Friday, November 21, 2014

1/5 Super Sailor Chibi Moon, Manga Version -FINISHED-!

SERIOUSLY, I am so glad she's finally finished!  I had taken some photos not too long ago but I couldn't find my dark background.  So I wasn't happy with them.  But I have located it, reshot some pics and VIOLA!  We has nifty Chibimoon pics !

Something of note: she's not fully assembled.  She needs to be broken down to ship to her new home, otherwise she will arrive in more pieces than I'd wager my customer wants to deal with .  So that weird. gray stuff you may see in some photos is sticky tack.

I'm actually happy with how she turned out, despite the trouble I had with her.  I shall miss my little pink princess when she leaves.  But I know she will be in good hands.  Enjoy the pics, and as usual, click to see larger versions!

Title:        Super Sailor Chibimoon
Scale:       1/5
Medium:   Acrylics, enamels, pastels
Method:    Airbrush, hand painting

More GK stuff coming soon, more commissions to be done! Thanks for reading

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Battle of the GK Beasts: E2046 vs. GK-Model!

Welcome to a special edition blog post here at Of Other Worlds!

I say "special" because while most of my posts have something to do with WIPs and finished kit showcasing, this one is a bit different:  a kit/store review!  So let me give you some background on the situation I've got here...

I bought a garage kit from E2046 (or "E" as I will sometimes refer to them) not too long ago called "Madonna Lily".  She was sold at Winter Wonderfest 2014 and to be completely honest, she was only one of maybe three kits I totally got excited about.  I mean, look at it!

Flowers, ruffles, and a unicorn...OH MY!

It's like she was made just for me !  The only way I could love her more is if there were butterflies involved, which I'm tempted to add once I get around to building her.

But the copy I got from E appeared to be...less than stellar to put it mildly.  I saw a lot of problems with it to the point that building her would be more of a chore than fun.  But I had read about an alternative...

Some of you may have heard about a new online garage kit store based out of Taiwan appearing recently (well, it may not be "recent" per se, but I've only recently heard about it so yeah), by the name of  If you haven't heard the news, consider yourself informed now.  LeonaSenshi of Leona's Workshop did a pretty sweet video review of a kit she bought from them (which you can see HERE).  The kit looked fantastic, especially compared to the copy of that same figure I received from E a couple weeks before.  I wanted to try them out once I got the chance, which finally came earlier this month.  I decided to buy another Madonna Lily from GK-Model for two reasons:  1). I loved the kit so much that I wanted a decent copy to build, and 2). What better way to see how the new store stacks up with the established one than to compare the exact same products?

I asked on my Facebook page if anyone would be interesting in seeing a comparison of the two kits, and many people said "YES", as there seems to be a lot of interest in this new store. So that's why this post is a thing.  

A few notes before I begin:

*It's a REALLY LONG post; it's a complicated kit with lots of parts (in fact, I would definitely NOT recommend it for a beginner), but I wanted to be thorough in my review.  Just make sure you have a comfy seat and maybe some snacks so you don't die of starvation by the end.  I will not be held responsible if you do, though I may send flowers.

*It is also VERY PICTURE HEAVY in case you can't tell.  To enlarge the picture to see it better as you read along, simply click on it to enlarge it then hit the little white "x" at the upper right to close the viewer when you're done.  Also there might be some NSFW-ish images, like resin boobs, panty shots and whatnot to show gaps or detail.  You have been warned.

*I am going to try to be as unbiased as possible; I know there's been a lot of animosity toward E2046 lately but I'm going to try to keep that (mostly) out of mind for the sake of reviewing these two kits. Meaning if GK-Model (or GKM from here on out) screwed something up with their copy, I will point it out.  Same goes for E.  I feel like lying or manipulating to promote or shame one store over another will not help the people who truly matter in this:  the customers buying the resin kits.  I'm just gonna tell it like it is and let the photos do the talking.  

*If you're here to spout your "recasters suck and so do the people who buy them!" philosophy, spare me, let's just agree to disagree.  Now run along to find another blog to troll please.  

Ok boys and girls, onto the review!


Both E and GKM use pretty sturdy boxes to ship their figures.  E wraps their boxes in a green paper whereas GKM simply taped theirs very well.  Either way is effective and doesn't make nary a bit of difference to me personally.  I just care that the kit gets to me in one piece (or only the number of pieces there should be is a better way of putting it I guess).  Both stores also double box their kits.  Meaning the kit is packed inside a box which is then placed inside another box for shipping.  Cool, I can dig it.

Now for the kit boxes themselves.  Anyone who has shopped at E is no doubt familiar with the bright yellow boxes with their logo blazed across the top.  The box is one piece with a flap lid, and the figure code and name on the side. 

It burnses...

GKM's kit box is a bit plainer.  We have a brown cardboard box with a separate lid and bottom.  A label is placed the end not only stating the store it came from, but also the kit it contains.  I checked the QR code you see, it actually takes you to the GKM English site.  Pretty cool.

I'm going to be 100% honest here; personally I like GKM's kit boxes better for two reasons.  First, the separate lid and bottom; very handy to organize my parts, like say parts that have tabs cut verses parts that haven't.  Or parts I've sanded seams and haven't touched yet.  I'm sure you get the idea.  Second, I LOVE THAT THERE'S A PICTURE ON THE SIDE!!!  This is so handy to tell what's in the box at a glance as opposed to just a number and a name, especially if you're like me and have different figures of the same character and don't want to dig through five different boxes that just say "Kuroyukihime" or "Hatsune Miku" on the side to find the one you want!

...Erm, sorry, went down another little rant there. Anyways, now for what's inside.

E sends a picture of the kit and sometimes, a sheet with assembly instructions and decals.  For the kit itself, they section the parts individually and then wrap them in a sheet of bubble wrap.  Any smaller or more delicate parts are usually wrapped individually in more bubble wrap and/or braced with cardboard.  I can say that with as many kits as I've bought from them over the past three years, I have only one kit that arrived with a broken part in this manner, and it was broken in such a way that it was an easy fix.

 This is a pic of another kit from E before unpacking.

GKM is a little different.  You don't just get one photo, you get a WHOLE SHEET of full color photos from multiple angles. Handy indeed, especially for a kit as complex as Madonna Lily.  

 You also get color printed parts list and assembly instructions.  

E's had the same instructions, but it was black and white photocopy.  The color printed assembly guide, I admit, looks nicer but really it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.  The black and white one does the job as well.

There's also a little card that thanks you for shopping with GKM, and that if you see a figure on their Taiwanese site but it's not listed on the English site, simply contact them and they will move it and make available to you.  Nice!  I've been to the Tawianese site, bit hard to navigate but you'll get the hang of it eventually.

The parts are grouped together roughly by size and sealed in bags.  Nothing arrived broken.

I opened them up to take a first glance at the parts.  Pretty white resin, smaller tabs, and quite a bit of flash.  Some seams here as there as well.  

Another note I'll make is the smell and feel; a lot of E's kits have a strong smell to them, most you who have bought kits from of E before will know exactly what I mean.  I don't think this is the resin so much as the mold release used, since it goes away after an overnight soak in degreaser.  Seriously, sometimes it's so strong it gives me a headache.  Also the parts feel...strange.  Like greasy in a way but not?  It's hard to describe, but I know for sure it's mold release there.  It annoys me to feel so I can't stand to even cut tabs until it's been cleaned.  GKM's kit had none of that upon opening:  no smell or funky mold release feels.  I had no issue handling it to cut tabs prior to cleaning, which is awesome.  

Let's get down with comparing the kits and parts themselves.  But before I do so, I must explain that I personally have two HUGE pet peeves with kits:  poor tab placement and over-sanding.  The reasons for this being that both result in loss of detail and a lot more work for the builder.  I hate both with a passion and here's why (skip the next two paragraphs if you wish):

-cue rant-

Tabs are pretty much a necessary evil of the casting process, I get that; it can be hard to avoid them.  But their placement can be controlled by the workshop doing the casting, and there is such a thing as reasonable and unreasonable tab placement.  Reasonable tab placements include placing tabs on areas where they are easily removed without damage to the model and its details, such as on edges, (especially those that won't be seen) or keys for example.  Unreasonable tab placement means putting somewhere that is...well, dumb.  Like right in the middle of a highly detailed part like a hair piece, on small ruffles when there is a straight edge nearby, or on a thin edge with a delicate curve that you run the risk of breaking if you cut it.  Then you either have to glue it back or resculpt it if it does break.  Grr.

Over-sanding is, to me, the very epitome of stupid and annoying, even more so than poorly placed tabs.  During the casting process, sometimes the molds will become misaligned, resulting in seams.  Seams are a common issue and don't bother me near as much as a workshop's method of covering a shoddy cast.  Which is to take a Dremel or something similar and grind out them out.  On everything, without regard to the shape or detail.  The result is flatten areas that need to be reshaped with putty and beautiful detail lost that must either be recarved or resculpted.  I.  HATE.  IT.  It is a thorn in my side and a pain in my ass.  And it is a disgusting habit of E's workshops.  I would much rather have the little seams left in place for me to carefully hand sand away while still preserving shape and detail than for some worker to get in a grind-happy hurry in a half hearted attempt to supposedly make life easier for the builder by "solving" the seam problem.  It doesn't solve it; it creates bigger ones.  Stop it.


I will harp on these as I see fit, which will be quite a bit as you will see.  Read on of you dare.

Lily Petals:

I'm going to start from the bottom and sort of work my way up.  So let's begin with the lily petals.

First thing I noticed with the GKM cast is the flash:  excess resin in the curves of most of the lilies in case you don't know what I'm talking about.  There was quite a bit.  E's cast didn't have much in the way of flash like this.

Fortunately, it is really thin.  I could break a lot of it off easily with my fingers and clean up the rest with my Xacto knife with no problems.  GKM's resin is pretty soft and easy to carve.  E's seems bit harder but not enough to care about.

Tab placement.  Ugh.  What the heck was E's workshop thinking?  Answer:  they weren't.  Some petals had decent placement but for the most part?  Right smack in the middle of the petal.  And not on the back either.  On the right side of the petal, the side that's to be seen, so there's no cheating around it.  And they aren't small tabs either.  They are pretty big, thick tabs for the part.


GKM's tab placement was pretty much awesome, they were mostly along the top or side edges. 

This just shows there was no point in putting them right in the middle.  Here's the same part of both copies.  E's part has the tab toward the bottom of the petal going across the middle, ruining part of the vein detail in the petal.  GKM's is at the top with the little keys that connect it to another part and will mostly be hidden.  

E left, GKM right.

One is definitely going to take more time to clean up than the other.  Only one of GKM's petals had a tab in the middle, and it wasn't near as big or thick as E's tabs. It also bridged that vein in the petal so no detail was lost.

In fact, you could quite easily break GKM's tabs with your bare hands.  I wouldn't recommend it though, using a cutter or knife gives you more control, just saying it's possible. Try that with those big, honking tabs E had and you'd probably break fingers.  Points for GKM there. 

Also, there were some small seams here and there on the GKM copy.  There weren't many at all in E's copy, but I'll give you two guesses as to why and it's not because it's better cast...

GKM left, E right.
They were sanded off.  This flattened the some of the petal curves, though overall the over-sanding wasn't as bad as I've seen before.  On these parts at least.  I also hate how lumpy that crevice is.  Seriously, anytime the cast isn't smooth in areas like that is really annoying.  It requires putty and sanding, sometimes a couple of rounds to make sure you repair it smoothly.

The surface of both kits were pretty pitted as you'll see in some upcoming photos (it was hard to capture on the petals for some reason), though E's seemed overall worse than GKM's.  This leads me to believe that the original batch of Madonnas wasn't the best in the world.  Maybe E got a bad copy?  I dunno.  

Overall, I personally prefer GKM's casting here with the petals, despite the flash and the seams.  The flash is thin and easily removable, and see my above rant about over-sanding verses seams.  The tabs are also smaller and better placed for easy cleanup.  So, winner of this round:  GK-Model.


Moving on up to the skirt.  First we have this big piece of skirt section here.

GKM left, E right.
GKM's is a bit smoother than E's piece, but overall I'd say it's about even by the time you account for seams on GKM's part I suppose.

Both parts had this exact, same flash pattern on this inner curve.  It was also thick and hard to cut on both.  This tells me it's a trait of the original kit so I won't hold it against either. 

GKM left before cleanup, E right after cleanup.

Other than that, nothing of note for this piece.  Now for the next skirt parts, starting with the lower skirt.   The first thing I noticed was the cast itself with GKM verses E.

 E left, GKM right in both pictures.

GKM left, E right.

E's has all kinds of lumps, pits, little bits of flash and just all around grossness. YUCK!

GKM's isn't perfect either though.  There is a few seams and lumps as well, though no where NEAR to the degree that E's skirt had.  GKM's also has a thickness problem.  As you can see, the resin is so thin in places you can see through it.  Though to be honest, this is less of an issue than E's cast.  E's is so thick that it loses the delicate nature of the ruffles and such.  Not to mention detail on the underside.

 E left, GKM right.
 But did you notice anything else about E's skirt?  A larger, much more damning flaw to this entire piece?  Maybe this angle will help...

 E left, GKM right.


The skirts...they aren't even the same shape!  E's is completely warped!!  But just how warped is it?  Let's take a look at the upper skirt and find out. 

GKM left, E right

E left, GKM right

As you can see, the upper skirts have similar problems with their bottom counterparts on the outside.

GKM left, E right

Underneath, same story.  E's copy is even missing the little pegs that help line it up with the bottom piece.  I don't know if it's due to the thickness or workshop removal, either way it's not a smart move on their part.

The thickness on E's part is still an issue, but this piece don't appear near as warped as their bottom half. Now, the final test:  the fit.

All of the above are GKM's parts.  It's not a bad fit right out of the box.  I can sort of force the pegs into their holes to line it up, but it will need heat for a perfect fit.  Because the parts aren't overly thick, this isn't going to be a problem.  You would need to be careful of the thin areas while fiddling with it though.

The fit for E's copy...makes my brain hurt.  Abysmal at absolute best.  No amount of manipulating will make the parts even remotely fit, and because the parts are so ungodly thick, I doubt heat will work to reshape them.  This skirt is fit for the reject pile. 

No doubt in my mind who wins out here:  GK-Model hands down!


Let's inspect Madonna herself now, starting with her legs.


GKM left, E right

The right legs look fairly unremarkable at first glance.  You can tell E did a bit of sanding along the shin though.

GKM left, E right

Toes are better detailed on GKM's right foot.  Also less flash than E's.

E left, GKM right

Left ones are pretty much the same, though some over-sanding on the bottom of the foot courtesy of E's workshop.  GKM's toes also have a better shape.

Torso Parts:

E left, GKM right

Face details are on par with each other.  Both even have what appears to be an air bubble over the left eye.

E left, GKM right

E once again shows consistency in over-sanding their seams.  It might be a bit hard to tell due to the lighting, but Madonna's left shoulder has lost some of it's shape because of it.  

GKM left, E right

The backs have a fair amount of detail and shape.  GKM's cast is smoother though.

E left, GKM right

The sculptor put some nice detail to her panties, especially since they won't really be seen.  The detail from E just isn't as crisp as it is from GKM.

Now we'll check how the legs fit.  GKM's parts fit well.

E's fit wasn't quite as perfect but not horrindous.


Moving on to the corset top.  It comes in two separate pieces to be fit together on the figure.  This makes it easier for painting, but adds a little extra work to prep them if they don't fit right.  It's up to the individual builder if the trade off is worth it.  Me?  It is because I hate masking.



I suppose if GKM had a consistent issue it would be the thinness of the resin in places.  The corset is no exception.  E's feels much sturdier.  Though E picked a rather stupid place for one of the tabs.

Tab on left piece

Right on the top ruffles.  Seriously?  There was a straight edge like two centimeters to the left or right.  I was worried I would break part of the ruffles off and good God fixing that would have been annoying.  GKM's tabs were on the bottom edges.  AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

How do the parts fit?  



About the same.  Both would require more clean up of the flash around the panties and hot water to manipulate the fit better.

Arms and hands:

Let's start with arms.  Or sleeves rather.

GKM left, E right

The detail is far better with GKM's cast, hands down.  It's much clearer and not as much extra resin to clean up.  The tabs were also smaller and thinner than E's tabs.  I was, once again, afraid I'd break the edge off trying to cut them.  E also did some over-sanding as well.

Hands are also night and day different.

From left to right:  GKM, E, GKM, E

Detail is better on GKM's copy again, but both had flash inside the curled left hand.  E's flash was thick and difficult to cut in such a small space. GKM's, not so much.

GKM left, E right


Time for Madonna's hair.  It consists of three parts:  bangs (or fringe), main back piece, and bottom piece.

 GKM left, E right in all above photos

GKM's cast is a lot smoother and cleaner.  A few seams and flash to clean up but it shouldn't take long.  E's is riddled with flash and seams in the crevices, not to mention those annoying little pits that can be hard to smooth out.

The hair parts fit pretty well on the GKM copy.

E's copy doesn't fit quite so well together.  There's a bigger gap underneath near the neck.

This could be a pain to fix smoothly. I don't know if heat would do the trick here or not, it may.  Would probably call for putty though.


Now for Madonna's crowning glory, the veil!

I'm going to start with E's veil.  First thing I noticed was the sanding.  I sincerely doubt any amount of buffing will help all of the micro scratches in it.  And then there's this thing:

I can't really complain about placement, it's certainly better than the alternative of placing it on one of the dainty, flowery edges.  But why the hell is it so flippin' HUGE?  I could barely cut into it with my cutters, and I was nervous the whole time about something horrible happening to it while trying to be rid of this thing.  And guess what?

SON OF A...!

It broke and left a ginormous divot behind.  Maybe there was an air bubble beneath it, didn't look like there was from underneath before I cut it.  I think it was more so a result of an unnecessarily oversized tab on a somewhat piece of resin.  Take it however you will.

GKM's veil also had a tab in the exact same area.


Hey, look at that!  Marvel at it, because ladies and gentlemen, that is both reasonably placed AND sized!  It's only a bit smaller than E's, but it is so much THINNER!  And I didn't have to practically break my hand taking it off.

There are a couple of small flaws in the form of air bubbles, as you could probably see.

So not perfect, but I would much rather have those than the crater that behemoth of a tab left behind on E's veil.  

Now let's compare the two.

GKM left, E right in all above photos.

I said the flower border detail on the E copy was pretty good, and I was right, it is.  But the GKM version is just gorgeous!  You can see the little veins in the flowers and leaves much clearer.  Unfortunately it is a bit on the yellow side though.

Sanding was also an issue for both, but much more so from E.  As I said at the beginning, I don't think polishing will help here.  With GKM's it probably will, as the scratches don't seem as deep or numerous.  E's copy is also thicker and subtly shaped different.  It wasn't enough to affect the fit on Madonna's head though.



Now to wrap up some odds and ends to Madonna's outfit.


The big bow made for an interesting comparison.

GKM left, E right

Yeah, that bow from E is gonna need a lot more work than GKM's.  And so will this ribbon.

 E below, GKM above
And these stems.

GKM left, E right

Though the rest of the stems were basically the same.

Think by now you can pretty much tell who's who...

The little crystal beads were similar, except GKM's tab placement was much better:  on top with the keys as opposed to E's, which was on the bottom.

GKM left, E right
Then there's this skirt piece.

E above, GKM below.

E cast it so thickly that a lot of the detail was lost.  Not to mention there is over-sanding on it.  Just...!

I declare the winner of these sections to be GK-Model.

Still with me?  Not much left to go, I promise!


Madonna comes with a little pet:  a small stuffed unicorn!  Prepare for the squee-ness!

First off, the main body.

 GKM left, E right in all above photos.
 Seems more or less the same detail-wise, though E's has some flash around the neck.
How do the right legs fit?

GKM left, E right
GKM's fits better, but to be honest it's not brilliant on either one really.
Now let's look at the mane and tail parts.

From left to right:  GKM, E, GKM, E

Once again, GKM's casting is just cleaner.  The fit isn't perfect across the board though.  The manes will need to be bent to conform to the heads on both copies, and the tails will most likely require putty.
The horns are tiny, but leave it to E to keep in its way too big tab habit.

GKM left, E right

 Now there's this thing.  I think it's a little cape for the unicorn.

E left, GKM right

I think this is the one piece where E actually got the tab placement RIGHT and GKM didn't.  E's was on the corner edge to the right in the photo, GKM's in the fold to the right.  Take a moment to recover from the shock if you need to, I know that was quite the revelation.

This section was actually pretty close, but I'm going to give the slight edge to GK-Model here, overall I think there will be a little less work to be had.

Small Lilies and Leaves:

Last part of the pieces review, I promise!

GKM's small lilies and leaves had smaller tabs and better placement overall, but there was an exception or so.

 I mean, is there really a need to have THREE big tabs on such a little piece?

They came off cleanly though, since they were super thin.

Now I'm just going to dump some comparison pics, brace yourself.  Are you ready?  Here ya go!

 GKM left, E right in all above photos.

E left, GKM right in above photos.

Pretty much same song, different verse here:  E's parts have poorly placed tabs and quite a bit of flash; whereas GKM's are much cleaner and the tabs are in better locations.

Yep, no question here:  GK-Model wins out again! 

 Other Comparisons:

 Ok, throughout this whole thing, I've been doing something that I was curious about:  collecting my cut tabs and flash.  First here's a comparison of each of the figures largest tabs.

 GKM left, E right

HUGE difference, isn't there?  Those gigantic tabs of E's sucked horribly to cut.  Now for the whole lot of tabs and flash from each kit.

GKM left, E right.

That's quite the pile.  I will point out though, that GKM's looks bigger because of all of the excess flash on the large lily petals.  I weighed each cup of tabs as well, to see how much excess resin each had.  The results?

E2046:  .5 ounces
GK-Model:  .4 ounces 

Yes that's right.  Even with all of the extra flash, GKM STILL has less excess resin on it due to smaller tabs. 

And now, cost and shipping.  From the time my Paypal payment cleared until I got the shipment notification email with my tracking number,  E2046 took FIVE DAYS.    GK-Model?  Three hours.  Yes you read that right, I paid at 2:30 am (I'm an uber night owl), and woke up the next day to a shipment email from them with a 5:30am time stamp.  Only THREE HOURS to pack and ship it to me.  Both took about a week after that to actually arrive to my house.  But how much did it cost?

Total cost with shipping for E2046:

Total cost with shipping for GK-Model:

That is a difference of almost $10!  

So not only, is GKM's quality better, but shipment is faster and at a lower price?  I hereby declare the winner of this GK store battle to be:

Final Thoughts:

 Now I have been a customer at E for over three years now, I, myself, have never really had a problem with them, though I have heard many stories about people who have.  But their quality has definitely been declining even in the time that I have been there. 

I guess one could argue that I simply got a bad copy.  I could have.  But the problem I see is that with as much as E2046 prides itself on quality control, there is no way such a crappy cast should have gotten past them.  I could understand a bad part here and there, especially with a figure with as many as Madonna Lily has.  But QC isn't just about counting parts; it's about making sure the customer gets a good, if not great product.  E2046 does offer part replacement but here it's pointless.  I would need a whole new figure.  This just isn't acceptable.

GK-Model does not have a wide selection, but as its business grows (and hopefully it will if they continue along this same path), more options will hopefully become available.  

As for myself, GK-Model will definitely be my preferred store from now on.  I am convinced.  Hopefully I will have done the same for some of you, or at least encouraged you to give them a try.


Next week, it's back to my regularly scheduled WIPs and galleries.

Happy building!