Ninebeats's blog

5:24 PM on 12.13.2012

Chess Piece Collection R Tiger and Bunny - Review

Actually, it's a bit more of a mouthful than that.
'Chess Piece Collection R Tiger and Bunny Volume 1'

The backdrops and diorama-ish details made these more interesting than many trading figure sets to me, so I got a box of them.

Don't worry! It didn't arrive half-squashed like that. The small boxes have thin card and lots of space in them, so they'd squash easily. Boxes are boldly colourful with a comic book style panels, fitting with the splashy text on the figures themselves. Blah blah blah, break 'em open!

Like you might expect, they come in pieces. Each part's bagged separately and any longer sections got bubble wrapped.

Mostly it's easy to suss out what goes where, with holes and pegs being asymmetric. The fit's decent, pieces snapping into place relatively firmly. Notable exceptions are Fire Emblem's backdrop where the hole only props the backdrop up, not holding it tight. And my Wild Tiger loses his arm pretty easily.

The figures of Barnaby and Kotetsu are trickier. On each of their bases there's two holes for them, and they've got to be placed so their bent arms fit against the backdrop and in each others space. These two can be placed side to side to make up a centre piece, so you've gotta turn them to get their elbows in the right place 'til they stand together neatly. I guess the pair of holes is in case you abandon the side-to-side pose and fancy changing up the angles some.

You might wanna stick with the side-on viewing though and keep the heroes in profile 'cause...

Uh, looking kinda odd there Barnaby.
The faces are a downside. Profile is easily the best angle for them, the only angle that doesn't push your face into this expression - : /
Kotetsu comes out best, just. Purely because he doesn't have glasses moulded as part of his hair, and sitting squint on his face.
The painting and detail is there, but at wonky angles.

Sky High is maybe the most complete figure - strong pose, the lilac shading has his costume looking a clean white, there's transparent elements representing his power and it includes his catchphrase. Details moulded, present and correct.

My favourite - the cleanest, neatest and most exciting. If in doubt - explosions. Shading and gradients look great and each small detail in the paint app is executed well.

Wild Tiger, managing to hang onto his arm for a few minutes.
This is one that makes me realise how much is going in some of these pieces. Transparency and translucence, crisp lettered decals, dramatic text AND a backdrop. The buildings are striped with yellow sprays which does the job when obscured and at a distance. The benday dots look surprisingly good, even close up.

Can you play chess with these when you've got pieces like Bunny lunging out of it's base and square to tear the other side's face off?
Another solid figure, even if the lower case R is a bit weird. I like the contrast of matte and gloss here, suggesting a soft, close-fitting layer underneath, with powered armour mounted on top.

The raised text on the plaques gives an issue, smudging or bleeding down the sides, or linking the letters stencil-style. A little flaw, but 'cause the text is shouting at you in all caps, it's noticeable.

Unlike the unfortunate faces, which can be disguised with profile views. That's the side-by-side pose where you've gotta angle them and their elbows juuust right.
The pedestals have symbols for the chess pieces printed on the back. The set of six divides into two teams, white and black.

Kotetsu on the white side, with Sky High and Fire Emblem.

Whilst Barnaby leads the black side and the newest heroes.

They're an eye-catching bunch, colourful, varied and dramatically posed. I'm well chuffed with them - recommended!
Megahouse's recent chess piece sets are pretty appealing to me generally. Both the Fate/Zero and HunterXHunter set had me, making me keen to try those series out. Saber's got plenty of fans - did anyone in the tomopopulus bite at the set featuring her?

Even individually these pieces grab your attention. It'd be interesting seeing what'd happen in a second volume, but seeing Kotetsu and Barnaby's faces here I'm kinda apprehensive - hopefully Blue Rose and Dragon Kid would get better faces.   read

4:54 PM on 05.04.2012

Monthly Megapixel: Ode to a Photo Contest


Acrostic the Bookshelves, if you wanna twist a pun in half to make it.

Monthly photo challenges

Equal inspiration scavenges

Gathering ideas are graded

Accessories swapped then traded

Packets of expressions looted

In search of looks that suited

X-ecute shoot with camera, outmoded

Each photo cropped and then uploaded

Looking at my desk - what exploded?


Aya runs roughshod over everything/everyone. And yes, that is one of her faces she's directing Hotori/Mayoi to pick up.
Y'know what this shoot needs. More me.   read

4:31 PM on 03.23.2012

Monthly Megapixel: Hence the Name

Not just a day for a silly promo event thing, the peanuts get a whole month?

Monthy Megapixel: Hence the Name

Mayoi: You know, there's not actually any butter in peanut butter? You're basically eating a lot of peanuts.

Mayoi: And you're eating so many. If you eat too many, you turn into a monkey.

Caro: munch munch
Mayoi: That's why they're called monkey nuts.

Caro: That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!


Black Gold Saw has found her calling - sandwich maker.   read

2:09 PM on 03.16.2012

Review: Alice Margatroid (touhou's doll-slinging magician)

Seven Coloured Puppeteer Alice Margatroid, by Ques Q.
She's bright, colourful and has a lot going on. But this is the basic version, 'Alice only'. Much as I like Alice having her big troupe of dolls, I couldn't stomach the cost of the DX version where she has six of her toys with her.

This is just the start of things. And although there's parts left to add, this Alice still has plenty going on.
Scalloped detailing on the underskirt, duly noticed and appreciated.

Briefly looking like the Alice that tumbles down a rabbit hole.

...and if I fall all the way, will I come out on the other side of the Earth, where people walk upside down and don't have tea parties with the people they've just defeated...?

The grimoire pages are so nice, continuing all the billowing movement in the figure. Their miniature printing is even legible.

Nothing but bright colours. Her hair is a shaded with bold yolky yellows, ranging to an orange that's almost neon. Obligatory touhou headgear does stellar work hiding the hair seam. The volume of hair getting pushed back and out takes the camouflage another step further.

Alice plugs onto some angled pegs on the base. No problems with alignment and the hold is sturdy and tight enough that I had to knock them in with the heel of my hand.
The boots themselves are nicely detailed, with depth given to the long columns of lacing and soles. These details are all neatly and crisply done. The paint touches on the grommets are just as neat and even. Only problem I had was well, a big white smear all over one of her heels. And then I rubbed at it as my disappointment was just welling up and it went away. Just some powdery residue that disappears easily. My Alice had some on the edges of her skirt too, and she'd picked up a couple of fingerprints from the last people to touch her. But those come away dead easy, so no problem.

The holes in the skirt will have one of Alice's dolls in each one. The sculpting on the two is simplified, but goes far enough to give them bloomers and some delineation between the fingers.

Alice doesn't come with a crib sheet for assembling her, so you use a combination of guesswork and peering at the photos on the back of the box. The sockets on each doll are obstructed by the frill of the skirt though, so out of the box, nothing fits together. Once some of the plastic had been scraped back I got the two of them jammed on an arm, and then the arms persuaded into the skirt sockets. They didn't seem to wanna go in too far so right now, it's not the securest fit.

Alice can be pulled apart in the middle and her skirt removed. I don't know if that choice was to make attaching the dolls easier or to offer this alternate display option. I have a Sanae figure by Ques Q who doesn't have any familiars that need attaching but you can still take her skirt off and display her in her stripey knickers. Maybe it's just a thing Ques Q does when characters have got fuller skirts.

Seeing her with her skirt off makes the pose clearer. She's stumbled, mid-incantation.

That giant seam? The bloomers cast off. Underneath are some plain white pants, a size or two too small. That makes three display options, if you can deal with the extra space at the join and the long waist being more obvious now.

Even if Alice is about to faceplant spectacularly, the dolls are locked on target, ready to stab/beamspam.
The spear is inserted through holes in the doll's hands and bow and is a wicked looking thing. That doll is easily looking more dangerous than Alice and her moe-ish 'oh noes!' face.

Flaws happen with some blip on the sculpt/mould on Shanghai's headdress. The two dolls are simplified in sculpt and paintjob. Shading is basic, sweeping briefly over the two of them.
Edges on the outfit trimmings aren't perfect, wandering from lines or blurring at the edge in places. And this particular Alice has a muted line of white on her belt, 2/3mm long.

Painted details that went right are the rings on both hands. They encircle her fingers, are delicate and consistant, no wobbliness.
The shape of Alice's hands and fingers are lovely, still pretty whilst looking natural enough in the pose or grasp. Every fingernail's painted in a peachy shade.
And I like everything about the grimoire, from the miniscule but still readable print to the straps and buckles flying free.

Extended as she is (about to stumble clean off the base), she's kinda wobbly. But although those doll arms didn't feel secure going in, they're holding up all right.

She's a cute, lively figure and worth it for me. I've wanted an Alice figure for a while, but before this one I only really fancied the petit nendoroid, so it made me smile wide to see this one, with dolls, the extra element of the grimoire spilling it's pages and the flying ribbons on her outfit. (even if it was kinda tricky with the supporting arms for the dolls and getting Shanghai in place, at a decent angle and inbetween streamers and book pages)

Colour was consistant with what I was expecting, unlike Sanae and Meiling, who were a slightly different shade. She doesn't have PCB Sakuya's stern presence but quality is smoother, better. I look forward to Griffon releases with cautious optimism and crossed fingers. Ques Q releases are optimism straight up, for me.

Alice is getting a re-release in june. Weirdly, on amiami I can only find the deluxe version (this Alice and another four dolls) or the doll expansion pack (those four extra dolls). 'Alice only' is sold out.   read

5:29 PM on 03.15.2012

Review: Sakuya Izayoi (touhou's knife-wielding maid)

Or, Perfect and Elegant Servant Sakuya Izayoi, Youyoumu ver. Sort of how she appears in Perfect Cherry Blossom, in that they've given her a scarf.
Being a touhou character that's been given enough figures to have different versions, this must be a Griffon figure. This version of Sakuya is sterner and more serious looking than their previous one.

This was going to be a double review with Ques Q's Alice Margatroid but neither of the two are especially simple figures so here goes, part one of a Touhou Two-Parter.

I wonder if Griffon even feel like they can change base styles. It's been so long with the gigantic black discs and metal nameplates. This time the figure takes up more space so it's not as ridiculous as Satori was. And looking more confident - this Sakuya has much more presence than some characters.

The pose isn't as sure-looking as from the front but her maid frills and things keep the view kinda interesting if for some reason you wanna display her from that angle.

Facial features (other than EYES) are subtle as ever, with just a light blush.
The seaming of her dress and the small pulls and creases were what drew me to this figure. It's an attention to detail that I appreciate. Sakuya isn't a massively eye-catching figure with her darker, subdued colour palette and simple pose but the attitude and clothes that look like they're being worn sealed it for me. Posing and body language is something Griffon are gradually improving at. I won't say it's complete and overrall improvement 'cause there are issues and well, I own Kogasa.

The break in her collar bow is 'cause parts are gonna get swapped. The first option, without the scarf is the worse one. There's too much space in there and the head is loose. You can tilt it back to get either the front or back of her collar looking smooth and neat, pick one.

Pop off her head and swap out the shirt collar for a much more dramatic scarf. Much better.

Pretty left hand and all the knives hold in there securely. The right hand's not so good. Her index finger is too long, bent like it's rubbery. Happily that's the hand out the way behind a fold of skirt and apron and with a mop to distract from it. If you're gonna flub part of the sculpt, flub it in an out of the way place. There are some rough seamy edges, more easily spotted on light areas like her apron frills or her hair. And when I say hair, it's the locks in the back and down the braids right next to her face.

Painting on the shoes is neat, over the crossing straps, and the buckles are nice and tiny, though one of mine smudged down her shoe, just a tiny bit.
What is nice is the colour of her dress. The shading gives it interest and depth but keeps it an overrall rich blue.

The darker shading on the shoes brings them down to fit with the rest of the outfit. It's a dark pinkish tone of red, not glaring or pillar box-y. This image is the truer one for colour.
Another small paint smudge, this time some of the pinkish-red on her calf. Small enough though that it can go relatively unnoticed, even in a colour so bold.

Some puzzling shading choice on the braids, they're much lighter than the hair next to them. Her right braid looks white next to the rest of her fringe there.

I wish Griffon would soften the eyes on their figures. They're so sharply defined that the rest of the figure looks poorer in comparison. The hair looking heavier, the lack of crispness made more obvious.

She wields knives and a mop. Stains or supernatural incidents, Sakuya's ready for both.

A decent figure, but not a brilliant one. Better to look at it from far away as the roughness of those seams on the edges are noticeable things and in plenty of places - hair, lacy underskirt, cuffs, bows and frills on the apron. But the eyes are sharp enough that you're never gonna miss them.

She should be easy enough to find. Amiami have stock coming in for june (7k yen) and Griffon will probably release an exclusive in an awkward/inferior colourway sometime.

'K, Ques Q's Alice next.   read

3:36 PM on 02.25.2012

Monthly Megapixel: Scattershot Cupid

Earlier this month, the 14th in fact...

Aya: Thanks for the presents Mana! That little cat is so cute!

Mana: Cat? But I...

Mana: Hm, those are a lot like what I got.

Mayoi: Kinda like mine too.

Obviously the literal handsome devil has an admirer.

Scanty: Sending Valentines to absolutely everyone is against the rules!

Panty: So everyone has the same admirer?

And it was everyone. assume it's a single admirer...

instead of many, many...


Mana: Hold me.



Nichijou charms
Loads of blu tack

Ahh, each scrap of news of Nichijou stuff showing up at WonFes had me anticipating these charms all the harder. At that time they were still at the Parcelforce depot, waiting for the nominated day of delivery.

Those tiny props got fiddly. This happened plenty of times. Sakamoto just didn't want to stop in the mug and on the table. Turns out, Mayoi's folded umbrella is a decent tool for prodding at props and pushing blu tack into place.

Bonus shot

Because I couldn't have Tako-Luka on the desk and not involve her. Mio is quaking with fear, obvs. Tako-Luka just wants to play.   read

3:48 PM on 02.19.2012

Review: Mikumo line (Vocaloid), Love-Coloured Hospital Ward and Get Round

The Mikumo* line of figures are a cheaper line bringing a healthy dash of variety to the world of Vocaloid figures. Although Miku features in each one, the line isn't a deluge of teal and twin tails. There's different settings, costumes and characters, suiting the songs that each figure's based on.

*made by Hobby Stock and sculpted by Kaiyodo is what I'm finding

The line extends to six so far, and these two are the first ones released. The others look to be coming quick, with Lots of Laugh at the end of the month and Romeo & Cinderella next month.

Mikumo 1 - Love-Coloured Hospital Ward
Mikumo 2 - Get Round

Nendo-monster for scale.

If you're lucky enough to be buying these off a shelf these devilish plastic cages would let you peer in and at the details so you could get the best one on the shelf. The back of each has a shot from the video, an URL for the video itself on Nicovideo and a tiny tiny sketch. Straightaway I notice that Love-Coloured Hospital has changed in the transition, Miku's expression in particular changing for the dopier.
And there's images of the other figures coming up in the line, so you can squint at them and see which you fancy next, like you were a kid and a colourful concertina booklet was spilling out from the box of your new toy.

Twisty ties. It's almost a pleasant wash of nostalgia, unlike the slap in the face that happens when you unbox Monster High dolls.
The packaging and care in protection is thorough, sheets of plastic between limbs and sections and softer plastic sleeves on the twisty ties where they come into contact with the figures.

I'm still impressed by how complete the scene looks with the falling pills. They've been carefully positioned to look good, the amount well-balanced, whilst hiding how they're held up and without looking contrived in the placement. There's maybe two angles where pegs are visible, and those angles are dull angles for viewing the figure, so no loss there.
One pill fell out almost straightaway - the central one that pegs into mini-Miku's hair. Blu-tacked it in place for some shots here, stashed it before it bounced onto the floor any more times. It'll be a quick job to fix it up and the joint looks sturdy, substantial.

Paintwork is decent, only a little wobbly at the hem and then surprisingly fine on the pockets - even on mini-Miku.

Good texture. An especially nice contrast with the smooth and shiny pearl effects elsewhere. I'm just so bemused about the angle, considering there's text there. Not in a language I can read, but the choice is still weird to me. It wouldn't really work unless you had a really, really low viewing angle on the figure.

Another teal accent.
OK, so in places the sculpt is lacking - but in others there's a nice natural detail like the creasing of the fabric over the shoulderblades. There isn't the same lightness of touch as a bigger or pricier figure, but good all the same.

The sculpting is probably this figure's largest flaw. The face is the most obvious place where things come unstuck. Round and dopey and little else. Hands are short, somewhere between childlike and stubby and the sculpt is generally lacking crispness and finesse.

Also, seams. Nothing horrific though. The horizontal seams in the hair are about the worst of it, being hard to pass of as anything else and right there in front of you on the big honking twin tails.

Speaking of which! The pearlesence and transparency is really pretty here, and works well, stops the volume of hair looking heavy and dominating the figure. I'm not a convert to funny hair effects but this - this was nice.

How cute? Too cute. All this and Kagamines too. These three make for some perfect catblobs.

But my first reaction wasn't to drop the scissors in my squee-ing. It was 'ohhhhh :('. Still inside the plastic, I saw a pretty big paint scuff. On the front - Rin, top left. It doesn't muck up over a colour border, so once on a shelf and with your regular admiring it won't be anything like as noticeable, I tell myself.

There's some wavering with the paint but the simple shapes and lack of fiddly accessories keeps errors like that from being big disadvantages.

Seams are light, barely noticeable along the tails.

Tucked around the back is another Miku, throwing up all kinds of weird questions about those cats on the front. Are they actually zippered fur balloons being ran by teams of mini Vocaloid characters? To what end? And why roll around in the clouds?
And around the back the clouds are smoothly shaded, more so than on the front. These clouds look swollen with rain. With work on the back as nice as the front I'm wanting to get this somewhere to show off these different angles.

The figures are cheaper*, so sculpting and paint application aren't top knotch. But the themes are fun, varied and they're bringing out these neat things by going back to the songs created with Vocaloid software. Love-Coloured Hospital Ward's Miku might be kind of woozy in the face (that close up looks like it deserves a stupid caption), but there's plenty of other elements to make the figure lively and interesting. Get Round is small and made of simple shapes, but it's cheerful and with the things it has to offer I'd give as much consideration to displaying it as I would to something large and dramatic.

Oh. Of the Mikumo figures so far, I think I'm gonna be six for six and hunting them down.

*2940yen on amiami, ~£23.20 and after converting that I'm even more pleased with them   read

3:58 PM on 12.23.2011

Santa Saturday; Or, the Girl Who Staggered Through Time

Homura hit the mulled wine early and hit it hard. From what she returned with, I guess she wandered into the late cretaceous at some point.

The triceratops is fraught with skepticism.   read

3:29 PM on 12.09.2011

Pipos' Wizard of Oz dolls // Winter doll events and discountss

Pipos (of the fancy made-up cats) have broken with tradition and released dolls based on children's books that aren't anything to do with Lewis Carroll*. This time, it's the Wizard of Oz with dolls of Alice and the Tinman. Now Dorothy is your basic pretty blond girl in a frilly blue dress - she could even be another Alice. The tinman is a little more interesting.

*for pipos it's more a 'been there, done that, several times'

That's the Dark Tin Limited version. There's also a Light Tin Limited version and the Gift version. Gift versions of Dorothy and the Tinman are cheaper, with wigs/faceups and outfits coming as optional extras. $280/270 instead of the limited editions at $540/420. Ouch, that deluxe Dorothy price tag.

With some different styling (wig, faceup) you could make a pretty little tin girl doll.

Like pretty much every other doll company, Pipos has a winter event on right now:

We present the 14mm IRIS eyes(randomed colour), a doll prop and a normal skin head as a gift if you order Tin Woodman gift edition in EVENT period.
Event period : Nov. 30th 2011 ~ Dec. 20th 2011 (Korean Time)

I am not even kidding about the winter events. So many companies are offering discounts, bonuses and freebies at this time of year. If you've liked dolls but the price has always put you off, you might be able to find something at a price you can swallow.

Robots? Batchix's boy versions of her Machina robot girl (sadly not in production right now).

Like leggy cat anthros? Dearmine's new line of mini size (~40cm) dolls are reduced by 10%. There's a human girl in there too, along with the limited chance to select skin colour, and a free gift. Event ends with the year.

Infiniti Doll - SID13 boys are $399 until the 14th, 10% discount on other dolls running throughout December. Spend more than $500 and get a free event-only head. This kind of thing is how bjd fans accumulate several blank heads, rolling around in bubble wrap.

Luts keep coming out with more special stuff. Limited dolls, the event (yes they're doing an event head), the latest round of the Zuzu animal dolls (Three Musketeers themed) and new cat ear, heeled feet and hand parts for minis. Little photo contest for luts doll (or head) owners. Depending on how much you spend you can receive a free wig, pair of shoes, USB drive or the event head (>$300).
And there's something called MyChoice going on as well, the option to buy previous limited releases. So you can gnash your teeth at your favourite being the priciest. Dion at $600, I can't.

Crobidoll - no body pillows this year, just stickers, file holders and mini figures.

Buy a doll from Loongsoul (woah boy there are some insanely busty ones there, YingYing, crikey) and there will be a free facup on it. Spend >$400 and get free wig, shoes and eyes. Here's their agents.

Doll Leaves is a cheaper company, but they can still come up with some nice sculpts and a complicated winter event. More details over here on their site, 'cause it gets a little twisty. Free heads! Free rabbit doll! More free things if you spend more money! 'Til the 25th.

Dikadoll goes for some solid promos - discount (12%) and free heads. More details and a list of their overseas agents over at bjdcollectasy. Ends on the 30th.

Little Monica - 15% off basic line dolls. Ends the 18th.

Dollndoll are discontinuing some dolls so certain ones in certain lines are being reduced. Heavily. By more than $100 in some cases.

Another Space2 are discounting dolls and some of their distinctively goth/punk/post-apocalyptic outfits. 25-40% off. Sale ends on the 10th.

All this and I haven't heard a peep out of Fairyland yet.
It is like a sea of announcements at this time of year and I am wading and splashing gracelessly through it. If you've got an idea what kind of doll you'd like (something horror themed perhaps?) I can try and point you in that direction or answer questions. Or at least slap up a link.

For other companies and releases you can browse BJDcollectasy or a doll forum. Den of Angels is the biggest and a fantastic resource, great for seeing how other people have customised their dolls and what it's possible to do with a sculpt. I've 7 invites available, just drop your email in the comments.
There's a good chance your country/region has one too, possibly with it's own marketplace, group orders and splits.   read

5:39 PM on 11.03.2011

Review: Griffon's Komeiji Satori, off of the touhous

Satori is one of the odder pieces of ZUN character design. And ZUN anatomy. Here's her page on the touhou wiki if you want to see the original character portrait. As usual with touhou, the fan art's prettier than the official.

Even in more human proportions she makes for an odd character design. The contrast of bold reds and yellow against her mostly pastel outfit's unusual.
So odd that only people who've played the games and know the character would buy her? Idk, her stage is enjoyable, nice visuals (which the box echoes, with extra gaudiness) and great music.

Griffon have been branching out with more dynamic poses but you wouldn't notice that looking at Satori. But though the pose is pretty simple, there's still some movement in it, a subtle s-curve rhythm through her body.

Her face caught my attention. It's a big improvement on past figures in Griffon's touhou line. For once the eyes don't completely dominate the face, the mouth isn't totally ignored. Satori has a light blush and a delicate touch of colour to her mouth. It's been given care and attention and is genuinely pretty.

Being so bright and prominent, the third eye contraption is something that had better look good. And it does, the detail impressively sharp and all very neat.

Satori wears the classic touhou hairstyle, short and shaggy. It's plenty thick with lots of layers and the different directions of the locks suggest texture. One issue - some of the tips are kinda rough with seamlines.

The feet just rising off the floor is a detail I always find cute. It's even cuter in slippers. But generally the sculpt is decent, but with no details of anatomy or clothing folds/wrinkles to especially impress. Eh, it does the job.
No bloomers. :(
I didn't take a panty shot but they're up there, clinging to her arse like their life depended on it.

The base - huge black disc with a metal nameplate front and centre. This time it goes beyond uninspired and into annoying. There's no reason for it to be that big. In that pose Satori takes up only a little bit of space but she arrives in a stupidly big box, just to accomodate a rubbish base. Pricey bundle of air I paid to ship, and in a hefty month like september too.
Also, the base isn't properly ground flat. It doesn't sit flush on the shelf/desk so Satori wobbles more than she should.

The pattern on her skirt's been interpreted in a simple way - no gradient or blurred flowers - but the simplicity works and most importantly, looks good. The flower design's complicated but very neat.
The wires/tubing on the other hand... there are several smudges. Luckily mine only has one small issue with the brights smudging onto the pastels. Other than that the bold colours wobble, but keep amongst themselves while they're wobbling. More care could've been taken with the black at the connections, especially the one on her head, that being the most noticeable.

You'll spot a few more seams on her cuffs. Handily on the hand that sweeps towards the back and more out of the way.

Light on the headgear, so there's no hiding the hair seam. It's hardly horrific. I'd count the rough seamy tips of her hair as a greater (tolerable) flaw.

Satori's a cute combo of prettiness, oddness and apathy.
One of my favourite figures from Griffon's touhou line, desireable on the strengths of the figure itself, not just for the sake of it being a character I like and hey who else would make a figure of her.
More improvement for Griffon in the future? Fingers crossed for Sakuya in November.   read

6:17 PM on 10.04.2011

Review: Ibuki Suika (touhou series) figma

Little oni Suika (more character deets here) seemed to take ages to arrive, even for SAL shipping. Like how september seemed to stretch on for an age. But my own perception or a reality of Parcelforce using the box to rest their mugs of tea on/play footy with back at the depot, my proxy service (Yokatta Web in this case) pack their items well. It was like a game of pass the parcel in there but with extra Japanese newspaper and bubblewrap.

But finally!

A tough little oni kid was visible.
Like with Mayoi, her box is really pretty - a misty moutain landscape in pinks and purples.

Her character design always looks good in figures, balancing all her details with a simple palette. The colour accents are one of my favourites things - the purple bow on a horn complementing the solid purple in her skirt, the warm red and pink ribbon details from the bows on her minnie mouse shoes up to her collar and on her head.

Colours are bold and the lines crisp. I'd've guessed that the dashes along her skirt hem were about a ribbon being woven through slots in her skirt but here they are flat and just painted, rather than sculpted.
The metal trim on her belt got skimped on a little where her blouse sorta drapes over it. And on my Suika, there was a little smudge on the silver trim. This'd be more noticeable on a plainer character design. Suika though, she's got plenty of details going on that are gonna draw the eye to them before a little fault with the paintjob.

There's a slight translucency to her cuffs, her skirt's upper tier and the bow on the back.
The childlike proportions and her bare arms do make the joints larger in proportion and much more noticeable than on other figma.

Hmm. I 'spose you've gotta get her on the stand some way. Unfortunately her long, thick hair limits head movement a lot once you've jammed the peg into her back.

All the happy faces you need! Default cheerful, really happy and happily drunk. Also booze.

In case you were wondering what the large moulded rings were for on her cuffs and the ribbon fastening her ponytail, they're for her dangling chains. I can't remember if there's any special significance to them, or if they're just yet another accessory on her design. Either way the colourful shapes make a cheerful colour accent.

Now, the gourd accessory (a magic unlimited supply of sake) can be clipped to the chains she wears round her waist...

Like so. But fiddly as fuck. I dunno how anyone with really short nails would've manipulated it into place.

So happily there's other options. The standard attachment can be removed and some of Suika's optional hands used. The parts fit together tightly, the extra plastic only looking unsightly in a close up. She could hold the gourd in either hand or have it swinging from her wrist.

I'm not ever gonna be faffing about getting that gourd on her belt again.

Drunken faceplate is a winner.

More stuff! There are three metal chains (one for each wrist, one for the ponytail) and one in plastic, moulded into a curve. The end of each chain (metal or moulded) has a tag to slot into a shape.

Ta da!
The fit onto the moulded chain was kinda loose, like a knock to the figure or it's shelf could dislodge it. The fit's more secure on the metal chains.

A mini Suika gets in on the act.

Mini-Suika's skirt is the only place the paintjob strays from it's usual crispness and the lines on her skirt become a little fuzzy.
As usual, due to the angle of the arm, positions that look good with the main figure are well, not many.

Suika petitions someone for more booze, unaware of the nosy reporter nearby.

'Oni in drunken stupor shocker!'
A Gensokyo exclusive by Shameimaru Aya!
I can see the headlines now...

Someone tell the tengu that a tipsy Suika is not unusual and is no kind of scoop.

Cute, detailed and a fun character, the energy and silliness in her expressions makes her lots of fun to play with and pose. Me, I don't mind the joints and Suika's liveliness and fun are enough to compensate for some limitations in posing ability. Things like the rigidity of her skirt can even help stability for some positions.

I thought I really liked Aya (another Japan exclusive touhou figma) with her camera, wings, crow etc but Suika has surpassed her. To me, she was worth the cost, even with proxy fees added in. A very complete feeling figma release of a character with a great infectious smile.   read

4:39 PM on 09.29.2011

Monthly Megapixel: Mournful Monday Morning

The alliteration gains momentum the more you add until suddenly, an avalanche of M's. Couldn't help myself.

Monthly Megapixel: Mournful Monday Morning

Early September. First day of the new school year.

Mayoi: Heeeey...

Hotori: fuguhhh

M: C'mon, get up. We've got school.
H: Ughhhhh... don't wanna

*daydream chime sound effects*

don't think I can do this

*incoherent moaning*

H: I'd give anything not to go into school today.


Whaddya say?

H: Hmmm...

I could escape from this morning...

leave it behind

...and then I'd be

bound, I guess

...all my life

H: No.


H: NO!

H: double... maths...

H: nnnnurrgh


Apparently she sleeps in that maid's headdress. Probably bathes in it. idk

My desk was figma decapitation station as Hotori grabbed Aya and Azusa's bodies and various hands to muck about with and generally be the laziest girl in the world.
Not shown: all the blu-tack keeping Hotori from faceplanting onto the desk, broom and all.

Btw, Mayoi is an excellent little figma, thumbs way up for her. She looks great with all the details in her design and her accessories are neat and versatile. The plug for her stand does have to fit into a socket smack dab on the middle of her backpack, which is maybe the worst thing about her, but bearable.   read

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