Friday, 27 February 2009

Bandai ~ Kaneda's Bike.

I got this one on sale way back in the early 2002, released by Bandai under their "Soul Of Popynica" range which release bikes from various animation. It was an opportunity not to be missed. Even at full original retail price, I would have gotten one. The details are superb ie removable body panels to convert to naked bike version, realistic suspension, die-cast major parts and rubberized tyres, although, I have a nagging feeling that the Shotaro Kaneda (金田 正太郎 Kaneda Shōtarō) figurine which comes with it is a) slightly big in ratio proportion b) looks creepy.
The iconic red bike first appeared in the hit, epic manga, Akira (アキラ), created by Katsuhiro Ōtomo (大友克洋 ,Ōtomo Katsuhiro) way back in 1982 as well as in the 1988 anime incarnation. It survives attempted theft, a catastrophe, and several psychic attacks. The bike appeared in the first few pages of Vol. 1 and Vol. 6 also ended with the last couple of pages with it.
It was reported that the sound of Kaneda's bike engine was produced by compositing the engine sound of a 1929 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a jet engine. Each time the bike is started and revved, there would be electrical discharges from the both wheels. Rumoured to be a Honda model, as well as may have been stolen by Kaneda himself.
"The bike has been customized just for me. It is too wild for you!" ~ Kaneda to Tetsuo, shortly before The Capsules street battle with their rival biker gang, The Clowns.

Bike Specification :
Overall Length: 2.947mm
Overall Height: 1,171mm (incl.shield)
Overall Width: 831mm
Seat Height: 340mm
Wheelbase: 2,194mm
Ground Clearance: 76mm
Dry Weight: 154kg
Number of Riders: 1
Braking Distance: 9.9m (Initial Speed : 50 km/h)
Minimum Turning Distance: 3.4m
Tire Size: 18 inches (front), 19 inches (rear)
Power Generator: Cold Superconducting Generator
Maximum Power: 83 kw/12,500 rpm
Maximum Voltage: 12,000 V
Steering System: Power Support System
Front Axie Caster Angle: 39°12', Rear Axie Caster Angle : 3°00'
Frame: Ceramic Box Frame, Cowl : FRP and Carbon
Energy Consumption at Rest: 2.3w
Maximum Speed: 243 km/h
Drag Coefficient: CD=0.24
Equipped with :
Computer Controlled Anti-Lock Brakes.
Auto-Navigation System .
Forward-Looking Radar.
CD Player.
Glove Compartment.
Headlamp : 100w Neo Halogen Laser Light (can switch to fog lamp).
Statistics :
Speed: 0 to 400m : 9.8 sec, 0 to 100 km/h : 8.7 sec .
Battery Charger Time: 1MW every 40 sec (can run for two hours at full throttle on fully charged battery).

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Mezco ~ 18" and 6" Hellboy.

Name : Anung Un Rama
Alias : Hellboy, The Beast Of Apocalypse.
Nickname : The World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator.
Age : 352 years +
Father (adoptive) : Professor Trevor "Bloom" Bruttenholm. Real Parent : Catherine Tanner-Tremaine (Mother) and a demon prince of Sheol (Father).
Affiliation : Bureau Of Paranormal Research and Defense, Crown Prince Of The Infernal Legion.
Std. Armaments : The Right Hand Of Doom - an ancient, invincible, artifact which was the physical right hand of a Watcher that created the dragon Ogdru Jahad; The Good Samaritan - a custom large caliber four round revolver, with grip carved from fragments of the True Cross, given by a WWII superhero called The Torch Of Liberty; healing factor, super-strength and a utility belt containing an assortment of items to be used against the supernatural forces.

"I like not knowing. I've gotten by for fifty-two years without knowing. I sleep good not knowing." ~ Hellboy.


Started Hellboy trade paperbacks collection way back in 1994. It is great to have Mezco issuing out Hellboy 6 incher and 18 incher as based on the art by Mike Mignola. I am a fan of Mike Mignola and his ink heavy drawings had me hooked ever since I first read a one shot story about Wolverine vs an Apocalypse imposter by Marvels. And the Hellboy stories are great because the way Mike weaved most of the world's mythological, folklore, supernatural stuffs cohesively into a rather exciting storyline (a nice short story tribute to the dreaded Hantu Penanggal, based on a folklore of this country). More importantly, Hellboy the character constantly struggled internally against the fact that he is a demon with the Crown Of Apocalypse and the bearer of The Right Hand Of Doom, the key to the destruction of Earth by the dragon Ogdru Jahad. Nature vs nuture conflict. Don't quite like the way he was depicted in the movies though...not to do with Ron Pearlman, but I reckoned (like Marv in Sin City) it would be impossible to truly capture a 100% acccurate Hellboy as per rendered by Mike. I got these, version "battle-damaged" and version "San Diego Comicon exclusive ~ Heads" which comes packaged with seven Nukekubi (抜首) demon heads Hellboy encountered in Kyoto in '67 , from eBay, as it was sold out everywhere else, at a great price too. It was box fresh as hoped. The articulation is nothing to shout about but Mezco did a great job capturing the accuracy of comic version Hellboy.

Chloe ~ coughing...

The doc assured us that Chloe's cough will probably go away soon...we are worried as she has been coughing and sneezing (due to first mom, then Suetch, myself and now Chloe) for the past one week. She seemed very much improved for the last 2 days and hope she would recover by tomorrow..she is as active as ever but the cough would come particularly when she is asleep...also today Esther unconciously tripped her and landed on her head but turned out ok...I gave Esther the evil eye though.

Dylan ~ vocalization...

Lately I observed that Dylan has began to cry out and re-act more actively than couple of days past towards Esther and myself...

Chloe ~ cupcakes

Esther made some delicious cupcakes today...again...and Chloe just loved it. And what a mess.

Takara Kerberos Saga ~ putting on the decals

The idea came suddenly...why not soak it with water and see if the decals could come off? It did...sweet!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Chloe - Phobic about other kids.

Last Sunday, whilst Esther was busy browsing through the FJ Benjamin sales at Bangsar Shopping Village, I brought Chloe to the playground next to the it. Having paid MYR10 for one off entrance fee, Chloe was at first shy to even play on her own and clinged on to me tightly whilst looking at other kids who were really enjoying themselves. After a while, Esther joined us and managed to coaxed Chloe to play by herself but on quite a short notice as she was in one of those plastic tubes or tunnels, another kid showed up and Chloe was startled and begun to cry. I reckoned this was due to the bad experince back in Teluk Intan where a kid hit Chloe in the McD's playground. However, I am now more than resolved to ensure Chloe will overcome this sort of phobia by enrolling her to one of the local nursery when she's two years old next month so that she would be able to join other kids and no longer have any fear.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Monkey Cups - 3rd set.

Ok, finally got Fauzi today and got back the N. Hookeriana, N. Bicalcarata and N. Rafflesiana ver. Brunei Giant 99. What happened to the second set was something I had regretfully done in a fit of anger which I promised to Esther never to repeat itself again. So, here goes, third time lucky I hope.
Separately, I realised there are so many variants at different level of attractions and prices but Fauzi highly recommended N. Ampullaria William Red, which according to him is the reddest Ampullaria he has seen so far. Must check it out further.

Esther's Celine Tote Bag.

FJ Benjamin, the sole local distributor of some branded fashionable goods held a sale at Bangsar Shopping Village and we took the opportunity to drop by with Chloe to see if there were anything worth getting. Esther did and got this lovely Celine leather tote bag at more than half the retail price. This is her first proper leather bag by the way and she was quite happy, although she would probably need to clean the leather further as most of the items are strictly display off season stuffs only. There was some black stain on the bottom but I reckoned could easily be removed and reconditioned.

Takara Kerberos Panzer Cop Saga ~ Midori Washio

A (mis) interpretation :
Name : Midori Eichel.
Age : 26 years old.
Rank : First Lieutanant/Platoon Leader - 3rd Assault Platoon "Berghund"; 2nd Company "Langhaar", Special Armored Brigade “Kerberos Panzerwafffen Stahlhunde"; Defense Division “Schutzabteilung”; Metropolitan Security Police Organization "Hauptstadtsicherheitspolizei”.
Armor Type : Kampfküriss Typ. IX No. 2 ver. Frau.
Std. Armaments : Maschinengewehr 34 machine gun; Mauser C96 sidearm; Steilhandgranate 24 hand grenade; Kampfmesser 42 bayonet.

I thought it would be nice to have a female version of Kerberos, afterall, the articulations and details are simply fantastic...wrong. Not to do with the QC from Takara, which is exemplary, but more gotta do with the fact that this is a second hand, non box fresh figure. First, one of the oxygen tubing was already broken, which resulted in me having to carefully glue it back...then, the front crotch protecting panel came off whilst assemblying it and I realised it was a botched job from the first owner. I had to glue it back as well...then, the leather strap on the C96 has withered, literally flaking off, so I gotta "borrow" the strap from VF-1S Valkyrie and replaced it. Finally, the right shoulder armour pad came off and I had to asked Siti the housemaid to sew it back on. Overall, after "rectifying" the above issues, I got no complain for this figure. Later, I addded the MG-34 and FG-42 got from eBay for decorative purpose, well, to make it more "terror" looking. Subsequently, this version took a "dive" from the shelf and broken, and I got myself another version in black color instead. As usual, I obtained a DID metal MP 40 and used it on her subsequently...the leather on the pants seem to have weathered as well...peeling off. Wonder if I could oil it with a mink oil and smoothen it? I think I am getting obsessive with the entire Takara Kerberos lineup...I re-imagine that the female version of the Kerberos would probably be lighter than their male counterpart standard armour, thus adding a "frau" adjective in addition to my shoddily translated German wordings.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Takara Kerberos Panzer Cop Saga ~ Chuichi Koshiramaru

This thing is like a wolf.
This thing is a wolf.
Thus, it is a thing to be banished.
- Jin Roh.

A (mis) interpretation :
Name : Kazuki Fuchs.
Age : 28 years old.
Rank : First Lieutenant/Platoon Leader - 1st Assault Platoon "Schäferhund"; 1st Company "Kurzhaar"; Special Armored Brigade "Kerberos Panzerwaffen Stahlhunde"; Defence Division "Schutzabteilung; Metropolitan Security Police Organization "Haupstadtsicherheitspolizei".
Armor Type : Kampfküriss Typ. IX No. 2.
Std. Armaments : Maschinengewehr 34 machine gun; Mauser C96 sidearm; Steilhandgranate 24 hand grenade; Kampfmesser 42 bayonet.

The Steel Hounds of Hades.
On August 6th and 9th, 1942, two atomic bombs, codename Ragnarök and Götterdämmerung, were dropped by two Heinkel He177 onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. By August 15th, 1942, the Emperor of Japan broadcasted the nation's surrender to his subjects for the first time over the radio. On September 2nd, 1942, the nation formally surrendered, marking an end to World War 2. The nation came under the Occupation and was re-designated as the Reichskommissariat Japanisch (RKJ), administered by an appointed Reichkommissar with overall supervision by the Oberkommando der Japanisch (OKJ) occupational force.

By the end of 1942, more than 350,000 occupation personnel were stationed throughout Japan. A post war constitution was drawn up and implemented on May 3rd, 1943, effectively ending the nation as an empire. The primary two main objectives for the occupation were to eliminate the nation's war potential and turned it into a authoritarian style nation with pro-Third Reich orientation. The nation was entirely disarmed and de-industrialised. War tribunals were setup, with majority of wartime military leaders, politicians and bureaucrats sentenced to death, purged or sent to labour camps. The Imperial sovereignty was retained but only as figurehead. All traditions and religions were abolished and replaced by the ideologies and doctrines based on the Führerprinzip. The local population underwent nationwide rehabilitation programmes, economic and educational reformations. Civil liberties were restricted, freedom of speech curbed with press censorship, labour laws amended and trade unions dissolved. Majority of the populace were recruited as labours to work on the massive industrialisation and reconstruction of Greater Germany and other newly acquired territories. 
Societal issues were at its height. The nation's postwar condition was chaotic and its economy was in total collapse. Millions were starving to death and homeless due to the after effect of the war. Inflation was rampant and many people turned to the black markets for even the most basic goods.  Alcoholism, gambling, drugs abuse and prostitution were rampant, resulting in the emergence of numerous criminal organisations which controlled the underground economy. Turf wars became increasingly common. The kyodatsu condition and sense of hopelessness began to prevail amongst the local population. Incidences of rape were extremely few, as inter-racial relationships were strictly forbidden by the Third Reich. The point of change to the socio-political order was the beginning of the Cold War. Although the Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line was successfully established and achieved by the Third Reich, the Soviet Union still retained its military might and political sphere of influence east of the Urals Mountain and Siberia. When the Cold War flared into full military conflict with the Second Chinese Civil War resuming between the Communist Party of China and the ruling government of the Chinese Nationalist Party on March 1943 and, subsequently, the Korean War on 25th August, 1944, Japan came into recognition as an important geopolitical buffer zone against the Soviet and Communists threats as well as from America, whom had begun to emerged from a political non-intervention stance previously held by former President Charles Lindbergh. 
As the OKJ began to re-allocate majority of its available military forces to support the Kuomintang in China, and subsequently to Korea to assist the right wing government against the Communist forces, the resulting extensive troop reductions forced the RKJ to undertake realpolitik stance. The greatest political change was the successful assassination of the Führer on 20th July, 1945 by Colonel Markus von Stauffenberg. His death resulted in an immediate internal political strife amongst the inner circle and Greater Germany government. After a brief civil war between the Waffen-SS and the Wehrmacht, the latter ultimately gained control of the governance of the Third Reich. Former populist field marshal, Erwin Rommel was appointed the new Chancellor. A second great purge was carried out, known as the Second Night of the Long Knives.
From late 1946, the RKJ priorities shifted perceptibly from authoritarian social change to internal political stability and economic recovery for the nation as well other conquered territories. The initial industrial disarmament had led to postwar economic depression and reduced the standard of living tremendously. Major cities were turned into slums due to mass migration of returning soldiers without employments and means to survive. However, this was reversed and policy of a relaxation of the "economic deconcentration" was adopted.
By 1948, the Reichkommissar made a sweeping change in the RKJ power structure that greatly increased the power of Japan's native rulers. This eventually paved way for The Munich Peace Treaty which was signed on September 8th, 1951 and marked the end of the occupation by foreign forces. The nation was once again an independent state when the Treaty went into effect on April 28, 1952.
After the nation's surrender in 1942, the RKJ had decentralized the pre-war police structure and established the National Rural Police. When most of the occupation military forces were transferred to China in 1943 due to the outbreak of the Second Chinese Civil War, the National Police Reserve consists of local populace was formed to back up the ordinary police. The National Security Committee was later established by the RKJ to supervise the new police forces. Although banned by the postwar constitution, leftist and liberal political organisations began to increase in numbers. More seriously was the rise of armed ultra-leftist anti-government groups bent on changing society through force. These groups eventually grew so powerful and influential, that the existing police authorities were overwhelmed, raising dire concerns for public safety. After the Shibuya Incident, public bombings and several assassinations on German bureaucrats and local businessmen, the Reichkommissar tasked the National Security Committee to upheld and preserve public order. To avoid violating the postwar constitution, as well as preventing the existing local police forces from forming their own political power, the National Security Committee recommended that a separate police force was to be established under its direct command. Thus on 23rd December 1943 the Metropolitan Police Security Organization or Capital Police was established and served exclusively as the primary law enforcement force for the nation's capital city. They were called Shutokei by the local population. The commander in chief was Isao Ackermann. Members of the Capital Police were stringently selected and recruited from members of the local police forces, with particular emphasis on the theory of eugenics. The Capital Police consisted of two major divisions, the Defence Division and the Public Security Division. The former, led by commander Shiroh Eisenberg, was primarily a paramilitary law enforcement unit while the latter, led by director Bunmei Wechsler was a secret service unit akin to the Gestapo, tasked with counter-intelligence and counter-propaganda. The Defence Division new recruits were intensively trained at the elite Panzertruppenschule IV and Panzertruppenschule V. The recruits were also subjected to various indoctrinations and psychological reconditioning to ensure their effectiveness and efficiency. An elite special force was setup within the Defence Division itself to primarily engage against the more violent insurgents from the ultra-leftist groups. Officially called the Special Armed Brigade but more well known as the stylised name Kerberos, due to their adoption of the mythical three headed hellhound guarding the underworld in Greek mythology, this elite group was led by vice chief Hajime Eberhardt, a former counter-intelligence member of the Abwehr. The Kerberos was heavily armed, highly mobile and cladded in personal armour based on the Spezial Panzer Anzug Typ 34 "Wolfpeltz" utilized by the 101st Jäger Division during the Battle of Stalingrad.

Separately, the Public Security Division was essentially a secret police group which primary responsibilities include espionage, undercover activities and investigation of treason and sabotage cases. Political writers, journalists, with leftist leaning often disappeared without a trace, their literatures confiscated and banned. The highly feared Public Security personnel, called Kempeitai by the locals, was also tasked with identifying and hunt down the self-styled liberal, decadent and anarchistic group of individuals known as Tachiguishi-Retsuden or Fast Food Grifters, which had its roots in the kasutori culture. Local bureaucrats offices communication lines were also tapped and recorded. Supporting the entire structure include aerial reconnaissance team known as the Laelaps, armoured reconnaissance and personnel transports like the Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (Sd.Kfz.232-8 Rad, Sd.Kfz.223) and Schützenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.251).
The Capital Police quickly expanded its own power and political influence over the course of time. Their initial targets were black market operators, various crime gangs and syndicates throughout the capital. They also targeted immigrants, illegal or otherwise, particularly of Chinese and Korean ethnicity, whom were often harassed and viewed with contempt. This racial attitudes were one of the legacy of from the RKJ occupational period. The Capital Police eventually widen its scope of targets to students, leftist and liberal political movements, repressing their almost daily public protests against the occupation force. All these targets were treated harshly and suppressed with overwhelming brutality. Members of the Capital Police were trained to obey all orders and carry out their duties without questions. They eventually gained notoriety for their extra judicial killings and brutal tactics without regards to the judiciary procedures or the safety of members of the public.  A suspected serial killer, Yoshio Kodaira, was captured in a manhunt after evading the authorities for years. The CO of the 3rd company brought Kodaira to a secret location where he was believed to have been extensively tortured and then summarily executed. His almost unrecognisable corpse was later discovered in the Tokyo Bay riddled with bullets. Another prolific incident was the killing of a tachiguishi that went by the name Cold Badger Masa, whom secretly served as an informant for the Public Security Division. He was bludgeoned to death in front of a ramen street shop. When a particularly vicious turf war involving several major boryokudan gangs occurred and spiralled out of control, the Capital Police stepped in and carried out a 2 weeks "sweep and clear" operations against them. Approximately 5,000 gang members were killed, captured and sent to labour camps across South East Asia. Ethnic repressions were carried out against Koreans and Chinese immigrants and forcibly sent to designated buraku. Another was a brutal repression of anti-Lebensraum student activists protesting in front of the Diet Building resulting in 10 casualties and 58 critically injured. Receiving widespread coverage, the public was outraged but the government supressed them through systematic instillation of fear, racial threats, imposition of law and media blackout. Any judicial complains or reports to the Internal Board of Enquiry at the National Security Committee resulted in acquittal or light sentencing.
When the Occupation ended in 1952, the Police Law was amended by the newly elected militaristic and authoritarian government which was secretly sponsored by the Third Reich, and introduced a more centralized system of which the local police forces were organized by prefectures collectively known as the National Self Police Force. The Capital Police was retained. Due to close proximity of several prefectures of the Greater Metropolitan Area, and the ambiguity of police jurisdiction between the Capital Police and the Self Police, internal strife, conflicts, political and otherwise, began between the two forces. Several jurisdiction disputes between the them led the National Security Committee to enforce a joint co-operation agreement between the Capital Police and Self Police forces of nearby prefectures. Meanwhile, the anti-government forces, facing various bans and other legal restrictions, were forced underground. They split up in smaller cells but maintained their networks and would eventually regrouped. In the end, a single guerrilla group known as The Sect emerged and the situation was immediately changed drastically. The Sect was secretly backed by the Soviets KGB, and armed with various weaponries, a series of escalating violent clashes between The Sect and the Kerberos special unit of the Capital Police began, subsequently turned the city streets into urban war zones. The Sect often utilised the underground network of tunnels to transport its guns and munitions, through special couriers consisted of old women and young girls known as Rotkäppchen. Battles between the Sect and the Capital Police, particularly the Defence Division's Kerberos special force, would often take place beneath the labyrinth networks of sewerage tunnels. This ironically reflected their name, as Cerberus is guardian of the Underworld. Numerous public bombings took place amidst intense rioting, as well as increase incidences of plane hijackings, assassinations and kidnappings. The Capital Police, particularly the Kerberos, played a pivotal role during this period of chaos, managed to contain these dire situations, but at the cost of many innocent lives of the public. Throughout the turmoil period of 50s, the Capital Police eventually came into recognition as the primary law enforcement organisation in the metropolis. Their political powers were etched into the societal fabric and greatly feared by all.
By the end of the 50s, the global economies began to recover from the effects of the war. Global politics had also begun to change and shift. Japan, which had entered internationalization under a forced economic re-organization of the whole society had begun to bear fruits. The period of positive economic growth began and the population finally enjoyed the prosperity they worked hard for and as promised. The nation had also been voted into the newly established United Nations (UN) and secured assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Summer Olympic Games was also scheduled to be held at the nation. As the period of the Economic High Growth began, the Capital Police and its enemy, The Sect, as well as other leftist movements, became increasingly marginalised and irrelevant. The publics, enjoying the hard fought economic prosperity and wealth, began to find confidence in the new, more liberal stance government. Businesses began to sprout and the good times promised finally emerged. Zaibatsu began to emerged and formed. The government had moved in accordance to the changes in time, adopting a more relax liberal stance and national policies which extended to all citizens regardless of ethnicity and social classes with priority for economic prosperity and wealth. Political extremists with ultra nationalistic leanings and militant political associates were voted off or forced out of the Cabinet. 

The Fighting Hound.
As the majority of The Sect founders and cell leaders already being captured or dead during the chaos of 50s, an influential single cell leader, Fujiwara Fuerst, formed a splinter group called "The Four Seasons League". Fujiwara was an ultra, disillusioned by former Sect leaders whom had compromised with the government and has abandoned its more extremist and violent members. His hidden intention was an appointment with glory against the Kerberos. The Four Seasons League first came into prominence when they took numerous hostages during the German Embassy Incident. Later, Fujiwara organized a plan and hijacked a Lufthansa Focke-Wulf Fw 200 flight 666 filled with passengers. The leader and members of the terrorist splinter group demanded release of several incarcerated cell leaders and the plane was to be flown to a neutral country offering political asylum. The hijack failed as three members of the Kerberos special unit boarded the plane before take off and killed all the terrorists but also with several passengers as casualties. The plane engines were shot and landed safely on a nearby landfill. The high risk actions undertaken by a trio infamously known as Der Teufel Hunden caused public outrage. The Self Police Force filed an official complaint against the Capital Police for violating the co-operation agreement as the airport was official not within the Capital Police jurisdiction. An unreported incident was the Kerberos had a intense armed faced off with the Self Police own special force, the Spezial Sturm Gruppe, at the airport departure hall in full view of the public. The incident caused a major public relations embarrassment to the government and the National Security Committee. The trio was charged with insubordinations and faced the Internal Board of Inquiry. They were given a light sentencing, being suspended from active duties for three months and confined to the Capital Police Academy Training School Zucht Schanze despite protest for harsher sentencing.
The Cat and the Hound.
The Capital Police itself had also begun to face internal strife and factionalism between the Defence Division and the Public Security Division. This was primarily due to both the political and career ambitions of both Tatsumi and Bunmei. They harboured personal dislike against each other. Their professional relationship slowly deteriorated over the subsequent years. Tatsumi was like the hammer, while Bunmei was the scalpel. Several incidences whereby both parties, either directly or indirectly, had tried to subtlety undermine each divisions' operations  were kept unreported. Isao had to personally stepped in to ease the tension between the two divisions numerous times. Bunmei, a careerist with enough foresight to see the political and societal changes taking place, secretly conspired with several top ranking officials from the Self Police Force with support from several political bureaucrats within the National Security Committee. His ultimate objective was to abolish the Defence Division and absorb the entire Capital Police into the Self Police Force as a single, law enforcement entity. Personally, Bunmei made it clear that the Public Security Division would be retained in existence. He viewed the Defence Division, and the Kerberos special force in particular, as increasingly irrelevant in their existence. Their extremism, deeply rooted in the ways of the Third Reich, would drag down the entire existence of the Capital Police. Subtle attempts to discredit the Kerberos were carried out, including a honey trap involving a member of the Kerberos and the Sect but all attempts failed. He also remained cautious due to the rumoured existence of a clandestine, counter-intelligence self preservation group within the Kerberos itself known as the Wehrwolf. In fact Bunmei had personally instructed continuous secret investigations into the existence of this counter-intelligence and undercover group but without any substantial evidences. The Wehrwolf did indeed exist, and was founded and led by none other then the vice-chief of the Kerberos, Hajime Eberhardt. Hajime was formerly instrumental in assisting the RKJ in setting up their own intel agency during the Occupation, and a member of the Abwehr. Its members include the trio of Der Teufel Hunden, chief instructor of Zucht Schanze, Hachiroh Fleischer and various others throughout the Defence Division regardless of ranks. Hajime had been equally suspicious of Bunmei, and continuously kept a close vigilance on him.
The Hounds of War.
Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben?
Bunmei finally seen an opportunity to eliminate the Kerberos on 18th January 1959 by publicly discrediting them.  Two German  top ranking Reich officials arrived at the capital for renewed talks on the Weimar Establishment Treaty. Mass protesters began to gather at the road leading to the airport. The protest quickly turned into an unprecedented, full scale riot with at least 5,000 rioters at the scene. Molotov cocktails and various objects were hurled at the convoy and the Self Police Force. They were overwhelmed. This was a joint operation under the jurisdiction of the Self Police, and the Capital Police. The latter was not supposed to intervene until orders for reinforcement was officially given. With the Capital Police on standby, several explosions made of satchel charges went off, killing one of the German officials, their bodyguards and four Self Police personnel. In the resulting melee, several rounds of gunshots went off at the Capital Police, killing a constable. The Capital Police's Defence Division immediately charged into the riots, reacted by first firing live bullets onto the rioters. They then systematically charged onto the protestors, clubbing and bludgeoning each and every one they could grabbed on. It resulted in 200 deaths and 532 injuries despite being ordered to stop by the Self Police COs. The incident, known as the Park Incident Massacre, sparked an international outrage and the Capital Police was condemned by the public and the government. The international governments even threatened to boycott the upcoming Olympic Games should Japan do not get their own internal affairs and security acts right and under control. Under intense political pressure, with threats of economic sanctions and embargo, the government pressured the National Security Committee to formally announced the abolishment of the Capital Police Force. At an extraordinary meeting chaired by the Prime Minister personally, majority of the National Security Committee members voted for the Capital Police Force to be officially dissolved. Members of the Defence Division became disillusioned by the decision. Isao and Shiroh were both held responsible and temporarily suspended from duties while awaiting trial, as do the rest of the Defence Division. Hachiroh and the Wehrwolf succeed in gathering strong evidences that the  Public Security Division were involved. Elements of the Public Security Division had long infiltrated secret societies in the capital since its founding, and through mutual agreements, members of underground gangs masqueraded as protesters, detonated the bombs and shot at the Capital Police. The bombs and guns had been provided by the Public Security Division undercover agents. Enraged by this revelation, the Defence Division, now led by Hajime, began to plan a putsch with the goal of purging their factional rivals and ideological opponents. The uprising was planned in a series of meetings held between the 18th and 22nd of February. The plan decided upon was relatively simple. The officers would assassinate the most prominent enemies of the Defence Division, secure control of the administrative centre of the capital and the Imperial Palace, and then submit their demands, including the dissolution of the National Security Committee and the appointment of a new cabinet. They had no longer term goals, believing that those should be left to the Emperor. The date February 26th was chosen because the officers had been able to arrange to have themselves and their allies serve as duty officers on that day, facilitating their access to arms and ammunition. The date was also chosen because Isao and Shiroh would stand trial on 28th February 1959. They prepared an explanation of their intentions and grievances in a document, entitled "Manifesto of the Uprising" which they wanted to be handed to the Emperor. The document was entirely in line with nationalism ideals, blaming the liberal political leaders, zaibatsu and bureaucrats for endangering the nation through their selfishness and asserting the need for direct action and more military oriented government. Before the putsch, Hajime  gathers the Defence Division and delivered a rousing speech of  which ended with chants of "Seig Heil" and Nazi salute.
The Kerberos Uprising.
It snowed heavily on the night of the 25th, covering Tokyo. The Defence Division, divided up into 6 groups, assembled their troops and left their barracks between 03:30am and 04:00am. The attacks on political leaders, ministers, the Ministry of War and police headquarters occurred approximately and simultaneously at 05:00am.   Captain Tatsumi led the 1st Company "Kurzhaar" to Kasumigaseki district where most of Japan's cabinet ministry offices were located. He was supported by Vice-Chief Hajime's 2nd Company "Langhaar". Forces were respectively about 22 vehicles per 120 personnel and 31 vehicles per 180 personnel. Aerial support was granted by the Aerial Reconnaissance Platoon "Laelaps" made of 22 personnel including mechanics and pilots, and 5 Fa-330 gyrogliders. "Laelaps 4", launched the initial assault against a Self-Police Riot Police patrol at 7:30am. Laelaps attacked a second patrol at 7:33am in a joint-assault with the 1st Company. At 7:55am, the 3rd Company "Drahthaar" led by 9th Platoon "Schweißhund" and  another platoon stormed the Self-Police's National Police Agency governmental building. While succeeding in taking control of the Self-Police's building the 3rd Company engaged in a heavy fighting against the Spezial Sturm Gruppe  Special Force who freed the hostages. Following these events, Bunmei drove to the Prime Minister's cabinet to discuss the situation. At 8:25am, refuelling Laelaps were attacked by Self-Police policemen who killed all mechanics and engineers. All 5 gyrogliders escaped nevertheless, fought back and killed the Self-Police personnel. At 8:32am, the 1st Company and 2nd Company besieged the Self-Police HQ with Laelaps harassing the defenders until Hajime ordered an all-out assault simultaneously.  By the evening of the 26th, the uprising had seemingly resulted in favour of the Defence Division. They had dug in and prepared defences. The Self Police and elements of the Public Security Division would continue to breach and siege their defences for the next three days, turning the city centre into a warzone. Although the Defence Division succeeded in assassinating several leading officials, including two former Prime Ministers, and in occupying the government centre of Tokyo, they failed to assassinate the current Prime Minister nor secure control of the Imperial Palace Although they had managed to achieve a degree of official recognition for their actions, it was obvious that they could not occupy their positions indefinitely. Their presence was their strongest bargaining chip, but even their supporters felt that it needed to end. Combined with Imperial anger at the coup, meant they were unable to achieve a change of government. The General Staff and Martial Law HQ decided to release the imperial command authorizing the use of military force against the rebels at 05:00am on the 28th. From this point on formal documents, which had previously used "uprising", the word chosen by the rebel officers themselves, began to use the word "rebellion". The battle was intense throughout the 28th. Most defences were successfully breached and the Defence Division found themselves overwhelmed by numerically superior enemy. By the morning of the 29th, the Defence Division of less than 1,800 were surrounded by more than 20,000 government troops and 22 tanks. The major and final attack was planned for 09:00am. By 05:30am all civilians in the surrounding areas had been evacuated. Shortly after, 3 incoming Japan Air Self-Defence Force fighters Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1j were spotted by Laelaps 4. The Aerial Reconnaissance platoons were decimated. At 9:05am, Hachiro and a fellow 2nd Company veteran instructor shared their last cigarette as the Kerberos Academy Training School Zucht Schanze was going under siege by the Self-Police. At 11:55am, Hajime was reporting the situation from the Self-Police director's office before dressing up in his own protect gear and prepared to launch the final battle. At 12:00pm, Hajime exited the Kerberos-held Self-Police HQ which was being under siege by the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force's 1st Airborne Brigade. Hajime then led his remaining men and women, rushing toward the  "Molosser" Panzer Jäger Special Force lines. During the fierce battle and subsequent slaughter on both sides, several members escaped within the sewerage system leading to the docks as ordered by Hajime.
After a series of closed trials, 19 of the rebellion leaders were executed for mutiny and another 40 imprisoned. The remaining members either committed suicides and died in battle. Those escaped were granted political asylum in South American nations. The escapees lived their lives perpetually on the run, some with different identities, and others adopted different political reasons to continue fighting as terrorists. Majority were recruited by Middle East and Central Asia nations as special military advisors. They would never live to see their Motherland again. An exception was one of the Der Teufel Hunden trio, Midori, whom returned to Japan with her daughter. She was indicted but due to her failing health and age, the sentencing was excommunicated. Midori wrote an autobiographical account of her roles within the Kerberos, which shed a insightful light into the life of being a member of the Steel Hounds of Hades. Bunmei himself was appointed the new chief commander of the newly re-consolidated police force. But his career was shortened abruptly after a bomb was planted inside his Mercedes and he died in the explosion, two years after the Kerberos Uprising, in 1961 at London.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Talcum Powder Causing Ovarian Cancer...

Today's newspapers and yesterday news carried one of the articles about a warning from a local consumer association body about the usage of talcum powder which could cause cancer, in particular ovarian cancer. The president cited a study from the Harvard Medical School in the United States that found, from a sample of more than 3,000 women, that those using talcum once a week had a 36% higher risk of getting ovarian cancer while those using talcum daily faced a 41% higher risk. A study also revealed that the risk was greater still for those with a certain genetic profile.That is shocking, as most of my life, I have been using talcum powder, almost on daily basis, coz it is soothing and cooling. But off course the study is based its effect on female instead of male. It is also very popular amongst babies, after shower, would apply it on Chloe and Dylan. The article mentioned about the carcinogenic content of talcum powder, pointing it to this one ingredient called "talc". Talc contains "magnesium trisilicate hydroxide". This mineral is said to contain minute fibres that are very similar to asbestos, a verified substance known to be highly carcinogenic. When applied on the female genital areas, it may "migrate" to the reproductive system and causes the cancer. I wonder the effect if we happen to indirectly inhale the powder? Funny, as a smoker, I thought of this, even though I have been abusing my own lungs for years...The consumer body recommended to avoid using talcum powder and switch to bedak sejuk, which is made from rice flour or corn starch base ingredient. As a temporary measure, until further informations could be obtained, Mom (who takes such news seriously, irrregardless whether the report is on female gender only) asks us to stopped using talcum powder and started to bring out those bedak sejuks for the kids. I couldn't cos I'll ended up looking like someone from the Chinese Opera...

Dylan ~ sitting up..

Dylan has begun to try to sit up all by himself. He also tried to grab toys from Chloe, who returned his gesture with a slap on his head or pinch his face...will try to teach Chloe to share toys with Dylan and vice versa...Esther bought some sticker books for them, we sticked one of it onto his hand and he would tried his best to remove it.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Yamato 1/48 Macross : Do You Remember Love? ~ VF-1S (Hikaru Ichijyo version).

Ahh...the famous Valkyrie Fighter VF-1S, 1/48 scale by Yamato. I remembered when Yamato first announced the release of these lineup, I was hoping they would eventually release this version. This is largely due to nostalgic reason, Macross : DYRL was the first anime I watched and felt really drawn to its storyline. This was back in Ipoh, where VHS tapes were still the only format available and the only place they have this movie was this run down video store back then. Together with Mospeada, I remembered refusing to return the tapes I rented, resulting in the shop calling the house couple of times and negotiating to reduce the monetary penalty for missing the return date. I also used to own an earlier version, about the same size but less detail. This is back in the 80s. It is Roy's version I remember but I could not recall the name of the manufacturer.
As featured in the 1984 anime movie Macross : Do You Remember Love? (超時空要塞マクロス 愛・おぼえていますか), this version was used by Hikaru in the final showdown with Golg Boddole Zer (bulldozer?)(ボドル・ザー, Bodoru Zā) Main Fleet consisting of about 4.8 million Zentradi warships of various classes. Combined with the strength of Vrlitwhai Kridanik (ブリタイ・クリダニク, Buritai Kuridaniku), the defected Zentradi Commander, his fleet, Lynn Minmay's singing and SDF-1, Hikaru managed to fly deep into Boddole's massive combat mobile fotress. Upon confronting Boddole (who was being mesmerized by Lynn Minmay's voice), Hikaru proceeded to literally blow (Boddole was waaayyy larger than even an average Zentradi, and does not seem to possess any physical body in this movie) Boddole Zer's head away. Since he was fused with his massive combat mobile fortress that had a 120,000 cycle history of space battles as well as telephatically linked to the rest of his fleet, his death also brought about a chain reaction of explosion amongst the ships, effectively destroying the entire Fleet.
The difference between this version and the other VF-1S, flown by ace Skull Squadron Commander, Roy Fokker ( ロイ・フォッカー, Roi Fokkā), is only the color, which uses red on white (Hikaru's color) instead of yellow on white(Roy's color). In fact, in the middle of the movie, when Hikaru and Misa Hayase (早瀬未沙, Hayase Misa) were teleported to a mysterious wasteland planet (turned out to be Earth, after being destroyed by Zentradi), with Roy's death at the hand of Quamzin 03350 (a 5 minute "famous" appearance by Quamzin Kravshera), the commanding role of the Skull Squadron was briefly filled in by the ace of all aces, Maximilian Jenius (マクシミリアン・ジーナス, Makushimirian Jīnasu) who was piloting a VF-1S as well, this time in purple on white, whilst having a dog fight with ace Meltrandi (in a Quimeliquola Queadluun-Rau power armour no less) and eventual lover/wife, Milia Fallyna Jenius (ミリア・ファリーナ・ジーナス, Miria Farīna Jīnasu).
The transformation can be quite tricky but nevertheless the instruction is quite straightforward. I added the Super Strike Parts to the Battroid mode, but I was having a really tough time making it stand properly! In the end I have to temporarily stick some tapes aroung the back to keep it balance. If too much pressure is applied during transformation, certain parts may come off but luckily can be attached back without any damages, as well as the decals and labels does not seemed to be able to stick on properly. Apart from that, I reckoned Yamato did a great job in capturing all the details in its glory. Comes with a little version of Hikaru himself. Worth mentioning is one of the decals from the Super Strike parts contained the famous Budweiser and Tako Hai drinks label, which actually appeared when some of the missiles shot out were actually those canned drinks!! But you would need to slow mo it to catch it.


Specification :
Unit type: all-environment variable fighter and tactical combat battroid
Manufacturer: Northrom
Empty mass: 13250 kg
Standard takeoff mass: 18500 kg
Maximum takeoff mass: 37000 kg
Powerplant type: Shinnakasu Heavy Industry/P&W/Roice FF-2001D thermonuclear turbine engine x 2
Vernier thruster types: Shinnakasu Heavy Industry NBS-1 x 4, P&W LHP04 x 18
Armament: Mauler ROV-20 anti-aircraft laser cannon x 4, Howard GU-11 55mm 3-barrel Gatling gun pod x 1 (200 rounds ammunition), underwing hardpoint x 4
Optional underwing hardpoint armament (per hardpoint): AMM-1 hybrid guided multi-purpose missile x 3, Mk.82 LDGB conventional bomb x 3, RMS-1 large anti-ship reaction missile x 1 on inboard hardpoint or x 2 on outboard hardpoint, UUM-7 15-tube micro-missile pod x 1 (carrying Bifors HMM-01 micro-missiles)
Optional equipment: Shinnakasu Heavy Industry GBP-1S protector weapon system, atmospheric-escape booster system, Shinnakasu Heavy Industry FAST Pack system
Crew: 1 pilot
Pilot: Hikaru Ichijyo, Maximilian Jenius, Roy Focker

Fighter mode:
Wingspan (fully extended): 14.78 meters
Wingspan (swept back 42 degrees): 12.12 meters
Wingspan (swept back 72 degrees): 8.25 meters
Wingspan (stowed position): 4.70 meters
Overall length: 14.23 meters
Overall height: 3.84 meters
Maximum level atmospheric speed at 10000 meters: Mach 2.71
Maximum level atmospheric speed at 30000+ meters: Mach 3.87Space
G-limits: +7 G

Wingspan (fully extended): 14.78 meters
Wingspan (swept back 42 degrees): 12.12 meters
Wingspan (swept back 72 degrees): 8.25 meters
Wingspan (stowed position): 4.70 meters
Overall length: 11.3 meters
Overall height: 8.7 meters
Maximum walking speed: 100 km/h
Maximum level atmospheric flying speed: 500 km/h
Minimum level atmospheric flying speed: 0 km/h (VTOL capable)
Maximum hovering time using 13000 kg x 2 thrust: 70 seconds
Maximum hovering time using 11500 kg x 2 thrust: 420 seconds

Battroid mode:
Overall height: 12.68 meters
Overall width: 7.3 meters
Wingspan (fully extended): 14.78 meters
Overall length: 4.0 meters
Maximum walking speed: 160 km/h
Operational underwater depth: 100 meters

Transformation time:
Minimum time fighter-to-GERWALK automated: 1.5 seconds (approximate)
Minimum time GERWALK-to-battroid automated: under 2 seconds
Standard time fighter-to-battroid automated: under 5 seconds
Minimum time fighter-to-battroid manual: 0.9 seconds

Equipped with FAST Pack system:
Unofficial codenames (standard system): Super Valkyrie, Booby Duck, SSP-1, Super Ostrich
Unofficial codename (beam cannon-equipped system): Strike Valkyrie Components: NP-BP-01 dorsal/backpack pod x 2, NP-FB-01 engine/leg pod x 2, NP-AR-01 arm pod x 2
Overall length: 14.0 meters
Overall height: 5.5 meters
Empty mass: 19200 kg
Standard takeoff mass: 45000 kg
Maximum takeoff mass: 72000 kg
Maximum propellant capacity: 11000 kg
Additional engines/thrusters/systems: 120000 kg class P&W EF-2001 booster thruster x 2, CTB-04 conformal propellant tank x 2, vernier thruster x many
Additional armament: arm unit-mounted 3-tube micro-missile launcher pod x 2, dorsal/backpack pod-mounted HMMP-02 micro-missile launcher pod x 2
Optional additional armament: Mauler RO-X2A high-powered double-action beam cannon pod x 1 (replaces 1 x HMMP-02 micro-missile launcher pod)

Valentine's Day 09 - part 2.

Went to Subang Parade with Esther, Chloe and Dylan for an impromptu Valentine Day's celebration of sort. Initially wanted to go to Friday's but the price more or less doubled up with pre-selected menu, so we decided to drop by Manhattan's Fish Market instead. Having to handle 2 precious without a maid to tag along at this stage can be quite challenging...Dylan kept movin about, excited by the surrounding whilst Chloe kept pestering Esther to lift her up and bring her to walk about around the restaurant...but it was nevertheless an interesting challenge, eventually, all parents have to deal with this sort of stuff sooner. Also, noticed that the restaurant was filled with families like us as well. More importantly, Esther and I really enjoyed ourselves, I guess the kids too...Wanted to get the replacement pitcher plants from Fauzi but he did not operate his stall on that day. Instead, got vol. 2 to 4 of the Gloden Oldies series, of which some songs contained to Vol.1 are being repeated throughout...what a waste of money.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Valentine's Day 09.

Hhmmm....the day to celebrate all things lovey and dovey are here again...more monies to the flower boutiques, highly likely some silly dolts with an over the top declaration of love (or act of love) awaiting to be published in the local press tomorrow (or billboard over one of the highways), waiting in line to get tables at one of those hip restaurants, opening up a severely bank savings busting bottle of some un-pronounceble champaign because it is from a vintage year and it was listed top 10 in one of the hundreds of hip gourmet publications...had some exotic concoction of a meal, which were usually could not be properly pronounced as well...renewal of vows to each other...those were the pre-children years...overall still enjoy Valentine but in a different way and different view. Over the years, some of these ideas did cross my mind to make it the ultimate declaration of love, among them are...
a) blood exchange transfusion...made popular by Beverly Hills 90210, I think...the girl backed down the last minute. Which in retrospective, a very logical move by her...thank you!
b) slash our palms and cupped it close together for the night...inspired by Natural Born Killer. Would not work coz, I am afraid of blood and bee, it would drip all over my freshly polished DM (those were the grunge years..). I backed down the last minute. Which in retrospective, a very logical move by me...thank me!
c) initiated a emotional fight with girl and then on the VDay, burst into her house living room declaring "You Complete ME!"...would not work either coz it is too logistically, mentally and emotionally-bending complicated. Its just too risky...I ain't Tom Cruise/Jerry McGuire.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Ooe Yofukuten & Co. Jeans.

Finally, the jean and logger pant pre-ordered from Ooe arrived today, much to Esther's chagrin about my continuing obsession with denim...Ryo and Hiro have been very helpful and communicative. These are hand made by themselves. They have a website and are incredibly helpful and communicative. This is a first for me whereby I actually get to communicate with the pros who make the denim. What they offered are a chance to specify the denim and its spec (down right to the stitches, buttons, rivets). They made only small precious quantities a day at a time. They reminded me of the time back in mid 80s when the infamous carrot pants were all the rage with teenagers and young adults here in this country. I would pester mom to bring me to a tailor to spec the type of fabric, cut and so forth for show off during CNY.
The type of denim I requested for is un-sanforized denim, pink selvedge lot #4101XX. I specified a 01 cut/model (a 47 to mid 50 type) with fabric #41, which is the heaviest denim they have thus far, at 14.5oz. Comes with the red tag, Tailor on the front and RHR on the back. Also, off center back loop ala 55 type, with Union Made top front button and black powder coated donuts for the rest. The rivets are Universal although I was hoping they have Scovil (pre-Evis Labour days type). I requested them to add a crotch rivet too. I noticed that the back pocket rivets are non-Universal and I also forgot to ask if I could add a particular inner label I observed on their website recently. The chainstiching is also kinda thin...but I am nit-picking. Overall for the price, built, and with distinctive touch from the two denim sifus, it is incredibly rare out there for a brand that provided services such as this. I am definitely looking to order more from them in near future.
Also took the opportunity to order a logger pant 1850s cut from them, model #2005 (fabric #20 ~ heavy cotton duck with cut/model 05 ~ cinch back buckle, single back pocket, high watch pocket, suspender buttons, crushed flathead rivets). This is my first cotton doek pant, which is akin to canvas. Hhmm, I wonder if my legs can stand from the punishing heat whilst wearing them..I am also taking this opportunity to "know" more about logger pant made from canvas, cotton doek.
Esther remarked that I looked like a farmer in one of these...paying so much to look like someone working on a farm or construction yard...that's the idea right? Harking back to the eras when life is less complicated and where hard work is virtue.
Best of all, Ryo and Hiro, signed on these pairs...maybe one day when they are big like the Osaka 5, I can hawk these to other denim otakus over eBay (insert evil laugh) to finance my 2 precious education (insert more evil laugh). The package also comes with a nice little envelope containing a "ticket" and 2 samples of the fabrics.