Every gunpla nerd is required to make a pilgrimage to the 1/1 scale Unicorn Gundam statue in Odaiba, Tokyo. It was finally my turn this time. I went in the afternoon and the Unicorn remained in Unicorn mode the whole time. I do believe it only activates Destroy mode every 2 hours starting from 11am with a lightshow in the evening.
Standing at around 18 meters, it is seriously imposing and I love all the little details that were replicated right down to the small warning markings which are now life-sized of course.
I really should have come when it was the more iconic RX-78-2 on display but this is 1 more of my to-do list checked off. On to the next one!
Ahhh Akihabara, otaku central of Tokyo. Games, electronics, maid cafes and of course, anime and manga products can all be found here. If you’re a scale modeler, you have to visit Akihabara if only to be amazed by the size of the selections offered in the shops. But any self-respecting geek would get at least one thing here. 😀
So I brought my toy car geek kid to Akihabara on 2 evenings and we hit 3 shops here.
TamTam Hobby Shop (Google maps)
TamTam Hobby Shop is a bit of a walk from Akihabara Station but we made the walk because it has one of the bigger toy car sections in Akihabara. The scale model section is not large and it doesn’t offer tax refund but I find the prices to be quite competitive.
Yellow Submarine (Google maps)
If you have a bit of time to browse, I think this is the best bet. The kit prices are lower than Yodobashi Camera although I think the prices for the tools are higher. What sets this shop apart from the other 2 are racks and racks of loose parts in ziplock bags. Need some specific part or weapon for your custom gunpla/sci-fi builds? This is it.
The shop is a bit hard to find since there’s no signage outside the building, but you can’t miss it once you find it: it takes up the whole of the 7th floor of the building. Another plus is AmiAmi is on the 5th floor in the same building so you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
Yodobashi Camera (Google maps)
Yodobashi Camera is the store you need to go if you have a limited time to spend for hobby shopping. The toy section covers a whole floor and dwarves both Yellow Submarine and TamTam Hobby Shop’s space combined. Looking for Gunpla? I dare say Yodobashi stocks all of them. They also have a big selection of military kits and has a whole wall of tools to gawk at and hoard.
One plus is it also sells regular toys for kids. They also offer in-store tax refund if you spend more than JPY 5,000.
So what did I get? Not as much as expected. I only bought stuff that I felt I wouldn’t be able to easily get here in Jakarta (as per SOP). The price of the airbrush was too hard to resist though. Interesting that the kits are all from 1980s anime licenses. Yeah I’m old.
While finishing my Italeri 1/48 A-36 Apache, I decided to go ahead and paint up a pilot figure so I can use it as a size reference. It’s what I have been doing with my 1/72 modern pilot. This WWII pilot figure comes from the Hasegawa 1/48 WWII Pilot Figure Set. The instructions simply say ‘US pilot’ so I’m not sure if this represents a USAAF or USN pilot. I think it’s the latter though. In any case, this is the only option for a US pilot.
The details are decent but nothing to shout home about. Clean up however was minimal.
First I sprayed a base coat of black.
Then I sprayed white at a 45 degree angle from above. This simulates the Sun as the light source so I immediately get some highlights and shadows.
The basic colors are then handpainted. Some of the highlights and shadows can still be seen which is what we want.
Then I washed the figure with Army Painter Warpaints Soft Tone for the flesh with Army Painter Warpaints Dark Tone and Citadel Shade Nuln oil for the rest.
Once the washes have cured, I went back in to add highlights using the same basic colors.
The end result is… decent for an hour’s work. But it doesn’t look half bad posed with a plane so I’m more than happy with it.
The box comes with RAF, IJA/IJN and Luftwaffe pilots too so there’ll be more practice to come.
Candy Toys are toys/model kits packaged with a piece of candy or gum and sold in supermarkets. Usually there will be 3-5 different models in the same box design so you have to hunt through the racks to get the one you want. I used to buy these as a kid from Japanese supermarkets. The candy is arbitrary really because the main event is building the toy inside the box.
In the last few years Bandai has started releasing the robots from Super Sentai for their Super Mini-pla line which are basically candy toys. Now, you simply buy the whole set in one go so no more rummaging in supermaket aisles needed though I’ve always thought that was part of the fun. Anyway, they’ve released quite a few Super Sentai robots so far:
Pictures from Hobby Search
And they look great: they are articulated and can be split into their component parts just like their TV and toy counterparts. I also think that they visually strike a nice balance between looking like proper mecha and the ‘guy in a plastic robot suit’ look.
Thing is though, Bandai has a habit of dropping a line abruptly. Just look at Super Robot Chogokin, which promised to be articulated non-transforming (mostly) metal robot toys. They also released a few Super Sentai robots for this line. But the line has stopped years ago after just releasing 4 of them.
I’ve always liked the idea of having a display of Sentai robots in my collection but I think the chances of Bandai releasing all of them as Super Mini-pla is actually quite slim since there are so many of them (this list I linked doesn’t even include the secondary robots).
However, this does make it relatively easier to not start collecting the line. 🙂
So I visited the UK earlier in June and I made sure to visit a Games Workshop store. Lucky for me there was one near the hotel I was staying at. Even better was the opening hours: they are open till 10pm every Monday-Saturday.
The store wasn’t big. But it was packed with people, products and display! They didn’t offer the full line of products but there were more than enough choice for both Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar. There was also a wall with the complete line of Citadel paints and tools. If you have more than 24 hours to spare, they also offered the service to order web-exclusive items and have the them shipped to the shop for collection. Nice.
There were tables set up for folks to do figure painting and play games. The store was also filled with very nicely painted figures.
I could ogle at these for hours but my son and I only had about 45 minutes to spare there.
More stash stuffers although only the Dreadnaught was mine. I resisted many of the bigger items (like the Imperial Knights which went for 100 GBP) since we had limited luggage space as usual.
Definitely an eye opening experience!