Weekend in Akiba

Ran down to Akiba yesterday to hang with a friend who’s heading back home to the states, and took the camera this time around. Spent the down walking around and checking some of the back shops. This will be another picture This time around I found quite a few shops that carry quite a bit of the limited Gunpla from conventions. Of course they also run quite a price.

First off, here’s some of the limited Perfect Grade versions:

PG Gundam “Kunio Okawara Illustration Image Color Version”Akiba

PG Gundam Mark II “Multicoating Version”Akiba

PG Char’s Zaku II “Full Color Coating Version”Akiba

The prices ran about $160 dollars for the Gundam Mk II, up to 300 for the Gundam… yeah, even with %20 off, that’s costly.

Next up, you find a lot of places that have boxes you can rent out, and put stuff you want to sell in them. In a way, it’s quite hard to find what you want though because of just the mass volume of people’s stuff to go through.

Rows and rows of boxesAkiba

Ooh, more limited model kits!Akiba

Display case with all the Gundam Stand ArtAkiba

I also stopped by Yellow Submarine to check out parts. I was tempted to pick up the Pro Hobby Clear Gundam Version 2.0, but unfortunately they were all gone this time around. So here’s some pictures of parts instead.

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Here’s some shots from out on the street.

DS Flash cards are still quite available in the back streetsAkiba

The backstreetsAkiba

Super Potato retro shopAkiba

GamersAkiba

Shoppers out in forceAkiba

Also, I realized that I meant to post about shopping in Akiba. These were taken a while back, but just to give you an idea of Gunpla shopping heaven in Yodobashi Camera Akiba, well, just check out the pictures

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Akiba

Anyways, I didn’t pick up much, but I will post about that next time.

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The State of the Gunpla Union – 073009

This week’s notes, along with a photo dump of various pictures over the last few months.

 First off, the Exia snap-build is done.  This is a kit that would benefit from panel lining, so that’s something to do between Sinanju sessions over the next few weeks. 

exia03

 Quick impressions :

  • Smaller than I thought, but that’s to be expected of anything other than Sinanju.
  • Hologram strip parts are neat, but really don’t stand out from a distance. 
  • The led GN drive is cool. 
  • Don’t really like the feet, while having toe, sole, heel for articulation, they kind of suck. 
  • The bling bling swords really come off nice. 
  • The only problem though is again, Bandai puts the sprue cutting points on the blade, so you get a nice chunk of the finish cut off no matter what you do.  
  •  Also the regular swords (hell if I can remember if it’s GN 1, 2, or whatever) tend to fall off the hands pretty easy.  
  • Lastly, it’s not easy, or even recommended to switch between regular Exia and Repair version, so for those who want both, you’ll have to pick up one standard kit and one ignition kit.  For those who then want both kits to light up, you’ll need two ignition kits.

 Now, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and pose with it just yet though, just finished, so these are just initial impressions.  Still, at the cost for the gimmicks, and weapons alone is well worth it.   Overall, was worth waiting past all the HGUC kits and 1/100 kits for this.   Makes you wonder what’s nexts in the Gundam 00 MG line up, hopefully they do the other Gundam’s before jumping to 00, although I would be interested in an O Gundam.

 Next up, the HGUC Kshatriya has been announced for an October release, but I finally stopped to check out the price.  At around a whopping 4200 yen, this is ringing in as a high baller.  Unfortunately, while the price of the MG line is gradually going up, a majority of the kits have managed to stay in the 3000 to 5000 yen range.  HG kits, as we see here, tend to run the gambit though, which some being available for as low as 300 yen, to 4000 yen plus.  I for one would like to see a little more stability in their lower end model line.  I’d buy the Kshatriya at that price if it was an MG kit, but HG is going to make me pause.

Moving on, the buyer for the remaining HGUC Green Tokyo Project Gundam 30th kit has fallen through from lack of response.  If interested, it’s asking price is $40 US dollars (or 4,000 yen) shipped anywhere in the world.  Please post or mail if interested.

Now for the Sinanju summer project, for the time being, I’m stuck waiting for good weather.  Unfortunately the color I picked is fairly sensitive to humidity, going so far as to have a warning to not spray on humid days.  So the project is going to go fairly slow for a while. 

Lastly, I’d like to do a little photo dump of random pictures taken over the last couple of weeks.  I had thought about making it a separate little trend, but figured I’d tack them on the my State of the Gundam Union posts whenever the pictures have piled up.

Here’s the Gunpla parts shop that Danny Choo mentioned before.  It’s the Yellow Submarine shop in the Radio Kaikan, 4th floor.  Quite a load of parts, so could be good if you wanted to stock up on a variety of weapons, etc.  The prices varied from 200~300 yen to 3000 yen(!).   Planning on hitting it up again this weekend so will try and take more pictures.

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Yellow Submarine also carries pro shop releases.  They had quite a few of the Mechanical Clear Gundam 2.0 available.  I’m debating picking up one the next time I go.  The only problem is that Pro Shop releases can’t be discounted, even by places like Bic Camera, so it’s the full 4,410 yen…

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While checking out the 4th floor of the Radio Kaikan, I saw quite an awesome life sized helmet and figure for Gabranth from FFXI.  Unfortunately, the helmet is over $1,00 dollars, and the figure, while bad-ass, is also around $450 dollars.

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Akihabara Station’s Electric City Exit is under construction.  Wonder how they “new” Station will look

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Debating on making a jump to my first DSLR.  While apparently the Olympus Pen is not technically a “true” DSLR, it’s got style, and takes damn good pictures by the samples I’ve seen.  Now just to use my upcoming 30th birthday as an excuse to get around the price…

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Last, saw my first rainbow in a very long time, while out in Kohoku New Town for dinner. 

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Weekend Gundam deals

Well, this is applicable to those in Japan, but while at Yodobashi Yokohama today after work, I found a couple of interesting things.  First off, Buster at Plamo mentioned finding an HG model he hadn’t seen.  Took a shot of the “new” stock of older models.  Interesting enough, there are quite a few 1/60 size models that I’ve not seen myself, that are available really cheap.  You see the Full Armor Gundam there for about 1600 yen.  They also had a Tri-Stars Zaku II the last time I had gone, but gone this time.  Unfortunately, I wouldn’t think those proportions are going to be the best.

 F1040279

However the deal of the weekend is the below:

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The very expensive GFFMC Zeta Plus is available at rouughly 70% off!  The $170 fig is available for a mere $50 dollars.  Man, that says a lot. 

I don’t know if this sale is being held at all Yodobashi’s across the country, but for those interested, definitely worth checking out.

Akiba goods and line markers

Ahem, now that the lengthy span of holidays is over, it’s time to get back to the posting and catching up.  First off, I went to Akiba yesterday, with the intent of picking up some pc parts to build a new pc.  The pc parts ended up being not needed as the in-laws decided they wouldn’t be able to figure out how to use the pc in the long run.  So in the meantime, I just went around and checked out the goods.  Unfortunately I forgot to take the camera with me, but I did snag a few things from the UFO catchers along with picking up a 16GB memory stick for only 8,000 yen.  

stuff60

The kapibara-san plushes are for the wife, where as I snagged a couple of Suzumiya Haruhi figures from UFO catchers.  I also got extremely lucky and managed to get the White Unicorn Zeta Gundam stand art.  This has been pretty much unavailable as it’s the rare from this 4th volume of stand art.  Most places that have it won’t sell it unless you buy the whole set (running then 25~35 dollars).  I managed to get the folks at Yodobashi Camera to open the last sealed box and there it was.  600 yen for the win. 

Next up, I’ve talked a bit about the line markers (Sumi-ire) lately, and that I’ve been trying out other brands.  Well, I finally took a picture of what I’ve been trying out.

 stuff61

From bottom to top:

1. Gundam sumi-ire marker: black thin type (.1? .05?)
2. Gundam sumi-ire marker: black fat type
3. Copic Multiliner SP: black (.05)
4. Copic Modeler Sumi-ire marker: black (.02)
5. Copic Modeler Sumi-ire marker: warm grey (.02)
6. Copic Multiliner SP: grey (..05)
7. Copic Multiliner SP: brown (.1)
8. Gundam Marker: Gold
9. Mitsubishi Paint Marker: Gold
10. Mitsubishi Paint Marker: Silver
11. Sakura Micron: black (.05)
12. Gundam Marker: Mecha Silver

The markers are the left are just extra copic modelers, and the right are other colors of multiliner pens.   Lately I haven’t even touched the Gundam Marker sumi-ire pens simply because the fact that they bleed a lot and there is a noticable difference in size between the .02 copic modeler pen.  Copic Modelers are available in .02 and .03 sizes, in warm grey and black.  Drab olive is supposedly the third available color but I’ve never seen it myself.  The only places that sell the specific copic modeler line is Yodobashi camera.  I’ve never seen them at stationary stores that carry all the other copic lines.  In regards to the copic multiliners, the plus about these is that there is a huge selection of colors, and come in a variety of sizes.  Black in particular has .05, .1, .25, etc.  however, other colors may only go down to .1, and may not have smaller.  Compared to the copic modeler pen, multiliners aren’t sold at most hobby shops, and you’ll need to stop by a stationary store, or somewhere like Tokyu Hands, to find them.  Prices are about 200~350 yen depending on line and location.  I’ve not used the mitsubishi paint markers yet, but picked them up since they have a finer tip, and will try them out when I have the opportunity.  Again, I’ve been so taken with the .02 copic modeler that I haven’t even tried the Sakura Micron which has been recommended by other blogs.

In regards to the copic modeler, there is rarely bleeding or blotting, and one of the nice things is that if some ink comes out of the line you can just wipe it off with your finger.  To give you an idea of how nice it looks, just take a look at this picture.  My next post will cover the Turn A, but I used the copic modeller for panel lining and it came out just great.

 turna01

Shopping for Gunpla (and more) in Japan: Shinjuku

In part 3 of our series, we’re going to take a look at shopping in Shinjuku.  For those visiting Japan, there’s a chance you may be staying in the Shinjuku area, and you won’t have to go far for your Gunpla needs.  We’re going to look at two stores that can help you out, our favorites, Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera.

One thing to keep in mind is that Shinjuku is home to the busiest train station in the world, and with everything centered around the station it can be easy to get confused.  In general, Shinjuku station has three main exits: East, West, and South.  East is home to Kabukicho (famous in the Yakuza game, as Ryu ga Gatoku is in in the west), south is home to Takashimaya Times Square, and West is home to the skyscraper district.  We’re going to focus on the west side as, while the east side of the station has Bic and Yodobashi, those stores are small compared to the ones on the west side.

South side of Shinjuku

East side of Shinjuku

However, we’re going to focus on the west side as, while the east side of the station has Bic and Yodobashi, those stores are small compared to the ones on the west side.  Yodobashi is split into several buildings that sell different things.  You see this fairly often in Japan in Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Akihabara, etc. due to lack of space to make one giant building I guess.  We’re interested in Yodobashi’s game and hobby building.  Once you head out of the west exit (Keio, JR, Odakyu lines) Yodobashi is pretty hard to miss, being right by the Keio Highway Bus Terminal.

Yodobashi Camera – North Building

Yodobashi Camera – Game and Hobby Building

 You see Exia calling you downstairs

To be greeted by display cases

 The entire B1 floor is dedicated to models and toys.  You’ll find everything from Gunpla to figures, to the little collectible toys.

Stacks of new releases

 

 Followed by aisles of figures and more.

A wall of MG kits

Other kits 

 GFFs

There are also tons of tools and items for your needs.



 Overall, Yodobashi has better choice by far than any of the other stores in Shinjuku, but if you don’t have time you can always check out Bic Camera.  Located in the Halc building, Bic is closer to the JR West exit then Yodobashi. 

 Bic doesn’t have the same selection however, but sometimes good sales. 

GFF’s for half off anyone?

All sorts of kits lumped together

 
Bic does sale the pro-shop version of the Zaku II and Gundam as you see

 So overall, for those staying in Shinjuku or visiting, Yodobashi Camera can be your one stop shop for all your otaku needs.

 

Shopping for Gunpla (and more) in Japan: Part 2

I’ve decided to follow up with making this a series and updating this as we go.  Today I stopped by Bic Camera Shin-Yokohama, and took a few photos to give you an idea of what to expect.  Again, these are from the cell phone, so the quality may not be the best.  Hopefully I’ll be able to stop by Yodobashi this weekend.  Suprisingly enough, this Bic didn’t have the new Action Bases for Unicorn and Sinaju, so I’ll check Yodobashi if I get the chance.