Should FSS go mainstream?

Models and Toys Related to Five Star Stories

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Nu Soard Graphite
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Post by Nu Soard Graphite » Fri Nov 19, 2004 2:53 am

Sheizzel wrote:Nagano seem to have the same idea of keeping FSS in a low profile.

I don't blame him one bit. After what the coporate machine has done to Gundam, one cannot blame Nagano for keeping a choke-hold on the FSS license. I applaud his conviction also. He made his business parter promise to continue producing FSS in english if he started it, no matter how poorly it sold. Thats dedication to the fan-base.

I think, when all is said and done, Nagano merely wants to protect the integrity of his works-of-art.
Also, FSS had a huge showing in Comic Con in San Diego a couple of ago which brought Volks to North America. I wonder how it was received by the people who went and saw what FSS had to offer...
I was at that Con. Their booth was large and lovely and it was constantly packed by people who had no idea what they were looking at, but they all seemed to love it. It was probably the most frequently visited booth at the Con, aside from the big guys (Marvel, DC, Sony Playstation etc) as at times, it was difficult to even get in to see the MH's.

Let me tell you that the 1/100 Jagd Mirage was a huge hit. (pun intended)
Shinei!

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Post by Vincent Valentine » Fri Nov 19, 2004 3:28 am

Did you school the people in the ways of FSS Nu Soard?

Heh heh.

Engineering? I can argue against this point quite well.

I can, as an amature sculpt and resin-cast a kit easily.

Can I use CAD programs, prototyping machines, tools and dies and THEN use injection casting?

No.. I cannot. The 'engineering' into a resin kit is oftentimes, minimal. Much of the process is done by the human hand - but in the case of plastic, everything must be done on the computer. Which requires much more personnel, expense and equipment.

ALSO - one could get away with less engineering expertise in the field of resin, whereas badly engineered plastic is piss-poor.

Take Bandai, the prime example. How long did it take them to get an accurate 1/144 Gundam '78? Forever.

How long did it take them to come out with a good 1/144 Gundam '78 resin GK? I can promise you that excellent designs of this kit were out by the late 80's.

So what gives? Engineering, demand? Perhaps both.



The underfoot of a MH, packed full of details can be cast in two, if not one part by an amateur who knows something about the process. All you need is a good sculptor.

Let's take the same product, and try to get it out of plastic. You will need multiple parts, knowing the complexity of the part - easily hitting ten if not fifteen or more parts - especially more, because in plastic people look for gimmicks - like moving joints. Take into consideration half-half seams, too. Look at the simplistically detailed LED Mirage foot - one of Nagano's firsts, and yet the WSC foot (to recall) only needs three parts.. maybe it's even two. .. but then, look at the recent 1/144 WAVE kit. How many more parts does that take? Now we must consider these:

1) Hiding the ejector pin holes

2) Placement on the sprue for optimal plastic use

3) Shape of the plastic part - recesses cannot be too great, angles shouldn't be too sharp

4) No undercuts allowed

5) Parts fit


Look at resin - sometimes it's hard enough to fit two peices together.. imagine fifteen interlocking, interdependant ones. Yes, QUITE a bit more engineering goes into plastic than resin. And this is an understatement.

Did we consider

1) Type of injection plastic to use? (Colour, flexibility, strength?)

2) Cost for mass market (minimum units sold to make profit)


I'm sure that there is a hell lot more about IP plastic that I have no clue about.. it's just not that simple.

And I do agree with the notion that Nagano sees the isolated nature of FSS to be charming.

I remember reading that he wanted to put Fatima into L-Gaim but was overrulled by Bandai because they felt that the main male lead couldn't have his coolness compromised if he depended on a girl to do the co-piloting.

Hence FSS! Nagano breaks free from the chains of mass market and co-owns his own company and writes at a pace, and with a topic that he feels like. He takes months or years to ditch out two pages of new material, or he can pump out thirty frequently in the course of a few months. He does what he feels like - and I don't think that he wants FSS to be compromised as L-Gaim or whatnot has been in the past.

I'm sure that most of us will know of the Whits Mirage - the spoof of what Nagano would believe mass marketing will do to his precious MH designs.

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Post by Rubel Colus » Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:35 am

Hahah

Whits Mirage. Actually Whits is Nagano's design for ZZ Gundam. However, their requirements for the ZZ Gundam design was to have a Gundam with core fighter, able to split into upper and lower parts and each part transform into fighters, and finally a combined fighter mode for the ZZ. Can't remember if the requirements came in later after Nagano started designing what is now known as Whits.

Anyway, I've attached pics of plastic kit from TaMEya. :twisted: The other is from Wave I think.

Image Image
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- FSS Eng Vol 1(Black cover)

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Post by WayS'Lo' » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:29 am

Everyones making interesting comments and i do appear to be in a minority, but to clear things up, fss is not like Gundam, FSS has only one person in charge unlike gundam which has become a 'corporate entity'and was never really under a single person to begin with. If Nagano doesn't like what he sees, he pulls the plug as he has done before to the likes of Kaiyodo ( tho why he isnt stopping those crazy Wave 1/100s being reissued is beyond me... obviously hes only stared at the finnished ones and never actually tried *building* one before). And as i said before i wouldnt expect plastic models to flood the market
one a year of the core mecha ( or even the most feasible ones, even i would except that even the possiblilty of a plastic mm auge or yen xing this decade is just very wishful thinking) would be my ideal. There will always be a place for resin that way. I was actually very hopeful when the 1/144 led came out but it doesn't look now as though they will follow it up with anything...
i just feel that having hq plastic fss kits is a very good way to draw people into the fss world. I knwo i got into fss through the mechs and for the longest time they were out of reach to me because of cost. If just a few hq fss kits came out, and were actually advertised, it could do untold wonders for the fandom both in and outside japan. At comicon, i wasnt there and my arguement will be dealt a sevre blow if they WERE selling the plastic led ( confirmation please?) But im willing to be that alot people there might have been made permenant fans had they been given the chance to pick up good iterations of the aswesome works of art on display without having to mortgage their house.

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Post by Mave » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:47 am

You know, I've realized that this is a never ending discussion. We all believed what we're saying to be true but what do we know, right? All we can do is buy what the companies offered to us. If not, skip it.
Lets agree to disagree then.
To have something in between does not exist and from what I've said, there won't be in the future. I do understand what you guys've said and understand that there are two sides to every story and respect your comments and opinions.
There isnt but I actually think it would be nice to have an "inbetween".
Mave, excuse me, but because of my puny brain my imagination is very limited that I cannot somehow imagine engineering used on other kits will fit with FSS MHs . I'll stick to sniffing resin .
Come on, no need to get snazzy and sarcastic now. :roll:
The other issue that no one has mentioned so far... what would "mainstream" plastic FSS kits do to the (stunningly excellent and without peer ) resin FSS kit industry? I don't think they would disappear, but if the resin kits were to suffer in any way at all... that would be a bad bad thing, in my opinion.
Agreed. Though that would probably not happen since you all guys proved that there ARE a hardcore resin-following and I could imagine the japanese beeing even harder to convince.
I don't blame him one bit. After what the coporate machine has done to Gundam, one cannot blame Nagano for keeping a choke-hold on the FSS license. I applaud his conviction also.
Very true and agreed. Though holding it too tight might choke it? We are not there yet since FSS is still thank god, popular in Japan.
Engineering? I can argue against this point quite well.
<snip>
Lots of very good questions and interesting points made. The LED 1/144 is I think a good example. It is very detailed and insanely better engineered compared to the old 1/100 and how many years was there between the 2 kits releases? I think you guys are misuderstanding the want of an plastic kit to be want for a gimmicky kit. That is absolutely wrong. MH:s are mostly(thankgod) not about gimmicks but looks,details and style.
This brings me to another issue about plastic FSS-kits. The recent translucent plastic Wave 1/100 (and in part the 1/144 recolours). That product is through and through lazy(though I still want it lol :oops: ). If that is the beginning trend of lazy production behind plastic FSS-kits then I say just kill it...
Yeah he wanted to put fatimas into L-Gaim...to bad the suits stopped him :cry:
Whits Mirage? Cool and hillarious! Havent heard of this before acutally :D
Rubel Colus, you wouldnt have those pics at a larger size? :)

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Post by Rubel Colus » Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:05 am

Dont have bigger pics of the models.

This pic is from Outline.

"Nagano Gundam" :?: :twisted:

http://img9.exs.cx/img9/1439/WhitsMirage.jpg
Looking for:
- FSS Eng Vol 1(Black cover)

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Post by KOG » Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:19 pm

You'll have to count me in as another person who does not want to see FSS go mainstream, and does not want companies to produce a lot of new plastic kits.

When FSS is not mainstream, people who like FSS genuinely like the product for what it is, and are willing to take the effort to find FSS materials. When something is pushed into the mainstream, you inevitably have a wash of criticism... like 'wouldn't this series be better if... couldn't you push things in THIS direction?'. The temptation is to alter the product to appeal to more and more people. I don't want to see this happen to FSS. The fact is... a lot of the 'mainstream' audience think FSS is 'weird'. I've heard people say the mecha look stupid and girly because of the high heels. I've heard people say the art style sucks. I've heard people say it's too hard to follow what's going on. I think it's better when only people who truly love FSS, or are genuinely interested in learning about it, are the ones buying FSS material.

As far as the kits... plastic kit still cannot match a good resin kit. I have a lot of resin kits, but I also have all the plastic kits released so far. Including Wave 1/144 LED and Volks' own GGI KOG series. No comparison. I'm confident Volks and WSC will always stick with resin. Wave could potentially do more in plastic, since they have done so in the past... and Wave seems to have a habit of filling the niches that Volks and WSC leave open. But even though LED seemed pretty well received, we've seen nothing else really from Wave. And if Wave won't do it, who will?

It's been said that Nagano really doesn't care about profit.. he cares about quality. He doesn't want to see a ton of plastic kits out there just to increase sales... if the quality doesn't match up to his standard.

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Post by Vincent Valentine » Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:51 pm

Y'know.. the Whits looks suprisingly good in that photo.. I guess the kits don't do it justice.

I'd actually -like- ZZ if the thing looked like that.. instead it's all fat and ugly..

The 1/100 LED Mirage kit is still a good, affordable 1/100 FSS kit - and that can't be argued. If properly (key word) built up, its assortment of decent detailing and plentiful markings and accuracy of representation makes it an automatic winner in my books. And just to prove what I think of it, I purchased another one ^__^

No, not the clear armour type.. not sure if I accept the jellyfish look just yet.

Engineering of parts can take the back seat as long as I get accuracy. I can replace the joints and sculpt some detail back in without qualm. But when I have to scratch build a new head or lengthen the legs etc etc as I often have to with Gundam kits... that suddenly becomes an unwanted pain in the ass.

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Post by KOG » Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:19 pm

You know... something happened with my 1/100 Wave LED. I built it very competently, and for a time, it held a pose just fine.

But somehow the passage of time has weakened almost all the joints, and now it's a giant floppy mess that can NOT stand up at all. And no, I did not weaken the joints through constant re-posing.

So I'd definitely recommend changing out the joints on this kit, or even better making it into a dynamic fixed pose. Such as the example in MH Saga.

Vincent Valentine wrote:Y'know.. the Whits looks suprisingly good in that photo.. I guess the kits don't do it justice.

I'd actually -like- ZZ if the thing looked like that.. instead it's all fat and ugly..

The 1/100 LED Mirage kit is still a good, affordable 1/100 FSS kit - and that can't be argued. If properly (key word) built up, its assortment of decent detailing and plentiful markings and accuracy of representation makes it an automatic winner in my books. And just to prove what I think of it, I purchased another one ^__^

No, not the clear armour type.. not sure if I accept the jellyfish look just yet.

Engineering of parts can take the back seat as long as I get accuracy. I can replace the joints and sculpt some detail back in without qualm. But when I have to scratch build a new head or lengthen the legs etc etc as I often have to with Gundam kits... that suddenly becomes an unwanted pain in the ass.

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Post by Sheizzel » Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:30 pm

Lets agree to disagree then
I'm fine with that.
There isnt but I actually think it would be nice to have an "inbetween".
The discussion of "If" and "Would be" are often talked about in various boards but it really serves no purpose, does it? I often see these kinds of discussions turns into some kind of wish list or wishful thinking but I doubt that's where this thread is heading :P .
Come on, no need to get snazzy and sarcastic now.
I would like you to know that I was not being sarcastic. I simply cannot imagine how methods being used on other plastic kits can have an effect that you think MIGHT work well with FSS MH kits and have the quality close and to a resin kit and not nearly as expensive.

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Post by Falk » Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:44 pm

BTW, isn't the new Tani's KOG (at 50000 or so ¥) a plastic kit ?
All the parts are displayed already painted in gold in the box (or is it only for display ?), also as the plastic mould cost a lot, if there's 300 and more parts, the kit may require a lot of sprues, and so costs a lot to produce, thuse the high price despite it's a plastic kit ?
But even if it's plastic, at such a price, FSS won't go mainstream :wink: .
Can someone confirm if it's plastic or resin ?

(But I'd like the manga to go a bit more mainstream, at least so I can buy it in France without the high P&P).
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Post by WayS'Lo' » Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:58 pm

It looks like either my choice of the word 'Mainstream' was wrong or people have been taking it the wrong way, either one, sorry for the confusion, b ut some ppl seem to have the impression that im thinking that resin kits shd stop altogether and that the companies responsible for making fss kits shd just start to churn out thousands of plastic kits every year ( Bandai stylee). thats not what im saying. TE core of my argument here is that there needs to be more of an entry point for new fans. I am confident that FSS can be more widely regarded overseas and the way the manga is being hadled ( by Nagano anyway, they need a new translator...) is definately a step in the right direction, but for mecha fans, having just ONE (the 1/144 led) entry level kit is not enough. So many people get turned away because of the cost of the resins and the difficulty of the older plastic kits. If, say, Wave, Volks or god forbid BANDAI actually released a, lets say, KOG of a standard similar to the old resins and higher than the GGi ( lets not get dilusional here, plastic kits of a much higher quality to the volks ggi are possible and have been so for a few years now, and not only are the ggi kits held in acceptable regard but they were overpriced for what they were), it might encourage more ppl to give fss a try.
I agree that the temptation is there to make it into another gundam but Nagano has complete control and i dont think hes so weak as to allow anything liek tat to happen. As crazy as i think he is sometimes i have more respect for him than that. Once ppl have been given the opportuinty of a taster thts not gonna cost them an arm and a leg, they might start to look into the manga, and then start to invest in the resins.
I just want to see fss get the recognition it deserves, and it can't attain this the way it is going, it is notoriously difficult to get into.
Thats just my thoughts right now and its nice to see ppl giving out constructive arguments/criticisms :)
And darn i lkike the Whits too. sh** i want one... :(

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Post by Sheizzel » Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:45 pm

Falk wrote:BTW, isn't the new Tani's KOG (at 50000 or so ¥) a plastic kit ?
All the parts are displayed already painted in gold in the box (or is it only for display ?), also as the plastic mould cost a lot, if there's 300 and more parts, the kit may require a lot of sprues, and so costs a lot to produce, thuse the high price despite it's a plastic kit ?
But even if it's plastic, at such a price, FSS won't go mainstream :wink: .
Can someone confirm if it's plastic or resin ?

(But I'd like the manga to go a bit more mainstream, at least so I can buy it in France without the high P&P).
Nope, not a plastic kit, a resin kit. The parts are not painted, just cast in similar color of the gold with additives. Volks has done this before with some of their kits for examples, the Mighty Series, LED and KOG V3. All were casted in black resin and semi-translucent gold for KOG V3. An excuse to jack up the price :x .

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Last edited by Sheizzel on Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Vincent Valentine » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:03 pm

KOG - thanks for the nose-up on the potential floppy problem of the LED Mirage.

If you want to fix yours up, I'd get a bottle of Mr. Mask Sol (original) and paint the fluid on all the male joints and let them dry. I did this to my Junchoon and the joints are now 'rock solid'. Incredible joint technique. It'll work on the LED because of the old style non-ball joint style. To give you an idea of how tough this stuff can make joints.. I did this to my MG Wing Ver Ka, and the ball was stuck so tightly that it broke the rod off the ball joint. (in the end, I knew that I over-did it and removed the rubbery substance altogether)



The GGI KoGs were terribly over-priced. I wouldn't call them affordable - but you're thinking too much about Bandai marketing and quality here. Many modellers buy expensive models that cost easily 60 USD - now these are non-mecha kits. I think that with quantity of units, the GGI-esque kits can come down to maybe ¥6000 - ¥7000 in terms of price. But look at their level of engineering, look at their lack of underdetailing.

I don't think that there is a true mid ground that can be met here. Either Volks and Wave starts to pump out affordable kits with less detailing (as is bound to happen) and neglects the resin line, or resin prevails and no new kits come out in IP.

For sure, I'd like to see some good IP 1/144 kits make that line. Vatshu and Bang Doll are good candidates - and for that level of detailing, I think that they are -possible-, just that WAVE hasn't thought of doing them yet. But sadly, I don't think that it will ever happen.

I mean, who in North America knows FSS? And then we ask who in NA who knows FSS likes building models? Lesser and lesser that number becomes.. it's sad really - but there doesn't seem to be an internet presence of Anglophonic FSS fans at all.. I'm -sure- that there should be more out there.. even the casual fan. Diamond is pumping the books out by the month, after all.. but sometimes, I wonder.. ...

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Post by Hydra Mirage » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:51 pm

I think Nagano's designs were mean't for resin.
I was go so far as to say that Nagano design's with a resin scratch builder (to achieve his perfected pose/perspective MH illustrations).
For example, Nagano is proud of his 'no seams' MH designs. Something that would be impossible with a plastic kit.

If Nagano ever went plastic he would probably (re?)design a whole new range around it...

I would still like to see more poseable kits though.

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