FanExpo Canada Photography Part 2

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Out of the Box: Nendoroid After Parts 01 Review + Mako Photography

Nendoroid After Parts 01_CuriousCloudy (1)

Good Smile Company recently released two additional accessory add-ons to bring out my playful sides of their Nendoroid figures. After Parts 01 features two types of looks for your Nendoroid- Angel and Devil while After Parts 02 features an animal theme with spare parts to turn your Nendoroid into a kitty or a bunny. I love the Angel and Devil concept and I think the packaging off the get-go was really clever. Right on your first impressions, the After Parts box features GSC’s beloved Hatsune Miku Nendoroid in the foreground and then uses two of the main characters from Wooser no Sono Higurashi Kakusei-hen to display a pair of girls (Rin, the blonde and Len, the black-haired girl) to show off the Angel/Devil look or the white or black animal furry look. Since Rin and Len are somewhat contrasting characters in the Wooser show, they go splendidly with the duel concept accessories of the After Parts series.

After Parts 01 Rating: 3.75/5 happy clouds Crop_35 Clouds Transparent

Since everything is packaged so tightly with bubble wrap in the box. I had no doubt that the individual pieces would be very delicate. When you unroll the package, each accessory piece is sealed in its own individual slot and this precision is one of my favourite parts of the GSC packaging.  Initially I was really curious as to how exactly the parts would add on. There are tons of extra pieces to hold up the music notes for the daytime-angel scene or the stars for the nighttime-devil scene. There is an extra longer rectangular base piece that will fit everything perfect. The wings fit easily with an extra adapter piece for the Nendoroid’s back and my only issue is with the headpieces. The “item” in the After Parts set that holds/props up the halo or horns is actually just a folded piece of hard plastic. I wasn’t a big fan of this because 1) if you have a lot of Nendoroid parts, these pieces might get lost in the pile  and 2) if you fidget too long with the plastic, it can potentially bend and go crooked.

Where my frontal hair piece meets the back of the head on my Mako figure is where the head piece should be inserted. It actually first like a headband and the plastic is made thin enough to disappear between the Nendoroid parts with little to no gap after the insertion. Mako Nendoroid Angel_CuriousCloudy (5)Because Mako’s hairline is actually curved in a strange “S” shape, it was actually pretty hard to get the halo or horns fitted properly so they would sit perfectly or hover on top of Mako’s head. I have really small hands and it was difficult for me to manage with the parts so for those of you who have bigger hands or generally clumsy fingers, you might want to try tweezers or work slowly and carefully as to not warp the plastic piece. I can understand how the parts were designed to provide universally fitted pieces for all Nendoroids but I found myself having a little trouble managing the delicate plastic.

Overall though I love the design of the After Parts and how it utterly changes up the aura of the entire Nendoroid. Here are the rest of my photographs for Mako. I did a really quick photo shoot this time because this post came to mind last minute. The daytime-angel pictures are taken with a Nikon 1 and the original kit lens. With enough lighting, they turn out fairly decent. The nighttime-devil pictures however required a much more versatile camera so I turned to my Nikon D3100 with my 17-70mm Sigma macro lens to get all the nice lighting in the back. It was pretty fun playing around with the parts so I’m seriously considering getting the After Parts 02 set even with the slight headpiece troubles I had.

If you have a Nendoroid you should definitely consider getting a set. They were about $15 dollars at the GSC booth at the FanExpo Canada convention, $12 at a regular licensed vendor in the Dealer’s room and about 800-950 yen (plus some light shipping) at some online Japanese websites so it won’t make much of a dent in your wallet. Plus, it’s a great way to revamp your Nendoroid and give your old figures a little makeover.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this really long review and post. Hopefully some of you figure collectors found something interesting to check out. If you have any more questions about the After Parts don’t hesitate to comment or tweet me @CuriousCloudy and I will talk to you guys in my next post or video very soon =)

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

FanExpo Canada 2014 Photography Part 1

This gallery contains 75 photos.

Out of the Box – Mako Mankanshoku Nendoroid

Hey guys, it’s been a while since I did an Out of the Box feature here on my blog mainly because I’m trying to juggling it all with my channel. Sometimes it’s really easier to film an unboxing rather than … Continue reading

How to Spot Bootleg Figures

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For most otaku collectors, the biggest problem with purchasing merchandise is spotting the fakes from the officially licensed products. Here are some tips on how to spot the difference.

We’re going to be looking at the Nendoroid Petit series, particularly the Character Vocal Series 01 featuring Hatsune Miku. You’re probably wondering why I have both the real and fake version of the exact same character. No I did not buy a fake figure just for the sake of this post. I just so happened that I was duped first into buying the box and when I did find the officially licensed version, I ended up with the same figure by chance. Luckily, Rin Kagamine is one of my favourite vocaloids. Now, how to spot fakes…?

Box Design- This is a key starting point for all shoppers. If the box is damaged in any way or has colour faded then it is most likely a fake. If you’re unsure, do some research online for pictures of the collection from the manufacturer’s site or go onto the forums and have more experienced collectors verify for you. The packaging in the official box will be slightly more elaborate and with fragile more expensive figures, include extra wrap to protect it from delivery bumps.

Joints- How well does the figure put together? You probably won’t know until you take it home, but a big telltale sign is how easily and sturdily the figure comes together. When I realized that my Rin figure was fake, I ended up using scissors in an attempt to dig a proper hole in the body to fix the joints. It was a hassle putting the darn thing together. The official figure has easily moveable joints and almost never falls off its base.

Paint Finish- Officially licensed figures have nicely done paint jobs that are easy on the eyes and are smooth to the touch. Check out the finer details of the figure and whether or not the manufacturer gets all the gradient shades and whether the pain is firmly set into the right places (as in, did they colour within the lines).

On Rin here, you can see the official figure has a much more healthy and baby pink flush to her facial expression while the pain on the fake figure makes Rin look sickly and a bit grey. Your real figure will have much more expressive facial qualities than the fake.

Real Rin (left) has shades of orange at the tips of her hair while Fake Rin (right)does not. As well, the real Rin has dainty back shoes painted on her feet and an extra ring of white paint at the hem of her dress while the fake Rin has no shoes and a single coloured dress hem.

Price- This one is really important and usually the easiest way to tell if something is fake or real. If your wallet is happy about the purchase and you think you’ve made a bargain for your figure, think again. The bootleg I accidentally bought was only four dollars plus tax while my official Nendoroid Petit was twelve dollars plus tax. Figures are rarely purchased at a bargain price especially if they are relatively popular. A quick check at the manufacturer’s online official website will give you a general idea of the price of your figure.

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Tips for Conventions- If you’re really unsure about whether a dealer is selling bootleg figures or legitimate ones you can, A) stand there and look like you’re visually scrutinizing the box for flaws. If the seller is legit and he sees you doubting the product, he will most likely reassure you that he’s selling official merchandise. Dealers selling fake figures are less likely to make a bold claim for selling legitimate stuff if they think you’re already suspicious. Or B), look around the immediate area for someone who is toting around a huge bag of figures, hopefully he or she can offer some insight. C) Talk to the dealer and ask him details about the figure or the series. I’ve found that most dealers who sell officially licensed products know their anime goods well – ask for things like series release date, when the anime itself came out, if there are other similar figure collections, etc.

Tips for Online Purchases- I would advise you not to buy anything online because you can’t see the product immediately but that would be stupid because the truth is a lot of figures are a lot cheaper online than in stores or conventions. Try to avoid website likes eBay or Amazon unless the seller is from Japan or has a healthy history of positive ratings. If you enjoy online shopping wars like I do, make sure you choose your battles wisely and purchase only from places noted for their legit products. A little googling and research on forums will help you determine which sites are thumbs up and which ones are a thumbs down.

I hope you guys found this post useful and I hope you never get duped by bootlegs. It’s not a fun experience at all. Did you ever accidentally buy a fake? Do you have a bootleg purchase story? Let me know in the comments below. As careful as I am about purchases, I’ve still been tricked 2-3 times with occasional small figures when I first started collecting – less so now that I’ve been tro Japan and back a few times. Keep in mind that legitimate Japanese products are almost always flawlessly designed and produced.

Thank you guys very much for dropping in and I will talk to you all soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

KidRobot Haul!!

Hey guys, last week I did a little bit of outlet mall shopping in Pennsylvania down in the States and I really wasn’t expecting to find a lot of collector’s stuff because of the overwhelming number of fashion stores. Lucky enough for me, I stumbled across quite a few KidRobot things and I couldn’t help but assemble a feature haul for you guys.

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I FINALLY ADOPTED A LABBIT! And I will kiss him and love him and squeeze him and call him George… just kidding. But I was super ecstatic when I found stache Labbits available in the store. At first I only planned on buying the white one because it was smaller and easier to carry around but at the end of the day I caved and bought the medium-large 14 inch purple Labbit as well. The small white 7 inch Labbit was around $15.99 US while the larger was $29.99, but hey, no tax and no shipping fees so I’m happy. The plush Labbits are produced by KidRobot with designs by Frank Kozik I also grabbed one of the boxes from the Happy Mini Labbits collection and got the pink one. The purple moustache goes really well with the pink skin I think.

I absolutely love the plush Labbits. Their fur is so friggin soft, you wouldn’t believe me until you actually get your hands on one. The medium-large purple one is so huggable and pretty life sized in rabbit sizes if you ask me. The plushie is just really well made overall because it’s made to be a collectible on a shelf rather than something you hug to be. To be honest, I think they could be both unless you’re the mint-pristine condition type of collector. If you’re a big plushie lover or a Labbit figures fan, I strongly recommend you adopt one of these guys. The “How to take care of Labbit” instructions behind the name tag makes the Labbit all the more endearing to plushie collectors and gives the Labbits a bit of a personality. I’m still on the lookout for the yellow Labbit but for now, I love spending time with the two that I already have. Less staring, more adopting!!

As well, KidRobot produces the Yummy Dessert keychains by Heidi Kenney and this little box was a real treat if you know what I mean. My slice of pie is down in a matte lime finish and hangs from a sturdy metal ring great for keys bags. It’s got a really amusing expression and it’s relatively cheap, going for only $5.99 US so if you’re looking for a cute and unique accessory, the Yummy Dessert collection is for you.

That is all for my KidRobot haul. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed making it. Thank you so much for dropping in and if you’re looking for new stuff from me, follow me here by email, wordpress or on facebook or twitter! I’ll talk to you guys soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Out of the Box: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT Yozora Mikazuki

DSC_0317bcHihi, how are you all doing? Today we’re doing another mini Out of the Box feature this time for Haganai.

I’ve been exploring a lot of my local hobby and anime shops in Toronto and I came across the Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next mini character box figures. This line is called the Nano-Colle Series – Haganai Next. If you follow the series or if you’ve seen pictures, you probably know that Yozora cuts her hair in the second season. When I saw Sena and Yozora on the front of the box, I was a little apprehensive just because I wasn’t sure how Yozora’s hair would be styled just by the image. There were only two boxes left and I grabbed both. Luckily or unluckily, I actually got two Yozoras haha, but I really fell in love with her. Her expression is really stoic akin to her personality and the amount of detail in her eyes really brings out her character. The simplistic but accurate detail made my wallet and shopping conscious feel better about getting identical.

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The collection was released in June last year and manufactured by Media Factory. I would really love to get the rest of the characters so I guess it’ll take a bit more merchandise hunting online or around town to find them. For now I’m very happy with Yozora. She is one of the main characters and one of my favourites… maybe you can spot her air friend, Tomo-chan, somewhere in the background of those photos 😉

FIG-COL-5254 Characters_AmiAmiFull collection photo courtesy of AmiAmi.com

These were taken with my Nikon D3100 and the sigma 17-70mm macro lens really came in hand with small figures. Yozora is only about two inches tall but she’s perfect on your desk or on travel if you want to place her in some interesting settings.

I hope you guys liked this Out of the Box feature. If you’re looking for more from me, don’t forget to follow me here or on twitter or facebook or pinterest. New stuff is coming every day! Thanks for dropping in!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Nendoroid Petite Mami and Homura Photography

Hey guys, HAPPY NEW YEAR and for the first day of January 2014, I wanted to share with you some figure photography. Here is Mami Tomoe and Homura Akemi from the Nendoroid Petite Puella Magi Madoka Magica Box Set. I bought these two figures while on vacation and I spent quite a bit of time trying to guess my way into my favourite figures or at least two that weren’t identical. This collection is pretty much sold out now so I’m glad I picked up two when I got the chance.

Here is the full set, photo courtesy of the Good Smile Company online site here.

Here are some New Year’s evening themed photography done with Christmas lights (and sparkles). I just wanted to glam up these magic girls for the holiday. I picked up some decorations on sale after Boxing Day and everything was actually set up at home on top of a box and in front of a white wall so I really focused a lot on setting up in order to blow up the white lighting in order to set a snowy bright wash over the scene

Again, taken with my Sigma 17-70mm on my Nikon D3100 😉

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I hope you guys enjoyed this photos. They were just taken yesterday a few hours before the new year so they’re hot off the SD card 😉 I also wish you all a wonderful rest of holidays and safe winter with your family and friends. Cheers to a great new year!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?