Question: How do you keep up to date with figure releases and event news?

I have a feeling that the answer for most people is by reading pages such as Dannychoo or specific forum pages. But I’m sure there are a few who buy japanese magazines to get their fix. The most prominent of which are Hobby Japan and Dengeki hobby. They are the most readily available (heck, I can go down the Japan center and buy a copy) and cover a wide range of products, from PVC figures to gunpla to collectible toys. Their monthly release schedule also allows them to break the news about new items relatively quickly.

But there are other, more specific publications out there which cater to smaller but more dedicated groups. A lot of these are for the more military minded otaku out there but there are 2 magazines which I buy semi regularly. They are Replicant and Hobby Maniacs

These magazines are more geared towards garage kits and often have extensive coverage of large events such as wonderfestival. They also cover PVC figures as well, but unfortunately, only come out once every 3 months or so.

I tend to buy the copies published just after a big event to get a broader view of what was available at the event, although by the time the magazine is out, hope for many of the kits is pretty much non existant. but it can really inspire you when building your own.
They also often have some very useful tutorials on how to do certain figures.

I’ll cover Replicant first.

The content of Replicant is pretty much exclusively photos of figures. Next to no understanding of japanese is needed because the pages are just crammed with pictures with only minimal information about the figure, such as scale, sculptor, name, etc given.

It makes it a good magazine for references but their tutorials have a fair amount of japanese in them and the pictures aren’t always easy to follow.

(apologies about the pics, but I don’t have a scanner and I’m afraid that I’m not selfless enough to rip the pages off for the benefit of others…)

The above is part of a tutorial on how to paint a recent Suzumiya Haruhi figure (based off her cameo in Lucky star, where she was selling some soft drink). It gives you an idea on what to expect if you are thinking about trying to adapt the techniques to other figures.
But that’s not all they do…

In one of their earlier mags, they showed how to repaint and detail up Fraulein Yoko. Unfortunately, I can’t really show off the final product but it does make quite the difference when you put the painted and unpainted ones together.

Next up, there’s Figure mainacs

Content-wise, Figure maniacs is similar to replicant, although they give out suppliments every month recently, and I don’t see the trend stopping anytime soon. The suppliments cover a specific series in more detail. In the pic above, they cover nendoroids, figmas and event figures. In the case of the figmas and nendoroids, they also covered ones not yet released.

Inside the pages, the layout is similar to Replicant but with more details about the figures. They also do some things in a  more standard news like format like these macross Frontier figures…

They’re pretty old news by now but I would kill for a good resin kit of Sheryl in that costume. Shame that both the Ranka and Sheryl figures shown there are ugly as sin. They also do some figure reviews and some pictures are done in “full scale” so you can get a good idea on how big they are.

Their tutorials are also much easier to follow for the non japanese literate.

For those interested, the above is a tutorial on how to repaint one of those Shunya Yamashita Busts. She’s part of the same series as the Mirei-san in one of my previous posts.

As an extra, Figure maniacs also has an ongoing manga based on Busou Shinki in it’s back pages. I haven’t really been following it, but think Angelic layer, except with sentient units. Oh, and the main unit is disrespectful of her master, incredibly strong and scarily sadistic.

And finally, we have the big one… Replicant works.

Works is basically a collection of all the best works seen throughout the previous year as well as some from previous magazines, in this case from April 05 to 06. For the most part it covers only Resin kits, but there are a few PVC figures in there and some have now been made into PVCs.
It’s somewhat pricier than the others but it’s only released annually. I’ve posted some pages below. It should also give you a good feel for how the regular magazines are laid out.

TAMA CHAN!!!!

Ah Kazami Mizuho from Onegai Teacher. After all these years, she’s still desirable…

And some Key characters to finish, as they seem hella popular.

One final pic just to show off my haul for this month. What, you didn’t think I just bought magazines did you?

Some things to look forward to perhaps? I’ll probably forgo reviewing figma shana. I can sum it up in one sentence. After Saber lily (which, to be fair, was a limited edition) very disappointing.

The SV-51 gamma, however, is another story. Still planning how I’m going to do that one. I was thinking of doing videos showing the transformation sequence. What do people think?