Monday, 29 December 2014

A day out at Comic Fiesta 2014

Fighting a losing battle against what I would term as a 'continuing holiday inertia' just sadly means that my miniature painting projects remain neglected on the work table. Most of my free-time has seen me catching up on my reading as well as making the last few weeks of my son's school holidays as fun-filled as possible. With regard to the latter, this meant a family visit to the annual Comic Fiesta at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Targeted at the region's ACG (Anime, Comic and Games) community, the event mainly had anime, manga, art work as well as lots of cosplay of that genre.   

A day out for the family at Comic Fiesta 2014

As always I was on the lookout for any cool looking anime figures/miniatures. Majority of the high quality stuff on display (at least from what I could make out from the super packed crowd) were from Culture Japan, Good Smile Company and Max Factory with a few other brands found scattered here and there. Figures on show ranged from Smart Dolls to chibi miniatures to regular anime figures.

A huge booth showcasing Culture Japan's stuff
A row of the (very expensive) Culture Japan Smart Dolls
What is a Smart Doll?

Impressed by how good the Smart Dolls looked, I couldn't resist snapping some shots of those that were on display. One costs about 60,000 yen or RM1,750 so they don't come cheap. At first glance, I was blown away by the many poses in which the dolls could adopt as well as the quality of the fabric they wore. But to truly appreciate what goes into the making of a Smart Doll, you would have to check out the official site. Dolls (or actions figures if you are a guy) never looked this good!  

All the Smart Dolls were fashionably attired in simple yet nice colour schemes

Amidst all the dolls, I did stumble upon a space marine ... well, sort of ... it was a kawaii miniature of Mirai Suenaga (the Smart Doll's name) in battle armour (see below).   

Is that a warrior of the Adepta Sororitas I spy in the left corner?
... nah, it's just Mirai Suenaga in battle armour

Other than the Smart Dolls, I managed to find chibi-style miniatures on display too. These have the quality I aspire to in my own paint work on such miniatures i.e. the Super Dungeon Explore project.

Awww ... aren't they cute?
More chibi-style miniatures
Fifty Shades of Grey ... anime style
Love the dynamic poses which is putting all sorts of ideas in my attempts at figure drawing
More cute figurines ... the middle one has a cool miniature within a miniature concept

Unfortunately I couldn't afford any of the figures on display nor find any scale model figures for miniature painting enthusiasts. While I did spot a great deal for a Intuos Pro Pen Tablet, it was still way out of my budget so I could only stare wistfully at the tablet. Other than painting miniatures, I also absolutely love drawing and had been contemplating a move to drawing in the digital medium. But it's pencils and papers for now which reminds me drawing is yet another hobby I have not indulged in for a long time. Sigh, so many things to do and so little time ... story of our lives.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

SpongeBob SquarePants! Even when I was on a short holiday in Penang earlier this month, I couldn't entirely divest myself of all miniature hobby related activities. While taking refuge from the hot island sun in a local mall (Gurney Paragon Mall), the family and I visited the 'biggest' SpongeBob SquarePants event in Malaysia this year. Although all the activities were mainly meant for young children, my son and I still managed to get something out of the event that was age-appropriate. 

SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star in miniature form
Back view of SpongeBob and Patrick in a 'best friends' pose
Each figurine set came with a SpongeBob SquarePants Activity Pass

Purchase of a SpongeBob and Patrick 'best friends' figurine (see above) or any other figurine on sale at the event entitled one to an Activity Pass. My son headed to the Mini Theatre to catch SpongeBob episodes on the big screen while I went to the Figurine World exhibition where I managed to take some photographs of a selection of miniatures on display. Below are some of my favourites.  

It's a SpongeBob SquarePants Figurine World at Penang's Gurney Paragon Mall
Marvel and DC has nothing on these superheroes
Houston, we have a problem
Happy belated Halloween anyone?
Love what you do, SpongeBob certainly does
Sheldon J. Plankton in his quest for Mr. Krabs's krabby patty formula
Money puts a big grin on Eugene H. Krabs
 One of the weirder figurines on display - SpongeBob in a Patrick suit next to Sandy
Wanna share?
A finger up his nose and outta his work clothes, is this your after-work routine too? 
My favourite of the lot ... SpongeBob gets ready for bed time

Coming back to the figurine that I got for my painting projects, it measured about 100-mm in height so it is a rather large miniature to paint. I believe the material the figurine is made out of is PVC but I can't say for sure. I hope to begin prep work on SpongeBob and Patrick soon beginning with the removal of a few minor mould lines. Then I will have to decide on what primer to use as I am not too sure if the Tamiya Fine Surface Primer (TFSP) will work on PVC. Well, if all else fails I guess I could use the Citadel Skull White acrylic paint 'primer'. But I think I will gamble on the TFSP first. If you have any experience with using TFSP on PVC, I would appreciate any help in the comments below.

'Best Friends' figurine stands at roughly 10 mm in height

Meanwhile, with the colour scheme for both SpongeBob and Patrick set in stone, all I need to decide on is if I will paint them in completely flat colours or apply some shading to the colours. Guess I will have to watch some SpongeBob Squarepants episodes for research. The things we do for the hobby we love. Until next time, as SpongeBob would likely say ... may you have the best day ever!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Ax Faction Zombie Hunter [WIP - Zombie]

Meet Fabio ...  he has had a horrible day. At the break of dawn, Fabio was a dashing knight with flowing blonde locks, a tanned warrior's physique and a flowing green cloak to (in his own words) bring out the highlights in his eyes. But as dusk approached, Fabio was a pale reflection of his former self - his blonde hair was all stringy while his body had become emaciated with a sickly purplish skin tone. At least he no longer had to worry about the highlights in his eyes especially with the now glowing yellow sclera. Zombification would have been bad enough but it got even worse for poor Fabio as his neck and many other body parts met the sharp end of a Zombie Hunter's axe.      

Undead corpse in the Ax Faction Zombie Hunter base
Top down view of the zombie

From the start I had wanted the zombie to stand out rather than blend into the background but in an unorthodox way. Instead of painting lots of gore, I painted the zombie corpse in bright pastel-like colours. The only gore visible on Fabio was a pool of blood accumulating around his neck and rib cage ... that and the hint of innards painted into the cross-section of the zombie's torso and arm.    

Bright colours on a zombie ... eww?
Blood is pooling around his neck courtesy of a slash to the jugular by the Zombie Hunter
Cross-section of the arm and torso was painted to hint at innards

For an idea of how small the zombie itself was, out came the paper clip and coin for a scale shot.

Fabio the zombie next to a paper clip and five sen coin for scale

So there you have it,more progress on the 32-mm Ax Faction Zombie Hunter. The stage is now set for the focal point of the whole piece i.e. the hunter who incidentally looks like a main character from the Walking Dead TV series. That my dear readers, is a story for another day.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A short break in my hometown of Penang

It has been a while since I have managed a trip to my hometown of Penang, so this has indeed been great week for the family with lots of time spent getting reacquainted with the island's world famous street hawker food. This short holiday was also a welcome break from my daily routine and helped recharge my creative juices. In fact, I haven't been back to Penang since I started painting miniatures more than three years ago so it got me looking at the local sites from a different perspective i.e. the many different colour schemes on old heritage buildings and the surrounding environment. Rather than bore you with some family photos, below are a few of the 'colour scheme' photographs I took.  

At the new bridge heading towards George Town, the capital of Penang Island
George Town World Heritage Inc building ... this old uncle happened to cycle by as I took a shot
What are the odds ... an old heritage shophouse (and random tourist) in a colour scheme similar to my Mother of Dragons 
A row of old heritage Penang shophouses repainted in bright colours
Dark clouds were beginning to gather late one afternoon near Gurney Drive, a main road next to the North Channel
A shot I got late one evening as the sun was setting on the island

Next week will see me resuming my same old same old routine but at least I have some miniature painting to look forward to, and that's never a bad thing. Until then, have a good weekend!

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