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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

10:48 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Microman Kabuto and The Bee.
Fan-customs.

Hayashi Hiroki's dolls.
His custom painted faces are stunningly realistic. Steer clear of the link if photos of dolls in various states of undress bother you.

Knitted robots.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

11:10 PM - Wings

Xevoz Runeslayer angel

A photo of a Xevoz Runeslayer with Skull Jack backpack and Storm Wing's wings.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

9:38 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Toyfare interviews Stikfas creator. [via]
"We’re going to be putting magnets into our products, motorized parts, wind-ups parts…" Re: Xevoz: "Hasbro is a huge company, so there are many examples of things that they gave up that later became big." A subtle criticism and a hint of Stikfas' future plans.

Convoy power-up.
Takara Tomy's THS-02 Convoy is getting a lot of love.

Paper robots. [via]
My favourite.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

10:06 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Convoy, convoy.
The benefit of being a popular character with toys at multiple price points.

Guild Wars Factions cinematic trailer.
Wow.

Heavy downloaders targetted. [via]
"BT is pulling the plug on around 4,000 broadband hogs because of 'excessive usage'."

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

10:31 PM - Elsewhere on the web

GamingSteve interviews Arena.net's Jeff Strain.
33.9MB MP3 file, 1 hour 14 minutes long. Two interesting Guild Wars notes: built-in voice chat is in the works and the recent problem with the economy was caused by a bad network card on a database server. The one question I wish interviewers would ask is: how solo-friendly is the upcoming Factions campaign and how many areas/missions are undoable without guildmates or a pick-up group?

"... not good mental nourishment ..."
"Won't someone think of the children?" through the ages.

"Let there be lite."
The Fall of Man.

Ask MeFi's recommended non-fiction books.
I'll second the recommendation of Gourevitch's Stories from Rwanda and I'd add Jonathan Glover's Humanity and Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

10:47 PM - Beastly

Beast Wars Skyshadow

A photo of Skyshadow from Beast Wars.

Most Beast Wars toys don't rank highly on my list of my favourite Transformers these days. (A few of them actually rank highly on my list of worst Transformers.) Though I appreciated the improved posability and interesting transformation sequences, I prefer my robot modes to look robotic rather than mutant-like. I was quite glad when vehicular alt modes were reintroduced through the Beast Machines Vehicons in 1999 and the Car Robot Cybertron in 2000.

That said, Beast Wars must be credited for reviving the then-moribund Transformers franchise. The line did very well and looking at figures like Skyshadow, it's easy to believe there was so much demand for Beast Wars toys at one point that otherwise rejected designs were approved for production.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

8:40 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Transformers' enduring appeal.
"... Takaratomy (formerly Takara) still ships an average of 1 million units per year in Japan and 5 million internationally through Hasbro, its long-standing partner." A very nice article and I expect to see more as the marketing blitz for the upcoming movie gets into full swing.

Astrotrain reformatted.
This is presumed to be part of a Transformers line inspired by classic G1 characters. I'm guessing it's meant to introduce these characters to kids in preparation for the movie. Judging by this Astrotrain prototype (which looks to be a ten dollar figure), the line will feature new designs that are informed by classic ones. If there's a Shockwave in this line, the alt mode is unlikely to be a Mazda.

ElDave's action figure gallery.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids art. [via]
Na na na, gonna have a good time.

Wikipedia's comparison of browers. [via]
I use Firefox mainly but I still fire up Opera, Internet Explorer and Off By One occasionally.

Generation Debt. [via]
"... a trio of new books has identified another looming disaster: financial insolvency among today's twenty- and thirty-somethings ... in spite of their material trappings, from iPods to Xboxes, today's young people are behind the economic eight ball."

The S.U.V. and its owner. [via]
"According to Bradsher, internal industry market research concluded that S.U.V.s tend to be bought by people who are insecure, vain, self-centered, and self-absorbed, who are frequently nervous about their marriages, and who lack confidence in their driving skills."

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Friday, March 17, 2006

11:04 PM - Double trouble

Mugenbine Mugensectadouble

A photo of Mugensectadouble, a combination of Junkstag and Ironbeetle from Bandai's Mugenbine line.

Two years after it was introduced as a replacement for Machine Robo Rescue, the Mugenbine line continues to produce new figures.

This is all the more surprising because Mugenbine does not have an anime show to promote it. As far as I know, the only marketing Bandai did was through the official site, television commercials and Plex's showcase page in Hyper Hobby magazine.

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11:03 PM - Footer flaw fix

If you've upgraded to WordPress 2.0.x, you'll notice a flaw in the Kubrick theme. Specifically, the footer is now misaligned. Click on the thumbnail below for a closer look at the flaw:

Misaligned Kubrick footer

A fix is available. Simply extract and upload the header.php, footer.php and style.css files from the RAR file linked here.

(If you don't have any software capable of extracting RAR compressed files, download the command line utility from Rarlab.)

Take note you may also have to edit the header.php file. I did so to remove the clickable text in the header since I've already set up the header image to be clickable.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

10:00 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Rosie Rosie quite contrary.
"The $13 Rosie doll was supposed to sing the 'Ring A Ring O' Roses' nursery rhyme. But at the refrain that should say 'atishoo, atishoo we all fall down,' the doll substituted a crude reference to a person's buttocks in place of 'atishoo' ... Two years ago, another Rosie doll turned up that substituted the rude term for an illegitimate child for 'atishoo' ... "

Guild Wars auction house coming.
"No eta on when it'll be done but the omission thus far is purely one of resources." And speaking of getting really good prices for items ...

ZoneAlarm privacy settings.
ZoneLabs has also provided a patch to prevent client data from being sent to its servers.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

3:12 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Lockwasher's robot creations.
My favourite. Check out his handmade toy rayguns as well.

Transformers Univesre Devastator.
A Devastator-inspired paintjob for Landfill.

Re: Arsenal vs. Liverpool.
Paul McElroy: "Never let it be said that Steven Gerrard isn't still the master of the defence-splitting pass."

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

9:03 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Interview with Richard Marcej. [via]
Back in G1 days, package art by artists like Marcej would invariably be the best depiction of a Transformers toy in any media.

Guild Wars Factions preview.
Photos from the Backstage Pass event, skill names and pictures of the new armour.

English Premier League book report.
"Wayne Rooney chose Harry Potter, in which he presumably responds to the story of an adolescent with improbable skills, but wonders why Hermione doesn't go clothes shopping more often and Harry never tells the quidditch ref to fuck off."

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Friday, March 10, 2006

10:42 PM - Take off

Xevoz Storm Wing

Another photo of a Xevoz Storm Wing.

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10:37 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Kurt Cobain action figure.
Will the figure be packaged with a shotgun accessory and a spare damaged head?

Guild Wars Factions release date. [via]
Seven whole weeks away.

"At Google, we know."

Fantasy art. [via]
An eclectic gallery featuring JPEGS of art by Alphonse Mucha, Shirow Masamune and Bruce Timm among others.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

9:04 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Poopa Troopers.
From the Not-Even-Trying Department.

Spider Hulk Spider-Man.
I haven't been a regular reader of Spider-Man comics for almost two decades so I really have to ask: What the hell?

Guild Wars Factions music. [via]
Jeremy Soule reveals his influences for the soundtrack.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

12:34 AM - For great justice!

Here are some tokusatsu-flavoured song suggestions for your listening pleasure.

Ultraman the Next ED -- Never Goodbye.
This hard rock song from the 2004 Ultraman movie was by Tak Matsumoto Group, a band comprising B'z's Matsumoto Takahiro, Mr Big's Eric Martin and Damn Yankees' Jack Blades.

Ryukendo ED -- Everybody Goes.
This new Takara-sponsored show is a little rougher around the edges and seems to have a lower budget than Toei or Toho shows but it features some nifty CG work and giggle-licious comedy. Aikawa Nanase's energetic song plays during an "Eh?"-eliciting ending sequence featuring a football set-piece.

Dekaranger -- Blue is the sky.
Going by Dekaranger, no criminal case is so complex that it can't be solved through the use of a giant robot. This song may not be "PAH-FECT," as Hayashi Tsuyoshi's Dekablue would put it, but it's surprisingly good for a character song.

Kamen Rider Hibiki ED -- Shonen Yo.
The stirring ED song for the series was a classy orchestral tune exhorting directionless youth to find their own way in life and this was the theme of the series as well.

Gransazer BGM -- Beautiful Earth (strings version).
Gransazer was a series of two halves. The first was quite good and certainly head and shoulders over typical sentai fare while the second meandered and bogged down. The background music was one of the elements that stayed cool throughout, however, and the album makes for some fun listening.

Seek them out and be sure to strike a heroic pose when you're listening to them.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

3:12 AM - Make no bones

Mega Bloks Pyrates

A photo of Skullforage, Noricorpse and Sublurker from Mega Bloks' Pyrates line.

Mega Bloks' line of magnet-powered action figures, Mag Warriors, hasn't been released locally for some reason. I could always get them through eBay but that's a really pricey method especially these days.

To give you a current example, I have to pay a total of USD51 for an action figure set costing USD13. That includes the cost of shipping the set from the US to Malaysia via airmail, the commission for the international bank draft I've made out as payment and the cost of sending the bank draft to the US via EMS to ensure the seller receives it within a week.

I expect I'll be panhandling on the streets a few decades from now.

On the plus side, I'll be the bum with the coolest toy collection.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

9:49 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Takara Tomy history exhibition.
Meant to commemorate the union of the two companies, the exhibition runs from March 2 to 21 at Parco Shibuya with another exhibition at Parco Nagoya at the end of the month. Note the side by side displays of GI Joe, Henshin Cyborg and Microman figures which is of course wholly appropriate considering how those lines are related.

Lego Metroplex. [via]

Stikfas Mecha.
More custom Stikfas here.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

10:33 PM - Grind

Xevoz Sky Grinder

A photo of Sky Grinder, a figure from the Xevoz line.

Sky Grinder was one of the cooler figure concepts in a cool line. I love the idea of a sky-surfing punk wielding dual blades as he slices and dices away in a turf war over the skies of a futuristic ghetto.

Unfortunately, the figure (or at least mine) was let down by poor manufacturing. The ball-joints -- especially those for the knees -- were far too loose making this figure as stable as Floppy McFalls-a-lot.

Close examination of the problematic joints revealed some sort of residue on the balls of the ball joints. The factory must have been aware of the poor-fitting joints and tried to layer the joints with some clear liquid (clear nail polish? glue?) in a failed attempt to mask the problem.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

10:46 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Hibiki digirama.
300yen candy toy + Reader's image manipulation = art.

Addiction and games.
It's a nice article but I wish the author had addressed the fact some games are designed to be addictive. For further reading, go here. It's a lot more complicated than the fear-mongers would have you believe.

TM Net: P2P clogging broadband.
To summarise: TM Net is surprised its customers are actually making use of their bandwidth. It's a pity the reporter neglected to ask about the quality of the company's service.

Microsoft on OS security.

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