Fuyoh! by Gobi

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

11:10 PM - Sledge

Xevoz Sledge Trooper

A photo of Sledge Trooper, my favourite figure from the Xevoz line. It's a pity Hasbro didn't produce more 'bots for the line.

On a side note, I'm pleased my photos are turning out better these days compared to when I first started. I'm by no means adept at photography at the moment but I at least have a better idea of what I need to do to get the results I want.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

10:45 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Super Stealth Robo.
Another fantastic fanmode by Gee. This one features a lot of Machine Robo Rescue figures.

The Ballad of Optimus Prime. [via]
Simply awesome.

Guild Wars: Factions Q&As. [via]
There are two teams working concurrently in order to produce two Guild Wars games annually. I love Arena.net's approach to multiplayer gaming so I'm eagerly awaiting more.

Football Manager 2006 patch 6.03 out.
The latest patch for the world's greatest RPG weighs in at 73MB. Use a download manager capable of multiple simultaneous connections or resign yourself to a piddling download rate from Sports Interactive's file servers.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

10:41 PM - Smoke

Mega Bloks Smoke Dragon

A photo of a Mega Bloks Smoke Dragon figure.

I had previously mentally filed "Mega Bloks" under "Lego-knockoff" and never really paid much attention to the company until they released the Mag Warriors line of magnet-powered action figures. Upon checking out their other products, I was duly impressed. Lego might be the 800-pound gorilla in the market but I think Mega Bloks is the company to watch.

The Canadian company has some creative ideas -- I love the packaging for Pyrates and Dragons -- and if Mag Warriors is any indication, Mega Bloks could be a force to reckon with should they decide to make a major play in the action figure market.

It's a bit hard to find discussion of the company and its products online -- Mega Bloks is apparently verboten on most Lego fan sites -- but fortunately, fans have a forum to call their own.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

11:23 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Lego mecha.
See also: 1, 2.

WonderFest Winter 2006 reports.

Why games are buggy.
Some Lead Testers are far too busy doing other things.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

9:53 PM - Birdman

Xevoz Stom Wing

A photo of a Xevoz Storm Wing.

Hasbro should have dumped the game aspect of the line and used the money saved to market these eccentric-cool action figures more aggressively. It almost seems like Xevoz wasn't given much of a chance to succeed.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

10:27 PM - MyTunes

A Fuyoh! mixtape without the tape. Or the songs. Consider it a DIY project.

Fantasy General - Track 6.
When I first played the game almost a decade ago, I immediately ranked the soundtrack among the best I'd heard. That still holds true today.

Bump of Chicken - Sailing Day.
You're probably giggling at the group's name but this irresistible song is going to blow you way. From the fourth One Piece movie.

Every Little Thing - Ai No Uta.
Slow things down with this beautiful song. Lay back, put your hands behind your head and daydream away. From the second Inu Yasha movie.

Rie Fu - Life is Like A Boat.
A Bleach ending theme. Current mood: mellow.

Gin Blossoms - Whitewash.
"Congratulations, I'm Sorry" is a rather laidback album -- it makes great background music for web surfing -- but this is one of the faster numbers. I invariably end up drumming my fingers in time when I hear it.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

11:01 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Microman Ryukendo.
A superposable figure to complement the kiddy-aimed figure.

China plays.
"... China now has more than 8,000 toy manufacturers with annual output value exceeding 50 billion yuan (6.25 billion U.S. dollars)."

Go figures.
"... retail sales in the U.S. toy industry declined less than four percent ..." but "Action Figures & Accessories, which showed a three percent decrease in 2004 over 2003, rose over four percent in 2005, exceeding $1.3 billion in sales ..."

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12:02 AM - Stubby mariner

Mega Bloks Pyrates Murk Mariner

A photo of a Murk Mariner figure from Mega Bloks' Pyrates Coffer Trap set.

The 5cm-tall figures from the Pyrates line are rather well-articulated for block figures. The head, shoulders and hips are ball-jointed, the elbows and knees are hinged and the wrists have swivel joints.

However, you shouldn't expect superposability from such a stubby-limbed figure. The ball joints don't have a great range of motion and the legs, in particular, are prone to popping off. To put it in another way, pirates don't do kung-fu side kicks.

The lower-half of the figure is attached to the upper-half via a simple peg which can be removed. I suppose you could swap around figure halves.

The paint job is generally good but there might be a minor blemish or two. It's forgivable considering how small these figures are.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

11:17 PM - Fifth and out

Manchester United are out of the FA Cup.

It's hard to get worked up about this even when the defeat came at the hands of old nemesis, Liverpool. United clearly weren't up to the task and Reina had the easiest of matches. It was depressing to see United resort to punting the ball upfield in order to bypass the Liverpool-dominated midfield. If Ferguson needed any additional incentive to put a midfield-dominating player on the shopping list this summer, this match will have provided it.

The most notable moment about the entire encounter from United's point of view was towards the end of the match when Alan Smith suffered a serious injury as he charged down a shot by Riise. You know it's particularly bad when a player as tough as Smith puts his hands to his face.

The League Cup now represents United's only realistic chance of silverware this season. It may lack the prestige of other competitions but it should at least provide Rooney an opportunity to win the first winner's medal of his career. He would definitely deserve it.

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10:49 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Stikfas saga.

What's going on here?
"Hey, Bob, could you check for skidmarks?"

Worse Case scenario.
Bear in mind the Case in question happens to be Loyd Case, the former tech editor of Computer Gaming World.

Drama in Real Life.
It's tragic and yet it's not without elements of absurdity. To prove his love to a hooker, he tries to kill himself then kills her when she laughs at him. He unsuccessfully attempts suicide through various methods and is now sentenced to death.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

7:29 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Microman vs Beast Wars.
A Kamen Rider Hibiki-inspired tableaux.

Realistic action figures.
Trauma counselling not included.

The Key to Planet Love.
This looks to be an essential component of the Instant Break-Up Kit.

Happy Lupercalia. [via]
Smear the blood of a she-goat mixed with that of a dog on two children's foreheads and later point the arresting officers to the above link.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

10:01 PM - Plain and simple

Stikfas Indian

A photo of a Stikfas figure from the Alpha Male Indian set.

I prefer distraction-free backgrounds for photos of my figures and towards this end I use a white cloth for my background and play around with brightness and contrast in post-processing to achieve the clean white look. The problem with this approach is that colours can end up being inaccurate.

Photoshop has several tools that make background masking a quick and painless affair and there's a really good tutorial here that discusses the different approaches available.

However, some of the Photoshop tools used in that tutorial may not be present in Photoshop Elements. For instance, Photoshop Elements 3.0 lacks the History Brush. Fortunately, there's a workaround to simulate it.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

10:15 PM - Whoopsie

From a previous entry:

5 mili jointo.
A fan-mode featuring Microman, Microchange and Blockman. If he had popped in a couple of Diaclone pilots into that Blockman cockpit, it would be a perfect homage to the interchangeability of Takara's 5mm joint system.

Actually, no.

I go now to ritually disembowel myself.

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10:02 PM - Achilles

Magneforce Achilles

A digi-doodle of Achilles from Takara's Microman Magneforce line.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

7:31 PM - Elsewhere on the web

5 mili jointo.
A fan-mode featuring Microman, Microchange and Blockman. If he had popped in a couple of Diaclone pilots into that Blockman cockpit, it would be a perfect homage to the interchangeability of Takara's 5mm joint system.

A disturbing Stikfas photo-op set-up.
Action figures almost always include weapons as accessories but juxtaposing a plaything with an actual instrument of death is a bit unsettling. Then there's that headline ...

Elective surgery for Valentine's Day.
The romantic gift that says, "You're not good enough as you are."

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

5:52 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Convoy ver. BJPM.
A creative (if abstract) custom by yone.

Irregular Webcomic!
A web comic done with Lego figures. There are drawbacks to this approach.

Mongoose-cobra talks troubled.
Brilliant.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

10:43 PM - Pyrates

Mega Bloks Pyrates Sublurker

A photo of Sublurker, one of the mini-figures included in Mega Bloks' Pyrates Maroon Gally set.

The Pyrates figures are a mere 5cm tall but Mega Bloks packed so much personality in that tiny frame.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

8:07 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Equip and Prop vol 1: Garo and Zaruba.
A review by momodani. The armour looks really good and I'm delighted they nailed the head sculpt for the main character. Incidentally, momodani used the Hasegawa flexible robot stand to pose the figure for photos.

Microman Material Force custom arms set.
Each 1,499 yen set includes a clear version of 2003's Microforce body topped with a featureless Material Force head along with a generous arsenal consisting of weapons from all four Microforce figures. The set is exclusive to Japanese Toys 'R' Us but they should show up on eBay in decent quantities.

Guild Wars wallpaper: the Ritualist.
What was going through the mind of that mysterious practitioner of the dark arts at that moment, I wonder? "I have Blind on me! I have Blind on me! I have Bli-... oh wait ... stupid mask ..."

Online resource lists. [via]
The lists aren't comprehensive or authoritative but they make an excellent starting point.

Let's get literal.
Nicholas Gurewitch is my favourite comic strip artist. You never know what style he's going to use for his next strip but you know it's going to look cool.

The Google generation saddens me.
In the old days, when someone told us to go screw ourselves, we didn't have to google for directions.

Those secret Flash cookies.
Yet another reason why Flash and sites that use it rile me.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

7:19 AM - Elsewhere on the web

THS-02 G1 Convoy. [via]
As far as I'm concerned, Takara need not produce another rendition of Convoy unless it surpasses the brilliant Masterpiece Convoy but I do have to admire this Microman-sized Convoy for being an extraordinary design and engineering feat.

Dai-Tei-Ou-Ryu and Minobine.
Two notable Mugenbine fan-creations. One's staggering, the other's creative.

Underwater Music for Swimmers.
If they remake the original Jaws, they should have a scene showing Brody failing to warn Alex Kintner because the stupid boy was listening to MP3s while frolicking in the sea.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

7:52 AM - Indefensible

Most of the pre-match chatter for United's encounter against Blackburn concerned United's midfield deficiencies but it was their defence which was their undoing in a 4-3 defeat at Ewood Park.

It was sickening when United finished the first-half 3-1 down after conceding three soft goals. The first saw the ball trickle past van der Sar after he brilliantly saved a Pedersen freekick, the second was the result of poor communication between Ferdinand and the keeper and the third came via a ridiculous Wes Brown handball which resulted in a converted penalty.

I was dreading another Middlesbrough-type embarassment in the second-half when Bentley completed his hattrick after some strange defending by Neville but I was heartened by the manner with which Ferguson's men fought back. It almost looked like a stirring turnaround was in the making when van Nistelrooy poached two goals to make the scoreline more respectable by the 68th minute.

But it was not to be. Ferdinand, who had a match to forget in the centre of midfield, was put out of his misery when he was sent off towards the end and that ended any hope of salvaging a point out of the fixture.

United are now 15 points off the pace and the sad thing is they could have taken advantage when leaders Chelsea could only manage a draw for a second successive match.

United have some serious problems to overcome and the rest of the season will prove to be a real test of Ferguson's management abilities. He has talented players at his disposal but he needs to forge them into a great team worthy of the famous red jersey.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

1:33 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Warlords V design diary.
I hope the developers budgeted time and money for post-release support to avoid a Warlords Battlecry III situation.

Doctorow takes on Starforce.
This comes 18 months late but it's nice to see aggressive copy-protection schemes highlighted outside of gaming circles.

Stupid teen fad of the year (so far).

25 words that hurt your resume.
The US job market seems less picky nowadays. "Absconded", "satyriasis", "morally-flexible" and "prison" didn't make the list.

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1:32 AM - Care fore Moore?

I've finished my first read-through of "The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore." It's an entertaining book-length interview of comics' greatest writer with tributes by his collaborators.

Don't be fooled by the title, though; the most fascinating aspects of the book aren't about his works but about the man himself. His major works have been dissected elsewhere and there aren't any major revelations about them here but the man has been something of an enigma to me until this book.

The very first question, the standard when-and-where-were-you-born, leads him to relate the history of his birthplace all the way back to the times of Boudica. It's typical of his replies but fortunately for readers, he's never less than engaging at any point during the interview. I had wished more than once while reading the book someone would set up an audioblog for this man. Who wouldn't want to hear the sociopolitical viewpoints of someone who worships a snake god? Clearly, there is a niche to be filled here.

The book includes excerpts from his works and this includes unpublished scripts. I found his Maxwell the Magic Cat strip the most jarring of the lot. How does one reconcile a Peanuts-Garfield amalgamation with Watchmen and V for Vendetta? But then Moore is remarkably versatile. Rivetting neurotics-in-tights fare one minute and an exposť of the CIA the next.

The photos of his formative years are great (I loved his amusing captions) and I suspect more than a few fans might be startled to discover he wasn't born with a shaggy beard. Some of the more recent ones are initially odd (what is with the poses?) but the one thing you'll take away from the book is the realisation he's a performance artist who always seems to be performing. Whether it's his fashion, his poses, his writing or his music, it's all art and thus an opportunity to be creative.

There's a bibliography at the end of the book and as a fan, it is simultaneously dejecting and exhilarating to find there's huge amount of his writing that I haven't read yet. I expect I'll be spending most of 2006 acquiring reading Moore material.

If you're a fan, you probably have this book. If you're not, I can only imagine it's because you haven't actually read any of his major works. Seek them out. When you're done reading and have been converted, I expect you'll want to know more about the writer. At that point, get this book.

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