Monthly Archives: October 2009

Yamato’s Macross 1/60 VE-1 Elint Seeker

In the Macross:  Do You Remember Love? movie, we get a 3-second glimpse of a rather strange veritech fighter, starting at 12 minutes and 35 seconds.

3 seconds of the VE-1 Elint Seeker!

"The enemy ship is approaching at a course of one-oh-seven."

Yes!  It’s the VE-1 Elint Seeker (Elint = Electronic Signals Intelligence).  Yamato finally re-released the VE-1 in the second 1/60 generation of veritechs, and she’s a beauty!

ve1_front_view

Here’s a view from the side:

Side View of VE-1

Side View of VE-1

And here’s a view from the back of the fighter:

VE-1 Rear View

VE-1 Rear View

Eye-Catching Box and Great Packaging!

The VE-1 comes in a large box, but it doesn’t have the cover flap like a lot of other Yamato veritechs!

ve1_box_front_view

ve1_box_rear_view

The box has the same thickness as the other VF-1S/J’s that come with Super Parts, but is thinner than the normal VF-1A box.

ve1_box_compared_with_vf1a_box

The VE-1 comes in two plastic trays, one that holds the fighter and accessories, and a second tray that holds the armor and the radar dome.

ve1_plastic_trays

Of course, there’s an instruction manual (20 pages, with black-and-white pictures of a VE-1 with an incomplete paint scheme) and a sticker sheet.  The only stickers I applied were the eye-looking ones on the sides of the boosters.

VE-1 Manual and Sticker Sheet

VE-1 Manual and Sticker Sheet

The Neat Stuff about the VE-1

The mold looks very similar to the VT-1 Super Ostrich:  the VE-1 has a similar backpack (tail fins do not fold over each other, but instead, the entire backpack just flips over), the cockpit is a two-person-seater, and the boosters are short and stubby.

Here’s a closeup of the two pilot figures:

ve1_pilots

Now here are some really neat items on the VE-1.

Arm-mounted sensor/radar

Arm-mounted communications relay co-antennae equipped NR-SL-E3

The Squid-like Head

The Squid-like Head

Double red-tipped wingtip

Double red-tipped wingtip

Arm-mounted camera

Arm-mounted high-frequency/very-high-frequency/very-low frequency antennae equipped NR-SR-E3

Booster-mounted microphone(?)

Booster-mounted side surveillance radar system

Be Careful with Handling!

The VE-1 is quite bulky with all these neat accessories.  Make sure you’re careful handling the VE-1 because the right-arm-mounted antennae is a piece of thin plastic, and the left-arm-mounted communications relay co-antennae has four little plastic rods sticking out on each end, and on the bottom, there are two thin, long plastic rods.  Finally, because the relay co-antennae on the left arm hangs downward, I think you really need a Macross display stand to prop the VE-1 up.

Since the VE-1 in the Macross movie is in fighter mode, I’m leaving mine in fighter mode.  If you’d like to see what the VE-1 looks like in Gerwalk and Battloid mode, check it out at Hobby Link Japan:  http://www.hlj.com/product/YMT00127

For more information on the VE-1’s equipment, see the Macross Mecha Manual.

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Movie Review: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

While reading reviews of Uma Ga Kikoeru, I saw that some people recommended “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” as a good anime movie that captures love in the time of high school.  So I watched it, and was pleasantly surprised!

girlwholeaptthroughtime

The primary protagonist, Makoto, is a female high school student who suddenly discovers she can literally leap back through time.  She uses her newfound power to alter the outcomes of particular situations, some humorous, and some life-and-death situations.  This movie reminded me of “Groundhog Day” , because for certain situations, Makoto tries going back in time at various points in the past, to see how she can alter the final outcome.  Like “Run Lola Run”, this movie emphasizes that the tiny decisions in life we make can profoundly affect a later outcome.

What really impressed me about this movie is that it captures the emotions between boys and girls at a time where people are changing from just being friends and girls being tomboys, to when boys start asking girls out on dates, and girls start telling boys that they’re interested.  These themes envelope Makoto and her two guy friends, Chiaki and Kousuke.  Luckily, Kousuke is not like Kyousuke from Kimagure Orange Road; instead, he’s a stud who one girl likes.

There is a very interesting sci-fi twist towards the end of the movie.  Definitely an entertaining movie, with lots of strong, solid voice acting.  Highly recommended!

Review: Michael Bradley’s “Lonely Soldier Boy” CD

After I found the video of Michael Bradley’s live performance of “Lonely Soldier Boy” on YouTube, I searched the ‘net, and found that he has his own Web site, and he sells a CD with a collection of his songs:

http://michaelbradleymusic.com/fr_index.cfm

This CD comes with 11 tracks, including 3 bonus tracks.

"Lonely Soldier Boy" CD and front cover insert

"Lonely Soldier Boy" CD and front cover insert

  1. In My Heart
  2. It Don’t Get Any Better
  3. Lonely Soldier Boy
  4. Flower of Life
  5. Underground
  6. The Way To Love
  7. We Will Win
  8. Look Up!  The Sky Is Falling
  9. Lonely Soldier Boy demo
  10. It Don’t Get Any Better demo
  11. Look Up!  The Sky Is Falling demo
"Lonely Soldier Boy" Back Cover

"Lonely Soldier Boy" Back Cover (that bright spot is on the CD, and isn't my camera's flash)

The front cover insert has lyrics for six of the songs!

lonely_soldier_boy_lyrics_left

lonely_soldier_boy_lyrics_right

Michael explains, “The last three tracks of this CD are the original demos of Lonely Soldier Boy, It Don’t Get Any Better, and Look Up!  The Sky Is Falling.  These are the recordings that were played for music supervisor Thomas White and producer Carl Macek before they approved the songs to be included in the television series, ROBOTECH.  Please excuse the recording quality.  These are RAW demos recorded in my spare bedroom in Van Nuys, California in 1985 on a small 8-track recorder.  Once the songs were approved, we re-recorded them on a large 8-track recorder in someone else’s spare bedroom in Chatsworth, California.  Those were the recordings that were heard in the show…THESE are not!  Now you know why.”

So I’m slightly confused by this explanation–how come Michael couldn’t get the recordings from Robotech, especially since these songs are copyrighted by Harmony Gold Music?  Because these aren’t the recordings from Robotech, I was slightly disappointed.  But it’s great to have these songs on a CD!

“Flower of Life” has the music that I think was used for the background music in the 3rd series in Robotech, when we see scenes inside the Invid hive.

By far, my favorites on this CD are “Lonely Soldier Boy”, “We Will Win”, and “Look Up!  The Sky Is Falling”.

Recommended Display Cases for Your Macross Toys!

Today, I’m going to talk about some display cases that I recommend for storing your Macross toys.  First, let’s look at the Ikea Detolf display case.

Ikea Detolf Display Case

Detolf Display Case from Ikea

Detolf Display Case from Ikea

The Ikea on-line catalog page is http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10119206

This glass display case is 64 1/8 inches tall, 16 3/4 inches wide, and 14 3/8″ deep.  For $59.99 (U.S.), it’s a good deal.  It comes packaged in a long, thin, heavy box that you can fit inside the passenger front seat of a sedan.  The front door is held by two metal clips on one side, and on the other, there are two small magnets.  Each of the four glass shelves gives you 15 inches of vertical space.  Each shelf fits the Yamato 1/48 scale Macross toys with no problem!

One tip when you’re assembling this display case:  if you’re assembling it on carpet, it’s a good idea to put some sort of ground cover like newspaper beneath the case when you’re tightening the side metal rods, because the screws on the bottom will grab your carpet, and when you move the case, you may rip out a couple of carpet threads after you’re done tightening the top screws!

The only downside for this display case is that the sides of the front door have an open space where dust can get through, so dust tends to collect on the bottom shelf.  The rear sides are held together by a long piece of plastic, so dust doesn’t enter through the back.

Finally, there’s a small hole at the top of the case in which to install a light.  All in all, this display case is a great deal for the price!

The Container Store:  Football Display Cube

The Container Store has a nice display case for footballs, but they’re great for putting the Revoltech toys in.

Container Store's Football Display Cube

Container Store's Football Display Cube. Note relative height of Yamato 1/60 VF-1A Mass Production TV Type to the right.

Here’s the link to the product page:  http://www.containerstore.com/shop/collections/display/cubesCases?productId=10001592

When used to store a football, this display cube is 7 3/8 inches wide/deep and  11 5/8 inches tall.  Pictured above, the display case is on its side.  It costs $17.99 (U.S.).  The display case is two halves of plastic, which are held together by plastic grooves about 1 1/4 inches long.  The halves close tight enough that I don’t smell the nasty plastic odor from the Revoltech valkyries.

The Container Store:  Doll-sized Display Cube

Bigger than the football display cube is the Doll-sized Display Cube, which is 11 7/8 inches width/deep, and 15 7/8 inches tall.   It costs $39.99 (U.S.), and can hold quite a bit.  Here’s a picture of a Yamato 1/60 VF-1S Roy Fokker on a Yamato display stand inside this display cube:

Yamato Macross 1/60 VF-1S Roy Fokker in a Container Store Doll-sized Display Cube

Yamato Macross 1/60 VF-1S Roy Fokker in a Container Store Doll-sized Display Cube

The product catalog page is http://www.containerstore.com/shop/collections/display/cubesCases?productId=10001591

The display case consists of two halves of plastic, held together by plastic grooves about 1 1/4 inches long.  Because this case is somewhat large, if you move it, it’s likely that the two halves will come loose.  But this case will keep the dust out!

Anyone else have recommendations for display cases?

Movie Review: Umi Ga Kikoeru

umi_ga_kikoeru

If you’re interested in watching a love triangle unfold, or you’re a guy who finds strong-willed, smart women attractive, or you were competitive in high school, then I recommend watching “Umi Ga Kikoeru”, a TV movie from 1993, made by Studio Ghibli.  I recommend it even more if you went to your high school reunion, have divorced parents, or if you saw Kimagure Orange Road.  The director of KOR, Tomomi Mochizaki, just happens to be the director of this movie.  Tomomi-san must think the ideal woman is strong-willed, attractive, and intelligent, because the main female character in this movie is Rikako, who is a high school transfer student from Tokyo.  She suddenly becomes ranked 12 in the entire class, whereas one of the guys in the triangle, Taku, our narrator, ranks 92.  Also, Rikako plays some very aggressive tennis that puts lots of fellow students in awe.  Doesn’t that sound like Madoka from KOR, who stood up to (and fought) school bullies, and played a saxophone?

Besides the captivating drama in this movie, even though the art is somewhat simple, I really appreciated this movie because the makers took the time to construct scenes that allow the viewer to reflect.  For example, when Taku and Yutaka (the second guy in the triangle) are in the junior high school art room, we see a close-up of a sculpture at the beginning of the scene, and at the end of the scene, they are both looking out the window at a nice cloud formation.  We also hear a slow piano tune as background music throughout this scene.

Watch this movie–it’ll take you on quite a ride!

Genesis Climber Mospeada: Complete Art Works

Today, we’re looking at an artwork book on the third series in the Robotech TV series, Genesis Climber Mospeada!  This is my second favorite of the three series, because it reminds me of the movie, Red Dawn, where the main group of characters are trying to survive even though their homeland has been invaded.  I am also drawn to Mospeada because of the transformable motorcycles called cyclones, and the fighter plane mecha, the alpha and beta fighters!

Mospeada Complete Art Works:  Front Cover

Mospeada Complete Art Works: Front Cover

Mospeada Complete Art Works:  Back Cover

Mospeada Complete Art Works: Back Cover

This is a softcover book, with 155 pages of Mospeada goodness!  There are mecha drawings:

Color drawings of the alpha fighter and Invid

Color drawings of the alpha fighter and Invid

There are pictures of actual toys!

The Red Alpha and Beta Fighter ("Legioss and Tread")

The Red Alpha and Beta Fighter ("Legioss and Tread")

And pictures of the 1/10 Beagle cyclones:

Cyclone toys made by Beagle, 1/10th scale

Cyclone toys made by Beagle, 1/10th scale

Finally, if you like looking at pencil sketches, there are plenty!

mospeada_mecha_cyclone_drawings

I especially like the following one, because it shows how an Invid fits inside its shock-trooper armor:

The Invid pilot looks immersed in goop in the cockpit!

The Invid pilot looks immersed in goop in the cockpit!

Here are some character sketches of Scott Bernard and Rand:

Scott and Rand

Scott and Rand

Finally, this book has some really nice sketches of the sets and characters from each episode!

Sketches from episode set in Denver (remember the underground city?)

Sketches from episode set in Denver (remember the underground city?)

Michael Bradley sang Lancer’s songs.  Here’s a tribute to Lancer’s song, “Lonely Soldier Boy”!  Someone recorded this live performance!  Enjoy!!