Deviant Feature:humawinghangin

JIm's  excellent 'Darna' sculpt
Jim's Cobra Commander 
Today's DeviantArtist feature is one of the premier comics scupltors around; Jim Faustino a.k.a. 'humawinghangin'. Jim primarily works on custom comics figures and statues and one of the few out there who focuses on local komiks characters. Let's hear what he has to say for himself and his work: 

Rai's Garage: First off, what’s your real name? Can you tell us that or would you stick to your DA persona?
humawinghangin: Jim Faustino.

Rai's Garage: Tell us something about yourself:  age, occupation, country of origin, other hobbies/interests beyond DA etc.

humawinghangin: I’m old enough. :D/ currently working as offshore illustrator for web consumption(Philippine based).My interests include sculpting, painting, drawing, customizing toys, collecting toys, comics and  sci-fi movies

Shooting Black Rocks

Black Rock Shooter's (B★RS) getting a lot of love lately. The Hatsune Miku vocaloid spin-off series recently got their own video game and soon,its own TV anime (not that the one-shot OVA explained anything though).

Jump for the game's action packed intro CG:

Cardboard Combat: Runewars

The board, on my side

 Been on a board gaming roll these past few weeks. It all started when one of my buds bought A Game of Thrones (which I also wrote about) which we never got enough of.

The past weekend, another buddy of ours, BadBeef, invited us for some more board gaming. We originally planned for it as a sleep-over but due to some circumstances, we only have a day for it. Only 2 (me and my best bud) of us made it to Beef's place but heck 3 dude's the minimum for any large scale board game.
'Beef: "I come for your pepperoni!"

So there we were at 'Beef's place which was just perfect for a small gathering of gaming nuts. Good thing his wifey doesn't mind and we get to see their new baby girl which was like a mini version of 'Beef himself. Upon sitting on their den's table, we were presented with a number of games to try out including Star Craft BG, War for Westeros BG, Puerto Rico etc but 'beef proposed we play Runewars as apparently it was the 'easiest' to set up and play at that time.

Or so we thought.

Deviant Feature: Cherryred5

On to our next DeviantArt feature, this time for the deviant known as Cherryred5. Here's what he has to say for himself and about his work:

Rai's Garage (RG): First off, what’s your real name? Can you tell us that or would you stick to your DA persona?
Cherryred5: My name is Timothy Claeys, not really a secret. Cherryred5 is just a combo of nicknames. But not important at all. In games my nickname is Cyberator.

Rai's Garage (RG): Tell us something about yourself: age, occupation, country of origin, other hobbies/interests beyond DA etc.
Cherryred5: I just turned 23 years old. I’m born in Belgium and still live there. I was a shopkeeper in jewelry and watches, also repaired watches. But now I do not have a job, but doing volunteer work. I’m a Jehovah’s witness. So religion is very important to me. So I do volunteer work to help people understanding the Bible. Most of my hobbies can you see on DA. Unless sleeping is also a hobby :p

Rai's Garage (RG):  What do you normally post in DA?
Cherryred5: I post pictures of my Gunpla, figures,… Nice looking photo’s, drawings,… stuff that I do/make.

Rai's Garage (RG): How did you know of DA?
Cherryred5: A friend of mine was on DA and said that I have to join too. So I did!

Super Sentai Savvy Part 2: Hikari Sentai Maskman

 After Bioman, the next big thing in Super Sentai here was Hikari Sentai Maskman (Light Taskforce Maskman).

Maskman (1987) was shown about a couple of years after Bioman in the local airwaves, in which case 2 other previous Super Sentai shows Changeman and Flashman were skipped. Most of us thought that  it was a sequel for Bioman but it turned out to be  a different show altogether. Maskman was a huge departure from the usual Super Sentai formula as it is a lot grittier and more grounded than most Super Sentai shows. The plot revolves more on the characters' dilemma and not just on beating the monster-of-the-week, giving it a broader audience than other shows of its type.

Maskman introduced a lot of epic elements not quite found in previous shows. First, it started out with a one hour special episode which established the main plot points: the arrival of the Underground Empire Tube, the Maskman's origins (they started out as a racing team) and the romance between Takeru/Red Mask (Michael Joe in the local version) and Mio/Princess Ial (Rio). It also introduced a number of 'firsts' : the first 'extra' member for a Super Sentai, in the guise of X-1 Mask (which appeared in just one episode),the first team to have two team weapons, and the first to have each member with a personal machine.

The show also stands out because of its plot turns and twists, something unheard of in Super Sentai in a long time. Shows like JAKQ and Goggle V were a bit serious, shying off some of the younger audiences back then. This is the reason why Maskman was hailed as having one of the more 'balanced' plots showing a good mix of action, humor and a love angle for good measure. The fight scenes were more fluid and coordinated that its predecessors for one. The Takeru/Mio love angle is ever present. And humor is supplied by characters like Anagmas and Okerampa, the latter still being the target of vulgar references up to now by fans of the show.

A lot of fans attest to Maskaman's enduring legacy. Much more are even glad that it was not included into the Power Ranger mythos for fear of it being ruined (we're looking at you VR Troopers!). Even today, a fan would just sing the Opening and Ending theme at random and a discussion about it would initiate more often than not. 

And speaking of the Tagalog dubbed OP and ED themes: 


Gokaigers, we're waiting for you to meet up with them!

Aura Power!

Freedom to Mars

Zone of the Enders (Z.O.E.) is a rare gem, panned by many but hailed by a lot more to be a Kojima masterpiece. Zone of the Enders (Z.O.E.) took a mecha fan boy's dream of piloting a giant robot to do battle with hordes of enemy's coming from all sides. 'High Speed Robot Action' was the game's tag line and it didn't disappoint.

And it seems like Zone of the Enders (Z.O.E.) is enjoying a sort or revival in days past. After about a decade out of the  limelight, Konami has announced HD rendtions of Z.O.E. I and II which is great news for fans such as myself who played the 2 main games and the GBA tactical game 'Z.O.E.: Fist of Mars'. And just recently, there's also rumors that there's going to be a new Z.O.E. game for the 3DS, as hinted by a tweet by none other than Hideo Kojima himself.

On the merchandise side, there's been a Revoltech Jehuty release early this year, one of the most anticipated figure releases in recent memory because there's never been an affordable and readily available figure of the said Orbital Frame in years. And there's more reason to celebrate as Kotobukiya announced a plastic model version of, not just Jehuty, but it's sister unit Anubis as well.  The Jehuty plamo will be available late this year.

Great news for a great game. Now, all we need is 3rd installment for it right?

Super Sentai Savvy Part 1

I'm loving Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger right now. It's that kind of show that brings a fan to tears out of sheer nostalgia. But before them, there were the Super Sentai of old.

I remember watching Bioman when I was in elementary. Our weekends back then comprised of  Saturday morning cartoons, Uncle Bob's Lucky 7 Club and the usual Famicom sessions at a friend's house. And of course prime time Super Sentai and tokusatsu shows with  Bioman, Masked (Kamen) Rider Black and Shaider forming the trinity. Let's leave Kamen Rider and Metal Heroes for another day and talk about Super Sentai first.

Super Sentai are the equvalent of super hero groups of the West. 'Sentai' roughly translated means 'task force'. Bioman was my (and for other people my age) first foray on Super Sentai. I heard Goranger was first aired but never caught steam because there were few TV sets available back then. Bioman was the first to be big in a sense that it was the only Super Sentai show at that time. It was a breathe of fresh air and even though there were other great '80's cartoons back then, Bioman was a world apart.

Typically a super sentai show flows like this: the arch villain hatches a nefarious but often silly plan to conquer the world like building a theme park to enslave children or using pollen to spread some sort of disease.  The heroes respond, change into their color-coordinated suits and battle the villain's minions with their arsenal of personal and team weapons/techniques. The minions get beaten, but it doesn't end there.  The minions are almost always accompanied by a monster-of-the-week which the team beats but then the said monster is transformed into a giant  version of itself.This is when the team summons and boards their giant robot to do battle with the monster-of-the-week. The heroes' robot does its finishing move and the heroes win, leaving the villain cringing and vowing to get the heroes another day.

Bioman follows that formula but has an engaging main plot that many consider to be one of the best fro any Super Sentai series. Up to this day, whenever my friends and other acquaintances reminisce, one way or another, Bioman comes up and it'll be a topic for a while in our conversations. Things like "Hey, remember that episode when Yellow Four died?" or "Remember when Peebo was kidnapped?" were the stuff of nostalgia. There were even times when a not-so-close colleague wouldget involved and eventually get bonded because of Super Sentai.
More of old Super Sentai in another installment!

Deviant Feature: PoisonRemedy

Alright so starting today, Rai's Garage will be featuring artists (more commonly known as 'deviants')from showcasing their works and links to their blogs and DA galleries. we'll start with the deviant known as PoisonRemedy.

PoisonRemedy plamo works include hard-to-find and little known mecha plamo. He usually works with grunt units from the Gundam franchise particularly in the Universal Century timeline though he has other works from the more recent timelines and other mecha franchises as well. He has a distinct style that blends old and new school painting and modeling techniques not quite seen in other modelers. Checkout some of his works below:

Rem's Den'an Zan from Gundam F91

Rem's Hardygun also from F91

Buster Beams in Blu-Ray

 Aim for the Top! Gunbuster's blu-ray's out and it's all too exciting!

The definitive Gainax giant robot masterpiece (aside from Neon Genesis Evangelion) gets the High Def-and-extras  treatment this time around. I remember watching Gunbuster on VHS during my college years and I was all fired up with all that 'hard work and guts' coming from Noriko. For me, Gunbuster defined what anime space drama is with the epic space battles just there as background.

The BD will be available in regular and complete formats. Aside from all that Buster Beam spamming in HD and 5.1 surround, the BD will pack  a new short movie, new audio commentary, and a 16-page booklet, video shorts "Harumi & Yumiko's Good Morning, Oki-Jo!", "AD 2032.7.23 Sentō Chūiki cosmic battle space orbit of Halley's comet," all five "Science Lessons," "Sizzler Project," and tons of video previews for both the regular and complete editions.

The complete edition however will include a 115-minute bonus extras disc (which includes: the untrimmed original version episode 6, the rough telecine transfer version of episode 5 t, footage from the video magazine Denei Teigoku, footage from the VHD magazine Anime Vision, a collection of production materials (still frames), and  video footage from the earlier Gunbuster Perfect release's bonus extras disc with video commentary from the staff and cast. Also included is an exclusive 100-page booklet featuring  production materials,early image boards, and other items.

Aim for the Top! Gunbuster's BD is truly a significant Gainax release in years and here's hoping they follow up with Aim for the Top 2! Diebuster in the near future.

Where's my Nono?
Sourced from the Anime News Network.

We need a plamo of Dai-X

Correct me if there is one already, but we are in dire need of a Dai-X plamo.

Dai-X is the giant robot from the series X-Bomber, more popularly known as Starfleet outside Japan. A gist of the story: an alien empire is out to invade the Earth and it is up to the rag tag crew of the X-Bomber to stop them. All the while intrigue abounds as the (enemy) Empire looks for the mysterious 'F-01' to be used for their nefarious schemes. Overall a great SF show that used 'super maroination' along the lines of Thunderbirds. It gained a cult following in England and in some parts of Asia.

Back to Dai-X. It's Starfleet's trump card against the Empire and is comprised of 3 interlocking fighter ships piloted by the show's hero trio: Shiro, Barry and John. Whenever the X-bomber is on a tight situation, the dudes form up Dai-X and proceeds to stomp Empire ass to the other end of the galaxy. Mecha has long been a staple of super marionation shows but giant robots, especially Dai-X are one of a kind. In fact, i don't recall any other super marionation show that featured another giant robot at all!

For some, Dai-X seemed to be run-of-the-mill giant robot fare with his gattai (combination) sequence,weapons and such, but the show made it extra special. Dai-X's docking sequence had a lot of detail put into it, quite impressive for something out of robot anime shows. Then again, Dai-X was designed by the great Go Nagai himself, which may be a big surprise for those just discovering the show.

I remember Starfleet being shown in the late afternoon slot during weekdays, I'd rush home from school to catch all that '80's cartoon fare and being a kid back then,I have always wanted a Dai-X robot for my own. There were a number of Gokins (metal action figures) and plastic toys of Dai-X and as was in those days, they were hard to come by. Especially if the show is not that popular. And will all the 70's, 80's and 90's robot toy and kit revivals happening left and right from major toy and model kit lines, shouldn't it be time for a plastic kit of Dai-X as well?

Nod if you agree with me here.

I'll leave you with a video of Brian May singing the ending theme for Starfleet. Yes, THE Brian May OF Queen. He's a huge fan of the show and this is his way of returning the favor to all the good memories it brought about. Also check out SFXB a great fansite for all things Starfleet. They've been up since 2002 and has been the authority for Starfleet in the interwebs ever since.

Playing the Game of Thrones

Westeros,in all it's cardboard glory.
I had my reservations when I first saw the Game of Thrones board game. I'm a an of the books (and the recent TV series as well) and I was kind of worried that it might not capture the feel of the books.

Turns out that the A Game of Thrones (AGoT) board game does measureup to the novels and captures it's essence wholly. I had a chance to play the game with a couple of my friends in a cafe recently as one of them bought a basic set online for a steal (half the current price on online auctions).

In a nutshell, the AGoT basic board game is well-designed and a lot of fun to play with instead of being draggy like other boardgames. The game puts you in the boots of a warlord for one of the five (initial) Great Houses: Baratheon, Stark, Lannister, Tyrell and Greyjoy. Each of the Great Houses have their own strengths and weaknesses reflected in their stat cards and initial status in the game. First off, aesthetics. The board is big without being bulky and the various counters and other sundries are packed by House. The pieces are made of wood, reminiscent of old Risk sets which is higly appreciated in my book. I like plastic pieces though but for AGoT, the choice of wood just nails the medieval fantasy feel of the novels. The illustrations are top-notch but kind feels too gloomy with all the dark colors running through the graphics.

Lannisters cornered!
In terms of game play, AGoT is surprisingly fast and furious. I expected a game would last 2 hours but with only 10 turns and an alternate winning condition that would make things quicker, AGoT does not drag at all. It plays without dice reducing the bulk of the board; instead it makes use of various action counters and icons for combat and other game play elements. Combat might have been standard boradgame wargame though the addition of Wildling attacks make the game more chaotic. Politics is represented by event cards pulled out per turn with players lobbying for favor using the consolidate points they earn.

A Game of Thrones plays well and I can say that it is one of the best boardgames around today. As for us, we're looking forward to further the experience by acquiring the expansion boards as well.

Cardboard Valyrian Steel and the THRONE!!!
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