Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Collection (so far)

So, I began Thanksgiving break this week and finally I have some free time. I've been so busy lately with school and work that I haven't had much time to blog about all the stuff I've been wanting to. The first thing I wanted to get up on my blog is some pics of my current collection. Several months ago I moved out of my family home and into my own apartment. The moment I found my apartment, I've been excited to finally be able to spread my collection out instead of how I had it in my cramped room. (sorry in advance for possible bad pictures. I have a plain point and shoot cannon camera, hopefully some day I'll acquire a nice DSLR)

Personally, I really enjoy checking out how other collectors set up all their figures. I'm always eager to check out new collection oriented posts over at figure.fm and at tsuki-board.net. I'm always inspired by how fellow collectors choose to design their setup. I've seen some amazing rooms/workspaces all over the web, and I can't wait to acquire some more money so I can improve my own setup. I have a ton of ideas, now I just need the dough. ^^ Anway, now that I've finally settled into my new place I was eager to get all my figures out of their boxes and place them back in to the cases I've bought for them. And, today I got around to taking pictures of them so I can upload them over here.

Here is an overall shot of my main wall with my TV and desk area. I remember when I purchased my first Detolf case from Ikea in hopes of adding more to my room so I could house all my figures in glass cases. The first thought that occurred to me was:
"how cool would it be to have one case on either side of my TV setup?". Now, thanks to my new apt, I've been able to set them up the way I've always wanted to . In my old room I didn't have room for all three pieces of furniture to be placed beside one another, so this was a great moment when my idea could finally be realized.

This is how my desk is arranged right now. I tend to change up which figures I have surrounding my computer. About two weeks ago I had many more figures surrounding my computer area, but I like things to look clean and simple. So I had to narrow down which figures would be most suitable. Fatina is my most recent figure, and I really love Alter's craftsmanship in this piece. She's probably my most favorite figure at the moment, and she makes me happy everytime I look at her in the midst of studying. :D I'm also a comic buff, and Rogue is my most favorite X-Men character...so when a Shunya Yamashita Rogue figure was put into the works, my jaw nearly dropped to the floor! I knew I had to get her on pre-order once she became available. When I finally received the shipping invoice from hobby search, I could barely contain my excitement. I was a little disappointed at the size once I opened the box...she was much smaller than I anticipated, but then I had an idea to take my pencil/pen holder and turn it upside down to serve as an elongated base for her to rest on. I'm happy with how it turned out, she looks a little bigger and adds some flare to the desk.

Here's the view from my couch. Like I said above, I was really excited to finally set-up the cases the way I envisioned them so long ago. I've gone through many different arrangements of how the figures are grouped together inside each shelf. I think I really like the way I've placed them for now, but the moment I acquire some new figs I'm sure I'll have to rearrange some things. After I took this pick I noticed how distracting all the cords toward the right are! Unfortunately, there isn't much I can do about that considering that they're the cables connecting my Mac to my tv. I wish the cords were longer so they could rest on the ground, but oh well; they will have to do for now. :D
Just recently I had to get rid of my Xbox for some extra cash, so now I have an empty spot toward the bottom left of my tv stand. For the time being, until I purchase a 360, I filled the spot with some games. The reason why I purchased this particular stand was b/c of the middle section. It had three individual shelves so I could separate the PS3, 360, and Wii controllers and accessories. Now I've just filled the middle shelf with my DS and PSP. In my older room I had a mount for the tv, so it didn't need to rest on the stand which allowed for space for my games, anime and other figures. I don't want to screw into the wall at this time, but you never know...I think the place needs a new paint job, so if I decided to add color I'll likely bite the bullet and mount the tv. Among my favorite figures are Shunya's Mirei-san and Morrigan by Max Factory. Those two pieces have moved around quite a bit, back and forth between the tv stand, my computer and the detolf cases. I've recently decided to place them permanently beside the tv...but Mirei-san might make her way back in front of my Mac.

Here's some close ups of my figures on the shelves:

Case 1:
Here I have Cloud on his Fenrir along with Nida and C.C. I really liked how Nida's color scheme went along with Cloud's; all black with a splash of color. I also like the masculinity of Cloud's figure next to Nida's feminity. I set C.C. below the two just for some contrast.
Here's my Shining Wind girls. Tony Taka is brilliant, and I will continue buying figures from the series as long companies keep making them. I currently have Celestia shipping over from JP and can't wait to add Orchid Seed's Seena to the collection once she's released.
Another figure that I absolutely treasure is Nadie by Alter. I wasn't a collector of static pvc figures when she was released, and had fallen for her when I saw a review over at mukyaa's blog. Something about girls and guns do for me. I love the fluidity of this piece and finally tracked her down a while ago. I don't particularly like her on this shelf, I just don't think she fits in the best...but I didn't want to put her on the bottom shelf of the other case..so she'll remain here until I find a better alternative. As for other figures, I love Goodsmile's Maid Saber/Rider. I would like to add the Rin figure to complete the set, but unfortunately my bank account won't permit me. Also featured here is the amazing Kallen in her sexy bunny suit. This figure is hot, I love it. Hopefully I'll be able to score some other Code Geass figures so I can have enough for entire shelf devoted to the series. In time...I'm sure. ^^
And finally these figures are my guilty pleasures. I love Melissa Seraphy and I'm still searching for her nendo form. Fauna is also another figure that I wanted for a while and finally found her at an online retailer for an acceptable price. Sakura is sweet, and I couldn't resist purchasing her at hlj's sale earlier this past summer. I'm not really into the loli's...but I couldn't pass on her. I would like to set her up beneath my computer...but my girlfriend gives me weird looks about it, so that's a "no go". lol And finally, Yuukanalia !!! I love this figure. Back in the days when I didn't have so many figures she had her own shelf all to herself. This is also another figure that the girlfriend doesn't appreciate, so unfortunately she had to be moved. But that's mostly due to the increase of figures..hopefully I'll be able to buy another case in the near future so I can set her up individually.

And here's Case 2:
Ahh, Saber Lily in all her glory. Brilliant piece. 'nuff said. I also shelled out the $$$ for her nendo form..had to have it.

My Yoko Collection. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann ROCKS! ! ! Yoko is hot and these are my favorite figures of her that have been produced. I have Alter's version on my wishlist..here's hoping for a great christmas present!

My GunXSword girls. This show was the second full series I watched when I began my journey into anime. The first of which was Cowboy Bebop. GunXSword has remained one my favorite shows, and I don't even know how many different times I've watched the entire series. Sometimes I'll get an itch for some good gunxsword and then before I know it I'm on volume 4, and by that time I have to complete it to watch the good action with Fasalina. Anway, these figures are among my most treasured, especially Fasalina. I almost want to buy a second copy of her so I can place her beside my computer...that way I won't have to break her apart from Carmen and Wendy. I'm looking forward to picking up the Van figure..all in good time. I would really like it if Max Factory would create a Priscilla figure too. That'd be sweet.

And here's the bottom shelf. These figures I had left over once I decided how to group the other figures, and I was reluctant to group them all together b/c I didn't want it to be too crowded. I'd prefer less figures per shelf, but I couldn't box them up b/c of that reason, so here they remain. Witchblade and Amaha Masane on the left side, Burst Angel's Jo and Meg to the right and Alter's dynamic Ignis.

So, that sums up my anime figure collection for the most part. I have some other figures in the book shelf and on my dvd case. I also have a section that I've dedicated to my comic collection:

I found this book shelf at Ikea for a discounted price and figured it would be perfect b/c of the variety of individual spaces. Another detolf for my comic figure collection ^___^
Another view from the kitchen.

Here's a shot of the entire Comic bookcase.

My collection of trades with Heroclix Dark Phoenix and Lara Croft on either side

Here are some of my favorite pieces on the book case:
Micheal Turner's stunning Supergirl Statue. She's going in a glass case one day.

I received this awesome Wonder Woman statue a couple of years ago as a b-day present. This statue is raw.

Batman's #1 nemesis and my personal favorite: The Joker. This figure is based off Tim Sale's artwork for the Long Halloween arc. I love how exaggerated he looks in this figure. Harley Quinn is hot too (based off Jim Lee's design from the Hush arc).

This is above my detolf case to the right of my tv. I'm a big Tomb Raider fan and came up with a customized version of Neca's Lara Croft figure. I removed the terrible head that they created and added Sota Toy's version from the TR: Cradle of Life movie line.

Ah, and finally! THE SENTINEL! Back in ToyBiz's hayday (when Marvel Legends ruled the world..well at least MY World). I have several of these bad-asses..fit for a sentinel army, but unfortunately I had to retire them in bin somewhere. I had placed many other figures on this book case, but it began to look way too crowded (more than it looks now lol). Anyway, I had to keep one around to remind me of the greatness of the whole army that I searched so hard to acquire. (Many Walmart/Target/Toys R Us adventures). I would argue that this is THE BEST build-a-figure ever created from the Legends line.

And to sum up the comic portion of my collection is my detolf case with all the action figures:

Justice League are on the top shelf. I have plenty of other figures that could have been placed here, but I didn't want it be more crowded than it already is. My favorite versions of the Big 3 is as follows: Batman inspired by Turner's artwork, Supes based off Lee's artwork and WW inspired by Dodson's artwork.

2nd Shelf: The X-Men. This setup is temporary b/c I need to track down some risers to add different levels of height. Besides, I have some ideas for better poses and so forth. I wish I could add all my figures that would belong in the collection...but again...the "crowded" issue.
Here are some of my figures from the Avengers. I had to do some downsizing, I wish more figures fit in here. I'm thinking of redesigning this shelf...I want to create more of an "Avenger's Assemble" pose.
And this is the bottom shelf dedicated to Kingdom Hearts. There are some other figures that I'd like to purchase, especially the KH1 Sora, Riku, Cloud and Sepheroth figs.

And that about does it for my collection. In the near future I'd like to save up so cash for some other furniture pieces and decided either way if I'm going to paint the walls or not. I also have somy really nice black shelves that I 'm looking forward to mounting to the walls..if I decide its worth it or not. I'm intending to stay here for at least another year, so it might make sense. Anway, that concludes my "Collection Post". I'd like to get some feedback too. I'm open to all types of suggestions, I'd like to improve the setup as much as possible. :D


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cooking with Figures

So, its been a while since I've posted on my blog! I've been wanting to post about a ton of stuff, but I haven't had the time since school has started. Anyway, today I had some free time and was inspired to make a new entry! If you're reading this, hope you like.

Thanks to my passion for PVC figures I have been introduced to Japanese culture and cuisine! Not to mention anime, but that's a whole different subject. ^^ I have always been a fan of sushi, but ever since I went out to dinner to Mifune, a Japanese Restaurant in the heart of Japan Town in San Francisco, I've been hooked on Japanese food! I'm always up for trying new dishes, and I absolutely LOVE the NOODLES!!! Although I love to eat out, times are tough and I don't have the extra $$$ to eat the great Japanese food I've come to love. Well, I've been craving some Udon lately and instead of going out to my favorite restaurant down the street, I decided that its high time that I educate myself on Japanese cooking so I can eat the things I love by making it myself. I enjoy cooking, and love learning new things to cook, so I decided to google a good Japanese Mart and discovered Oto's in Sacramento. I took a drive out there and discovered a ton of new ingredients to purchase so I can make some of my favorite Japanese dishes in my own kitchen.

When I got back from the store I unloaded my goodies and chose to attempt Udon with Corn and Chicken. I figured because my interest in figures catapulted my interest in Japanese cuisine that I would enlist the help of some of my favorite figures for help and share the results on my blog!

So I needed Mirin, Soy Sauce, Dashi, Udon Noodles, Corn, Green Onions and Chicken (Not shown) for this meal.

I boiled the noodles first, figured they would take the most time to cook

Thank goodness Saber is a master with sword, the veggies were cut in a flash

The noodles looked so good once I drained them!
I wanted to dig in right then and there, but had to resist the urge.

I combined the Dashi, Mirin, Soy Sauce and the veggies in the pan and let it simmer

While I was prepping and cooking I completely forgot about the chicken! I quickly put the frozen pieces in the Microwave on defrost and cut 'em up quickly
(looking back at the pictures I took I wish I had a tiny little knife to let C.C. hold, that would have been funny for this pic ^__^ )

The meal is almost done! Nadie is safely guarding the noodles from being eaten before its completely finished cooking.
(I don't know about you, but I tend to eat the food while I'm cooking it )

Ahhh, finially finished! My two big prizes for a job well done: Udon and (the long awaited) Fatina by Alter! I just recieved her in the mail today, I can't wait to get her out in the wild and take pics!

Closing Comments:

So, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into before preparing this meal...but I'm glad to report that it was super simple and really fun. This dish doesn't require many ingredients, and the great thing about it is it's versatility. I can basically add whatever I want to the dish, a variety of vegetables and meats. I can't wait to tackle this dish with some shrimp tempura or something different! I was so excited to dig in and was really satisfied with the end result. My broth tasted exactly like the one I'm used to, so all in all it was a success.

It was fun to take figure photography to a new level too; shooting the figures with food was both fun and a challenge. My time was very limited, so I had to come up with compositions on the fly and pick the next figure for the next shot even quicker. If anyone reading this is interested in the recipe to this meal here ya go:

- 3-4 cups of water with Dashi
- 1 tbs Mirin (sweet cooking sake)
- 2-4 tbs Soy Sauce (to liking)
- 1 tbs Sugar (I didn't use this)
- Udon Noodles

In order to make the broth you simply add the ingredients together in a pan (without the noodles) and let it simmer. That's about it to make the soup, otherwise I just cut up some fresh corn, chicken, and green onions for extra flavor/variety. After the soup became hot, I added the corn, chicken, and a small amount of green onions. The chicken didn't take long to cook, and once it was finished I threw in the noodles , gave it a quick stir, lowered the heat to "low" and covered it. I let it sit for several minutes so the noodles could soak up some flavor and then poured it into a bowl and enjoyed my new creation! What do you guys think, do any of you like to cook? would you ever consider learning a new dish from a different culture?

Saber has a lot of cleaning to do. Luckily she knows her way around the kitchen lol


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yoko by Gift

Hey, welcome again to another figure review! A couple of days ago I just received this little beauty from Hobby Search, Yoko from Gurren Lagann by Gift. Gotta say, this is probably my favorite version of Yoko to date and I was so anxious to get her out in the wild and take some shots of her. I just got back from FanimeCon and picked up Yoko by Eye Up and the Yoko Movie Ver Revoltech (which I'll be posting up pictures of in the coming weeks ^^), but MAN! this version of Yoko is so striking. She is my first 1/5 scale figure, and I can not believe the quality! I'm a fairly recent fanboy of Yoko, I just finished Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann about a month and a half ago, but my Yoko collection is shaping up pretty nicely. Since collecting PVC figures I have never been so determined to get multiple figures of the same character. Yoko has cast her spell on me and my future looks bleak with poverty because of it O.O

This version by Gift features Yoko crouched down on one knee in mid preparation of pinning up her hair. Yoko has many facets to her character and develops intriguingly over the course of the anime, and Gift's depiction of her captures a very vulnerable Yoko. In her mouth she is holding onto her skull hairpiece, and smiling with her eyes at whom ever gazes upon her. She has an angelic expression on her face and is simply beautiful.

Let's talk detail. Now, I'd say that Yoko's design does not include intricate details or elaborate costume pieces. Its pretty simple: Long red-haired beauty who fires a huge gun with a scarf, bikini top, booty shorts with a studded white belt, pair of simple thigh high nylons (?) and some cool zip up white boots with flames...oh yeah, gloves and chopsticks in her hair too. There's probably no way to screw up on the detail, but Gift completely adds solid quality to each of Yoko's garments. The belt is awesomely rendered and is painted to perfection. There isn't a single paint bleed to any of the studs.
Her boots' zipper is SO AWESOME! I love big zippers, and here the teeth that aren't zipped up are perfectly realized. Her nylons (or whatever they are) hug her thighs so nicely and have highlights of her skin tone to add a transparent effect.

Speaking of detail, check out the great tie of the bikini with beads. From the opposite view both strands of beads curve parallel to the arch of Yoko's back...mmm, super sexy.

Yoko has definitely been blessed by the Gods with huge ta-ta's, and Gift has recreated them wonderfully. Now, here's the section of the review that I will give my one gripe concerning Gift's creation. And, YES, it does have to do with this lovely area. I'm not a fan of seem lines, and if I had the courage to attack each of my figures with obvious seam lines with a sander...then I would def do it. Yoko doesn't suffer from any bad seam lines EXCEPT for the connecting piece of her bikini. Now, in the grand scheme of things...I would even admit that this a HUGE nitpick...but for the sake of reviewing her with 100% honesty I have to highlight this. The piece sticks out like a sore thumb, and looks pretty cheap. I would have liked this piece be part of the mold, and instead it looks like they just glued a glossy piece of painted plastic to finish the job. Examining further, I noticed that it isn't completely flush at both ends of her bikini either. Along with this, I noticed a bit of red paint running from just below the bikini on her left boobie.

I love this angle, the whole silhouette of this figure is stunning. She's breathtaking. I really like the detail of her back and the fluidity of her hair. I think the picture speaks for itself, she's awesome.
Here's a close-up of her pinning her hair up. What I really appreciate about this is that the sculptor makes the act of 'holding her hair up' REALLY believable. Her fingers holding up her hair seem affected by the weight of her hair! I love the subtle detail. :D
Yoko comes with a mirror base. I didn't know she came with this, so it was a really pleasant surprise! Looking at her compared to other figures I have in my collection the first thing I notice is size and quality, and I think the mirrored-base adds a nice subtly to the overall quality to the piece.


Yoko is hot, and Gift has given us a really nice presentation of her beauty. This figure is a nice addition to my growing 'Yoko Army', and now my favorite version that's been released. The quality of this figure is purely awesome, this Yoko is solid! The price tag is a bit high, retailing for about $90 or so, but I think you get what you pay for. She's my first 1/5 scale figure, so the size could also play a big factor too. The paint is nearly flawless, I can only plainly see a flaw or two. I also forgot to mention how much I like the glossy finish to areas of Yoko, it gives a nice contrast to her smooth skin tone. The design of this figure is really interesting to look at, and I like her state of vulnerability. She's not in attack mode, she's just being Yoko. This figure definitely looks like a picture still realized in 3D, and I'm so happy I decided to get her. If you are as obsessed with Yoko or Gurren Lagann as I am, I'm sure you don't want to miss an opportunity to snag yourself this awesome figure! If interested, and able to spare $100 or so, you can still order her at Hobby Search or Hobby Link Japan.

If you're interested in more pics of Yoko, click the link to my Flickr page ^.^

Figure: Yoko
Series: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Manufacturer: Gift
Sculptor: Takayuki Kondo (G-Dome)
Scale: 1/5 Pre-Painted PVC
Release Date: April 2009