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Author: Chag

Review: HG 00 Gundam & 0-Raiser

Hey-ho boys and girls! Before we get started this week I would like to direct your attention to your URL bar. That’s right – Hobby Hovel now has its own domain! Nifty ain’t it? Unfortunately as a result of a bug within Blogger, all the comments from my older reviews (before I switched to IntenseDebate) were knocked out. Hopefully they’ll resolve this soon… Anyhow, on with the rant!

HG 00 Gundam Raiser-036

Back in summer 2008 when I first laid my eyes on the MS designs for the second season, I was sorely disappointed. Rather than taking a step forward, these four new suits seemed to be a stumble backwards. Gone were the distinctive orb-centred designs of the first season, and in its place I saw a bunch of simple and blocky designs that seemed to be the work of amateurs. The 00 Gundam was the least offensive out of the bunch, yet I still thought the GN drives hanging over its shoulders were ridiculously goofy. Assuming the reason for these simple designs was merchandise marketing, I thought to myself: “The models coming out this season had better be fucking amazing.”

Well, lo and behold a few months later I find myself waiting for the HG 00 Gundam and 0-Raiser to arrive in the mail. Not only did I learn to warm up to the second season’s designs somewhat, web previews of the HG models for the second season had all the innovation the mechanical designs lacked. My expectations, which were heightened greatly by these previews, were not betrayed when the models finally arrived. Simply put, the 00 Gundam is in a league of its own when it comes to articulation on HG models, and as long as you are willing to put a little work on painting some omitted details, these kits are must-haves.

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Review: Revoltech Sanada Yukimura (Limited White Ver.)

Revoltech Sengoku Basara-004

In my experience, I am often drawn towards collectibles by the source material. What usually happens is: I watch an anime, like it, and decide to get something nice to remember it by. However, there are times when the opposite is true: I see a figure, model or toy that looks so good that I am compelled to check out the source material before ultimately giving in.

Yukimura doesn’t seem to know too many words, but he makes good mileage out of the few he does know.

The subject of this week’s review – the Revoltech Sanada Yukimura (Limited White Ver.) – belongs to this latter category. Despite having dropped the anime Sengoku Basara, this toy dragged me by the ears to pick it back up again and changed my entire opinion of it. Just before committing to buy this toy along with the Revoltech Date Masamune (to be covered in a future review) however, I conveniently received the duo as presents for my birthday. Well, a good present deserves a good review – and what a good present it is! With the exception of one significant flaw, the Revoltech Sanada Yukimura proves that the Yamaguchi Revoltech line is no slouch when it comes to non-mecha figures.

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Review: MG God Gundam

MG God Gundam-018

Throughout the course of Gundam history, Gundam has generally tried to stick to a realistic feel more so than anything else. However, around 1994 Sunrise introduced G Gundam, the likes of which has never been previously seen. G Gundam proudly boasts the title of being the most exaggerated and outrageous Gundam series of them all, the sort of series where the decibel levels the pilot’s screaming directly translates into his strength.

The main character, Domon Kasshu, travels all over the world participating in the, “Gundam Fight”, an international Battle Royale styled competition, where each country sends a Gundam to fight and the victor claims control of all the colonies for their country. Sunrise had a lot of fun playing with cultural clichés in the mechanical designs, clearly seen with Neo Canada’s Lumber Gundam or Neo Holland’s Nether Gundam.

In the story, God Gundam is the epitome of Japanese engineering, boasting superior strength and lightning quick speed. In reality, the Master Grade God Gundam is a less than godly. While it is an inexpensive and good-looking MG kit, its dated engineering and quality controls are significant blemishes to the model as a whole.

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Review: 1/8 Alvis E. Hamilton

Alter Alvis E Hamilton-012

The 2003 anime Last Exile is a textbook definition of the phrase “eye candy”. Although there isn’t really anything offensive about the story and characters, they are not very memorable either. The visuals elements, on the other hand, set the series far apart from the rest. Last Exile features fantastic mechanical and character designs conceived by famed illustrator Range Murata. Not only are the steampunk airships breathtaking to behold, but the character designs are every bit as pleasing as their mechanical counterparts. The outfits the characters wear are highly stylized, yet they do not look over-the-top ridiculous. Rather, they feel more like augmented and improved versions of reality. Hell, if navy uniforms looked that good in real life, I probably would have enlisted a long time ago.

If I recall correctly, I decided to pick up this figure of Alvis E. Hamilton by Alter before I even finished the series. Back then I was still fresh with enthusiasm for figures and was eager to increase the headcount of my collection, and a cheap figure of around 26 bucks proved to be appealing enough to warrant an impulse buy. Thankfully, Alvis was not the kind of purchase that I would come to regret later. I wanted something to remember Last Exile by, and this figure serves that purpose very well without breaking the bank. If you can find it around the original retail price of 3619 yen, you will find Alvis to be a decent little figure for her price. If not, don’t fret – this figure is much like the non-visual elements of the source anime – decent, but nothing spectacular.

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