the series was `enjoyable though not awesome` right until the final episodes.  After a cameo heavy `interlude` before the finals (Bright was there, Haman, Char, you name them, they probably had their moment), the final two episodes where FANGASM extreme.

In the finals, the uttermost discussion in the Gunpla universe was fought out.  Though conversions and with special talents, the end battle was basically Exia from Gundam 00 versus Strike Freedom, THE two most popular suits of the whole franchise.  And my favorite won ;-)

When the large arista crystal goes haywire, the arena is transformed in A Boa Que, and all the suits gather together to storm the base, including a great moment of real champions of old, a certain blue Gouf and a martial arts suit that hasn`t been defeated in the East, for those that get the references.

So does the series live up to the Gundam name?  Yes, it isn`t bad and was a rather enjoyable watch, but not one of the classics of the whole franchise.  Is it worth to look for it and have it a go?  If your `into` Gundam, certainly, if your not really, I guess it will be a 50 / 50 risk if you like it, because a lot hinges on references to older series.

Well, I liked but not loved it, though I did shed a tear in the final minutes of the last episode, when Sei and Reiji inevitably have to part ways after an epic rematch with Yuuki (that ended in a draw as the particle generator failed), but gladly the GF was watching her soap opera so she didn`t see that tear running ;-)

And now what?  Well, the later part of the year should see a new series of Gundam appear, Reconguista in G, something I have HIGH hopes for.  Directed by the Turn A maestro, it returns to the origins of the series, in an era directly following the Universal Timeline and the rebuilding needed.

And in a bit over a month, the 7th and final OVA of the excellent Unicorn hits the screen...

But THE most memorable role in the series is the supporting lieutenant Ramba ral.  Yes, the ladies man from the very first series ever of Gundam, now acting as a client at Sei`s fathers store and not entering a suit before the last episode (that certain blue Gouf), then showing some awesome attacks shaming the others.  And why everyone through the series seemed to salute him, call him lieutenant and so on, he was a great fighter back in his days.

Because in the middle of a battle, Ramba Ral forgot to fight!