Saturday, November 1, 2014

Demystifying Bosny Spray Cans


I got an Airbrush + compressor set from a friend who decided to sell his unused set a couple of years ago (he was leaving to work abroad back then), with the intent of going full AB, dropping if not minimizing my use of Bosny spray cans.  So far, I haven't been able to use the the darned thing since I really don't paint that much.  I don't even paint the kits I have modified, lest I really have to, and that I suppose is one of many of my faults as a Gunpla "modeler."

Accessibility and Practicality

Bosny spray cans are easily accessible.  Hardware stores all around carry them, and they are rather cheap for one-off paint projects.  They are handy, as such, you can't really run out of it if you have enough stocks on-hand, so you won't leave a project hanging.  Of course a little planning is always involved in the process even with AB painting, making sure you have enough stock of whichever color of whichever paint of whichever process one utilizes so that one does not run out of paint or material midway during a build.

Provided you source out the cheapest, to which, this is no big secret, I source out and buy "in bulk" at Pasilio 1C 168 Mall at Divisoria, cans are relatively economical, though someone did point out earlier with the number of cans I've already used, I could have gotten an AB.  He of course is correct with regards to the economics.  I did get an AB eventually (two ABs, in fact, I have gotten one earlier as a freebie), but, as of this writing and as I have mentioned previously, I have even broken those two and the compressor in.

For me, the practical advantage of using cans is its convenience;  even if I run out, I can simply run out to the nearest hardware store which is actually just a walking distance (see what I did there)to get a fresh can of the color I need (provided of course, it didn't happen at night).  But, I've been using cans well long enough to know if I'll run out or not.  I can easily estimate how many cans I'll be using for a project, assessing the amount BEFORE I even start painting.  More so, I've started stocking up on the colors I frequently use, specifically the grey primer,  flat white and flat black, since they are essentially used all the time.

Too Close, Too Thick for Comfort


A lot of people mistake that paint in cans are too thick, especially with industrial ones like Bosny.  They are partially right, because these paint cans are really made for use on cars and large surfaces, as such, they are designed to accumulate more readily, coat quickly and dry quickly.  On my first attempts at painting with cans, I've screwed up several times.  The most common mistake is spraying too close and overspraying.



Bosny Metallic Red tends to be too thick
especially when sprayed too close

Also, Bosny cans are not equally thick across the board.  Some are actually rather thin, like Primer Grey and Flat Black, and does take a few passes to get enough coverage.  The above photo shows my first experiment on painting with Bosny Flat Black, Gold 351 and Metallic Red, all sprayed too close.  You can see how thick the paint is on the edges, even with Bosny surprisingly having a self-leveling property.

Bosny is quick drying, provided certain conditions are met. Spraying too close leaves the underlying layer of paint wet and uncured for hours, and with varying humidity, the difference of dryness between layers can cause that nasty surface "curl" effect when the upper coat drys faster than the lower one.

The Distance Between Us


The standard distance I've been using was 6 inches, but through the months I've been experimenting, I've determined that the best distance is actually around 12 inches from the surface, effectively misting the paint.  Misting keeps the paint particles small, and it allows the paint to dry halfway and fully as it lands on the surface. 





My first attempt with the MatX Multitone/Color Change/Gradient,
which back then, no one really attempted with cans.  This is achieved
with Flat Black, then Gold 351 and Honda Red 67
sprayed at opposite angles to create the gradient effect

I've stopped using Bosny Metallic Red (along with Metallic Blue and Metallic Black) back then because even with dry conditions and considerable spray distance it still tends to be too thick.  The Bosny Metallics are also opaque, so it was pretty useless having laid down a layer of gold before it, which also contributed to thickness.

So far, I've found that Bosny Gold, Silver, Aluminum, Aluminum Silver and Metallic Silver are good buffer paints for clear and candy tones.  With misting, they can cover a part without obscuring the details.  The photos above and below show my first attempts with the buffer/candy tone technique, and discovered quite by accident that spraying at opposite angles could create a somewhat color change depending on the angle to which the light hits the painted part, which is actually more of a gradient.




Though I've seen gradients done quite easily done with AB, I haven't seen anyone else do this with cans on small parts back then.

The Myth Behind the Mist

There is no singular technique in achieving a great paint job with cans, but, the best technique so far, at least for me, is misting.  The main issue people have with it is paint wastage; misting does require one to spray at a more significant distance, and the farther you spray, the larger the spray diameter.  So people will always tend to spray closer to economize on paint, without realizing that that method is actually more unpredictable, especially since cans do lose pressure as the paint is expended.  The result, overspray and uneven coats.

Misting allows one to gauge where and how the paint lands on a certain surface, and not all surfaces get painted the same way.  People also make the mistake of keeping the can stationary while depressing the nozzle.  Both the part and can must be moving constantly in opposite directions, with curved parts rotated as the paint is misted to give it more coverage.  Misting keeps the paint particles small, and as I have mentioned early, dry quickly as it lands on the surface.



With misting, I've been able to avoid overspray and achieve a paint layer close to that of an AB (of course, I wouldn't want to argue with any AB user that it's the same, hence "close").  The above shows several coats of Flat Black, Nickel Chrome and Honda Red 67 (which takes a LOT of passes to achieve a full coat), and as you can see, the surface details remain clear even after the Flat Clear (which creates the muted metallic/red titanium effect).

Compare that to a relatively <simpler> Titanium White (Flat White, Pearl White, Flat Clear)






It's also worthwhile to note that Don Suratos aka DC23, won his first BAKUC Worlwide Championship with a split-color Kampfer painted with Bosny.   He was actually the one who inspired me to paint with cans...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A "lighter" shade of black...


I hardly post anything blogwise nowadays, and if you're familiar with the previous "I am poor so I buy bootlegs" phenomenon, I still get mild and violent reactions from anonymous morons (yes, I deliberately call them lowlifes <morons> because they can't seem to get the fact that justifying bootlegs is WRONG in so many ways that it affects others in the hobby.  If it's "just a hobby," you wouldn't feel too guilty about it which makes you run amuck in defense of bootlegs since you can't afford the real thing) that my traffic actually stays around average even without regular posts, thanks to a post at GetReal.

I've been working like "mad" to finish the Hellraiser, the progress of which I simply post as individual albums at my Hobby Stuff page on Facebook.  I simply don't want to "waste" so much time individually processing step-by-step photos since I also have the "day job" to worry about.

A lighter shade of black
.  At first glance, the phrase seems innocent enough, but, there's really no such thing.  I came across this tidbit when two FB friends tagged me on a post that I didn't get to see because it was already gone when I decided to check it out.  Those two people won't really tag me unnecessarily (well, most of the time), so I asked one of them who was online at the time what it was about.

It was a question someone posted.  Is there a lighter shade of black?  I suppose I got tagged because those people regard me as knowledgeable in the subject, because it is within my line of actual work.

First, let me make something clear;  technically, black, and white, aren't really "colors," they are the absence and presence of colors and light.  On printed material, white is the absence of color and black is the presence of ALL colors (we do have black ink, paint, and pigment as they also occur naturally, just so you won't have to mix some yourself).  Also, for the purpose of this post, I'll be discussing black and white with regards to pigments, ink and paint, since that was what the question is all about.

But we don't really bother about such little things in this modern age where every frakkin' color with different names is available.  Check the nifty kewl infographic below which I made just for this post.


The normal human eye, as said, is able to detect 255 shades of a color, but most of us won't really bother too much whether a shade of green is just 1 shade lighter or darker than the other.  These shades, though, are used to enhance certain color combinations as gradients when one color "disappears" as another "appears."  The example above is actually a gradient of white and black as well.

So, there is no such thing as a lighter black.  Anything visibly lighter than black is already considered gray.  In paints and inks, black is black.   Flat black seems/looks lighter than gloss black, not because it IS lighter, but because of how light hits and how it "reflects" light (technically, black is black because it absorbs ALL light wavelengths, white reflects all in turn).  But yes, you can use flat black as a "light" black, but, making it glossy will just get you back to square one.

In printing, there are brands of black that look gray, mainly because they were made with cheaper or heavily diluted pigments and are often used for low-budget projects (the <best> example for those black inks are newpapers).  Even some of the more expensive black do tend to be somewhat "light" especially on certain papers (the paper stock's ability to absorb moisture affect how <deep> a color can look).  We do have a trick of making sure the black on prints look as "black as it can be" by mixing a certain amount of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow on areas where deep black is needed.  This black is called  "rich" black (see the graphic below.  There is also the process of overprinting black text over a full color background, making the text look deeper and avoiding that white "halo" around the text when misalignment (most often) occurs.

Here's where it gets trickier;  there is also no such thing as "shades of gray" (so that book title is actually incorrect, but, we can leave that to creative license, and we don't bother arguing about the conventions anymore because it's an exercise in futility).  Gray is a result of mixing white pigment with black, so, 50%gray is actually a shade of black.  As one gets closer to black, even 99% black is still gray.  We can call it "dark gray," but not "light black" (though honestly, no one can really detect 99% tone of a color that easily unless one is actually trained to do so).  Conventionally, gray is simulated in offset printing, not by mixing white ink with black, but rather using screen tones, or often referred to as "half tones" on white paper (white ink is rather rare, and hardly used since most paper mediums are on the light side, printer with darker inks to produce images on print).  Those are the patterns of small dots you see on (offset) printed material,  so small you can hardly detect them in <normal> reading distances, but, when you look at it up close or with a magnifying class, you'll be able to see them.  The combination of those black dots on white paper (or substrate, as the case may be) create the illusion of gray.  Lighter grays (or lighter shades of black) are simulated by smaller dots, and those dots become larger and closer together as the grays become darker.  When the dots overlap completely, we have black.

Shades of black are also used to produce shades of other colors, so red becomes dark red or, maroon, or blood red.  Of course, these colors as inks also come as <solid> colors, if you are familiar with the Pantone© Color System, but are seldom used unless a single specific color is needed economy-wise, thus using only one instead of combining two or more process colors.  Pantone inks are used when an specific color is not reproducible with combining CMYK values.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

And a weasel pops...



I know it's been a while since I posted anything WIP related, since I have been swamped with work-related stuff, seminars and workshops of late, those of which were not really in my schedule.  It has also been a while since my last post, and I have had several comments spread over those two posts, mostly anonymous ones.

Like I mentioned a few times over several posts, I don't normally allow STUPID comments from anonymous COWARDS, but since this COWARD posted his name (I doubt it's really him), and later a facebook link, why not make it into a POST instead?

Here's a screen shot of his posts.  On different dates.  It could be just him, or multiples of him. because that's just how trolls operate.

Let's break it down.

"So i suppose you DONT BUY OR DOWNLOAD any kind of pirated PROGRAMS (games, utilities, etc.)"

No, I don't. As an Adobe Certified Expert and an Instructor of Adobe software, I've signed an agreement to not promote software piracy of any kind. As per the CS series, we're given extended licenses by the School we teach at. 

I've mentioned this quite a few times especially when idiots like you drop this stupid "don't tell me you don't pirate music" reference/excuse as if the existence of music piracy makes bootlegging any less illegal.

Games? No. I don't play much games either, but hey, most games are actually free now, and even with the ones that have in-app purchasing functions, one only needs to be patient to go through levels. But, like I said, I don't do games much, I actually have WORK, and when I do play games, it's often to relax after a long day of work.

"MOVIES or MUSIC (you have paid for all the music your hear no?), and if you ever wanted to read a book, bought it or will buy the original and you are one of the selected people wich has actually paid to use WINRAR, and dont EVER use programs like BitTorrent, because why would you need that?..."

Is it so hard to believe that there are actually people who do not engage in piracy?

I'm a songwriter.  I'm also a Graphic Designer, and with that, an Artist. I understand what copyright means to someone who actually DOES create something.

You obviously don't.

So, no, I don't download music or movies, I BUY when I want to listen to music, and all the music I own, were through store purchases (I only own a few, and those I really like beyond the scope of being a songwriter because I hardly listen to music, if at all, and some were given by friends). 

I also prefer watching movies on the big screen, and buy movies/dvds of the ones I've missed on sale later on, because hey, buying it at a third or a quarter of the original price is such a steal, I feel guilty for people who have to resort to pirating them.

I don't use Winrar.  I'm on a Mac, you know, those things most cheap PC users despise, because it's not that they can't afford Macs, it's just because they're too cheap to buy the really kewl stuff and complain that it's too expensive. I have no need for piracy, Macs have in-built apps, and for work, like I mentioned previously, I have an extended license from the School I teach at.  It's one of the perks of being an Adobe instructor.

So, just because you engage in piracy, don't immediately assume everyone else does.

"Dont fuck with me, we are old enough to be discussin about these things, you should look yourself in a mirror and see how big of an Hypocrite you actually are, go,d people like you make me mad."

Nobody told you to waste your time to comment here, yes?  So, before accusing me of "fucking with you," KNOW YOUR FUCKING PLACE.  This is my blog, as such, I can virtually say anything I want, without regard or care to what stupid people like you think.

People like you are so stupid, you don't think before you open your trap, just because you're too full of yourself to actually believe there are people who are not dumb enough like you are to go out of their way to harass other people who don't really care what you think.

"With no love,

Pablo Ignacio González Hermosilla"


If this is really even you.  For all I know you just got a random name from a random facebook account and used it just so you could say you didn't post anonymously.

Regardless, people like you are more hypocritical without being aware of your own hypocrisy, because, you can't see BEYOND the mirror.  People like you are the COWARDS you really are.

"You sound like a jackass."

I "sound" like a jackass.  People, this is the internet.  I don't give a rat's ass if I sound like a jackass or anything, since you I don't know you, and you don't know me. 

See, if I sound like a jackass, YOU are a jackass for taking your sweet time just to tell me I sound LIKE one.

"https://www.facebook.com/milfhousee there, my facebook, just in case you wanna know the face of one of the many people who actualy think u are a jerk, because of this post i KNOW there are a LOT of them."

I really must have pissed this guy off, this one went straight to my SPAM folder, since he tried posting several times over the last few days.

Again, the FUCK I care if people think I'm a jerk. I'm not here to make you jerkoffs happy.  I post stuff here for those who APPRECIATE what I do, not for morons who can't even take a hint to leave it well enough alone.

The funny thing is, these people are so courageous online, and ONLY online.  No one has ever come up to me and say these things to my face (even if I have challenged them several times), mainly because they really don't know how I will react in person.  This particular fellow is so courageous, maybe because he's not really the guy on the FB link he posted.  I have been visible in events, yet, there's no one daring enough to even tell me up front, "MatX you're a jerk."

I know people who collect bootlegs.  I meet up with them and we even talk shop about the bootlegs they have and even tease me at times that I'm a bootleg lover in secret.  These people get mys respect because they KNOW WELL ENOUGH not to be defensive about the bootlegs they have.

I'm pretty sure you don't have a life outside the internet, and that's why you try so hard to get the attention of the people you consider as jerks.  Grow the FUCK up.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A word from Katsumi Kawaguchi

First of all, if you don't know who Master Katsumi Kawaguchi is, maybe it's time that you do.  He works at Bandai's Hobby department, demonstrating how to build Gundams for the longest time, and serves as Bandai's spokesperson regarding everything Gunpla over the years.

In case you're wondering where I got the "idea" that the terms "Gundam" and "Gunpla" are Bandai copyright, it's simple research (and common sense, which A LOT of people lack nowadays).  Regardless, a lot of people (who buy bootlegs) doubt this, and despite bootlegs are no longer being labeled "Gundams" by the bootleggers, people continue calling them as "Gunpla."

On my previous post, I added a post he made on Facebook, verbatim.
はっきり言っときます。
FB上で海賊版キットを掲出している人には私はフレンドの承認をしません。
海賊版だと知らずにアップロードしている人も申し訳ありませんが同様の対応をします。

I say clearly.
I do not have approved of a friend who has been posting pirated model kit on FB.
Model kit does not have the name "BANDAI" is not a GUNPLA.
Sorry some people are uploading without knowing's pirated, but I will be the same correspondence.
Well, this confirms what I have been saying and makes it official.  Bootlegs are not Gunpla, no matter how we want to put it.  Since bootlegs didn't go through the same rigorous process or research and development Bandai kits have, they have not earned the right to the title.  Master Kawaguchi rarely posts in English, and when he does, you can be sure it's important, since he is trying to communicate with ALL of us.

Sure, bootleggers will say they don't care.  Of course they don't.  They don't have as much respect for actual GUNPLA as a hobby.  Don't get me wrong, I understand why people buy bootlegs.  They're CHEAP.  Other than that, there's nothing else.  Gunpla is expensive, because they actually have to PAY people that work on developing the same kits you buy bootlegs for.  Imagine, if there is no Bandai producing authentic kits, there won't be any bootleg for you to buy. 

He aired that same sentiment here:
Quality of pirated model kits has improved compared to the old days. There is also a model kit not inferior, even in comparison with GUNPLA.
We licensee is going to have to strive to create a Gundam with the licensor.
Or more, which is a business, we contract with the licensor, we are selling the GUNPLA paying consideration.
It becomes the source to foster the consideration Gundam. Is produced as a source its consideration also new Gundam.
What I'm concerned about is to include it in by pirated model kit flows, such circulation is cut off.
It will ensure that pirated model kit becomes so many distribution, Gundam die out soon.
If I got it right, he might be talking about Dragon Momoko's recent production.  Bandai (or at least, Master Kawaguchi) is considering getting DM as a licensee (which is what DM claims to begin with).  Isn't that good news

But, I'm only speculating on the context of his statement.  He might be saying that if a bootlegger becomes an official licensee that produces Gundams/Gunpla, then you'll basically be paying Bandai price for THAT licensee's products as well.   It's the same thing as someone buying a franchise license to, say, Jollibee, or McDonalds.  The franchisee will still sell the products they franchised at the pricethe mother franchise dictates.

His last two sentences should be taken note of, because it's the same thing I said.  No Bandai.  No Gunpla.  No bootlegs.

No hobby for anyone. Any reasoning other than bootlegs are cheap you may employ to defend why you buy bootlegs is SELF-DEFEATING.  That's why I said "If you can't afford Bandai, get another hobby you can afford" in my previous post. 

A hobby involves money.  Even CHEAP bootlegs cost money.  If one does not know how to prioritize, saying that one has children and can't afford to buy Bandai so one buys bootlegs instead as an alternative is a self pity stance.   You have children.  PRIORITIZE them.  You need a hobby, go knit, or do some cross stitching, or READ a book or something that will not devastate your finances so much, you have to use having children as a reason why you buy bootlegs.

There goes your "alternative" hobby.  Because you bought bootlegs, you also killed the REAL hobby in turn.  This is also one of their reasons why GBWC Philippines came up with the receipt requirement in addition to the box as a preventive measure against people using bootlegs as entries, in part, in full, or both.  You don't care about the GBWC, why, thank you a lot for ruining it for those who do.

Here's more.:
There is no change to being an unlicensed kit what the name of the BANDAI does not contain even Resin kit claiming to GUNDAM.
Resin kits.  Definitely not Gunpla, as resin is considered a different material.  If a resin "design" improves a current one, it may not technically be bootlegging, but it still infringes on Bandai's copyright.  I would have to think long and hard if I am to push through with our plan to create a 1/60 resin Masurao.
We're aware that there are a problem of price, is the problem of the correandaissponding support.
We think that it is an issue such as improvement of production system and so on we should overcome.
I am aware that there are many issues and challenges realistic.
It is that there is no way So if you reject us that can not be eliminated current challenges. There is no enforceable against you guys for us.
However, there is no change in that it is a stance that rejects pirated model kit I am.

In a variety of environments, and there are those who enjoy the model kit under various constraints is that I understand. It can not deny anyone.
However, even what benefits, it is that stance I would not tolerate the presence of a pirated of the model kit.
I'm not going to discuss the pros and cons of pirated model kit here I am.
It is the judgment of all of you is whether or not to accept me standing in such a stance.
I think that the "registered friends" of the FB is a thing like that.
Did you get it?  He's still given you the liberty to choose, but, make the right choice.  The more you buy bootlegs, the more difficult it is for Bandai to produce more and better products, because they are losing profit to bootlegs.   Profit that gos to paying people to develop the next line of kits.  Whereas they keep improving their production methods which costs money, bootleggers don't really spend anything in that department.  And you curse at Bandai for not giving you what you want and releasing exclusives or color variants all the time.  They do that to augment the profit the lost to bootlegs.

Lastly, in a PM conversation, I asked him to confirm if Dragon Momoko is a Bandai licensee.  His response, verbatim:

Model kit of the Dragon Momoko is not licensed. Never Bandai entrust production and sales of GUNPLA to other companies.
There you go.  From the Bandai Man himself.   Malvin of GTO did mention this some time ago, when the DM MG Strike Freedom was released, because the detail was "99%" close, as some have claimed.  Maybe this will end the debacle.

You ask me if I have pirated stuff?  No.  I don't pirate stuff.   I avoid downloading MP3s unless I pay for it, and I avoid downloading that violate copyright laws.  I'm a musician and a songwriter, and is one of the reasons why I understand copyright.   I also teach Adobe Software, and speak at seminars about creativity, originality and copyright, so yes, I can LECTURE anyone about the perils of buying bootlegs. 

Now, having said all these, having made an effort to disseminate information for your benefit, you have a choice to make.  Still gonna buy a bootleg, I suppose?  Yes, because obviously, despite being shown the truth, you're really just a cheapskate bootleg "collector."  It's not that you can't afford to buy Bandai, you just don't know what true value really is.

The money you save from buying a cheap bootleg less than quarter the price of a Bandai kit goes a long way, maybe buy you some BOOTLEG milk (imported from CHINA) for your kid.  But, THINK.  You buy 10 bootlegs for 500 each.  You later try to sell them, for how much, you ask? 

Bootlegs, even unbuilt ones, have a very low resale value.  You'll be hard-pressed to sell those 10 at a profit, most likely you'll sell them at a loss.  Whereas, concurrently, I have 4 unbuilt Sinanjus I procured over the course of several years that I plan to use for a big project.  I saved enough money from each of my project to get one.  If I suddenly need cash, I can sell those 4 Sinanjus for a little profit over the price I got them for.  I made an investment, and it worked for me.  Whereas you ended up with 10 lousy bootlegs you'll be hard-pressed to sell, if at all.

Okay.  It's your money to waste.  It's your right to choose.  Go buy that bootleg.   But, take a long, hard look at that bootleg you purchased, and think of the people who worked hard of getting them to you.  The REAL people who worked on developing it, only for bootleggers to copy it so you can get your fill of the hobby.

The time might come that it may be the last one, because there are no other kits to bootleg. 

On a final note, would anyone want some fine and fresh bootleg milk and onions?



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Objective Review of the Dragon Momoko Tallgeese II

Note:  If you want to comment, identify yourself, with a LINK to your email when you comment, instead of posting as anonymous.  I do not allow anonymous comments (and I do track comments), even those who commend, praise, or worship me, let alone IDIOTIC uninformed comments from CHEAPSKATE and cowardly bootleg lovers who simply don't know what OBJECTIVE means.

--------------

Ever since the Dragon Momoko (DM) Tallgeese III (along with I and II) was announced, people have been raving about how good it looks, how DM did a number on Bandai by releasing a III before it did, and that the DM TG III is an "original" (more about that later). This review will cover the comparison between the Bandai and DM TG II, on the technical aspect, to keep it as objective as possible, since there is no Bandai MG TGIII to compare with DM's.  I, for one was impressed with the early images of the TG III, and was looking forward to it.

First off, a review about copyright and copyright infringement. I've mentioned this a few times here, and at Facebook several times. The terms "Gundam" and "Gunpla" are trademarks of Bandai and Sunrise as a "brand." After the "court battle" between Bandai and TT Hongli, bootlegs stopped having "Gundam" on their boxes. Consequently, TTH resurfaced as "GaoGao" or GoGo (making Bandai's effort futile, if you think about it) and continues to produce substandard products. Also, though the Bandai Tallgeese is not a "Gundam" per se, it is Gunpla nevertheless. Bootlegs ARE NOT brands, that's why they're called bootlegs to begin with, because they COPY or knock off an actual brand.

(Update:  This is a statement from Katsumi Kawaguchi of Bandai, verbatim, with regards to bootlegs not being "gunpla."
はっきり言っときます。
FB上で海賊版キットを掲出している人には私はフレンドの承認をしません。
海賊版だと知らずにアップロードしている人も申し訳ありませんが同様の対応をします。

I say clearly.
I do not have approved of a friend who has been posting pirated model kit on FB.
Model kit does not have the name "BANDAI" is not a GUNPLA.
Sorry some people are uploading without knowing's pirated, but I will be the same correspondence.

That's coming straight from the horse's mouth.  I'll post a separate article about this, since he said a lot of things in that FB post.) 

I'm familiar with the "rumors" going about that DM claims to be a Bandai sub-licensee, and I've even speculated that DM may be a Bandai subcompany (others have speculated this as well), but, until either of those are confirmed, DM is a bootlegger and their products are all bootlegs (not that it matters in the long run for bootleg "collectors").

New Molds

Unlike other earlier bootlegs, I consider the DM TGs "nextgen" bootlegs, primarily because instead of simply remolding an existing runner, they may actually have produced their molds from scratch. DM hit 3 birds with one stone, since the TGs after all only have minor variations across the 3 variants.

Here's a shot and a close up of one of the main runners of DM and Bandai

Posted Image Posted Image

This actually didn't give it away while I was inspecting the TG II at the shop, since I didn't have a Bandai TG II to refer to, but I suppose, the Daban TG II is a runner mold of Bandai's.  What I noticed right away though, were the additional armor details that are not present in the Bandai TG II.

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


DM has placed additional detail on some of the armor parts, making it look "unique" as compared to its Bandai counterpart.  Because of its material, though, DM's details are "softer" than that of Bandai's.

Material

Based on the manual, all the runners, except for the clear parts (PS) and the polycaps (PE), are made of ABS, but soft, unlike Bandai's ABS which ranges from stiff to hard. Bandai's PS plastics are stiff and glasslike, but sturdy, DM's "ABS" plastics are soft, and if you try bending or twisting a runner stem, it'll take a while for it to break (an advantage? Maybe). Bandai's runner breaks with a "snap" while DM's is barey audible. Cutting through a DM runner will produce a low "crunch," like snapping a soft cookie in two, while cutting through a Bandai runner sounds like a cracker.

Bandai's white PS has a bluish tinge, while DM's white ABS is slightly grayish yellow (which indicates it's recycled plastic). The polycaps can be an issue, since they are rather stiff and has an odd texture, and similar to old generation Bandai PCs which crack later on (this posed a problem during the build and fitting).

Fitting

This was something I kinda hope DM would have solved, since, as mentioned earlier, they might have produced their molds from scratch. Since they have control over the production, they could have at least minimized the fitting problems, but I guess, this issue is still because of the quality of the plastic they've used. If they indeed used (recycled) ABS plastics instead of PS (the quality of PS degrades severely during recycling), therein lies the problem. ABS shrinks or bloats far more than PS. Even with Bandai plastics, some of their ABS frames have fitting issues mainly because of the ABS shrinking improperly.

Off the bat, I tried fitting the thigh armor parts sans the frame, and I've already encountered issues since the pegs won't fit without due force. The knee armor doesn't fit snugly over its side braces and pops off rather easily, the same with the ankle brace, which simply won't stay in place during fitting (despite the leg armor it attaches to has a significantly larger connection"notch."  The toe section, both the frame and armor keeps popping out, and its articulation has become useless. I've encountered several problem spots, just on the leg alone. Even the polycaps have fitting issues, I had to trim off the edges of a knee joint part so I can insert it in a polycap. The knee even has limited articulation; whereas Bandai's TG II's knee can bend fully, the DM's cannot.

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Dispelling the 99% Myth

Over the course of bootleg releases, I've heard of people randomly saying that a certain bootleg is 70%, 80%, 90% close to Bandai quality (if not by detail alone). The DM TGs, especially the TG III, for obvious reasons, so far has gotten a good reception from the bootleg enthusiasts (and some Bandai-only collectors), mainly because it has exceeded previous bootlegs in terms of production and detail.

But 99%? Hardly. No bootleg will reach that percentage of closeness, since even Bandai's kits only have 95-99 percent production accuracy during molding (95 being really bad and usually goes to the recycling bin). We must realize that production accuracy is not just about detail alone since material quality is also important. The main reason why bootleggers choose substandard plastic is because of cost considerations, otherwise, why bootleg at all? And from there, quality cascades down.

Even with DM producing their own molds, they don't even come close to 80% of Bandai's overall quality. In fact, I believe that in their effort to produce their own molds and probably to avoid a Bandai lawsuit, they've actually decreased in production accuracy because they've "thrown away" Bandai's original mold in the process (hence, the fitting issues). Think of it as Adidas making shoes; no two pairs of authentic Adidas Red Crosstrainers will exactly be alike regardless, what more an Adidas Red Crosstrainer made from scratch by a bootlegger?

So, is it a bootleg or not?

Dragon Momoko may have taken steps in improving their production, even coming up with "new" box and manual designs instead of simply ripping off a Bandai box, but, they could have gone further by actually producing ALL of the content themselves (as Model Comprehend has done with some of their stuff).  Instead, they simply scanned most of the Bandai TG II's manual, adding to it the instructions for the extra stuff. And if you ask what that "Copyright 2014 Dragon Momoko" is about? Well it's simple, as they did do the boxes and manuals differently, photo shoot, layout and all, they can claim copyright over that portion at least.  And since they made their own molds, they can claim they did not bootleg a Bandai product.

But, is in no way an indication that they made an original product. What they did is known as pre-emptive bootlegging.

Take note of my first statement above. The Tallgeese is a BANDAI product. I've seen comments all over that the DM Tallgeese III is an original; it is not. Dragon Momoko, however they did it, was able to produce their own molds, but that doesn't make their TG III an original, even if they came out with it first.  They've pre-empted Bandai with a bootleg, making the phrase "original bootleg" more oxymoronic than anything (than ever before).  It's the same case as a bootlegger recording a concert and selling CDs of that concert, before the production can.  It's a bootleg through and through, especially if one considers that, despite how nice it looks at first glance, it still suffers as a bootleg does.

I've also seen comments like "you don't own a bootleg so you don't know anything." Tell me, do I need to do drugs to know that it's bad? I recall my adventure at Divisoria a year ago, when I came back to a shop 3 times, swooning over a Daban DSH custom, with the price going down each time I came back. From 600 pesos, the shopkeeper finally relented and offered it to me for 400, but when I finally opened the box and checked the item up close, I decided to keep my money and buy Bosny paints instead.

Regardless, for this review, to keep my objectivity, I bought each of the DM TGs. Sure, I was impressed with how clean the moldings are. I was even impressed that they used new molds, and maybe DM has a future in producing their own originals. Being a graphic designer, I'm even impressed with their relatively new box and manual designs.

But is it worth shelling money out for? I'm a practical person. I believe some Bandai kits are a waste of money and are not worth it.  Some people practice with bootlegs, but to me, that's tantamount to practicing on a Sarao Jeep to make a Ferarri. Sure, the Sarao can look like a Ferarri, but, it's still a Sarao.  (Practicing with bootlegs is okay, especially for students who don't have a ready budget for kits, but, you won't be a student forever, right?  As for those who want to have a hobby, but "can't afford" Bandai, maybe you need a hobby that you can afford [to those asking what this means, it means exactly as I said it.  If you don't have bootlegs as an "alternative," get another hobby]).  I practice on Bandai scraps, that's why I'm always on the hunt for built kits which I would mangle later on, but hey, that's just me

I consider Gunpla an investment, and I cannot, despite my evil, consider this an investment.  This hobby is expensive, as such, I always try to set my priorities straight.  Before I set my sights on that shiny new MG Sazabi ver Ka, I made sure I have food on the table.  And since these kits are investment in themselves, I can sell them later on to augment my finances.  Never will I prioritize a hobby because I needed one, nor would I settle for a bootleg just because I needed a hobby.

Are they worth it?  Maybe this will answer that question.

I'm selling a partially built DM TG I, an unbuilt DM TG I, and maybe selling a DM TG III. Any takers?

Addendum
:  See my note above?  I don't allow anonymous comments (even with assumed names with no backtracking links).  But, since the idiotic comments I received have become humorously relevant, I'll share it with you as to how truly IGNORANT some people are about bootlegs.
Comment 1: "Okra pa mamen nasobrahan ka sa mga imported stuffs.. next time sa japan kana tumira with all your para wala ka nang hinanakit sa BL's "
Comment 2: "yung bang sibuyas na ginagamit nyo pang-gisa eh sibuyas tagalog o sibuyas tsina?"

Comment 3: "I'm so glad bootlegs exists. Bandai will have something to compete with. So they will strive to make their kits look better and more accessible and cheap. Judging Bandai 's history., I don't want to see them gaining monopoly"

1.  Bootlegs, in this case, plastic "fighter" kits, come mostly from China.  China is the premier bootlegger nation, bootlegging everything from CDs to toys to even milk.  The bootlegs available in the market today are produced mostly by China.  They "export" it worldwide.  The bootleg sellers here import dem fighter kits from China.  Last time I looked, China is still a FOREIGN country, so any product we get from there is imported.

So, to assume that only Japan Bandai kits are imported is not only ignorant, but downright stupid.  Bandai also has a production facility in China, and soon, here in the Philippines (though the latter is said will produce capsule toys).   What's more, most bootlegs you're getting are SMUGGLED into the country, with very few exceptions.

2.  Bootlegged onions.  That's new.  See, when making analogies, do try to look up what an analogy is, and how analogies are applied.  For commenter #2, since China is a hotspot for bootlegs, everything that comes from there is a bootleg.  Even onions.

3.  The comment was actually posted in the "Kawaguchi" post, but, I'd tackle that here.

First things first: Bandai OWNS Gundam and Gunpla. There is no monopoly when it comes to Gunpla.  If they come after bootlegs OF THEIR KITS and stop their production, they have ALL the right to do so.

Bandai, however, does not have a monopoly on toys and plastic kits. If they did, we wouldn't have Tomy, Kotobukiya, Hasegawa, Tamiya, etc.

Please, people, oh bootleg people, KNOW the facts before you spit.


Sheesh.  The internet indeed has made some people dumb,  and dumb people dumber. Or at least, simply revealed who the dumb people are.  To these people, truth are relative, and facts are optional.  The internet has made cowards feel as if they are 10 feet tall, but in real life wouldn't be able to stand up to anyone and say what they say online to ANYONE's face (Yes.  I am challenging you to come up to me and tell that to my face). 

A word of advise to would-be anonymous trolls; when trolling someone, make sure you're smarter, or at least, MORE articulate.

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