Monthly Archives: January 2016

My Bandai Stormtrooper kitset build Part 2: The end is in sight

Here’s part two of my Stormtrooper kitset build, where I tackle things like the arms, legs and reveal the completed build. I’ve noticed a lack of photos for some stages: Blame my enthusiasm to get the project completed (Sorry).

Luckily, I managed to video building the arms and the finished product so it’s not a total loss. They’re at the end of the photos.

I’m keen to build another model so let me know what you thought of this one.

 

The right leg is complete. The steps are repeated for the left leg.

The right leg is complete. The steps are repeated for the left leg.

This shot shows the knee joint bending, meaning you can pose the Stormtrooper.

This shot shows the knee joint bending, meaning you can pose the Stormtrooper.

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Both legs are attached as is the utility belt and the holster, which is the black piece on his left hip. I could have put it on the right hip if I’d wanted.

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OK, this is out of sequence but here’s the right leg completed and ready to be snapped into the hip articulation point.

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OK, this one’s out of sequence, too, but it shows both legs completed. The eagle-eyed will note that there’s a piece of armour missing from the Stormtrooper’s right leg. I snapped it off trying to put it on. I managed to get some Gorilla Glue and glued it on. Phew.

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Here is the piece of knee armour that I broke while trying to fit it to the right knee. Thank goodness for Gorilla Glue!

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Another view of the completed body with legs attached and utility belt in place.

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These are the pieces for the right arm. The black piece between the shoulder plate and the smaller piece of armour is the elbow articulation point. The other black piece is one of the six different hands that came with the model.

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And, despite missing a few photos, the completed Stormtrooper, complete with blaster and slightly menacing pose.

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The next two shots show closeups of the finished kitset.

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A better shot of the finished kiset. I’m really impressed with the quality of the model and you can see the knee armour piece on the right left that I glued in place. There’s a slightly visible seam but it doesn’t look out-of-place. He’s currently sitting on my computer desk holding a pistol in his left hand and point at something (the droids he’s looking for, perhaps) with his left hand.

And now, the video:

Returning to my teenage years: My build of Bandai’s Stormtrooper kitset [Part 1]

I’m trying something new here at Gamejunkie and documenting my build of a Bandai kitset model. If you like it, it could be the first of many changes on the site where I venture into new territory for me a little.

It’s scary to admit it but 30 years ago, or so, when I was a teenager I saw the original Star Wars trilogy and it started a journey that I’m starting to get back into now, with the release of The Force Awakens.

I had so much Star Wars stuff: Comic books that my grandmother collected from a weekly women’s magazine, Marvel’s comic book adaption of The Empire Strikes Back, activity books, action figures, art books, cards from bubble gun, a beach towel, a duvet cover and pillow case … the list goes on.

Perhaps my favourite SW things, though, were the kitset models I had: A snowspeeder, a speeder bike, and my most loved, a model AT-AT that my father and I built. It was magnificent and we even made a base with plaster of paris snow to attach it to. It was awesome – but it got smashed by some half-wit removal company guys when we moved from Wellington to Christchurch.

I’d always had a love of SW kitset models and over the past few years I’d played with the idea of getting back into it but I never did – until now. I think the catalyst was the new SW movie, The Force Awakens. It just prompted me to get back into Star Wars kitset models again.

So when I got back from our Christmas holiday, a coupe of weeks ago I went on Trademe and bought a Bandai Stormtrooper kitset – and I couldn’t have been happier. I tossed up getting a vehicle (Snowspeeder or AT-ST) or Boba Fett, but I decided thta  the Boba Fett might be too advanced for me: It would need some painting skills to weather him up so he looked battle-worn, and I don’t have those skills. So, I decided on the Stormtrooper and I’m glad I did.

The Stormtrooper is perhaps one of the most iconic characters from the original Star Wars trilogy and they just look cool. Badass. So, yeah, the Stormtrooper it was. What I really liked about these Bandai kitsets is that there is no glue to join the parts together: Everything is snapped together, so it’s clean and there’s no mess. What I also liked is that all the black underneath the white armour is separate pieces, like a suit, so it makes for a more realistic look.

I also decided that I’d document the build process, which is something different for my site, but I thought if you’re considering buying one and doing what I did, I thought you might like to see the process. It’s not a step-by-step build, with photos of me making each piece, but it shows the progress as I go. I’ve also posted three of short videos of the head/helmet/body build before the photos. I’m thinking I’ll post the build process in two or three parts.

I’m really pleased with the finished product, which probably took me about 5 hours total over two days, and I’ve already decided that I want to expand my stormtrooper collection so am hunting for the next project.

I hope you like watching the process to build the kitset. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Here we go: First up, is part 1 that shows the box, the sprues the parts are attached to, building the head and chest & connecting the head to the body. Enjoy.

   

 

The box for the Bandai Stormtrooper kitset model. It's a nice box.

The box for the Bandai Stormtrooper kitset model. It’s a nice box.

All the pieces that make up the model. Those things are called sprues. I didn't know that until recently.

All the pieces that make up the model. Those things are called sprues. I didn’t know that until recently.

The instructions for the kitset model. Yep, they're all in Japanese - but there are pictures, so that was great.

The instructions for the kitset model. Yep, they’re all in Japanese – but there are pictures, so that was great.

All the sprues out of the box, ready for me to start. I don't know how many parts there are, but it looks a lot.

All the sprues out of the box, ready for me to start. I don’t know how many parts there are, but it looks a lot.

The storm trooper's head complete. It's actually about five or six parts, all snapped together to form the one piece.

The storm trooper’s head complete. It’s actually about five or six parts, all snapped together to form the one piece.

The next three images show the torso complete with the neck attached.

The next three images show the torso complete with the neck attached.

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So it seems I forgot to take some photos of building the groin area, which you can see attached to the torso. The head is now attached to the neck, which is on a balljoint, meaning it can be articulated.

So it seems I forgot to take some photos of building the groin area, which you can see attached to the torso. The head is now attached to the neck, which is on a ball joint, meaning it can be articulated.

Samsung Gear S2 review

The smartwatch market is crowded: Just about every phone manufacturer worth a dime has a smartwatch out, so it pays to be a little different to stand out from the crowd.

SamsungGearS2Samsung’s Gear S2 smartwatch has a rotating bezel to make it standout. And standout it does. It could well be the best smartwatch on the market right now.

The Gear S2 is compatible with a number of Android smartphones but the bezel really does stick out as a highlight of using it. It’s intuitive and it just makes sense to twist it left and right to access the watch’s information. Yes, you’re still going to have to tap the touchscreen to access applications and do things like set alarms and dismiss notifications, but the bezel is a nice way of seeing those notifications or how many steps you’ve walked or what the weather’s doing. I actually just found myself twisting the bezel because it was so much fun: It just works.

The Gear S2 seems a more sports-orientated watch, thanks to its construction and rubbery straps, as well as built-in heart rate aGearS2pps and active activity counter (the watch even prompts  to move around when it senses you’ve been inactive for too long) and while you can replace the straps (not with standard watch straps, though) you’re not going to wear the Gear S2 as a dress watch. Talking of straps, I, ahem, ah, managed to somehow snap both off my review unit S2. Maybe the unit had had a hard life thanks to other reviewers or I don’t know my own strength but it’s the first time I’ve ever done that in years of reviewing hardware.

Where the Gear S2 differs from its smartwatch counterparts is that it’s not using Android Wear as most Android-based smart watches do, but Samsung’s own Tizen operating system, and it’s a nice one at that, which a clean look and responsiveness.

Compared with Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store, there are nowhere near as many apps for Samsung’s Gear S2 but that’s not necessarily a bad thing: It means the Gear S2 isn’t bogged down by thousands and thousands of pointless apps. For me, there was no Tizen version of cycling/running app Strava for the Gear S2, which was annoying, so if you’re the type of smart watch wearer who needs an almost inexhaustible supply of apps for your watch, you might have to look at another smartwatch.

Look, I really loved the Samsung Gear S2 watch. If I was going to buy a smartwatch to replace my LG G Watch R, it would be would be the Gear S2. I really do think it’s the best smartwatch on the market right now. Plus it’s got that rotating bezel. It’s a winner.

How Mike Bithell’s Volume has made me play my PS Vita more

Fourteen days into 2016 and reckon I’ve already played my PS Vita more this year than I did for much of last year.

I put that down to two things: a) Going on holiday, so my Vita was a nice portable way to replay some of my favourites like Gravity Rush and TxK and b) I bought Mike Bithell’s (@mikeBithell on Twitter) Volume, which came out on the Vita on January 6. I’ve played my PS Vita more because of Volume.

I can’t express enough joy at what a great game Volume is, not only because of its addictive qualities but that it’s also one of PlayStation’s Cross-play buys, which means if you buy it on PS Vita you automatically get to download it for free on the PS4 (and vice versa).

Grab+3840x2160+Friday+May+29+2015+16_17_37The premis of Volume is simple enough: You take the role of burglar Tom who uncovers a plot involving a military coup and device called the Volume. Using the Volume to simulate high-profile heists, Tom must guide his avatar around industrial environments, avoiding patrolling guards, sentry turrets and dogs while collecting gems. The simulations are broadcast to the internet using the Volume, eventually leading to a stand-off between Tom and the evil Gisborne, who has taken over control of England.

Grab+3840x2160+Friday+May+29+2015+16_25_33Volume is very Metal Gear Solid-esque, with an isometric third-person, top-down perspective, in that stealth and creeping around to avoid detection is to the fore. Get spotted by a patrolling guards (each has a vision cone indicating its field of vision), you have to re-start the level. Each level short – some take less than a minute to complete – but they’re so addictive that you’ll find yourself saying “Just one more. Just one more”.

Bithell is a British indie developer who also make the cutesy game Thomas was Alone, which I like a lot, and Volume has all the trademarks of another hit for Bithell and his team. I initially purchased it for my Vita – and being able to play it on my PS4 for no cost is an added bonus – and if I had any gripe it was the size of the text on the PS Vita version: It’s just too small for my ageing eyes.

So, I tweeted that to Bithell, and guess what? He got back to me shortly after, admitting the text was a little small and he would look at fixing things in a patch. In a simple thing like replying to my tweet, Bithell has proven to me that he’s a developer who cares about his fans and those that pay for his games. That’s something I admire in a developer. Thank, you, Mike.

I’m hoping that 2016 is the year that I play my PS Vita more. It’s a fantastic handheld console but I feel disappointed that Sony have pretty much abandoned it by not supporting it like it should have with first party titles, and left any game development up to third parties.

That said, maybe that’s not a bad thing: Sony is clearly focused on the PS4 and PlayStation VR so perhaps doesn’t want to develop for the Vita half-heartedly. It’s sad, though, that the company hasn’t shown the console more love.

Putting Volume aside (briefly), there are some pretty nice games coming out this year. Games I’m looking forward to include Uncharted 4, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Horizon Zero Dawn, Firewatch, Hitman, Quantum Break, Dishonoured 2, Crackdown 3, Mass Effect Andromeda and Unrave.

Sure, some have already been delayed already and I suspect many some of them won’t make 2016 but it’s a pretty great line up already, don’t you think? It’s a great time to be a video gamer.

What are you looking forward to this year?