And so it’s finally here after years of hype, that disasterous first showing at E3 and a lot to answer.
Sony are still looking for the next big exclusive which will shift consoles. The last one was Metal Gear Solid 4 last year. LittleBigPlanet, for all it’s critical acclaim, solid fanbase and stable sales, failed to grab the hearts and minds of gamers. One could argue that it’s simply because LBP is too bright and lacks guns and explosions to appeal to the lowest common denominator, but I digress. Killzone 2 is meant to address that. A First person shooter exclusive to the PS3, sony are hoping that it will help reverse their systems poor track record.

The first game was released on the PS2 and was touted as a halo killer. It wasn’t. but sony stuck by the game and the sequel plays very much like a mixture of several well received FPS games. There’s a lot of Call of Duty 4 in there, some Gears of War (ok, so that’s really 3rd person. so sue me) and a few others in there. Question is, does this almost frankenstein of a game work well, or does it collapse into a horrible mess? A: works well.

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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.

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Lets face it, this mini review is a little redundant because, chances are, you have it already!! But this game has pretty much taken over so it deserves a review of it’s own.

For the entirely clueless, Streetfighter 4 is the latest installment (and no, it isn’t really the 4th one) of the ridiculously famous and much loved franchise and comes 10 years after the last major release, Streetfighter III: 3rd strike.

It seems that Capcom definitely has done something right with regards to this game, considering they have already announced that they have sold 2Million copies worldwide and the game has inevitably hit the top spot in many regions. Rather surprisingly, it has been reported that, in the UK, the PS3 version actually outsold the 360 one. A first I believe. Publications have attributed the shift to the PS3 version as being due to the control pad. Although both are absolutely appaling for a game like this, the PS3 pad can be considered “less bad” due to a slightly better dpad.

So don’t go thinking that this is a turning point for the constantly-under-fire PS3. Killzone 2 may change that tho…

Now Streetfighter III: 3rd strike was quite the game to follow up, seeing as it’s widely regarded as one of, if not the best 2D fighting games ever made!! It also gave us one of the greatest and most famous tournament battles and single round event ever seen. You know the one!!!!
However, there is one flaw which is widely accepted with the game. There are basically main levels of skill in SFIII, good and not good. And the gap between them is HUGE. Streetfighter III is a game which requires an ungodly amount of practice and dedication to get the best out of. Even though the system iteslf is rather simple (esp when compared to the OTT games like Guilty Gear XX, dust attacks, roman cancels, I could go on) to fully get the most out of the parry system and assorted other parts is very difficult. As a result, even though battles are fantastic to watch, a lot of people were put off by the chasm between first timers and high level play.

Streetfighter IV is meant to address this issue by making the game a little easier and more accessible to everyone and provide a more even distribution of player skill instead of simply “the good” and “the rest.”
And, for the most part, they have succeeded. Of course, the best players will still triumph over the bad ones, but you don’t get that feeling that you will never be as good as them.

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A post over at Kotaku confirms an article in famitsu which shows us that Xbox live Arcade is getting cult (and awesome) arcade game Cyber troopers Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram!!

The game is going to be based on the last released version using the traditional 1 vs 1 format (after this one, the next VO game was force and was changed to a 2V2 format) and will include a few extra characters and minor changes not seen in the dreamcast version.  It’s expected to hit in April and will cost 1200 MS points!

Now normally, I would be jumping for joy like I did for the triggerheart exelica annoucement but this time I have some major reservations.

I consider myself a pretty big fan of the game, having owned the original virtual on on the sega saturn, the Japanese version of Oratorio tangram and played through a sizable chunk of Virtual on: Marz on the PS2. Heck, I even own the twin stick controller!!! But I have reservations about the XBLA version. It’s not so much the quality of the game I’m questioning (though excelica sure as hell didn’t feel right compared to the dreamcast version) but rather the control system.

Ignoring the point that, truthfully, Virtual on should ONLY be played with the twin stick controller, The 360 pad is probably not the best choice of controller due to it’s asymetric design and rather awkward shoulder button positioning. the PS2 tried hard to mimic the feel of the twin sticks with the dual shock controller (lets face it, the Dualshock does look like it would do a better job) but even that failed miserably…

Combined with the fact that a lot of moves require pressing both the dash and weapon triggers and I start to worry about how the game will play. Take it from experience, clicking the analogue sticks down to dash doesn’t work as well as you would hope…

Still, it is virtual on, and I have always wanted to play others on it so the question is, can I ignore the obvious failing of the controls and buy the game regardless? Probably…

And finally, continuing on from last week, we have the other Hiiragi twin, Tsukasa. Here she is posing with Konata!

I held her back last week as there were a few gaps which needed filling and a little bit of cleanup to be done in a couple of areas. I also spent a little time on Konata, making the lines on the eyes tidier and also adding the mole under her left eye. Hurrah for ridiculously expensive rapidograph pens!!
I found it almost impossible to do with a paintbrush as the mark would always end up too big but the pen allowed me to have much greater control. It just feels like a bit of a waste to use it for something so trivial!

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How the heck did that one scene gain such notoriety? More over, did anyone actually remember watching said advert on TV when they were little?

While you ponder the answer to such a question, here’s everybodys favourite supergeek, Izumi Konata !!!

I worked on her in Tandem with Tsukasa but during the cleanup process, I found that Tsukasa required more work so I focused on Kagami in order to finish her off and the give Tsukasa more attention. Both should be 100% finished by next week.

I have to admit though, I feel that these 2 don’t quite stack up to my other works. I don’t know what it is but I don’t get the same level of satisfaction from working on these 2 compared to, say, Ignis or Yoko. Perhaps it may also be related to my indifference to the characters being painted (I worked on these 2 primarily to complete a set with Kagami) As a result, I feel that, on a personal level, I could have done better. There’s nothing wrong with their overall appearance, it’s just a nagging feeling that I have. What do you all think?

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Another really minor update today, just showing off the final parts of the body and the start of the heads.

At least the hair shouldn’t present any problems. Again, the stripes on the uniforms provided several annoying moments and they still require further cleaning after all this!!!

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Lets get the news out of the way first. Last year, Banpresto released a game loosely based on the SRW universe called Endless frontier: Super robot wars OG saga and was developed by monolith (they of Xenosaga and Namco X Capcom fame).

I wrote a mini review (in fact, my first ever) on the game back then for those who are scratching their heads about what the game is. Long story short, it’s a traditional JPRG with an interesting, if flawed combat system and massive difficulty spikes whenever you meet a boss characters.

And Atlas just announced today that it’s coming to the US!!!!

I got pretty far into the game before I was distracted by other things so I have yet to finish it. Guess restarting with the english version won’t be bad (but I do hope they keep the Jap voices).

and a word of advice to newbies to the game. Stock up on a massive number of resurrection items at every opportunity. You’ll need them for the bosses.

Now, everyone pray for a US release of Namco X capcom. And forget about any SRW game which doesn’t have the letters OG in it. it’ll never happen.

And on the other note, the killzone 2 demo is now available for download on the PS store. I’ve been looking forward to this since I was very impressed by the game back in the eurogamer expo last year. definitely one to watch out for!!

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a fan of Shunya Yamashita. While his artworks and sculpted works are somewhat pleasing to the eye, none have ever really grabbed my attention. Except 1…

And that 1 was Mirei-san. I’m not sure if it was because of the whole executive look or the ridiculously sexy pose from the first figure (where she was sitting on a chair) but she really caught my attention. Fast forward a while and the current selection of Shunya Yamashita works are a set of original character busts. Again, somewhat pleasing but not attention grabbing, not until Mirei appeared again!!

Although she lost her legs (and her chair) the bust version captures the same qualities which made her a head turner in the first place, so I thought I’d grab one. Be warned though, she commands a pretty hefty price. This little number set me back £55 but when you take her out of the box, you understand why.
Held snuggly in a polystyrene box, it becomes pretty apparent that this isn’t the usual completed PVC figure readers often buy. Her weight also betrays her (shouldn’t really be talking like that about a lady, but hey). She’s a polystone resin figure!

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Quick post this time round. I’ve been asked questions regarding how to build figures both from this blog and other communities for quite some time so I thought I would try and help people out by putting up a quick “help” section on the blog. Eagle eyed readers may notice that there’s a new page next to the “about page” on the top called “Glossary and Techniques”

Basically, all I did was write up a quick explaination on the basic steps when I build a figure and provided explainations for some of the jargon I use, particularly during the WIP posts.
Most of the info was stuff I posted early on but I appreciate that not everyone will be able to look at the back posts to look for info or pointers on how to do some parts of their figures so this new page is just to consolidate such info and provide an easy access point for anyone who’s curious or looking for help.

I’ll add more stuff as and when I feel they should go in, but if you think there should be more bits of info on the page, let me know and I’ll see if I can accomodate it.

Hope some people find the page at least a little useful.