Gaijin Gunpla

While I am not actually showing anything of the Perfect Grade Strike Freedom Courage Project in this post, it is still related. Allow me to explain.

Last weekend was my birthday and for a present I asked my wife to get me the Blu-Ray of 13 Assassins (original title: 十三人の刺客), and she was great and did just that.

I became interested in this film after a facebook acquaintance posted the trailer.  From watching the trailer it reminded me somewhat of the greatest film ever made, Seven Samurai (七人の侍).  If anyone out there has not seen this film, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Stop what you are doing right now and go watch that film.

I’m serious.

I’ll wait.  I’ll continue my tale after you’ve watched it.



Done?  Magnificent wasn’t it!  Greatest…  Movie… Ever.

13 Assassins is a Miike Takashi film which means I expected it to be shot really well, contain some great action, and be a little over the top in places. And I was correct.  I will need to watch this movie again to pick up more of the story as the Blu-ray did not come with an English track or subtitles but I was entertained, except for a few parts that Miike threw in which were unnecessary, gratuitous, and did nothing to further the story.  Check out the trailer.

I don’t get much time to actually sit and watch movies. I am either building Gunpla, playing COD Black OPS, or out at the dojo but I wanted to see this film and I devoted an evening to doing just that, well almost just that.   I mentioned in the last Work Table post that I know what look I’m going for with Courage but I need to have the painting strategy laid out before I start.  For that purpose I picked up the suddenly-small-by-comparison 1/144 HG Strike Freedom Gundam

and while I watched the movie I built a Gundam.  I had the camera handy and took some pictures so I’ll give a brief run down of my thoughts on the build, and the movie, here.

The movie starts out fairly slowly. The music is good. The character who turns out to be the main villain is very cold, almost unrealistically so. Perhaps Miike wanted him to appear non-human so the viewer would have no feelings but disdain for him after you witness the deplorable acts he is capable of. Hey, look! The poly-caps are gold.

Miike has the villain always dressed in white which contrasts with every other character on the screen. For this reason your eyes are drawn to him throughout his scenes. It turns out that the woman on whom he committed such violence early on in the film is the daughter of the person who will become the leader of the thirteen assassins. Torso is done.

More characters are added to the group of would be assassins, yet not many of them are memorable in the way that the samurai who join Kanbei in Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai are. Perhaps because there are thirteen of them in the end means little background development for each. Head is done. Doesn’t light up though. 😉

The samurai run into an unfortunate poor-off fellow who has found himself caught in some kind of animal trap. Of course, they set him loose and he turns out to be a rather odd man who tags along with the group. This would be the equivalent of Toshiro Mifune’s character in Seven Samurai and I find it leaving a bad taste in my mouth. In some ways, it’s almost Jar Jar Binks-ish. He adds a comedic angle to the story, but ultimately is unnecessary. Beam rifles!

The villain is catching on that there is an effort to remove him and he begins preparing accordingly. He has some good swordsmen in his entourage so he feels safe. Of course this means that there will be some excellent duels towards the end of the movie. Arms are finished!

Movie is not even half done and I have a completed torso.

Here’s where the movie starts becoming too Miike-like. I start losing interest a bit in the story at this point. It had a good pace going and now has slowed down. Absolutely no reason for this obscure suggested sex scene. On a related note, here’s the skirt.

The latter half of the movie builds up towards the climax with the villain deciding to take the fight to the group of thirteen rather than wait. The polycaps in the top of the leg don’t fit. I had to use my hobby knife and cut away part of the poly-cap just to get it to fit into place. I hope I didn’t miss something important in the movie while doing this.

The thirteen would-be assassins now know that they are going to be assaulted by a force of around two hundred. They resolve to die fighting and begin to plan strategy and prepare to fight. The legs are done.

The villain’s army arrives ready to slaughter the pesky thirteen assassins, but chaos erupts when the assassins spring several traps killing many before swords are even drawn. This reminds me of the Ewoks springing traps on the Stormtroopers on the forest moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi which reminds me of the first real skirmish with the bandits in Seven Samurai. George Lucas, you are so unoriginal. Speaking of fighting, here’s some weapons.

The villain grows frustrated as his army continue to be held back by the preparations made by the assassins. In this part of the movie there is some suspect CG. Nothing way over the top, but if you’re going to CG animals you need to get the movement perfect or else it’s obvious it’s fake. Check out how small these Dragoons are. What a difference from the Dragoons of Doom.

Now the thirteen are involved in group skirmishes and some are not faring well. The straggler the group picked up proves his worth with a club of wood (as he’s not a samurai he doesn’t have a blade). Still makes me think of Jar Jar Binks.

The thirteen are fighting heroically what seems to be a losing battle. Fortunately for the thirteen, their skills are far superior to those of the regular foot soldiers (ashigaru) of the villain’s army. They cut swaths through them. There is a lot of blood.

The leader of the assassins, the father of the first victim of the villain, now has a chance at revenge, but first he has to deal with a foe of equal skill. Both are exhausted and the duel is a stalemate for some time but, as we all knew, the hero prevails. Others of his group fight on despite their mortal wounds. Really fight on. I mean, they’re covered in blood (their own and the enemies) and they will not survive much longer, but they are fighting, and fighting, and fighting. And fighting. This is dragging on. The HG SF is complete. It looks pretty good to me.

The villain and the leader of the assassins face off in what seems a bit of a lackluster fight. In a totally unoriginal move by Miike, they run each other through the stomach at the same time and stare each other down. C’mon now.

Here’s the two shots I need in order to start planning painting strategy on the PG. I will use them to determine what sections need to be certain colors, which I expect will involve masking, and then I will test paint the HG and if it works as I hope it will, use that as the base for the PG.

And now I have an urge to watch my Crtierion DVD of Seven Samurai

Categories: Builds, HG, Strike Freedom

18 Responses so far.

  1. Joe says:

    I very much enjoyed this post! A movie review and Gunpla WIP all in one! It sort of reminded me of when a story teller would be folding paper while telling a tail and in the end would show the audience an amazing piece of Origami.

  2. rafren+ says:

    :0 Belated Happy Birthday! Gunpla + movie review. xD Win

  3. Gundam Gunso says:

    This is what I call by multi-tasking. Doing a gunpla review at the same time with a movie review. That is neat! XD

  4. asian1skill says:

    seven samurai was da greatest movie ever!

  5. Dennis says:

    Well… That was interesting, I could never watch a good movie and build a model at the same time. Any REAL Star Wars fan HATES Jar Jar Stinks. (worst character ever) It’s unfortunate that I can’t use the Jedi mind trick on myself to forget about him each time I watch them. They only work on the weak minded. If you want to know what I really think of him, click the link…. Anyway happy belated B–day Syd.

  6. sonar says:

    Entertaining reading. I can’t do it myself. If I gunpla with the TV on I will only listen to the program and look up occasionally.

  7. Tom says:

    Happy late birthday Syd. This movie review/WIP was quite entertaining. So what is the rating for this movie?

  8. Fernando Costa says:

    Looking forward to see Courage playing with his Mini-Me XD
    That’s a great idea actually, seeing how cheap HGs are and how uncheap PGs are 😛

  9. Colin says:

    Interesting review, but you realize that by getting people to watch The Seven Samurai you have set them on the path of Samurai film addiction right? Next they’ll watch Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Hidden Fortress and Kurosawa’s other samurai films. Then they might branch out into things like the Samurai Trilogy or Sword of Doom And possibly even Kurosawa’s non-samurai fare. Then it’s late nights freebasing episodes of Zatoichi or Lone Wolf and Cub.

    Samurai films are a hell of a drug 🙂

    • syd says:

      Usually people will start with the Kurosawa/Mifune movies, and you can’t really go wrong in that regard. Another good chambara flick is Chushingura, a take on the 47 ronin story.

      • Dennis says:

        Agreed…. Can’t beat anything from Kurosawa. BTW look at the opening of 7th Samurai and then the beginning of Return of the Jedi….. It looks like Lucas copied it shot by shot.

      • syd says:

        Ya. Watch the first few minutes of Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress and compare it to Star Wars Episode IV.

  10. Chris says:

    !3 assassins was a great movie. I was able to see before it hit the theaters, your right though is very much seven samurai.

  11. Priza says:

    No one can watch a movie while building an HG gundam kit like you syd,it’s amazing you didn’t do anything wrong.IMO,Up until now,there is no samurai movie that is equal to Seven Samurai,it’s a real masterpiece!Good plot and character background and development is superb

  12. Vasily says:

    Nice review, i really enjoyed reading it!

  13. jordan says:

    The Musashi trilogy is quite good, and can stand up pretty well to Seven Samurai. Another Toshiro Mifune film.

  14. Zeon_Two_Six says:


    Since I do not quite grasp the movie quite much, I’ll have to focus on the HG Strike Freedom… XD

    Honestly for a HG, it does have some niggles in the color separation department (might be advantageous on your part if you intend to use it as template for Courage). Still try to be careful with the wing-to-center-booster pegs; VERY easy to break. Take it from me

    best of luck on courage, buddy…

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