Thursday, 12 August 2010

Takara-Tomy figure review: Tetsurou Kai in type 61 JGSDF armour!

I wrote up this review some time back for Michael Crawford's toy review website, and do go check the site out if you havent already, its a goldmine of information and photos!

This is the Ground Self Defense Forces (GSDF) member Kai Tetsurou in type 61 reinforced protect gear
This is the 7th Kerberos release from Takara Tomy (after the three versions of Midori Washio, and the three male Panzer Cops: Koshiromaru Chuichi, Kouichi Todome and Souichiro Toribe, which i will post about later) and in my opinion it is the best so far!
Before I go on in this review, I just have to say that this figure is designed to be modified. Yes, it is designed with customising in mind!
The armour is sculpted fantastically. It is clean, crisp, precise work, with smooth surfaces, sharp lines, varying angles, lots of grooves and details and perfect symetry. Amazing work.

The head is nice too. while staying true to the anime feel, it still has some great work on the hair, while the ears and nose have alot of character. The many hands are also very detailed, with some very natural poses and realistic creasing.

There isnt much to paint on this figure, but where it is, it is good.

The armour has only one painted part, the left shoulder armour flap. The paint lines are clean and crisp, no smudging whatsoever. The head is not particularly detailed paintwise, but it works well especially for the slightly anime look. It has painted lips, which actually look very nice, not like some figures where it appears as if they are wearing lipstick.

The eyes are glossy, and centered very well (he isnt looking in odd directions) while the brown hair has some little highlights that help bring out the sculpt.

The 'GenX Core' body is absolutely amazing, maybe not the best, but right up there! in particular, i like the natural elbow bump that so many bodies dont have, which helps to avoid that bendy arm doll look...

The body is pretty darn articulated HOWEVER, the uniform does restrict movement somewhat, though that is kinda unavoidable as some areas have multiple layers, such as the arms for instance, where there is the sleave of the jacket, the pleather wrist glove, and the straps for the wrist gauntlet. This results in some loss of articulation, but with a little fiddling you can still get many interesting poses. A uniform swap might allow better articulation, particularly since the german officer pants tend to prevent movement, while the pleather material lacks stretchiness.

The uniform is where most of the small issues lie (restricted movement being the main one).

The pleather material is very nice, but doesnt look quite as durable as the male Panzer Cop or Midori, and it feels a little thinner, so keep and eye on it, as breakage may be an unfortunate possibilty (I havent had any breakage so far despite frequent handling and posing). However, it's the armour, vest and boots where this figure really scores! The armour is fantastically well sculpted to fit the body. Some parts such as the chest/collar/back armour are multiple parts that clip together perfectly to fit right on the body, not too tight, not too loose over the uniform. The boots are fantastic also, as the soft pleather looks and functions very well, allowing natural articulation of the ankles. The shin/foot armour is very nicely done too, fitting well together without impeding movement much at all.
There is also the vest, which fits nice and snug on the figure, and straps together with velcro.

how about accessries? This guy is loaded. Not counting his armour, mask, helmet or helmet plate, he has: 7 spare hands (thats 9 in total!), 14 plugs to put in unused attatchment holes, 4 removable stick grenade clip holders, 4 stick grenades, 2 ammo holders for rifle bullets, 1 attatchment frame for said ammo boxes, 4 sets of 4 rifle bullets, 4 individual bullets, Walther P38 pistol, holster, PZB 39 rifle, PZB 39 rifle holder clip, breathing tube, antenna, backpack and spare dummy head. I may have missed something out there......

Basically he is loaded. Having a total of 9 hands is just great! This figure has a serious loadout!

The rifle itself is very detailed, and has folding stock, slots to put the spare ammo boxes, folding carry handle, functional bipod and loops to put a strap.

This figure is interestingly customisable. There are 18, yes 18, attachment holes located on the body armour, with some on the shin armour (2 each side) hip armours (4 each side) belt/waist boxes (1 each side) and wrist gauntlets (2 each side). This allows you to mix and match attatchments such as grenade holders, ammo boxes, tubes, the antenna and whatever else takara makes with plugs. The backpack also has 2 holes either side, while the mask has 1 hole each side (two of the plugs are breathing filters), and the back armour has two holes for the breathing tube. So in total, thats roughly 26 holes! you can if you wish, attach 22 grenades or whatever else you want to add!!!!!!

The PZB 39 rifle holder can be put either side of the backpack, as can the antenna while the tube and mask filter cap can be switched to whatever side you fancy.

The backpack can be swapped with backpacks from the female and male Panzer Cops, or the ammo barrel from the male Panzer cops, or even the jetpack from the Cool Girl CG13 rocket girl 'Eris' figure. plenty of mix and match options basically. The rear belt box under the backpack has a removable cover with an attachment so you can attach the backpack to it, making space for (as example) the male panzer cop ammo barrel. you wont notice this function at first, so if you havent noticed it yet, take another look at your figure!

With the fully removable armour and uniform, interchangable hands and head, this is definitely customiser friendly.

No doubt the extra holes will be utilised by any future versions Takara will release, obviously at least one will include wrist shields.

The one draw back is that all this interchangabillity, removable parts etc makes this figure somewhat fiddly, and a little top heavy with the attatched rifle (though that is true of most high end figures), so take care, and do not give to young kids.

I like this figure alot, and hope for more from Takara. It's just so darn awesome that the small issues it has kinda seem to dissappear.

Want one? well, with no sign yet of variants or re-release from Takara, this is a tough figure to get, despite being barely 2 years old! the price on EvilBAY is over the $220 USD mark, and these are becoming a rare sight on Yahoo Japan also. Snap it up if you can, and don't feel guilty dropping $200 on it, it is worth the money.
Good luck tracking it down! I know I had a hard time. It was sold out in all but 1 store (out of over 50 stores I checked) in Hong Kong the last time I was there, and that one store had it for a ridiculous price, so I caved in and got one off EvilBay for about $120 USD at the time.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Platz/ Dragon 1/6 'Stray Dog' 20th anniversary edition wide release figure pricing details!

Try saying that title 5 times! The new Platz re-release of the Dragon Models Ltd Panzer Cop is nearly here! I know the Wonderfestival edition is already out, but only 100 people got to enjoy that, the rest of us will need to wait till September 25th to buy the wide release version. The RRP is 13,440 yen, but online pre-orders so far are as little as 9,400 yen, so expect to pay about 10,000-11,000 yen average once it is out, but I'm sure those of you planning to buy this figure will shop for the best deals.
Anyway, heres a pic from an online auction to whet your appetite's and the two pre-order links i found so far:
Preorder 1
Preorder 2

Dragon Models Ltd figure #3 'Stray Dog' battle damage version

The international version was available accross Asia and the west. The light up eyes version was exclusive to Japan. This, the battle damaged version, was exclusive to Japan Toys R Us stores. Naturally, then, this version is usually the toughest to get, though thanks to the digital age getting this outside japan isnt too hard, so long as you are willing to part with lots of money! On the EvilBAY, the average list price for this today is about $200 USD, though before the global recession these were being listed for far more, so as far as western market goes, nows a good time to buy. Of course, from Asia is much cheaper. Instore in HK I saw this figure for roughly $160 USD, and online Yahoo Japan auctions have them up every now and then for about $100-$120 USD average, but occasionally a loose one turns up for as little as $50 USD. Basically, shop around.
This figure is identical in the way of uniform and accessories, but the armour has gone through a serious resculpt to add battle damage in the way of bullet holes and gashes, while paint aps have been added to make it look worn and dusty. Even the helmet number is scratched up to add to the look. This is all very nicely done, and helps to recreate the movie scene where Inui gets shot up very well!
This is certainly very unique, ansd the only Kerberos figure so far to come 'dirtied up', so definitely get it if you see it, in my opinion it is the best of the 3 Dragon Models 2002 Panzer Cops, and worth it even at $150 in my opinion.

Expect more of these to be listed for sale once the Platz/DML re-release figures hit stores, since collectors will sell of their older figures for funds to buy the newer releases.

Oh, and if you own all 3 versions of the DML Panzer Cop, why not bash them together to make the ultimate verion? Light up eyes body and mask, battle damaged armour and displayed in front of the international versions box! try it!

Dragon Models Ltd figure #2 'Stray Dog' light up eyes version!

This figure is mostly identical to the internationaal version, but instead of a human head, it includes a blank 'dummy' head which has light up eyes. These lights are switched off and on via a swith on the back of the head, while the mask has transparent eye lenses to allow the light to shine through.
This, like the other two DML Panzer Cops released at the same time, has the basic 'Adam' body, so loose hips may be an issue. All three Panzer Cops include the same MG42 which is nicely detailed with moving parts and removable barrel.
The light up eyes version was the Japan release, and so is a little harder to find outside Japan than the normal international version. This, plus the fact that light up eyes are more popular makes this a litle more pricey, usually about $150-300 dollars on EvilBAY, but can be had for about $90 dollars average on Yahoo Japan auctions. As always, search for the best bargain!

Dragon Models Ltd figure #1 'Stray Dog' international version!

Now for Dragon Models Ltd.
They released three versions of the Stray Dog movie armor in 2002 in conjunction with Yamato. Normal (international), light up eyes (Japan) and battle damaged (Japan Toys R Us exclusive).
These figures have mostly soft plastic/ vinyl armour but metal helmets and bullet belts. Some of the armour parts are hard plastic (knee pads, wrist gauntlet and wrist shield. These were the best value Kerberos figures with the normal version selling for about 60 dollars in 2002, though you will be lucky to get one for under 150 dollars today.
The armour is completely removable, and the figure has a detailed MG42+ metal bullets, small Walther PPK pistol+ removable clip, and Mauser c96 pistol+ clip & toploading bullet clip.
The normal version has an asian head sculpt under the mask (DML used the sculpt on another figure, an HK police if I remember correctly) and it is quite well sculpted and painted, but doesnt match any specific character, which is odd since the numbering on the helmet and backpack (01) signifies it as Koichi Todome's armour, worn by Koichi at the beginning of the movie and worn by Inui at the end of the movie also.
Things to watch out for? Be careful standing the figure up as some DML figures have loose hips and since this is a top heavy figure due to the metal helmet, it may topple without a stand. Also, the breathing tube is quite stiff but is simple to fix (cut and attach tube ends to long spring and re-attach to mask and backpack) while the backpack gun holding clips are quite loose (again, not too hard to fix) but do keep an eye on these areas.
All in all though, the detailing and sculpting is great, with clean smooth surfaces and precise details such as the vents on the mask or the Kerberos symbol on the shield.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

new title image!

you may notice the new picture at the top of the page. This amazing piece of artwork is by Rodrigo Ruiz, and the image can be found on the blog 'latexmaschine' ( do check it out if you have time!) and he was gratious enough to let me use the picture for blog!

thanks Rodrigo!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Medicom 1/6 action figures #4 Red Spectacles version!

Next is the Medicom 'Red Spectacles' figure from 2007. Unlike the other Kerberos figures from the past few years this figures helmet and mask are not removable. The chest device is indeed a calculator (Casio HS-8), a result of low budget sci fi movie production.
This figure comes with 5 interchangable hands, an MG34 machine gun with only one moving part (the ammo feed part) a c96 pistol, long and short bullet belts, removable backpack and figure stand. The short bullet belt attaches to the chest and to the backpack while the long bullet belt fits into the MG34, while The c96 slips into the wrist shield.
This figure is actually very accurate to the movie, down to the chest display with Koichi's name. This is Medicoms only Kerberos figure to feature newly sculpted armour and parts, and actually it looks very good.
Many collectors complained that the Medicom figure was not as good as Takara's, but despite the cons (soft vinyl armour, lack of neck articulation, floppy joints, non removable helmet/mask and non functional [read: no moving bits] weapons) there are many pros (new and highly accurate sculpt, exact movie likeness, great paint-job, great box art, great range of motion in the arms and legs, a display stand and generally a lower price than the Takara figures), so I say its still a great figure to own, especially if you are a fan of the movie.

Something to watch out for: the hips tend to be loose so the figure may fall over without the support of the stand, while the ankle attatchments for the feet dont hold very securely.
This is still available on the internet for between $100-$160 dollars (US$) average. I don't recommend paying more than $170 dollars. I have seen this listed for as much as $300 dollars, which is far more than it is worth, but the worst was London Forbidden Planet, where it was £250 (about $400 USD)! Though, its been so long that if they do have it still, it may be reduced by now.

medicom 1/6 action figures #3: Jin Roh movie version !

Next up is the popular Jin Roh figure from Medicom distributed in 1999/2000, this figure makes great use of the Kaiyodo armour parts sculpted by Takuma Katsuo.
The figure has limited articulation, one gun holding hand, two clenched fists, an MG42, and interchangable heads. The Kazuki Fuze head is the only newly sculpted piece (the only 1990's Medicom Kerberos figure to actually include something not previously sculpted) and does indeed look like the character from the anime. The figure also doesn't suffer from the shortness many other Medicom figures demonstrate, and is far more colourful, with brown uniform, painted red eys and brown painted areas (where the 'leather' sculpt areas are).
This figure is usually listed on sites such as Ebay for about 200 dollars, but can be had cheaply from Yahoo Japan.
All the first three Medicom figures re-use existing parts (armour/weapons/heads/helmets/hands: kaiyodo/buildup, bodies: Takara combat joes) but only this figure features new tooling: Kazuki Fuse's head. The cloth clothing is the only cosistant new item on all the figures.
My advice? Get this if you see it, it is the only Jin Roh specific 1/6 figure, and isn't bad at all, in fact, its quite well made (an updated version could improve the articulation, but theres no sign of any such update).

medicom 1/6 action figures #2: comic version !

Say 'howdy ho!' to the 'comic version' Medicom figure, a mix of Medicom clothes, Takara 'combat joe' body, the armour, head, helmet, weapons and bits from the Kaiyodo kit and you have the magic recipe for Medicom's underwelming figure release!
Anyone who owns this figure will tell you, it is pretty crappy. You can make your own using the same recipe and end up with a far superior figure!
The 'comic version' armour is actually incomplete. It does not include the upper arm protectors and tubes that the Kaiyodo kit on which it is based does include. It does have a removable helmet (that is loosly stuck on), an MG34 rifle, and a c96 pistol that can be put into the wrist shield. The backpack does not clip on, so it is up to the owner to find a way to attach it. The included bullet belt must also be trimmed and painted, as do the eye lenses, which is crappy since the figure is pricey enough, customers shouldn't have to finnish the figure.
The armour (as on all three of the early Medicom Kerberos figures) is not designed to be removable.
Things to watch out for? Mis-shapen armour. The way the shoulder pads are put together and glued, they become deformed, while the packaging's twisty ties over the years cause permanent deforming of the wrist shield which is a pain in the a** to fix! Articulation is limited to neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and forarms (which have a habit of falling off). Oh, and the hands can't hold anything (they are fists), which is strange as the Kaiyodo kit it is based on had an alternative right 'gun-grip' hand.
So, why bother with this poor excuse of a figure?? Because it is the only comic specific Panzer Cop 12 inch figure available. This by the way is also the worst Panzer Cop figure so far, everything else is muuuuuuuuuuch better. My advice is don't bother with this or the Medicom Stray Dog version, but if you are a crazy completist like me, then these figures show up occasionally on EvilBAY for about $150-$250 U.S. dollars usually. Because of the lack of articulation, no paint etc I recommend only paying up to $100 dollars though. I personally only paid 20 bucks each for mine (after the first which I stupidly wasted $120 on! I refuse to pay over $40 for any more!).

medicom 1/6 action figures #1: stray dog movie version

Now on to medicom! The first three Medicom figures used the armour sculpts from the Kaiyodo/Buildup kits, with Takara 'combat joe' base bodies.
The Stray Dog movie version is grey in colour, and has limited articulation in the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, forarms and neck. It is the only medicom figure to come with removable helmet and mask (thanks to the original kit design) and also includes an MG42, and a spring that goes from the mask to the backpack as a breathing tube.
The armour (as on all the Medicom Kerberos figures) is not designed to be removable.
these figures show up occasionally on Ebay for about 150-250 dollars usually. Because of the lack of articulation etc I recommend only paying up to 100 dollars though, as the quality doesnt stand up as an action figure (the kaiyodo kit was not intended for action figure conversion), if you want a figure of this armour, the Dragon Models Ltd versions (normal, battle damage, light up eyes) are all far better, and theres also the upcoming Dragon/Platz re-release improved version out this year, which promises to even better. Or, if you want a model kit (statue), buy one of the many Stray Dog based ones (Kaiyodo, Buildup, Independence Productions etc).

un-official 1/6 Panzer cop model kit by Independence Productions

You may or may not know that I own almost all the 1/6 Panzer Cop model kits made (all 4 Kaiyodo Panzer Cops, the pirate kits cast from them, and the Buildup kit, but thats enough of my boasting!) but there is one I have yet to own: the Independence Productions 'Panzercop' model kit, sculpted by Jim Phillips. I'm still looking for this one if anybody knows where I can get hold of it!
So, how is it? Well, the model includes MG42 and display base, which is nice, an instruction sheet with photos of the finnished model all packaged in a box with picture on the front showing the classic image of the Panzer Cop mask with bright red glowing eyes.
Close examination of the photo's show that the kit is close in appearance to the Kaiyodo/Buildup model kit but is in a different pose with differently sculpted upper legs, arms, newly sculpted base, breathing tube and helmet), so not completely different, but definitely much nicer than the Japanese kits with the static standing pose.
All in all a nice kit, and I hope to add it to my collection at some point. If you see this kit, do pick it up, but be aware it might set you back quite a bit of money, so if you are on a budget the Thai kit on Ebay is the cheapest, so you could settle for that.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Kaiyodo 1/10 scale 'Girl of Fate' from 'the Red Spectacles'

If you watched the movie, you'll remember that the protagonist Koichi Todome was searching for a contact, the mysterious woman in red revealed in the comics as Foxy Croquette O-Gin aka Girl of Fate. Played in the movie by long time Oshii collaborator Hyodo Mako the characters' face featured throughout the film.
I dont yet have this kit, but it looks to be a simple one-piece mold, likely solid cast resin. The cartoony mini version appears to be included as part of the kit (i guess she needs some sort of accessory hey!).
Pics from Yahoo Japan auction.

Jin Roh: 1/6 scale soft vinyl kit by Kaiyodo

The most popular of Kaiyodo's kits, of the most popular version of the Protect Gear from the most popular Kerberos movie: Jin Roh: the Wolf Brigade!!!
This kit was expertly sculpted by Katsuo Taguma, and is as accurate as you can get to the anime in real world proportions. cast in black soft vinyl, the kit includes alternative right and left hands and MG42 machine gun.
When built, the shoulders and head are partially articulated, and the forearms can swivel. The holstered mauser c96 is not removable, and the MG42 is made from vinyl with metal parts.
This kit seldom shows up on Ebay, and usually fetches over 100 dollars, but often turns up on Yahoo Japan boxed and for reasonable prices (between 6,000 yen and 12,000 yen average) so best try Japan auctions before resorting to Ebay.

reportedly these were produced in limited quantity of 500, but i am still trying to confirm this, so don't take it as gospel yet! it was released roughly the year 2000, much newer than the other kits.

Kaiyodo 1/6 Kerberos Panzer Cop (comic version) model kit

Heres another kit from about 1991. The comic version Panzer Cop!
Sculpted by Katsuo Taguma, the kit includes a c96 pistol that goes into the wrist shield, alternative right hand and MG34 machine gun.
This kit is very nicely detailed, cast in black vinyl and the finnished model can stand just fine on a shelf.
Between this kit, the Medicom comic figure, and the Takara figures, this one is the most accurate to the comic design, due to Takara redesigning theirs and Medicom not including parts of the armour for the upper arms.
These seldom appear on Ebay, but expect to pay about 100-150 dollars if they do.
The cheapest option I found is Yahoo Japan auctions where they can be won for between 5,000 Yen and 8,000 Yen average. shop around, they arent too hard to find.

Another uber rare model kit: Kaiyodo 1/6 scale 'Red Spectacles' Panzer Cop

So, how rare is it??? I only ever saw one boxed (it's mine now) and one loose (which went for way more than my budget on Japanese Yahoo auctions). Never seen it in the west, and the only one available online now is a built and painted model for 52,000 yen!
It's so rare in fact, that when I first saw pictures of the loose kit, and sent them to a Japanese Kerberos fanatic, he had no clue what it was, but luckily after asking dosens of of Japanese toy collectors finally one recognised it as the Kaiyodo 1/6 Red Spectacleskit. Not sure how old the kit is, but I'm told it's over 20 years old, and pre-dates the other Kaiyodo Kerberos kits.
Sculpted by Katsuo Taguma, this is very much as accurate as a sculpt can get (comparrisson to the newer Medicom figure and the Revoltech figure show just how well the sculpt holds up today) and the kit includes an MG34 machine gun and Mauser c96 pistol both cast in resin. The kit body itself is solid cast resin, so quite a bit more weighty than other Kaiyodo Panzer Cops. The box looks almost identical to the Kaiyodo Red Spectacles 1/15 scale kit (brown box with white and blue label on the front, no image of the kit just the name and scale).
Your chances of owning this kit are slim, unless you can browse the Tokyo stores such as Mandarake, where it may just turn up. Otherwise, Yahoo Japan auctions are the only other way you might just find one. good luck!

update on GK works model:

KirameikiFactory replied to me regarding their kerberos kit!
this is a garage kit made 10 years ago, and is NOT intended for sale due to copyright, but rather it is a persoanal model. since its not to be sold, they cant sell it to me, but Ken at kirameiki was very friendly (despite not knowing english, he had to use an online translator) and kindly offered to send me the kit as a gift to help me in my collection! thanks Kirameiki!
so, this item is not a product you can buy now, but i will still post pics and a review when i recieve the sample.

meantime, here are packaged and loose shots of the kit curtesy of Ken at Kirameiki.

attack of the cloned model kits!

Ok, so you are on Ebay looking for Kerberos Panzer Cops figures. You see all Takara, Medicom and Dragon figures listed for extortionate prices and you suddenly lose hope of ever buying. But whats that!? Why, theres a Kerberos Panzer Cop 1/6 model kit for only 12 bucks! Suddenly hope has returned! You click 'Buy It Now' and a week later you open the box to find..... a slightly warped 1/7 scale Kerberos Panzer Cop kit. it looks tiny, and when built and stood next to your 1/6 figures, it is tiny.
This scenario may not be bad for you if scale insn't an issue, as the kit once built and painted looks awesome! It is a pirate recast of the Kaiyodo/Buildup kit and originates from Thailand. It is actually quite useful as the cut out armour fits snugly on female 1/6 figures (the helmet is way too small though) and if you collect 1/7 (10inch) figures such as HM Armed Forces it makes for great custom fodder. At 12 bucks you can't really go wrong, especially if you can't afford the official kits/ figures.

But pirate recasts arent all underscaled. No, in fact, the Thai recast kit on Ebay is one of four recasts i've come accross, and the other three are correctly scaled to 1/6! Hooray for recasters who pull non shrinking molds!
The 1/7 Ebay recast is made of white resin and based on the Kaiyodo/Buildup sculpt, as are two of the other recasts, the grey plastic recast (from Hong Kong) and a black plastic recast (not certain of origin, but likely Hong Kong/China). the Hong Kong recasters also recatsed the fourth recast in my list, the comic version Panzer Cop in grey plastic, recast from the Kaiyodo sculpt (which I will look at later).
These larger recasts are pretty good actually, without any significant loss of detail, so if you see the 1/6 recasts you may as well snag them as they are easier to get and cheaper than the official kits. Ebay only has the smaller resin kit, but the others occasionally show up also, and searching modelers websites 'for sale' sections may yield a good deal.
For the smaller resin kit I paid $12 USD (exc postage) so quite cheap. The black plastic kit I paid about $30 USD (exc postage)if I remember correctly, while I paid about $16 USD for the grey plastic kit (exc postage, plus got free 1/6 medicom Kerberos figure!) the grey comic version kit was I think about $50 USD, but it may have been less. I havent seen any of these kits go above $65 USD so dont pay more than 60 bucks for the grey kits or the black one, and dont pay more than 25 bucks for the small white kit.

P.S. I don't condone any kind of piracy, and I encourage you to buy the official kits (the quality is better, and the vinyl is much easier to build) if at all possible.

It does surprise me though that there aren't more recasts knocking about, especially of the newer figures. the factories must have very good security!

Oh, and don't hesitate to contact me if you know of any official or pirate kits/figures that I havent mentioned, I am eager to hear of any!


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

the uber rare 1/6 Stray Dog: Kerberos Panzer Cops kit by Kaiyodo!

This kit is about 20 years old now, and is very hard to get (I saw it boxed for sale only once, and it is now mine!)
This kit is the official release from Kaiyodo, the Buildup kit reviewed earlier being cast from the same sculpt molds, so both kits are pretty much identical, so I won't write an overlong review of the sculpt and features (read the previous review of the Buildup kit for those details) but the key differences between both kits are that this Kaiyodo kit's MG42 is cast in resin (the Buildup one is metal) the vinyl in this kit is white (the Buildup kit is black) and of course this kit comes in an attractive small white box with colour image on the front (the Buildup kit comes in a larger brown box with non colour image).

I got this kit online in an auction for 8,500 yen, but this was just lucky as the auction ended at an inconvenient time (when most Japanese bidders were sleeping) so I got it without a huge bid war, but the only other time I saw this kit on auction was incomplete and without box, and that time it went for over 16,000 yen, so I imagine my one (had it been listed at more sociable hours) would have gone for well beyond my budget. Get this kit if you see it, and if you get it boxed for under 16,000 yen I will honour you with a congratulations post on my page!

1/6 scale Stray Dog: Kerberos Panzer Cops model kit by Buildup

This is one of the only model kits to come with both a removable helmet and mask, and features Inui's face underneath. comes with MG42 machine gun. the sculpting is accurate to the 1991 movie, with the armour parts exactly as they looked in the movie, so good is the sculpt i might say it is better than Dragon Models Ltd's sculpt, particularly the chestplate proportions and mask sculpt.
This kit is notable as it seems that it is Kaiyodo's original sculpt, but Buildup (the company that produced the actual movie armour props) released there own branded version (obviously under license), the difference between the two being that Kaiyodo's old release is white vinyl while Buildup's kit is black vinyl. obviously packaging differs too.
The Buildup kit is fairly hard to find, more so than most other kits, but its not too much of a problem as low quality recasts of this model kit show up all the time on Ebay.
The kit is nicely detailed, and when built is partially aticulated in the shoulders, elbows and neck. The MG42 is metal, whilst the rest of the kit is soft vinyl. The head on this model is the tiniest bit undersized, though it isnt noticable until you stand it next to more modern figures such as the DML Panzer Cop.
The Buildup version was listed once on Ebay, but due to high buy-it-now price it didnt sell and was removed (didnt help that there were economic difficulties at the time) so the going price price in the western markets isnt clear as it wasnt sold and the seller didnt reduce the price to sell it. when new info on price comes up i will update, but on japanese auction sites it goes between 5,000 yen and 14,000 yen.
As always, try to get the best deal if you do decide to get the kit (i snagged mine in an auction for 6,000 yen), and bear in mind the rarity before deciding to build these kits.

toho shoji jin roh bust

heres one more of the items i have yet to own (there are a few items i have yet to get). the toho shoji jin roh bust is a very nice display piece indeed! these turn on up on japanese auction sites every now and then, so arent too hard to come by, and dont cost too much either (about 5,000 yen being the average) so do get one if you see one, just beware the condition: most on sale are pre-owned and often dust and scratches are an issue so keep an eye on closely examining the items before buying. also check that all the screws on the nameplate are present and original (these arent always sequrely put in so often screws are missing). the other thing to take note of is the condition of the box, since the front facing silver words tend to get scraped if mishandled. don't let this deter you though, the bust is certainly a very nicely and accurately sculpted piece, and definitely worth owning especially as it doesnt command a premium price. a full photoshoot and review will follow as soon i get this one into my collection.
the picture is from an online auction.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

when warhammer met jin roh...

warhammer is one of those model games that despite being almost unknown to people like me is insanely popular worldwide (there are entire shops dedicated to it! when stores in my town were closing down from recession those warhammer shops seemed as busy as ever)
well anyway, apparently alot of the gaming is built around making and painting your own figurines and landscapes, so the result is alot of people taking design cues from their favorite characters. so, heres some jin roh inspired warhammer figurines i found on teh internets. and yes, some are for sale, i'll try to dig up the links later.

edit: heres the link to buy the minuatures: eureka miniatures

and some from

GK works (Kirameki Factory) kerberos panzer cop

another very obscure item, this panzer cop model is another one of those 'sold at wonder festival' deals (this one from 1999) that i have yet to track down.
it is based on the comic, but beyond that i have no more info (e.g. size, price etc) until the website replies to my requests for info.
anyway, here's the webpage if you are interested.

unknown brand 1/12 kerberos models

ever seen these 1/12 models?? apart from being sold at wonder festival over a decade ago i know nothing more of thesei cant read japanese, and online translating programs dont a good job of clarifying things (i believe the producers name is on the web-page, but online translators produce a load of gibberish) so im still looking for info on these (if anyone has info and/or the actual models please contact me).
apart from being 1/12 scale theres littl more that i can say apart from the designs these are based on. the one holding the machine gun in both hands is the 'stray dog: kerberos panzer cops' (jigoku no banken: keruberosu) movie version, while the other is the kerberos panzer cops comic version.
heres the webpage i found with them on: kerberos panzer cops

CHL chuangle product creation ltd: jin roh

hi! ever heared of CHL??? thought not. here's a couple of items from their website showing their production samples for potential clients. the first is their '人狼' (jin roh aka man wolf) which is a resculpt of the tohoshoji/ bandai visual statue, and is the same scale (1/12). the sculptors reposed the arms and added the human face. the price is listed as 188 yuan (about $25 USD) so not bad as price goes, but i will have to wait till i'm in china to purchase a sample (for overseas they sell by the pallet, being a business to business company).
the next item appears to be a completely original sculpt of a (mostly) accurate jin roh design. there are a couple innacuracies (shoulder plates, gun, shield, tube on chest) but its close enough. the stone effect is very nice and i am quite keen to get hold of one next time im in china (again, ordering overseas is a pain in the a**)but i expect it is also fairly cheap, so i might get a couple while there.
anyway, full reviews will follow as soon as i have my dirty mitts on these curious statues!
enjoy the pics from the website for your reference. my own pics will come when i acquire the items.