garage kits

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Wonder Festival 2015 Winter: KanColle Garage Kits (part 1)


Still waiting for an immovable object for this unstoppable force
Feb 11
// Chris Seto
...I got nothing. Not being a fan of KanColle means that it gets very hard for me to get worked up for garage kits of the ship girls but at the same time, one cannot simply ignore them because there are just SO DAMN MANY OF T...
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Wonder Festival 2015 Winter: Anime Garage Kits (part 1)


On the starting line
Feb 11
// Chris Seto
If I had to describe the garage kit offerings at this years winter wonder festival, I'd probably just say rehash. Aside from the complete and utter domination of KanColle (again!) Many kit makers chose to sell older kits rath...
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Hobby Round 12: Volks shows off their next 1/4 scale kit... finally!


Been a long time coming!
Oct 19
// Chris Seto
Looks like Volks was a busy bunny this weekend. As well as showing off their new Macross F dollfie dreams, they were also holding their usual biannual Hobby Round event and used the event to finally show off their new 1/4 sca...

SDCC/WonFes Highlight Reel: The Tian Ma edition

Sep 04 // Tianxiao Ma
1. Kill la Kill garage kits The garage kit section of WonFes is always interesting, and this time it had an abundance of Kill la Kill figures. Kill la Kill is one of my favorite anime from last year, but we are not swimming in official PVC releases as I had hoped. GK makers gave it plenty of love at WonFes (as you can see here and here), with the above Tri-City Raid version of Ryuko as my favorite. Why play favorites, though? There are so many awesome Kill la Kill GKs: Mako, Fight Club Mako, more Mako (can you tell who my favorite character is?), Ryuko in Senketsu, Satsuki, and this awesome diorama of Ryuko and Guts. 2. Sideshow's holographic Iron Man display Hopefully you got an impression of the ridiculousness of Sideshow's booth from my SDCC Sideshow/Hot Toys post. That insane showmanship can be encapsulated by this holographic Iron Man display, which looks like something out of, well, Iron Man. It's as if Tony Stark came down from Stark Tower with a box of scraps and whipped together something fitting to show off all the Hot Toys figures made in his honor. Let me just be clear, it's not the Iron Man figures I'm obsessed with; it's this display. That and this Vampirella figure. It's based on a design by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau, who I was able to meet at the con. Sideshow is always big on the spectacle, but these two items stood out to me above everything else. 3. Vertex's Yukari Takeba This isn't a masterpiece of sculpting or anything, but it's nice to see another Persona 3 girl being made into a figure. It's being made by Vertex, who had previously made an ambitious but flawed Mitsuru Kirijou figure. Yukari's design is less opulent, so I'm hoping she'll be reasonably well made. I've been immersed in all things Persona lately, and I'm really looking forward to Yukari's presence in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. 4. QMx's U.S.S. Reliant The Reliant isn't even my favorite ship design in Star Trek, but there's no denying that QMx's large-scale model is a beauty. The detailing is impeccable, the windows light up, and there are even sculpted shuttle bay sections at the ship's stern. I could say "I would give anything to own one" but that's not really true, as I could part with a huge sum of money for the privilege. But still, QMx's models are good enough to make me consider it... 5. Battle Angel Alita: Last Order's Sechs Sechs caught my eye right away as I was browsing through Chris's WonFes GK gallery. This is the male version sporting a Fizziroy body and upgraded Titan Blade, otherwise known as the baddest version of Sechs. Aside from being a figure of a great character, this is just an awesome figure in its own right. Even in this "ivory" state, it looks like something I'd happily put on display. 6. Sentinel's Rogue Titan There are endless legions of Attack on Titan's Survey Corps characters being made, but so few titans. Thankfully Sentinel is remedying that in the best way possible with this magnificent Rogue Titan figure. His pose, expression, and musculature all create a sense of power and menace - perfect given his introduction. Speaking of muscles, damn! This isn't even one of the skinless titans! 7. Embrace Japan's beautiful new Diabolus Inclinatus Embrace Japan's first take on this character was very simple, but pretty nonetheless. Now it looks like they're going for a more extravagant sculpt, complete with... fork-wielding frogs? I don't get it either. I do understand demon girls, though, and this one looks gorgeous! 8. Persona 4 Golden's Marie Marie is written like a stock tsundere character, but I did enjoy her social link in Persona 4 Golden. Actually I probably liked her bad poetry more than anything, but that's neither here nor there. This GK does a good job of translating the official art, though it makes me wonder how difficult it was to paint all those stripes and plaid skirt so neatly. I would love to have this as a PVC. If 2014 continues to be the year of Persona, maybe I'll get my wish... 9. Orchid Seed's Shadow Wing You can get excited with an Orchid Seed figure, but you should keep in mind that any given prototype may never see an actual production run. Indeed, Orchid Seed is like a car maker that cranks out concepts all day without actually ever selling anything. This Shadow Wing prototype has been around for a long time, and will continue to stir a sense of yearning in me. I want to see her painted, at least! It's an extraordinarily pretty sculpt and I really hope it makes it to production. 10. Volks' Valkyria Chronicles gals Valkyria Chronicles' Selvaria gets all the attention, but let's face it: Isara is the best girl. She's a capable mechanic, and handles that persecution thing like a champ. Volks showed an unpainted prototype of their Charagumin Isara kit at WonFes, and she's looking pretty good. Of course I'm also a big fan of the existing Alicia Melchiott kit too. You can never have too much Valkyria merchandise. One more thing... figma horse.
SDCC/WonFes photo
OMG TOYS
Now that we've had a while to unpack the information assault from the Wonder Festival/SDCC tandem (both happened on the same weekend!), the Tomopop crew thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of our personal favorite things from both events. It would take too long to cover everything I want, so it looks like a top 10 list is in order. Read on to see what tickled my fancy!

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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Anime Garage Kits (Part 4)


End of the Line... For now!
Aug 01
// Chris Seto
And now we come to our last gallery for this summers Wonder Festival garage kit coverage and we've saved a few for the final dash, including one of the few Satsuki kits at the event! Ryuko got all the attention and Satsuki ba...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Misc Garage Kits


Block Rocking Beats!
Aug 01
// Chris Seto
Next up, we have the garage kits which were either original creations, defied my ability to correctly sort them or were just plain weird... And I do mean weird. Is that a kit of Asura DJ-ing? And a guillotine? I'm not sure wh...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Anime Garage Kits (Part 3)


Like a BOSS!
Aug 01
// Chris Seto
We're coming up to the home stretch now and we still have a few surprises and some very cool kits still to come! Sekai Seifuku Zvezda Plot has proven to be rather popular with several characters getting a garage kit this time...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Mecha Garage Kits


you make me feel Naked!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
The Mecha offering was pretty small this time around at Wonder Festival but it was made up somewhat by the quality! But first, gotta dance the monkey because we have King Gainer in the house!! *ahem* I did cheat a little by a...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Vocaloid Garage Kits


Not out of the game yet!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
The Volcaloid kits may not play second fiddle to the sheer numer of KanColle kits but Miku is still popular enough to draw enough kits to make a gallery. Having said that... DAT MEIKO!!! I know a few people who would be happy...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Anime Garage Kits (Part 2)


*jyakin*
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
And now we return to the anime garage kits with another look at some more from the dealer floor at Wonder Festival! The highlight for me in this gallery is probably the Inari and Uka-sama from Inari Konkon koi Iroha. The Puch...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Kris gives us a closer look at more Garage Kits!


Extreme Closeup!!!!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
Our very own Kris Pino was at Wonder Festival taking snaps for all of us and she was able to visit the dealer floor this year and provide us with some photos of the booths at the dealer section!  Now, this gallery doesn'...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Kantai Collection Garage Kits


No more, please?
Jul 30
// Chris Seto
Time to get the elephant out of the room once more. Yet again, Kantai Collection had a HUGE presence on the dealer floor, easily dwarfing the offerings from the other series, even Vocaloid! Not being a fan of KanColle, I don'...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Video Game Garage Kits


insert coin to continue
Jul 30
// Chris Seto
Next up, we have the video game garage kit gallery! It's a pretty random mix of figures this time around but I think we can agree that the liquid snake painted to resemble the original oil artwork by Shinkawa Yoji is really i...
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Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Anime Garage Kits


Naval warfare!
Jul 30
// Chris Seto
Now that the dust has settled and we've had time to digest the news from the big companies, it's time to look at the dealer floor and the garage kits which showed up at Wonder Festival. Sufficed to say, fans of Kantai Collect...
call of the queens photo
call of the queens

Wonder Festival 2014 Winter: Anime Garage Kits (part 2)


Curtain Call
Feb 13
// Chris Seto
And so, we reach the end of our garage kit coverage for this years winter Wonder Festival and we're going out with a look at even more anime garage kits, including some pretty impressive numbers! Date-A-Live may have been an ...
the heck? photo
the heck?

Wonder Festival 2014 Winter: Misc garage kits


The weird and wonderful
Feb 13
// Chris Seto
We're nearing the end of our garage kit coverage for wonder festival 2014 winter and so we move on to the miscellaneous kits. This gallery consists of the original works and ones I was simply unable to identify. Feel free t...
Can't ignore this... photo
Can't ignore this...

Wonder Festival 2014 Winter: Kantai Collection Garage Kit


My, what a big elephant you are!
Feb 13
// Chris Seto
Lets just get this out of the way... Much like the corporate booths, Kantai Collection was EVERYWHERE on the dealer floor as well. The sheer number of kits based on the title easily dwarfed all the others by a considerable ma...
Mostly Miku all the time! photo
Mostly Miku all the time!

Wonder Festival 2014 Winter: Vocaloid garage kits


Down, but not out
Feb 12
// Chris Seto
The Vocaloids may have been completely outdone in terms of popularity this time by the new kid on the block but that doesn't mean that they were abandoned completely. True, the number of vocaloid kits is considerably smaller ...
Cypher!! photo
Cypher!!

Wonder Festival 2014 Winter: Video Game Garage Kits


Retroforce GO!
Feb 12
// Chris Seto
Next up on our garage kit view list, we have the video game garage kits. There were a fair few kits from the usual suspects. Titles like the touhou games and Idolm@ster continue to have kits of their characters pushed at Wond...
Hard Boiled! photo
Hard Boiled!

Wonder Festival 2014 Winter: Anime Garage Kits (part 1)


A new look from an old friend
Feb 12
// Chris Seto
The Wonder Festival coverage is winding down now so what better time to take a look at the dealer floor of the event and the garage kits on display? Of course, much like the corporate booths, there was a massive elephant in t...

Tomopinion: Land of the Setting Sun

Jan 20 // Chris Seto
  Take 2013 for example. How many figures were shown off which made you really excited? I’m not talking about ones which made you go “ooh, I think I’d like one of those,” but ones which really kicked off a “must get at all costs” reaction? I doubt that there were actually that many for each of us and looking back, 2013 was actually a pretty damn boring year for general releases. Nendoroids and poseable figures like the figma line totally dominated the release list and for a simple reason: They’re cheap! As for fixed pose figures, the majority can be fit into two camps: ▪ Static fixed pose figures (usually of the figure simply standing) with simple designs and not too much detail (swimsuits are a standard design we see) ▪ More dynamic posed figures which are based off known artwork so they come with a certain level of expectation as we know how they should end up as. And that’s about it. There are some exceptions, of course, but they all come with caveats. Many of us were excited by the release of Bayonetta but she was marred by a lengthy delay before she was eventually released. The company who manufactured her didn’t exactly have a stellar track record when it comes to quality figures and they're better known for their Nendoroid and Nendo accessory releases. Another example is Shinonono Houki from AmiAmi. She looks impressive, but she’s the first release from AmiAmi and has been delayed even more than Bayonetta. She’s now not due until mid 2014! In the meantime, bigger companies like Good Smile, Kotobukiya and Yamato are content with not really pushing the envelopes and releasing large numbers of pretty boring figures. The problem is that we’re still buying them!! Business is Business Let’s not forget that these companies are running a business and the role of any company is to make profit. And when it comes to mass marketing, the general rule of thumb is to minimize production costs and keep them as low as possible before the consumer starts taking notice. Basically, we consumers set the bar by telling the companies, with our wallets, how low we are willing to go in terms of costs and the companies will make a product within that budget. The lower the budget, the more corners need to be cut in order to reach the desired price point. And we’ve set the bar pretty damn low! Remember when the Tomopop editors made a list of figure lines they would like to see disappear? We had Beach Queens, figmas, Nendos and a bunch of others in that list, but they persevere because people still buy them! And because there are buyers, companies will continue to make them and not take risks with more adventurous releases. Instead of pushing the companies to create things to dazzle us, we’re effectively asking them to just push the barrel down further. If really impressive figures are released, we don’t buy them because we think they are too expensive. We don’t pay for quality but instead just hope that we can nab one on a sale. The problem with that is that it scares the makers away from doing something similar in the future. Just take a look at Alter. Before, they used to create stunning, original works with huge, dynamic displays and price tags to match. Remember their Nanoha figures? Nowadays, their figures are far less interesting. They’ve also focused their attention on their male character Altair line, but even disregarding the male factor, their figures still lack the quality and excitement of earlier releases. Sales have been reasonable, but I think much of the momentum behind them is “it’s a figure of a male character!” rather than the strength of the figure itself. And this is a trend which is still going on. One other thing which been creeping in is the gradual lowering of the size of the figures. Releases these days are pretty damn small. So small, in fact that the scale measurement on them are often better off discarded. If you actually measure out the height of some of the figures, you may find that many of them don't belong in the scale range which they are advertised as. Some 1/8 scale figures are actually closer to 1/10. Of course, this doesn't matter as much if the quality of the release is still high and is an effect of the limited spacing of buyers homes, both in Japan and in the West, but it's something to think about when looking at pricing trends. Fear of Change It’s not like figure companies haven’t tried to diversify their lines either. We just haven’t been particularly receptive of their attempts. Remember when GSC tried releasing more poseable (but more pricey) Nendoroid figures? Whatever happened to those? Alter tried to give us a high quality poseable figure line in their Almechas, but we didn’t bite. But when Wave introduced a cheap and cheerful Beach Queen line of simple characters in standing (or seated) poses in swimsuits, we snapped it right up, so much so that some of our reviewers have started to tire of seeing release after release of Beach Queens. It's the same with Nendoroids and Figmas. Personally, I'm tired of seeing more and more releases a long time ago, but others have started to feel the same way. You can almost guarantee a new figma and/or nendo being released every month. The top 10 Good Smile Company releases of the year are awash with them and they're still selling well. So well in fact that other companies have jumped onto their bandwagon, so expect lots of new releases of these types in the coming years. Whether you want to or not. And, don't forget, it's likely to be at the expense of fixed pose figures. After all, companies only have a finite amount of resources to make new products and when you compare the costs of producing a figma to a fixed pose figure, which needs to be made from scratch, it's a no-brainer from a business sense. Unfortunately, it's having the effect of lowering the diversity in the scene. The knock on effect And it’s not just the fixed pose figures which are facing issues. It’s crept over to the garage kit scene as well. Before, events like Wonder Festival and Treasure Festa were ways for aspiring makers to show off their wares and to catch the eyes of the bigger companies and possibly get a job with them. Essentially, they were marketing their skills so we got some really extravagant and dynamic kits designed to show off what they could do. Now, rather than selling their skill sets, GK makers these days are looking more at selling their works for a fixed fee to companies so they can get a general PVC release. And to improve their chances of being picked up, they have somewhat dumbed down their kits so it’s easier for companies to mass produce from the offset. Many GK makers now are not taking advantage of the benefits of resin as they’re thinking about how easily their kits can be made into PVC. On the plus side, more figures are being released for those less inclined to paint their own kits, but the skill set in the GK pool is rapidly diminishing as a result. Kits are generally far less interesting now than they were a few years ago. Just take a look at our galleries and see if you agree! Of course, there are exceptions but they are getting fewer and far between. I think the last one was that huge Metis kit or perhaps the bloody shadow Labrys from Persona 4 Arena. People used to look at kits at events and remark "I hope that this figure gets a PVC release". Well, be careful what you wish for!! We are getting more PVC releases of GK figures now, but it has come at a cost and we may be paying for it long into the future! On the fringes The only areas which seem to be resisting these trends are actually areas you wouldn't expect. The most obvious one are limited edition figures. With makers taking fewer risks in the mass market, the more interesting figures are being pushed as limited releases which need to be ordered directly from their site or from their events. Of course, GSC just uses those to push more variants down our throats, but this is where we get things like the Seven Deadly Sins figures and Queens Gate figures such as Noel Vermillion (probably one of my favourite PVC releases in a long time!) But this means that many of them are out of the reach of overseas buyers, who must rely on proxies which incur extra costs and other possible issues, which are enough to scare off more than a few potential buyers and end up making such releases rather niche. The other main area which is bucking the trend is a little more interesting. It’s the Ero-figure market! Take it from me,adult figures is the one area which has improved the most in the shortest space of time. Ero-figures, until recently, were pretty damn awful. Low quality and generally not nice to look at in any way. But in recent years, they’ve really upped their game, but many haven’t noticed this change as very few people are willing to look at having an ero-figure in their collection, much less actually purchase one. Of course, the niche nature of the ero-figure market and the drive to higher quality products have meant that they’re going in the exactly opposite trend to the mainstream. Prices are going up, the average ero-figure is priced at the high end of the regular figures and usually exceeds them by some margin, and production numbers are usually pretty low as the companies probably don’t expect to sell that many of them. It was surprisingly difficult to get a hold of C.A. Yoko from Lechery, for example. At the edge of the abyss And that pretty much takes us to where we are now. In terms of sheer quantity of figures available, we really haven’t had it better, but it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish them from each other as the companies start homing onto a standard template to maximize profits. We’ve actually gone past the peak when companies really still tried to wow us with their releases and we’re going down a slope where releases are dictated by current anime shows or trends with the biggest advertising budget. The question is, when will the consumers wake up and realize that we’ve boxed ourselves in? Figures are simply boring for the most part and is there a way back to the heyday (which will, no doubt, be different depending on who you’re talking to)? The Japanese figure industry is in a weird place now. I liken it to where Hollywood censorship is at. Hollywood studios are breaking their backs (and their films) in order to get their movies to appeal to the widest audience. To them, that means the 12A/PG-13 rating is the golden ticket to aim for and that has scuppered a hell of a lot of films recently as they cut bits to hell and back to shoehorn their films to the specs to receive the right rating. The newer Die Hard films and the new Robocop are examples of this. Figure companies are in a similar boat, in that general consensus says that the figure designs that are cheapest to produce with the broadest appeal are ones with the character standing in place, like they’re posing for a tourist pic while they’re on holiday with as little detailing as they can get away with. And we’re not challenging that. Perhaps we should, and the sooner the better! We haven’t had it so good, but just as Harold Macmillan was deathly worried about how it would be near impossible to maintain the boom experienced by the Brits in the late 50s, perhaps we should be worried about the direction our hobby is headed. Looks like the train has already left the station though so it may be more of a matter of damage control rather than aiming for a resurgence... Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments or, if you're got more to say on the topic, write it up on our CBlogs and let us know how you feel about the current state of the hobby!
We may have a problem... photo
The Japanese figure industry might be walking straight into a dark period and it's our fault!
In the late 1950s, the then-prime minister of Britain, Harold Macmillan, gave a speech to the British people saying that “they never had it so good.” Back then, Britain was riding high on the post war economic boo...

Game on! photo
Game on!

Tiki is ready to make a splash at Treasure Festa


Stepping up the game
Dec 16
// Chris Seto
Not to be outdone by Vertex and their offering, a GK circle by the name of MadHands has shown off their rendition of you companion fairy from Dragon's Crown in time for Treasure Festa in Ariake 10, which occurs just before Ch...
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Custom garage kit
Masterful garage kit crafter Grizzry Panda is at it again, teasing us with a new pair of Madoka cuties set to be shown off at December's Treasure Festa. Featuring who else but Madoka herself and lovely Homura, it seems like G...

Nan Desu Kan model show photo
Nan Desu Kan model show

Highlights from the Nan Desu Kan 2013 model competition


Plamo, garage kits, miniatures, and even some papercraft
Sep 20
// Tianxiao Ma
Did any of you Tomopeeps make it out to Nan Desu Kan this past weekend? I drove out to Denver just to burn up some vacation days. While it was a heavily anime-oriented event, there was some stuff for us figure lovers as well....
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Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Misc Garage Kits (Part 3)


End of the line! See you next time, space samurai!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
And now we're down to our last gallery of garage kits from wonder festival so we're going to close it off with our final look at the misc garage kits on the dealer floor. Personally, I really like the pseudo sci-fi kits such ...
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Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Anime Garage Kits (Part 4)


Enter! Enter! Mission!!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
We've reached the final stretch for our garage coverage for wonder festival Summer 2013 and now we have the final anime garage kit gallery for this event! We have the two Grizzry Panda Busou Shinki kits which I have been tryi...
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Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Vocaloid Garage Kits


Miku domination, again!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
Hatsune Miku rules the roost again when it comes to vocaloid kits. But there were a few Rin and Mieko kits around to spice things up a little.  The kits definitely had more than a little taste of Project Diva f in them, ...
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Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Misc Garage Kits (Part 2)


The Weirdness ensues!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
We dive into the misc garage kits again but this time, there's less of the pronounced weirdness like there was in the first gallery. However, there are still a few surprises in the shape of kits with a clearly western basis. ...
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Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Anime Garage Kits (Part 3)


Vivid Yellow Operation!!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
More astute readers may have been aware that one other show also had a rather dogged display at Wonder Festival. Vividred Operation was also a popular choice and, while it didn't have the same popularity of Girls und Panzer, ...
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Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Game Garage Kits (Part 2)


Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Showtime!
Jul 31
// Chris Seto
For our second video game garage kit gallery (try saying that three times quickly!), we'll take a look at characters which may be more familiar to the wider gamer community. And before I start, I'll get this out of the way. Y...

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