Monday, March 28, 2011

Test Post Using Mozilla Firefox

This blog post is just a test and will probably be deleted later. Was advised by blogger to try posting via Mozilla Firefox to see if the images can be uploaded.

Looks like it works but the image has extended out of its boundary ... sigh. Will wait until later today to see if blogger can resolve this issue with those using Windows Explorer.

Sorry guys

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blog Test with some Nice Figure Kits. Having a Slight Technical Problem

Guys, in case you're wondering why there hasn't been any recent updates, I'm having a slight technical problem with blogger for a while now, especially with image postings. Getting a lot of those small boxes with a tiny dot in the centre instead of the intended images. Actually I just found out I am not the only one with this issue, I think its happening to bloggers worldwide.  I am hoping Blogger can resolve whatever issue they're having asap. 

For those who sent me articles and images on your builds, as well as those whom I promised to help out with the sale of their kits, I have to apologise to all of you. Your contents are actually ready under the Edit stage awaiting publishing, but until the image issue is resolved, I am holding back on them cause it'll look funny if I publish them.

I'm putting these Figure Resin Kits to test see if the images will come out right or not.All these are available from CultTVman Hobbyshop in case you're interested - just click the link ... if you can see them

UPDATE - Image posting test using Google Chrome

Belle of Tortuga from Lunatic Fringe
Angelina Sorceress of Light 
Golden Girl from Red Planet

There's more at CultTVman Hobbyshop under Figure Kits. Do pay a visit there as some of them I can't highlight here. And do let me know if you can see the images cause from my test, all I see are that small box with a tiny dot in the centre

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

About HATE. Insensitivity towards Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami Victims

I know this is not Sci Fi Scale Modeling related, but I need to write this. Japan was recently struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake which brought about a tsunami from hell that virtually wiped out villages from the map. Death toll is estimated to pass well over 15,000 people and tens of thousands more are displaced. And as if these disaster were not enough, the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor is in danger of a nuclear meltdown, casting radioactive cloud over the food chain and further poisoning the land. Everyday the people there struggle to make sense of the disaster and to try to move on with their lives. Compounded with a cold front and a blizzard, victims grouped together despite their misery and despair.

When I read about such things and looking at all the images, I can't help but wallow in disbelieve and grief. I can't help it when I get very concern for my fellow Japanese friends, some whom may have lost their parents, sisters, brothers, children and friends. How are they going to cope? Are they going to be OK? The sheer magnitude of the damages and loss is so huge that its so amazing the Japanese remained calm, with no massive riots and looting reported, and citizens patiently lining up for food and fuel. The few cases that was reported only shows the desperate conditions the victims have to live through. It is truly a beautiful view of the Japanese culture amidst the ruins and devastation.

Hence I was appalled seeing that there were still people who reverted to "Karma" justifying the Earthquake and Tsunami that wiped out Sendai, and other villages in Japan as divine retribution. Reference to the Japanese soldier's atrocities of Nanking, and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour, started surfacing in forums and Facebook. It got me so flabbergasted. I am trying to understand how some people could wish ill toward these Japanese victims, all because of the sins of their grandparents. Did not Jesus say "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"? It is divinity we are talking about here, right?

The pain and suffering that occurred during World War II is without any doubt a dark chapter in human history, when there were no rules of engagement and chaos and fear ruled. Survivors had to live through the ordeal for the rest of their natural lives. My own parents lived through the Japanese Occupation when they were children, and told me various stories of inhumane cruelty. So I can understand then if victims of WWII despise the Japanese so much that they will never forgive Japan. After all, what they did caused scars to run very deep. But wait, didn't the comfort women from both Korea and Thailand got together and prayed for the victims of the Sendai tsunami? I mean come on, these women were direct victims, and yet, they still could find forgiveness and compassion within their hearts. So if they could do it, what does that speak of those who can't and wasn't even there in WWII? How long do you wish to carry this hate?

In my attempt to understand why some people feel this way, I listened to their rationale to justify their hate and only found grim descriptions of what the Japanese soldiers did to the people of Nanking during WWII (not disputing this historical fact of course). I do agree that the Japanese soldiers involved then, along with their superiors and commanders, are guilty and liable for their atrocities. They will answer to God for their deeds, but here's a whammy. Te new generation of Japanese don't even know what happened during the war. It was kept from them. The ordinary senior citizens were also kept in the dark, being fed lots of propaganda by their own govt then. How do I know this? Make friends with the Japanese. Talk to them. The ordinary people are no different from you and me, and you'll be surprised at what they were taught in school. Does this make them guilty?

As for Pearl Harbour, I can see mentions of "Never Forget" statements referring to the Japanese surprise attack that got America involved with WWII. Payback is a bitch no doubt, but exactly how many times must the Japanese pay back? Japan lost the war, they lost their country, they lost their humility, and they were at the receiving end of two atomic bombs. That's what they got for stirring the hornet's nest. And now the recent tragedy is karma for their attack on Pearl Harbour again? Would it satisfy those that keep saying "never forget" over and over if Japan literally sank into the ocean like Atlantis, and totally disappear from the face of the earth? Only a sadist would wish ill on the unfortunate. Think about it, did any Japanese commented that America deserved the Hurricane Katrina tragedy that nearly devastated New Orleans? Well, we are on the topic of karma, and surely something must have happened to warrant that disaster if these people want to use karma to warrant their claim for this one.

It makes absolutely no sense then to say this is divine retribution. Remember, a lot of the Japanese today are as innocent as you and me. And a lot of us were not even around during WWII. At most, we can lobby to force the Japanese government to acknowledge their wartime atrocities and apologise, but no one have any right to say this is divine retribution.

A good friend of mine summed up this situation aptly. Japan literally lies on top of the ring of fire, and the country will no doubt experience many earthquakes and tsunamis. They have been experiencing it as early as when that land was colonized, with historical records indicating that some of these were worse than the recent 9.0 magnitude earthquake. This means that Japan will continue to experience more earthquakes and tsunamis by virtue of their unfortunate location. To say then that the recent tragedy were divine retribution only reflect on ignorance and arrogance. Kind of make that person looks silly.

As for me, I rather not dwell on hate. Nothing good ever came out of hate. It'll eat you up bit by bit, consume anything and everything that is positive, making your life miserable to the extent no one wants to be near you. Life gets shortened and whatever joy escapes you.

So I leave it to the individual what they want to believe. Life's already too short to waste on hate. In the here and now, everyone have the chance to make this world a better place to live. All they need to do is have a heart. Life without compassion only leads to destruction. I've said my peace.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Battlestar Galactica Titanium Series

The funny thing about die cast metal kits are that they're mostly simple and inaccurate, especially when you place a set side by side and find they're not exactly in scale. Well, die cast are usually kept small since having a metal kit that's big is really going to add to its weight, not to mention, price. And yet many collectors still adore and collect them. Being mostly metal also help to ensure their durability. I know, I have quite a few Star Wars die cast Titanium collection.

Case in point - the Battlestar Galactica Titanium Series Collection. Both the Galactica and Pegasus are not in scale but whoa, they're quite detailed. Then there is that problem where a extravagant colour scheme pops out of nowhere. Guess if you're anything like me, a complete set wouldn't be complete without these.

When I first knew these were available, it was already too late to collect the complete set. I saw bits here and there with the Colonial One, The Pegasus and new Cylon Raider being displayed in a toy shop (Graffiti Toys, Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur) and the Mark II (variant dark blue colour) still in its original package, and for some reason I decided not to get them for the simple reason they were not a complete set. I eventually directed another friend who is a BSG fan there, and he promptly bought them.

So what is the complete set. To be honest, I really don't know. Suffice to say I never got to see a complete set put together or being sold anywhere. So when someone offered it for sale at the Market Place at the Starship Modeler Forum, naturally it was an opportunity I couldn't refuse, so I grabbed them. They no longer had their original boxes and they were also a little dusty from being displayed by their original owner. I didn't mind that at all. A little cleaning and a nice display area should do the trick. Hence if anyone wants to know what's out there in terms of the BSG Titanium Series, well hopefully these are the complete set.

The Battlestar Pegasus and Galactica
The other ships in the Titanium Series. Note the variant colours for he Mark II and VII at the right side of the image

Here's a touch of nostalgia, the Mark I

The Classic Cylon Raider. Details on this one is interesting

The Presidential Ship, The Colonial One

The new Cylon Raiders with variant colours

The Mark II and VII Vipers alongside the Raptor

And of course the Raptor. I'm kind of biased toward the Raptor, hence I have more images of her
It would have been nice if this series included the classic Galactica along with the Basestar. Oh well ...

You can also see some dust on some of them. Ok, I was so eager to highlight them here I didn't think of cleaning them first, but they'll be nicely cleaned up before finding their place in my showcase. Its amazing really when I think about it, just when I had given up finding them, they pop up right in front of me. Ahhhhhh .... keeping fingers crossed do work ... sometimes.

UPDATE: Just found out the set is not complete. There are still the classic Battlestar Galactica and Basestar somewhere out there. Thanks to Kevin Pantony for highlighting this to me

Round 2 AMT USS Reliant Aztec Decal Set

I just received this. Ordered a couple of Round 2's AMT 1/537 scale USS Reliant Aztec Decal Set from Starship Modeler after seeing and getting swept off my feet with their 1/2500 scale decals. I must admit the decals here are quite impressive, and comprehensive. They literally encompass the entire ship, looking at the instruction sheet.

The packaging is relatively simple. 4 sheets of decals, each protected with their own wax paper, and each set comes with a hard cardboard piece to prevent them from bending. The decal sheets are slightly larger than an A4 size paper.

The nice thing about this set besides being comprehensive is that it also gives you an alternate registry for another Miranda Class Vessel, the USS Saratoga, seen briefly on Star Trek IV The Voyage Home. So for those who were curious about this set, and was contemplating about getting one, here are some images to help you make up your mind.

A comprehensive instruction sheet is also included.

Not sure if you can make out the Aztec patterns but you can clearly make out the Saratoga's registry markings

Instructions are simple and helpful with each numbers and pieces clearly illustrated. The patterns are also reproduced next to their placement positions.

So for those who had purchased the 1/537 scale USS Reliant, be it the recent issue or if you still kept the old one, this Aztec Decal Set is a must have if you wish to detail your Miranda Class Starship. And yeah, had to include that Titanium Series Raptor in there .. well, I really love that ship. Really.