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.

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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

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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.

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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.

16 comments:

  1. hmm what do you mean by "As for those who want to have a hobby, but "can't afford" Bandai, maybe you need a hobby that you can afford"?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am not a fan of bootlegs and I haven't tried any DM kits before but I was wondering about the quality of their molds.,esp for the Tallgeese III. Good thing you made this article. Thanks for a very comprehensive review. - HobbyOwYeah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Objectively, based on how clean the results are, their molds or molding method have improved, but still not up to par to the sharpness of Bandai's.

      Delete
  3. You fool! You clearly are not Pinoy. You have no sense of nationalism. No sense of patriotism. Are you not aware that to be Pinoy is to justify and legitimize any and all illegal activity by using the victim and pity cards?

    We do not have money. We are poor. We can only buy the cheaper, lower quality copies. So that gives us every right to demand the original manufacturers to recognize and accept our actions of buying and supporting the cheap knock-offs. This because this is the Pinoy way!

    /sarcasm for those idiots that can not see sarcasm even it hit them in the face

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe they need some bootleg onions (yeah, it's getting old, but people still don't get it).

      Delete
    2. "You have no sense of nationalism. No sense of patriotism." So buying fake and bootleg products show nationalism and patriotism? You might as well need to go back to your elementary days and try to study history and a read little bit of dictionary, try to look for nationalism at patriotism there. :D

      Delete
  4. Lem,

    Did you bother to read this LAST part of Rad's post?

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    /sarcasm for those idiots that can not see sarcasm even it hit them in the face

    -----

    Miscommunication is mostly comprehension (the lack or absence of it. Sometimes, it's just as plain as people not reading everything in full...

    ReplyDelete
  5. "cant afford bandai = dont meddle with gunpla hobby"...thats just mean. All my mg kits are form bandai and i do not own any bootleg kits...but hey!, i dont care if some people buy KOs. Hobby isnt just about dealing with original kits, but rather the enjoyment of collecting, building, modding and painting. And after the hard work of completing the kit, whether original or bootleg, all of us believe in ourselves that it is the best gunpla out there. In "our" country, its justifiable that some people who wanted to enjoy gunpla will resort into buying KOs...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me dismantle your logic:

      ""cant afford bandai = dont meddle with gunpla hobby"...thats just mean."

      It's actually, if you can't afford Gunpla, go get another hobby.

      I was being mean. I am being mean. Sarcasm can be mean. But, am I being mean for the same of it? Did what I say, mean as it is, not true?

      When I tell people to get another hobby, am I really being mean, or am I telling people to be practical? Sure, one wants a hobby, but when someone says "I'm poor" what kind of "hobby" can poor people afford?

      "All my mg kits are form bandai and i do not own any bootleg kits...but hey!, i dont care if some people buy KOs. "

      Neither do I. I merely stated FACTS. Please do quote me where I said otherwise.

      "Hobby isnt just about dealing with original kits, but rather the enjoyment of collecting, building, modding and painting. And after the hard work of completing the kit, whether original or bootleg, all of us believe in ourselves that it is the best gunpla out there."

      People seem to misconstrue that a "hobby" is a right. IT IS NOT. It is a LUXURY for those who can afford it. Sure, one has worked hard on completing a BOOTLEG, and that is where self-deprecation begins.

      "In "our" country, its justifiable that some people who wanted to enjoy gunpla will resort into buying KOs..."

      Again, if people what to "enjoy GUNPLA," then they should buy ORIGINALS. Bootlegs ARE NOT GUNPLA. And if you believe that it's justifiable to buy bootlegs, you're treading a dangerous road. It's NEVER justifiable to buy something that INFRINGES on an intellectual property.

      Delete
  6. Gundam is not owned by Bandai, It is owned by Sunrise which produces the series and other media of Gundam, Bandai is only the one that buys their license to produce Model Kits from the Gundam Media that Sunrise has produced, as I agree with your blog, Bandai has the right to have arguments about the given issue since they payed for the license to Sunrise to produce their Model Kits that Bottlegs "did not", Dragon Momoko has no right to say that their "Tallgese" models are original since they did not pay anything to Sunrise for it's copyright, and Bandai has the right say they are the original to this Model Kits since they have already payed for the "Right" for the given Designs with respect to having the approved license from Sunrise.
    And I would like to additional opinion, New Gundams will never cease to exist even if Bandai becomes suddenly bankrupt in the future for as said by Kawaguchi in our little conversation about Gundam Build Fighters having season 2, he said that Sunrise is the one that will decide about the matter and he has no more comment about the topic at hand. Sunrise is a big Media Company, at all odds they won't choose to give out their rights to some "Low Profit Companies" such as Bottlegers, and these "Low Profit Companies" won't even afford to buy their license so they're just "Low Life Gundam Model Maker Wanna Bes" and if it ever happens that Bandai gets lost in the picture, expect a Higher Very Unaffordable Priced Gundam Model Kits from another Company that will replace Bandai since the license for the Gundam Trademark will be more expensive since through the passing years it's worth will be more higher like selling a unhabitated good land that has been kept very good for long years for more than X10 its value, also expect less production and less variation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Incorrect. Bandai previously owned Sunrise, the latter of which became a subsidiary (operating on its own) of Namco-Bandai Holdings when Namco (gaming) merged with Bandai (toys). So everything Sunrise owns, Bandai owns. In effect, Bandai isn't merely licensing Sunrise characters, it actually OWNS Gundam.

      Indeed, Sunrise decides on which shows will move forward, because they are the ones producing the animations. Kawaguchi said nothing contradictory with regards to Bandai, did he?

      Which is the reason why Bandai is the exclusive producer of Gunpla. They don't merely license it, they OWN it.

      I hope that makes it clear. Do a little research (as I have) before making any sweeping arguments.



      Delete
  7. Hobby is what most people do for pleasure (amateurs) while some take it on a more serious level, aka professionals. Which was what Frost Guard has stated in his point of "Hobby isn't just about dealing with original kits, but rather the ENJOYMENT of collecting, building, modding and painting...) Most of the people do it for pleasure.

    Not your sense of LUXURY. Luxury =/= hobby. It's just added bonus of pleasure. Like how people spend on P-Bandai stuffs. That's luxury. Get your definition right.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, YOU should get your definition right, since ANY form of hobby is a luxury, done outside the scope of WORK, because even professionals have hobbies.

    Just in case you missed the definition I also posted here previously:

    From dictionary.com

    hob·by
    1 [hob-ee] Show IPA
    noun, plural hob·bies.
    1. an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation: Her hobbies include stamp-collecting and woodcarving.
    2. a child's hobbyhorse.
    3. Archaic. a small horse.

    So, as the definition states, your supposition of what a hobby is is incorrect. Collecting kits, even bootlegs is a LUXURY out of the scope of one's way of living. So when people make the excuse of having a hobby despite being poor, that is what self-entitlement is. It is not merely
    "my sense" of what luxury is. As a matter of fact, you're trying to redefine it FOR YOUR benefit.

    Next time you try argue, make sure you have the RIGHT FACTS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luxury involves extravagance, in which I clearly stated kits like P-Bandai eg. Banshee Ver. Ka is exclusive which is almost 2x the normal Banshee's price, if you just want a normal Banshee, you do not need to get a Ver. Ka one. Normal kits like HG ARE affordable even for average income people. You DO NOT have to spend A LOT on gunpla if you don't wish to. Tools like hobby knives can be replaced with other tools that can function the same if you know the things you need.

      Yes, professionals have hobbies themselves, but luxury is something you gained from a great deal of expense as compared to when you spend normally on a hobby.

      Hobby involves "collecting kits, even bootlegs out of the scope of one's way of living", but it does not necessarily involves LUXURY. Like I said, it is just added BONUS of great pleasure. LUXURY involves spending MORE for pleasure. Hobby does involve spending but not as much as what you need to obtain for LUXURY.

      Just in case you missed definitions which you sorely needed;

      Thesaurus
      luxury (ˈlʌkʃərɪ)
      n, pl -ries
      1. luxury - something that is an indulgence rather than a necessity
      indulgence, self-indulgence - an inability to resist the gratification of whims and desires
      2. luxury - the quality possessed by something that is excessively expensive
      lavishness, sumptuosity, sumptuousness
      expensiveness - the quality of being high-priced
      3. luxury - wealth as evidenced by sumptuous living
      luxuriousness, opulence, sumptuousness
      wealth, wealthiness - the state of being rich and affluent; having a plentiful supply of material goods and money; "great wealth is not a sign of great intelligence"

      Like I already repeat so many times to you, Luxury =/= Hobby, but you CAN obtain luxury from this hobby if you want to spend more on it. I'm sure you only view the 1st definition as the ONLY one that is correct while ignoring the other 2 definitions about luxury.

      Next time you try to argue back, make sure you see from different perspectives too, instead of your own view only. If I redefine it FOR MY benefit, go look in the mirror and you will see YOURSELF defining it FOR YOUR benefit.

      But probably you won't go look in the mirror, because your own "objectivity" and "practicality" has clouded your sense of judgement from different views.

      Delete
    2. Like I said, you're using the terms to YOUR benefit. It's simple; when some uses the excuse that the reason why one buys bootlegs because one is poor, even buying bootlegs IS A LUXURY. If one is poor and buys a kit, even if it's a bootleg. IT IS A LUXURY. Nothing in the definitions countered what I said previously or now. When one buys something out of one's means, it's a luxury.

      It's the same thing as having a budget for water but instead buying softdrink.

      The P-Bandai thing is irrelevant. You mentioning it bears no weight to the fact that even normal kits ARE a luxury to most.

      I have seen different perspectives, but, it is YOU who are only seeing yours.

      Delete
  9. Hello there matanglawin,

    I know you don't like anonymous posts, but I'm afraid I can't share anymore information.

    Anyway, I'd like to commend you on working your way in researching to provide the proper information that the people need. I agree with your insights regarding bootlegging, and I for one find it ridiculous for people to try and justify ripping off the gunpla hobby. I tried dipping in my toes into bootlegging just to see why so many people like it and quite frankly, I'm disappointed with the product quality. No, I didn't buy bootlegged Bandai products, I bought bootlegged chain bases and action stands. The plastic quality is horrid, the nubs aren't removed easily and some of the molds are disfigured and uneven. I'd give them away but since I already spent money on them, I'll use them as a diorama but never will I purchase any bootlegged kit again (and never have I considered bootlegged gundams).

    Thank you for shedding light into this debate that is clearly lead by misguided cheapskates who try so hard to fit in with a hobby they couldn't afford. If you truly love your hobby, you don't use the idiotic argument, "Kahit bootleg o hindi, basta for the love of the hobby, magkakaisa tayo". A very good example of Argumentum ad misericordiam.

    Anyhow, I had fun reading your blog. Keep up your inspiring work, at sana marami ka pang ma-inspire na tao. Mabuhay ka kapatid!

    ReplyDelete

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