Well, they say that pictures speak a thousand words, and I’ll let the below do exactly that. But if I had to sum it up “Beautiful in Blue” would probably be how I’d do it. To best honest with you, I’m going to have a hard time going back to the regular red/pink color… While a costly kit, it’s very well worth it if you are a fan of either the Unicorn, gentei kits, or the color blue. Or all three, whatever works right. The downside is this kit will be hard to get….
So nearly four weeks since the last post, has it been that long? I was reading Z’s blog the other day and he mentioned that when he gets away from blogging, it gets harder to come back. Talk about being in the same boat there. Anyways, any way you put it, another month has gone by, so let’s catch up.
First off, the obvious four week gap in posts probably equates to two or three things. First up, the inevitable life. Work is ramping up into full gear and I’m heading (or juggling you could say) a few big projects that is taking up quite a bit of my time. Add in that I spent nearly a week out of town at various locations in Japan means that there is less time to Gunpla. The good point is I did get to meet up with GaiGun for our usual get together in Akihabara (which is pretty much still month despite the fact I live half the country over?), and catch up on all things life and Gunpla. But yeah, work has kept me busy to a point that when I come home, the last thing I want to do is look at the computer, which of course keeps me from actually writing blog posts.
The other big factor in lack of posts is that it took honestly longer than I expected it would to get everything needed for the PGSF wing joint fix. While I was able to get the pipe, glue, and putty no problem, the actual 3 or 4 dollar pipe cutter needed to make nice uniform rings, was out of stock literally everywhere in Osaka. I was a bit dumbfounded because I didn’t think that many people needed to cut pipes at the same time to warrant it being sold out everywhere! However, I managed to locate the needed cutter while on my business trip in Yokohama (a lot of them too, go figure) so everything is finally ready to go. But now that I have the goods, I’m finally getting back to the PGSF, and that should be my next WiP before finishing up the initial build of the kit. You should see the wing fix in action first on Gunpla TV as I’ve provided GaiGun with a few to give the wing fix a try on video. Fingers crossed that it’ll work out good.
For those following my facebook page though, you’ll notice that while the PG SF was on pause, I did go ahead and start cleaning out some of the back log, and knocked out four HG kits over the last couple of weeks. The Qubeley Mk-II, the Qubeley (Pearl Coating Version), the Gundam Mk-II (Ecopla version), and the Extreme Gundam. In fact, I actually started and did most of the Extreme Gundam at the hotel while on my trip. Gaigun and I joked a bit about this, but now I think I may have to start carrying nippers in my bag when I travel in case I get the Gunpla bug. HG’s really are great kits for those quick and simple builds that don’t take up weeks of your time. The downside is you need to do a little extra work to get the truly awesome full effect. Still, the important thing is I’m still knocking out stuff, I just need to blog about it more…
But anyways, another month has passed, and that brings with it some more gunpla news. First up on the MG side, we have upcoming releases for a retooled Wing Gundam, Gundam Epyon, and 00 Raiser. First off, the 00 Raiser was simply a matter of time, and is a pass on my part. I wasn’t impressed with the kit overall in PG size, which means I’m not going to be impressed with it in MG size. Especially considering you need a full five led sets to get the full effect. I guess we should be grateful that Bandai is being generous and giving us at least on with the kit, considering they didn’t do that for the Quan[T]. The retooled Wing Gundam does look fairly appealing, but it’s still likely a pass for me at this time, since I already made a Wing Gundam I’m happy with. This leaves Epyon on my list of a big yes. Simply because it feels like we’re finally moving towards some of the kits people have been want to seeing in MG form in a long time. Fingers crossed still for an MG Kapool someday though…
On the HG, SD, and RG side, there is a bit of excitement as the next RG is the Aile Strike. While I’m somewhat not surprised that they went this way, and had actually hoped for something a little more… different than the usual pattern, I am looking forward to seeing how well the RG quality and what not translates to the Aile Strike. On the other hand, the upcoming SD Sinanju is definitely on my list. HG’s that have me interested are the upcoming ECOAS Jegen and Dreissen, but I still want to see finalized pictures for them before I make any other decisions.
But like I said, I’m looking more at working through the backlog, then increasing it, and so my goal is to actually knock out quite a few kits. Initially I may just just snap builds to get the boxes and plastic out of the way, and then go back once we hit spring to start doing painting or mods to models that I want to do so for. But in general, the next things to knock off on my HG/RG list is the D-Mode Unicorn, and the RG Zaku-II. I’m also looking at doing the PG GP01 just because that box takes up a lot of space. Anyways though, things blog-wise and actual build-wise will continue to be affected by my work load, so we’ll see how March goes. What’s on peoples upcoming want lists or to build list for March?
Oh, and while I say I don’t want to increase my backlog, I couldn’t help but jumping on ANA yesterday to fly to Tokyo on business, and grabbing a couple of special order cards while I was at it….
A bit of a rant about the current pricing of the gunpla lines. But first up, courtesy of fellow Gunplar Gundam Guy we get some pictures of upcoming releases, including one I mentioned a passing interest on yesterday.
And the lovely price tag of 12,600 yen. Seriously, What the F? You could buy a PG with that kind of money easy, and the color, it looks like all they did was spray Tamiya Metallic Red on it! I wouldn’t buy this even if I found it for half off, because you could take the current Sinanju and paint it for less than that.
Hmm, unfortunately from the picture we can’t really tell what makes it so special. I would imagine they’d have to include something to sweeten the pot since they’re increasing the price from 5,000 yen to 7,875 yen. I wonder if it will include the Gatlings as well which was only available in the first edition of volume 4 of the Gundam Unicorn novelization?
Price: 6,090 yen. This right here is flat out highway robbery. It’s a PALLETE SWAP! There is nothing different than the regular edition of the MG Exia save the color by the looks of it. If they don’t even give you the parts to make the GN drive light up then you’re getting screwed over. You can get the standard Exia for 3,800 yen, or cheaper in Japan, around 2,660 in general at 30% off stores. Yet they want to charge 6,090 (Or 4,263ish in stores most likely) for what looks to be seriously a color swap. That’s a price difference of roughly 1,600 yen to 2,300 yen depending on if you buy at 30% off or retail. That’s a $18 to $25 dollar difference to importers. Definite pass here.
You know what this comes down? Inflating costs while not inflating the quality or quantity. Well, I take that back, slightly. I will agree the quality of an MG kit produced in the last couple of years totally outshines most kits made 5 – 10 years ago, but I don’t feel it’s worth the very odd range of price with MG’s. You have new kits like the GN-X at 3,600 yen, the Victory Gundam at 3,800 yen, and older kits even at 2,000 yen or less, but then you turn around and have kits like these at abnormal prices. The MG as a line should hold the same standard of quality along all kits, and while techniques and quality of course improves over the years, and leads to advances that give us version 2.0’s, these version 2.0’s are still being cheaper than some of the other newer version 1.0’s that we get.
I guess this comes down to me having dabbled in 3 Gunpla lines over the last year, HG, MG, and PG.
HG comes across as amazing well balance of quality and price. You can get an with a price range generally from 500 to 2000 yen, you feel like you get what you’re paying for. Even when there are a couple that are outside that range (Kshatriya, Psycho Gundam) you feel like you get what you paid for. Kshatriya was an extremely great example of this. It has size and gimmicks to justify the price.
The MG line is as I said above, we’re starting to see a poor balance of quality and price and some extreme ranges where the price isn’t justifying the quality. In fact releasing kits that cost 8,000, 10,000, 12,600 yen starts making the MG line compete directly with Bandai’s premier line, the PG line.
The PG line used to be well, a perfect, example of balance of quality and price. The RX-78-2 and Zaku II are both 12,000 yen, older kits, but still worth the money. The Strike itself is only 14,000 yen, and is an excellent kit. The W-Zero at 15,000 yen and the GP-01 and Zeta at 20,000 yen are both worth it. Yes, it does have its excess with the limited edition kits that have appeared at conventions before, but that is the nature of the limited edition beast. The 30,000 yen W-Zero Pearl Edition isn’t worth it, but well, ok, we can have one regular kit at excess. However, the quality/price balance changed with the Astray, and most definitely was screwed by the 00 Raiser. 18,000 yen for the Astray, which is somewhat of a Strike 1.5 model wise. We grumbled, but they gave us another sword and we said OK with that. It could have been done at 15,000 yen, if the Strike was 14,000 yen. But the 00 Raiser. No, not at 26,000 yen. Not at all. This is a kit that should have been 20,000 max, 15,000 for the 00 Gundam, 5,000, hell 4,000 for the O Raiser. Especially if the bonus was a stand that is given to you in other kits and clear parts that you have to purchase, and practically break off your old parts to use.
Does it sound like I regret getting the 00 Raiser? In a way yes, I can only justify it because I got it at 16,000 yen from Amazon, but even then I feel like I paid too much. But the point I get at is, perhaps Bandai is screwing themselves, and us over by messing up their own idea of that HG is cheap, MG is medium, and PG is premiere, and thusly these lines don’t trip over the other line’s boundaries. 95% of HGUC kits don’t fall into MG price range, but we’re seeing more and more MG kits creep up in price, approaching PG kit price lines. If MG prices increase, then PG prices must increase too, to keep the “boundary” clear between MG and PG. That’s a line of rationale I can see being used in the board room, and it’s something we see happening now. Think about it, 2 PG kits will now be cheaper than the new Titanium Sinanju. For an additional 1400 yen you can by a PG Strike. For 2400 yen, PG Gundam Mk-II or W-zero. It’s mind-boggling. I’m afraid if something like a PG Unicorn was announced, they’d figure a way to charge 30,000 yen for it by using an excuse that it has LEDs in multiple places…
So, that’s my take on the lines at this point. I still love the MG line, it’s a great balance of quality for size, but unfortunately quality for price is starting to become another matter. The PG line, some great kits, but the rationale behind pricing is just becoming inane. And the HGUC, while I’m sure there are some hits and misses in quality, especially with earlier kits, all the ones I’ve built have been nothing be superb for the price and size.
So all, what are your thoughts on the lines and current trends in pricing?
Man, I feel like I’m starting off 2010 with nothing but bitching and ranting. Guess I was hoping for more “things to look forward to in 2010” or something like that.
Just a few things I thought I’d put in one post.
First up, as some of you may recall, I covered Nissin’s Cup Noodle campaign with Bandai that featured the world’s smallest Gunpla. Well part two of that campaign kicked off on Monday, which was a Char specific cup with refillable noodle packs. While the noodles don’t get ready 3 times faster than they normally would, the cup in itself is neat. I actually love the packaging on this one, as they have a giant quote of Char’s in English on the top. Somehow it comes off much… cooler in English. “Don’t take it personal Garma, You can thank your father for this” cold blooded man.
This runs about 10 bucks which gets you the glass and one noodle packet. Haven’t actually eaten the noodles yet, that’ll probably be tomorrow.
Next up, a first that will suprise many. I actually got some Gundam tools from… America!
You’re looking at 5 Gundam Markers, the Plated Silver (Mekki Silver in Japanese) that Lupes at It’s a Gundaaaam was kind enough to send me. The reason being? Well, the plated silver Gundams are probably one of the most useful markers out there due to the fact they look really good! And can be used for vital things such as pipes, weapons, and more importantely, trim on Katoki kits such as the Sinanju and Kshatriya. So why get them from America? Because they’re no longer made! Amazingly enough, I totally missed out on this news, but apparently they stopped making them for some reason or another around January of this year, and by the time I started looking around, the stock was all gone in Japan. I was told even in Akiba that people pretty much bought them by the box once the news was out that production was stopped.
So, for those interested, your best bet will be to get them from a foreign supplier, as Japan doesn’t have anymore!
Lastly, you may have noticed something in the first few pictures, mainly a white background. There are two reasons for this.
I finally got a new light, the old one just wasn’t handling it, of course that’s what I get for buying a really cheap light a year ago. This time I went middle of the road (which isn’t saying much, because lights are freakin expensive here!) and got a nice work lamp. I also invested in a giant sheet of paper, this I bought at the 100 yen store, a movie poster sized piece of paper. Combined with the light, I should be able to take much better shots! Just to give you an idea….
Now I have little excuse to actually finish taking good shots of the Sinanju, and officially closing the book on it. Save time that is…
The first gallery, the general body from all sorts of angles. Next up I’ll try and focus on more of the details.
And after nearly 10 weeks, the summer project has finally come to an end! After around 15 cans of paint, gloss, top coat, various AM parts, and waterslide hell, it’s almost time to close this chapter of in my Gunpla history book. It’s been a pretty amazing build that was definitely made easier and funner thanks to the all my fellow Gunplars participating in this Sinanju Group Build put on by Gundam Australia. Now all that’s left is the photo shoot and my final thoughts. My next problem is that the Sinanju is simply a beast, so now to figure out how take really good shots without all m other crap getting in the way. Anyways, here’s some preview shots for you!