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Top Ten 2012 Figure Highlights

2012, a year deserved to be highlighted. It is noticeable that my interest shifted from Gundam (or plastic model) into Transformers. I will highlight ten best figures I purchased during the year of 2012.

10. Candy Toys FFR Kamen Rider Decade and Diend

I was so lucky, my friend in Surabaya helped me to get these figures in his local toy store. CT version is much better than the normal one. The articulation is good and nice representation Kamen Riders in small size.

9. Animated Optimus Prime (both Voyager and Deluxe)

As Optimus-fetish collector, these two are hard to miss. Again, I am so lucky getting the Sons of Cybertron version in a very cheap price. The voyager also looks very well. Until now, I have no idea about Transformers Animated, but both of them already made me happy. You can check the review here: Animated Optimus Prime Comparison.

8. SD Wing Gundam Endless Waltz

I don’t remember if this one appeared in Endless Waltz OVA, even the design is far from this one. But this SD figure is very good. I love SD version better considering I am not really interested in MG counterpart.

7. EZ Collection TF Prime Autobot Set

Enough said, check the recently reviewed set here: EZ Collection TF Prime Autobot Set. My online seller helped me getting this set from Japan.

6. Hongli NG 1/100 00 Raiser

Surprisingly for a bootleg plastic model, he is far superior in articulation than MG version. He is so big and so bad. One of my earlier figure reviewed on my WordPress. Check it here: Hongli NG 1/100 00 Raiser.

5. WFC Cybertronian Optimus Prime and FoC Optimus Prime.

Aside from everything I said in the review, this Optimus Prime is much better than FoC version. But I can’t help to have both side by side because hey, they are from the same incarnation and I can’t ignore both of them. Check my review of both figures here:
WFC Cybertronian Optimus Prime
FoC Optimus Prime

4. SIC KT Kuuga Rising Ultimate

Yes, I already have this one, but still mint in box. As my habit to let all of my SIC KT collections in MIB condition, I don’t want to open this too. I hate Kuuga Rising Ultimate, a useless form upgrade seen in Decade’s movie. But the figure, is actually pretty cool. Very tempting for me to open it out of the box. The picture above taken from Hacchaka. Check his “so great” review here: SIC KT Kuuga Rising Ultimate.

3. DA-03 Voyager DOTM Optimus Prime

He is “are you nuts?” purchase I have done in 2012. Slightly retooled from Hasbro release and trailer included. No matter what, I am so happy to have this set. Check my review here: DA-03 Voyager DOTM Optimus Prime.

2. Minipla Gekitouja

I thought I never get this set forever, but again, the same person who helped me getting CT FFR Decade & Diend offered this set, which hard for me to resist. To make it even better, this set completed with RinLion and RinChameleon to create GekiRinTouja, one of the best mecha in Super Sentai history, ever!

1. DX Dino Megazord 2010

This is my long time wishlist. Together with minipla Gekitouja, I never thought I finally own this. I almost give up getting this figure because of expensive price and its rare status. Thank God, I found one seller on Facebook group, and without hesitation I bought this childhood memorabilia. Yes I know this is 2010, but I chose this over original DX figure since this is updated version. Check my review here: DX Dino Megazord 2010.

That’s my top ten figures of 2012. I have to admit that I was so lucky to have all figures I mention here, considering I will slowly reduced my collecting habit, starting to settle my future to have a family. But I hope everything continues well in 2013.



Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (Series)

Gundam AGE is a perfect example of how everything should not be messed up from the beginning. The biased of how the series is just a commercial to sell toys (gunpla) is not too aplicable here. While the toy sales seems good, the series suffers a lot of issues.

The idea was actually promising. Combining elements from Universal Century mixed up with three generations lineage are fresh, something new for a Gundam franchise. But Gundam AGE already suffered major complain, the series design is way too “kiddie”. Whether this thing contributed greatly to the series or not, still this found by some people to be an annoying element.

The storyline at the beginning run too slow, notably from character developments. It takes 15 episodes, interrupted by Zalam vs Euba conflict that did not help at all, to overturn this slow progression. Starting episode 16, everything runs way too fast. Now the other way around happened. So many characters only appear within 1-4 episodes and perished without development. From slow into no development is surprising for a Gundam series.

The worst part came at the last generation. While the MS designs at their finest, the progression of the storyline went nowhere. Everything made in a rush, confusing messed up conflict,

Gundam AGE returns the “naive black and white character” previously ommited from Gundam 00 (saves for Saji Crossroad, which is not a true main character). Some viewers already had enough with Kira Yamato and everything that ruined Gundam SEED Destiny. While Flit Asuno and Asemu Asuno treated greatly for their character develeopments, Kio Asuno got nothing but being immature childish annoying philosophy for such war scale happened between Earth Federation and Vagan. And to sum up the whole series’ disaster, the ending is fast (made in a rush), predictable, wasted conclusion, and cheap attempt to replicate the glorious cooperations seen from episode 17 of Gundam 00’s second season.

There are some good parts can be noticed from this series. Good “if not great” MS and battleship designs, cute character designs, some Universal Century references or easter eggs, awesome MS fighting scenes, and sad memorable scenes which repetitive for a Gundam series, still capturing viewers’ emotion.

Overall, a bad series. Still enjoyable but can be boring easily.

Score: 2 out of 5

HG 1/144 Adele Diva Color

Probably the most underrated AGE HG releases, Adele is superior on its own.

This is the mass-produced Mobile Suit based on Gundam AGE-1. In fact, the runners for assembling Adele are taken from AGE-1 runners (most notably from runner B). The design is simple yet cool for a mass produced MS. Somehow I prefer visor face MS rather than Gundam face in terms of realism. This simplicity is backed up with great articulation, perfect gimmicks, and interchangeable parts with AGE-1 Titus or Spallow. And Bandai did a great job in molding with less stickers, easy snap-fit, and it is a fun experience building this HG. I wonder if Bandai will ever release its MG counterparts, or at least its NG 1/100.

I didn’t apply marking seal (no 1 or 2) on purpose considering I just only have one Adele so far. And I chose Diva’s color over original because I like this color choice. Federation color is just meh and probably contributed Adele to become one of the most underrated MS in Gundam universe. But still this is fantastic gunpla to build. I highly recommend this HG release. Whether Federation color or Diva color is actually depend on your taste, if you can, grab both. Kudos to the MS designer making this Adele so simple yet elegant and superior on its league. Now I understand why some gunpla builders prefer mass-produced MS, because it’s so fun to build.

Passion for Toys

Every time people asked me whether I am collecting toys or not, I just don’t know how to answer that. Even until today.

Well, I can defend myself by saying I am collecting action figures, plastic models, miniatures, replicas. But in the end, people will just call it toys. In the past when I was a kid, toys were just merely things to be played and that’s about it. Now things have changed and I see a different perspective on it. There are two things, it is a good hobby in my spare time. The other, I am just a victim of commodity fetishism in this late-capitalism era. Or am I?

One of my friends once argued that if a toy cannot be played and only just to be displayed, that is not a toy at all. He may be right at one point, but I don’t think I can accept that kind of mindset, not now.

I re-checked all of my collections on my precious display cabinets. I tried to categorize the toys based on their age segments. Let me try:

1. Minipla
This is definitely for kids, but its rarity outside of Japan makes it ‘a collector item’. To make it ironic, I never see any kids playing with minipla. I was late to start collecting minipla, but not as late as gunpla. Luckily the prices are still reasonable (some minipla’s prices went nuts when they reached ‘rare’ status). So I need to buy it near its release date or I will experience hell in finding it.

Although miniplas are for kids, but assembling the models are complicated, I would say miniplas are suitable for ages 10+ due to their complexities.

2. Gunpla
Currently the largest and the most collections I have. This one is not for kids, unless it is in SD or cheap grade (Entry Grade, First Grade). I can say this one is suitable for ages 15+ (maybe even more for Perfect Grade). Gunplas are good for photography or just for display in cabinets. An army of gunplas attracts people, seriously. Gunplas are easily available especially for popular releases. Some limited, not popular design, or strange looking gunplas are difficult to find and way too expensive. Even when I said SD above is for kids, the assembling is difficult for first-timer. If we want more pain, just buy bootlegged version and enjoy it.

There are so many things to do with Gunpla. Lining, recoloring, modifying, weathering, coating, and making photograph on it makes gunpla not just a model, it is a piece of art. We can enjoy the assemble mechanism ranging for the simple one (SD, HG), to intermediate (RG, MG), and advance (PG). Gunpla is also a very good figure to make a diorama. I have seen so many customizations on it and it never stops.

3. SH Figuarts
Beat me, but this one is not for kids at all. Even when we buy it, there are some labels added that SHF is for ages 15+. It never be meant to be played by kids considering its target for adult collectors. SHF has gimmicks and parts that intended for realism, definitely not a toy, but still it is a toy. Mindblow? No, SHF is a figure to be collected.

I only collected main Kamen Riders (their main forms), even I still cannot buy Showa Riders because of supply cuts and expensive prices. Once I want to sell it all, I don’t think I can follow more than that. I still cannot buy SHF Son Goku even though I love Dragon Ball Z.

4. SIC Kiwami Tamashii
The same with SHF, I only collected main riders, and luckily I can collect their final forms and motorcycles due to their affordable prices. But there is one, SIC KT Faiz Blaster that gave me pain to buy it. So far that is the only SIC KT that is not Mint in Box when I bought it, means I bought second-handed figure. But other SIC KT up until Kuuga Mighty Form are still MIB. I collected SIC KT because I cannot afford to buy its SIC counterparts.

SIC KT, again, the same with SHF, are not intended to be collected by kids. All that I know the kids will tear the figures for good. Yes, it is not for kids at all.

5. Others
Most of my bootlegged figures are for kids, notably from Candy Toys, Transformers Knock-Off and DX Sentai Mecha. But still, there are some that indeed are not for kids such as Revoltech SFO Chun-Li, Revoltech VF-1 Valkyrie, and several non-articulated figures. Still I am wondering which kids in Indonesia has the same style of figure collecting as mine?

You may notice that most of my collections (read: toys) are mechas. Yes, I love mechas whatever they are. I love Gundam, Macross, Transformers, Super Sentai, Super Robot Taisen, and many more. For me, mechas are the reflections of my weaknesses. I am not tall, yet mechas are created in realistic manner as tall as possible. Mechas designs are cool in contrast of my appearance (true story).

I am not saying that I am degrading myself here, but that is the way I analyze myself psychologically. Maybe in my consciousness I am OK with my height, but unconsciously that is a problem. People often mistaken me as students due to my appearance, and that is irritating. Maybe the love for mechas are the way I am channeling my hatred. Rather than complaining (that I am a lecturer, not a mere student from your subjective skeptical point of view), I rather not being bothered by it. Oh I forgot how Sigmund Freud already discussed that too much. And that’s the way I admit it.

Enough with psychoanalysis, maybe I am the victim of consumerism too. Sometimes I wonder, where my collections will go when I got married and have a family. This kind of hobby is not for eternity, there will be a time when I have to stop this at all. Even now I am slowly limit myself buying these stuff considering my future and more important needs outside figure collections.

This is one of many manifestations why I love popular culture. I enjoy it as much as I feel the pain from it. Now I see the strange of myself when I got the package, open the box, assemble it (if it is a model), take picture of it, and then put it on cabinet and that’s about it. How happy I am seeing my complete collection (yes, I am complete-ist, perfectionist), and how painful for me to find it when the figure is so rare that the price is already went nuts.

Still I try to defend myself whenever people complain that this hobby is such a waste. I’d rather buy figures than cigarettes, that’s the common excuse I said every time. Funny as hell, because both are money-wasting activities, still we got excitement after buying it. Passion, that is what I call it.

I was so upset whenever people judge me collecting figures as childish, meant for kids, and any stereotypical biased accuses just because they have no idea what is inside of this hobby. But dealing with such people if not for more time-wasting, it is just them who have no fun in their life. People have so many different ways in amusing themselves. And several of us amuse ourselves by collecting figures. People today are still short-simple minded, these kind of persons are still exist. I don’t see any differences between them and outdated fundamentalists.

To make it even more ironic, I never see any kids collecting toys. So far, what I have seen that they ‘love’ to destroy their toys. Toys collector, figures collector that I have met so far are already adults. This happens because of different orientations. Playing and collecting are different things. In collecting we may also playing it, but not the other way around. This is true to myself since I destroy all of my toys when I was a kid, and that is my bad as nature calls it. But now I am collecting it, as pieces of art.

Yeah yeah, commodity fetishism at its finest, I do admit it. But someday I will stop from this hobby, sooner or later.

I have talked this issue many times, whether on Multiply, or Facebook. And I often feed up with “the ignorants” with their biased judgements. Maybe figure collection is something that not all people can enjoy it. Considering this is an expensive hobby and you need a lot of money to accommodate buying this and that in the name of passions.

NG 1/100 00 Raiser (Hongli)

The only reason why I choose this set is because of the price.

This was one of my wishlist, but it took a long time to finally buy it with a lot of considerations. I have read so many information regarding this gunpla set. It has weight issues and of course less detailed than its Master Grade counterpart. Maybe that can be expected from No Grade releases, only offering larger scale gimmick. And considering this is a Hongli release, you may guess my difficulties in assembling it.

Non Grade 00 Raiser Hongli brought up its problems originally from Bandai release. The design stays true to the original anime appearance and when assembling it, we have “HG-esque” feeling considering similarities on the runners. Complete with lack of details on color and molding. But when I finish the assembling, it is actually a very good figure to display. Am I the only one who think NG 00 Raiser is far better in terms of display than its MG version? Yes I know MG has its own appeals and the details are top-notch, but MG 00 Raiser has one major flaw, a serious flaw, “too many joints” sometimes proven to be annoying. I don’t have such experiences on this NG.

Yes, I don’t have batteries to put on its LED gimmick yet, but for me it’s more than enough. For a bootleg release it surpasses my expectation. Big, poseable, complete set (minus GN Sword III which only available in Designer Color release), and cheap.

More galleries can be found on my Flickr album

HG 1/144 Trans-Am Raiser (Hongli)

This is bootlegged release of High Grade 1/144 Trans-Am Raiser made by TT Hongli.

As expected from Hongli releases, I have got assembling issues ranging from painful snap-fit, below average quality stickers, and poor plastic molding. It can’t be helped because this is a bootleg, you cannot expect more.

Surprisingly, it is still a good figure to display considering this the Trans-Am version of my beloved 00 Raiser. I chose this over original Bandai release because in my opinion, Trans-Am version is just a recolored version without great appealing as the original color is. Still for a bootleg plastic model it surpasses my expectation.

Still for those who wants to have this, just buy Bandai original release and you do know why.

Ini merupakan rilisan bootleg dari High Grade 1/144 Trans-Am Raiser yang dibuat oleh TT Hongli

Namanya juga rilisan Hongli, saya mengalami masalah dalam perakitan seperti snap-fitnya yang menyakitkan, stiker yang benar-benar dibawah standar, hingga kualitas cetakan plastiknya yang sangat parah. Ini memang tidak bisa diharapkan karena ini rilisan bootleg, tidak bisa berharap lebih.

Yang mengejutkan, gunpla ini masih sangat bagus untuk dipajang karena ini adalah versi Trans-Am dari figur 00 Raiser favorit saya. Saya memilih ini daripada rilisan Bandainya karena menurut saya, versi Trans-Amhanya versi warna ulang tanpa daya tarik yang sama bagusnya dengan rilisan warna aslinya. Tapi sebagai figur bootleg, model plastik ini melampaui ekspektasi saya.

Tapi tetap saja bagi yang tertarik dengan figur ini, lebih baik membeli rilisan original dari Bandai-nya.