30 April 2016

Godzilla (BatoGoji) - Prepwork

By way of preface, snap-together kits are something of an acquired taste - so long as the fit is at least acceptable. In most instances, it is preferable to remove the connecting pegs, dress the contact surfaces, and simply glue the kit together. On a kit like this, however, it is a welcome op- tion. You can dry-fit to your heart's content without resorting to rubber bands, clamps, or tempo- rary cyanoacrylate spot welds. Thus, my BatoGoji is now fully, albeit tentatively, 'assembled', save for the mouth/mandible and the dorsal dermal plates.

A quick note about the plates. Every review I've read mentions the importance of keeping the plates on their sprues so that one can then simply follow the assembly instructions and correctly attach the plates. This is certainly true, BUT. . . what no review has mentioned is that each plate is individually numbered as well! As long as the modeler does not lose the instructions, it doesn't matter how many of the 34(!) plates have come off their sprues. Kudos to Lindberg!!

Most of the work in the prep phase will be focused on the mouth and the texturing of the dorsal plates. The teeth as a whole are poorly cast, and there will be extensive dental reconstruction required. Needless to say, good photographic references are a must! Insofar as the plates are concerned, the granular texture is virtually absent.

To date, I have permanently attached the center row of plates: all finishing work will be done in situ. . .

More to follow. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

Kaiju-dom, Gojira. . . and a Project--pt. 2

Godzilla has taken many forms over the years in both Japanese and American cinema. And the corpus of literature addressing the ultimate embodiment of a daikaijū is almost as large as its subject!

I am by no means an ardent kaiju fan. I saw Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956; this was the "Americanized" re-release of the 1954 original) and King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962; 1963[US]) in the theatre. Most of the Showa-series features were standard fare on weekend TV for me through the 60s. After that, I frankly lost interest, though the Ultra Series was a mainstay of mine through the early 70s.

In 1964, Aurora released models of both King Kong and Godzilla--I am reasonably certain that this was not a coincidence. Both releases were favourites of mine, especially the latter: fuchsia-coloured, non-brittle plastic; a rather involved scenic urban groundwork/base. . . and having my mother help me create what was in retrospect a rather Gogos-esque interpretation of the boxart. In spite of that, it still didn't ring quite true to the Godzilla to which I had been exposed--though it was quite dinosaur-ish, which at the time was a definite plus!

Half a century later, I am rediscovering the appeal of the daikaijū. Fortunately, I am neither com- pelled to hunt down an Aurora/Monogram/Polar lights 1964 Godzilla, or make my way through the myriad of Japanese vinyl kits out there: in 1995, Lindberg released Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

Think or say what you will of Lindberg, this is an exceptional(!) kit!! It scales out to approximately 1/450 scale, which makes it quite a sizeable offering. My sample is VG- overall: some detail is on the "soft" side of things, and fit is somewhat less than precise (hardly surprising given that it is marketed as featuring "snap-fit" assembly), but nothing that I would consider insurmountable for someone beyond the advanced beginner level willing to expend a modicum of effort.

This kit is representative of a Heisei-series Godzilla, that flourished from 1989-1997. Given that the respective differences are more subtle and less dramatic than their Showa predecessors, and the fact that suits and portions thereof were used throughout the film series, determining the pre- cise suit style is made more difficult. Having said that, I believe the BatoGoji suit (1992) is the inspiration for this model, and I will be using it as my design baseline.

Stay tuned!!!  

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

29 April 2016

Kaiju-dom, Gojira. . . and a Project--pt. 1

By way of introduction, though perhaps entirely unnecessary, kaijū (Japanese: "strange beast") is a film genre that features monsters, usually attacking a major [Japanese] city or engaging other monsters in battle. As a film genre, its roots can be traced practically to the advent of "talkies" (King Kong, 1933), but it wasn't until the mid-50s that the modern phenomenon was born.

Gojira, bka as Godzilla, was born in 1954. It is an allegorical cautionary tale re: the horrors, literally and figuratively, of a nuclear age: 
Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka stated that, "The theme of the film, from the begin- ning, was the terror of the bomb. Mankind had created the bomb, and now nature was going to take revenge on mankind." Director Ishirō Honda filmed Godzilla's rampage on Tokyo with the mentality that the monster's onslaught was a parallel to, and a physical manifestation of, an Atom bomb attack. He stated, "If Godzilla had been a dinosaur or some other animal, he would have been killed by just one can- nonball. But if he were equal to an atomic bomb, we wouldn't know what to do. So, I took the characteristics of an atomic bomb and applied them to Godzilla."[Themes]
Tanaka-san's concept of a "zoological 'bomb'" was influenced by the radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru and its crew from the fallout from the US' H-bomb detonation on Bikini Atoll, on March 1, 1954--eight months to the day before Gojira roared his way onto movie screens in Japan. . .

For Japanese audiences sitting in theatres that November 1, the message was clear: "this isn't science fiction, it isn't even fiction. These are recent events, recapitulated as a modern fairy tale, a contemporary folk myth for the nuclear age."[2] The war was over; the Occupation was over; but the nuclear age--and the memories of events as recent as 8 months past--were anything but.

This is not a film essay, so I will leave the background information at that. Having said that, I truly wish they would show this classic at the opening and closing of every Non-Proliferation Confer- ence. . .

We will delve into the ultimate daikaijū in our next installment. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

25 April 2016

Deadpool - Prepwork: Phase IIC

I have reached the point in any sculptural project when one takes a cold, hard look at what has been done to date, and reevaluates. . . 

All in all, I am very pleased. But I did decide that the right arm--or rather, its design--could be improved upon. In short, I pegged and removed the en suite deltoid group, and reunited the shoulder with the rest of the arm, thus providing me with two separate, complete arms that will require no filler upon attachment--and make painting that much easier!

I concluded the session by roughing-in the right spaulder. . . 

30.04.16. . . As the right arm, the head. Since I had already removed and repositioned the head, I decided to afford myself 100% flexibility, and make the head a separate, "plug-in" item. To this end, I rebuilt the collar around a deepened neck socket, taking the opportunity to tweak the upper pecs and traps. I then fitted the head into the neck socket. 

01.05.16. . . Right boot enhanced.

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

19 April 2016

Deadpool - Prepwork: Phase IIB

  • Right vambrace ~70% done.
  • Left arm removed, sectioned, pegged/wired, repositioned and fitted*.
  • Left "spaulder" roughed-in and hollowed to *accommodate shoulder.
  • Extended/"double" pouch fitted and pegged to small of back. 
  • Realigned pectoral and abdominal muscles as they were cast askew.
  • Began reworking the left hand to accommodate the tsuka
  • Continued work on left arm and hand; tentatively attached hand.
  • Commenced finishing of left spaulder; refitted arm.
  • Sketched harness straps: chest and shoulders.
  • Harness straps roughed-in.
  • "Blocked-in" left holster pegged and tentatively fitted.
  • Continued refinement of abdominal musculature.

 When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

08 April 2016

Deadpool - Prepwork: Phase III - Accessories

While Phase II is dedicated to the "kitting-out" of Deadpool, Phase III will focus on the "hardware" of his kit.
  • New sword roughed-out from brass rod. This was relatively quick work--and FUN!!! I hammered flats on either side of a 3/16" d. brass rod, and hammered the curve of the blade over the horn of the anvil. Once satisfied, I continued reducing the thickness of the blank on the anvil before taking Dremel (grinders and sanders) to it. I'd say it's about 50% done. . .
  • Sword grip (tsuka) roughed-in with MS. At this stage, it is removable, allowing me to assemble the sword fittings as in real life. 
  • Tsuba roughed-out from a scrap piece of PUR and tentatively fitted to blade.

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003