Tuesday, February 28, 2006


If you like F-toys helicopters, this piece from Platz and F-toys may impress you. However, these are model kits, not pre-painted trading kits. You can get the decal as shown in the picture as well as in the Japanese manga I talked the other day. You can also get some etched parts for details. 1470 yen for 2 is not cheap.

Alternatively, if you have some spare money and like sci-fi stuffs, here is a piece from B-Club. A missile attacker in Gundam. Same as other resin kit, it's very pricey. 10290 yen. For a 1/144 kit, I think it's too much.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Battle of Kawanaka Island

I came across the photo to the left the other day when I was browsing the Wonder Festival pictures. I was so impressed.

If you are a wargamer and also like the samurai era in Japan or if you have watched the movie "Heaven & Earth" (1990) and were impressed by the battle scene in the movie. You should not miss this series - "Battle of Kawanaka Island". The battle was fought between Takeda and Uesugi in 1562.

You can get more pictures and info here. In summary, one out of 10 boxes, you have a chance to get from a General to 9 foot soldiers. The good thing is if you can measure the weight of each box by hand, you probably can guess which one is just a General and which one contains soldiers. So, it won't cause you a fortune to build an army. Although I'm not a wargamer but I found it interesting so I'll give it a try. May be I will buy couple big boxes to build 2 armies.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Furuta - World SL account of the Trip

Couple days ago, I mentioned about the Furuta train. I put it together with the 1/144 from Dragon Cando to compare the size between these two. Although the locomotive claimed to be 1/130 but it seems it's smaller than the 1/144.

I'm a bit disappointed. So my search for a steam engine is still not finished. May be I will get an n scale engine from Liliput or Fleischmann. For this Furuta series, there is one BR03 in 1/200 which I think was widely used during WWII in Germany. However, it's 1/200 so it doesn't fit my requirement.

Putting my requirement aside, these little engines look pretty cute and if you're a train lover, you shouldn't miss them (my 3 year old son who is a Thomas lover and he keeps asking me to give him this engine to play). There is a second series from Furuta but most of them are engines used in Japan only. For more pictures, please lick here.

Back to the Wonder Festival 2006, here are more pictures from Takara and F-Toys.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dragon Cando Jagdpanzer Series

Here is a picture on the Cando Jagdpanzer series from Modelstories. More on BD99's site.

3/4/2006 Update : Dragon US has published the release date for these to be in April , 2006 in the US. I think it's a welcomed surprise to me as normally Cando tanks are released in Japan couple months before the US release.

Cafereo Bigbird - update 2

Sorry. I didn't read the text on the front page yesterday. It said only 2 models and each in 3 colors. Sad.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cafereo Bigbird - updated

Cafereo has updated the Bigbird page. Now we know the line-up includes 2 - B-24J (silver and green) and 2 Japanese Type-1 attack bomber (both are green). I'm wondering what else will be offered. A Ju-88, He-111 or a Do 17 will be nice.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

N scale Locomotives ?

I have spent some time looking for a locomotive to accompany the latest K5 and other train accessories from Draon Cando. I tried to buy one from Furuta. It claimed to be 1/130 but when I put it together with the Cando 1/144, it was smaller. So I think in fact it looked like 1/160 rather than 1/130.

I also saw many N scale offers in Europe from Roco or Liliput,...etc (like the one shown in picture). But they are very expensive - around $200+ each. I know these are running models but before I place an order, I would like to check if anyone has compared these to Cando offers? Do they match? Trains model are new to me so which company has the best offers. Does anyone know?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal

Sorry no news today as I'm still celebrating a great win!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pro-Hobby - German Infantry

Here is another set I received together with the Pink Panther. The German Infantry from pro-hobby. I think the poses look alike those early Arifix 1/72 German figures. Same as the Pink Panther, these were made of metal. The painting was very good and the sculpting is clean with a lot of details. I think the only complaint is the number of figure is too few, just 4. More pictures later.

Regarding the Wonder Festival, thanks for BD99 to provide this link or this link which you can find some WTM 09 pictures as well as the next Famous Planes of the World Series #3. Check them out.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pro-Hobby - Land Rover (Pink Panther)

Here is what I received couple days ago - the pink panther from Pro-hobby. The quality is better than I expected. I thought it was made of resin. It is actually made of metal. It will be nice if I can find some British soldiers to ride on it. More pictures later.

F-toys Special - Wonder Festival 2006 Winter

Here are the F-toys specials on sale in Wonder Festival. Check this link.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Wonder Festival 2006 (Winter)

So far, I haven't found any pictures related to 1/144 military trading kits from the Wonder Festival. Here is a link with some pictures from the festival but as usual, Wonder Festival is mainly used for resin garage kit sellers such as Kaiyodoo, not much news on the military front. F-Toys does have a booth and news is that a WWII Warbird series will be release in May and the Helibourne Collection 3 will be released in June. The line up of the Helibourne Collection includes the Ka-50, UH-50, AS365 and the V-22.

Model Graphix March 2006

I had a chance to take a look at the March Model Graphix today. The last page is the misery picture which we saw the FAMO and the Puma shown in the background of a Chi-ha. I don't quite understand what the article really said but it seems it was about the editor had paid a visit to Kaiyodo. Many things has been censored so you don't really know what they were looking at. The only things you see is a Pz IB which I think will be included in WTM10. Together with the Chi-ha, it sounds like a series of light tanks. However, the FAMO and Puma looked like resin kits I saw before so I think we jumped the gun wishing these were WTM10 items. If they were, it's too good to be true. Hopefully someone has more info or actually has read the article can correct me.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Front Mission Trading Arts Plus - Stage 2

I'm sorry if you think it's off topic. When I was checking the Cafereo big-birds, I found these - Front Mission Trading Arts (Figures) Stage 2. If you also play computer games, you may know what "Front Mission" is. For those who don't know, basically you works as a mercenary and then you will receive bonus when you finish some missions so you can upgrade your fighting machine. So it's fight and upgrade, fight and upgrade,... .... Although I haven't played it for a long time, I remember it was fun. On the other hand, if your only interest is military and Gundam is not your cup of tea, these sci-fi robots all have a military look so you may change your opinion on sci-fi figures.

I bought the stage 1 last year and I think they were very cool. I'm not sure about the scale as it didn't mention on the the box, I think they were closer to 1/72. You can check more stage 1 pictures in my web. The stage 2 will soon be released in Japan. Interesting point is stage 1 was released by a company called OOPARTS but it changes to Cafereo for stage 2. Are these 2 the same company?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fujimi 1/144 Dora Railway Gun

Here is a link to the Fujimi Dora page. There are quite a few pictures of the kit itself. Interesting is from the bottom right of the boxart, you can see "Metal????". Is it the same gun from Metal Troops? I think so as the logo pretty much like the one of Metal Troops and Fujimi also distributes Metal Troops tanks in Japan and the serial # MT-9511 is similar to those of Metal Troops.

Dragon Cando Blitzkrieg Pz II vs WTM and Popy

I have just completed loading pictures of the Blitzkrieg series to my web. Here is the link.

I also compared them to what have been released before. The interesting subject I found was around the Panzer II. Althought Popy and Takara both released a Panzer II before, all three (together with the latest Dragon offer) were different versions.

The first picture shows (from left to right) the Pz. II D/E from Popy, Pz II F from Takara and the Pz II B from Dragon. Compared these to the reference book I have, I found they were pretty accurate. The II F was more an improved version of II B so there were more similarities between these two. The superstructure of II F was simplified. The new cupola shown in the II F actually can be found in some II B after an improvement kit was released in Oct, 1940. As you can see from the picture, the II D/E actually had a different designed hull, superstructure and suspension, but the turrent remained the same as the II B.
As shown in the left picture, the Pz II D/E on top had 4 big road wheels to replace the 5 smaller wheels in B or F. The return rollers were deleted. This Pz II D/E was not a mass produced model as only 43 were produced. However, it fits perfectly to Popy which normally only released experimental tanks in its Projekt Panzer series.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dragon Cando - Buy from Japan or wait for the US version

If you're new to this 1/144 world, you may have a question whether you should buy from Japan or wait for the US version. From my experience, I prefer to wait and buy here in the United States.

The price of one Cando tank in Japan is yen380, which is around US$3.5. One big box has 15 tanks and you normally get 1-2 complete sets in one big box. One carton has 8 big boxes. It comes to 120 tanks in 1 carton. Normally you can get 4 special (in 4 big boxes) in one carton. It's kind of risky if you buy big boxes not one carton as there is no guarantee how many specials you can get. The total cost of 1 carton then is 45,600 yen. After adding the shipping or wholesale discount (not much for these trading kits), you may still need to pay 60000 yen plus for one carton which is around usd 550+.

If I buy from the US, the price is US3.95 each with 12 tanks in one big boxes. 4 big boxes is one carton. So you only need to pay around $200 (the shipping and wholesale discount normally offset each otehr) for 48 tanks from one carton. You normally get 2 specials in one carton. So, in average, you get 1 in 24 tanks and that's where the 4% comes from. In other words, in order to get 4 specials like you purchase from Japan, you only need to buy 96 and not 120. So, you get a better deal.

As I mentioned above, you normally pay more than 60000Yen for 120 tanks from Japan. I think each tank will cost $5+ if you buy from Japan. And you normally need to pay only $4 for each tank in the US. In addition, you get a display box as a bonus if you buy from the U.S. So, you should know where to buy from, right?

Last but not least, the US version is sealed in the blister rather than a blind box. You don't need to open the box in order to know what's inside. For me, I keep all the specials sealed in the blister as I think it will have a better value. You can't do the same for Japan imports.

I'm getting old so I'm more patient. I normally just wait for the US releases. However, if you don't want to buy the whole carton, the above analysis does not apply to you as I think the price is pretty much similar for the same tank no matter it's from the Japan or US. The only thing impacts the price is just supply and demand. Please feel free to let me know if you find any errors in my analysis above. Talk to you again tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

F-toys F-toys F-toys F-toys F-toys

As I mentioned the other day, F-toys is my favorite. Today, there is a rumor in Asia that the above B-24 will be the next 1/144 release from F-toys. From the above picture, it looks very promising. The problem is, although I have already scaled down my collection from 1/72 to 1/144, I think my home will running out of space soon. Here is the link.

The second news from F-toys is another plane releases on JASDF. The line up includes F-2A (Japan's home made F-16 clone but much more powerful), F-4EJ, T-2 & F-104J. Where is the F-15J?

It would be nice if F-toys enters the armor market. There was a HMV in the Helibourne Series #2 which I'm still wondering if F-toys wants to use it to test the market or not. Compared it to the Konami JGSDF #3, I think overall I prefer the Konami HMV but the F-toys one is not bad either. So I think if F-toys can focus on what Dragon or Takara has not touched so far and gives us some nice armors, I'll be among the first to place a pre-order. Keep on dreaming... ...


I have just spent my whole night making changes to the look of my home page again. Please take a look and let me know how you think. Thanks for checking. I'll update this blog again tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dragon Cando Blitzkrieg Series / F-Toys / (Heller/Fujimi)Dora

Cando Blitzkrieg Series
I mentioned the new Pz III or Pz IV in the Blitzkrieg Series looks better. I don't know if Dragon has really cleaned the mold or just did a better paint job. All details are more clean and visible. The picture to the left is a Pz III from original Pz III Series (left) and another one from the Blitzkrieg Series (right). You may not see the differences from the picture but you can feel the differences when you are holding the real tanks. More details will follow.

I also received couples of F-Toys planes last week. As mentioned in a response yesterday, F-Toys is now one of my favorite 1/144 manufacturers. This is just one of the pictures I took on the Sea Plane series.

Regarding the Dora, BD99 has found a link to the Fujimi web which mentioned the kit has been released on February 10. The price, yen 8400, to me, is quite reasonable. It's around 1/10 of the price of the pre-painted resin offer from Metal Troops. I think I'll take one of this un-assembled kit. The best thing is if it's released by Fujimi, I think it's much easier to get one from any on-line sellers.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

1/144 F-4S Kit from Cafereo

Here is a link to the 1/144 kit from Cafereo. Should be based on the one released before.

Poll result so far

Above is the poll result on the "what do you want" poll. No more voting in the last few days so I try to pump it up as I would like to keep this poll alive as long as possible. If there is no more vote for a certain period, the poll will be deleted. So if you are new to this blog or you haven't voted yet, please spend a minute to vote so we can keep this poll as long as possible. The poll can be found on the right hand side of this blog.

Back to the result so far, the interesting point is although mainstream manufacturers keep producing more German Panzers, it is the leaset wanted item on the list. Something for Dragon to think about.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dragon Cando Blitzkrieg Series

I have unpacked my carton of Cando Blitkrieg series. The first impression is ok. It seems Dragon has cleaned up the mold for the Panzer III and Panzer IV. More details during the weekendas I'm still working on the pcitures. Till tomorrow.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

1/144 Dora from Heller

I missed this big gun yesterday when I checked the Nürnberg 2006 photos in this site. IIRC, there was one resin prebuilt and prepainted kit sold in Japan not long ago. But the price I think was around Yen100K. This time Heller releases this in kit form I think I can afford it. Here is the link of the source picture. Hope they don't mind I re-post the picture here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More Cando Blitzkrieg Series & Metal Troops AS-90

Cando Blitzkrieg Series
I have just received my order of Blitzkrieg Series from Dragon Cando. Since I need to spend some time to unpack it, so I just show you some pictures which I haven't showed before.

Metal Troops AS-90
Here are a couple more pictures of the AS-90 which I mentioned couple days ago. As usual, the tank comes with a display box. This display box personally I think it's a bit too big. It's about the same size of a 1/72 tank such as those from Dragon Armor. To me, I think the size like those from Cando is better as you may easily running out of space to display or store if every single 1/144 has a display box like these Metal Troops offers.

As I mentioned the other day, the tank is very well sculpted. These two pictures can show you both sides of the tank. One thing I don't quite understand is why Metal Troops picked a pose where the gun barrel looks like is firing a round but it's actuall resting on the lock. I think the Dragon with the gun in full recoil makes more sense if a gun is not firing. I'm not an armor expert so please correct me if I'm wrong.

By the way, if you haven't seen it, my fellow blogger BD99 has some info about the 1/144 panzer crews from Presier. Check it out. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Can you believe it?

Will you buy it? The picture above is the CH-47 special from F-Toys which only 300 were produced for lucky draw winners. It's painted as one shown in JASDF 50th Anniversary. There was one just sold in Yahoo! Auction for Yen 15,000.

Monday, February 06, 2006

AS-90 - Panzer Korps vs Metal Troops

I bought the Panzer Korps AS-90 lately at a discounted price so it was a very good deal to me. Since Dragon has not released it in Cando so that's the only option you have to get an AS-90. Of course, if you have a bigger budget, you can always go for the resin one from Metal Troops but it's about 10 times more expensive.

To be honest, I think the one from Metal Troops looks better. Its scuplting is clean with a lot of details. You can also get a lot of accessories as well. As shown in the picture to the right, I think overall this is a very nice kit even from Metal Troops standards.

On the other hand, the Panzer Korps is not bad at all. The sculpting may be is not as good as Metal Troops but the quality is good. I think this is a newer kit from Dragon as the tracks can be removed (which was a new design after Popy had released the Projekt Panzer this way, all tanks sculpted ealier are molded wheels and tracks together).

If you are a wargamer, for sure you should go for the Panzer Korps. The price of 1 Metal Troops tank is around US$25 which is about 10 times the price of the Pazer Korps. If I give a full mark 5 stars to Metal Troops, I think the Panzer Korps can get a 4.5 stars. Click here to access my web for more pictures.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I'm back

Hi I'm back. But I'm still tired after driving home from Lake Tahoe to Bay Area on Saturday. So I just plan to give you a heads-up on the AS-90 from Panzer Korps which I put together the other day. I also have some shots comparing it to the Metal Troops AS-90 which I bought last year. I think I got a cold from Tahoe. Hope I have more energy tomorrow to post all the details.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sd. Kfz 234/2 Puma from Toropo / Rescue Wings

Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma
I'll be on vacation until Saturday so probably you won't see any posts until then. Before I leave, if you haven't seen it, the picture to the left is a Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma from Toropo san in Japan. I like Toropo san's works a lot as they are very detail. The casting is clean (as they are resin kits). The re-production from Pro-hobby is not as clean as the original. I don't know when they will be on sales. Will let you guys know later. You can check more details here.

Rescue Wings
I have just watched the first episode of the Rescue Wings. The story line so far is ok, nothing surprised me. It's about a new guy going to the JMSDF joining the Rescue Team in a small town. Anyway, it's just the first episode. However, I was impressed by all the planes or choppers. I think they are CG but compared to some other Cg released previously, this time all planes look pretty real but fit into the background nicely.

In many cases, the people overdid the CG so that the CG looks very real but it doesn't look like animation any more. The CG stuffs and the hand painted stuffs cannot be fitted together. As you can see from these screen shots, I think they found the balance.

The picture to the right is the UH-60 BlackHawk which the 1/144 kit will be released in the Wonder Festival by F-Toys. As a whole, it's good if you want something to kill time.