Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Research Note #23 - GEE Script to Overlay Sentinel 2A with MODIS Terra/Aqua Hotspots

The main purpose of this script is to overlay MODIS Terra/Aqua hotspots product MOD14A1/MYD14A1 (daily thermal anomalies, lev3, 1km grid) over Sentinel-2A Thermal Reflectance (lev2, 10-20m spatial resolution). The channels used for Sentinel data is 11, 8 and 4 (SWIR1, NIR, RED) hence creating false color image over area of Sri Mukhtar Sahib city in Punjab region, India (14x zoom) on Google Map. Observation time was set between November 1 - 15, 2018.



/**
 * Function to mask clouds using the Sentinel-2 QA band
 * @param {ee.Image} image Sentinel-2 image
 * @return {ee.Image} cloud masked Sentinel-2 image
 */
function maskS2clouds(image) {
  var qa = image.select('QA60');

  // Bits 10 and 11 are clouds and cirrus, respectively.
  var cloudBitMask = 1 << 10;
  var cirrusBitMask = 1 << 11;

  // Both flags should be set to zero, indicating clear conditions.
  var mask = qa.bitwiseAnd(cloudBitMask).eq(0)
      .and(qa.bitwiseAnd(cirrusBitMask).eq(0));

  return image.updateMask(mask).divide(10000);
}

// Map the function over one year of data and take the median.
// Load Sentinel-2 TOA reflectance data.
var dataset = ee.ImageCollection('COPERNICUS/S2')
                  .filterDate('2018-11-01', '2018-11-15')
                  // Pre-filter to get less cloudy granules.
                  .filter(ee.Filter.lt('CLOUDY_PIXEL_PERCENTAGE', 20))
                  .map(maskS2clouds);

var rgbVis = {
  min: 0.0,
  max: 0.3,
  bands: ['B11', 'B8', 'B4'],
};


Map.addLayer(dataset.median(), rgbVis, 'RGB');

Map.setCenter(74.516872, 30.475603, 14);

var aqua = ee.ImageCollection('MODIS/006/MYD14A1')
                  .filter(ee.Filter.date('2018-11-01', '2018-11-15'));
var fireMaskVis = {
  min: 9.936350984054926,
  max: 107.38312795164352,
  bands: ['MaxFRP', 'FireMask', 'FireMask'],
};

Map.addLayer(aqua, fireMaskVis, 'Fire Mask');

var terra = ee.ImageCollection('MODIS/006/MOD14A1')
                  .filter(ee.Filter.date('2018-11-01', '2018-11-15'));
var fireMaskVis = {
  min: 9.936350984054926,
  max: 107.38312795164352,
  bands: ['MaxFRP', 'FireMask', 'FireMask'],
};

Map.addLayer(terra, fireMaskVis, 'Fire Mask');

Monday, October 14, 2019

Gunpla #55 - P-Bandai RG Perfect Strike Gundam Review



Strike Gundam is one of my most favorite machine of Cosmic Era. It was versatile and could adapt into any combat situations, thanks to its ability for utilizing the striker packs, from the highly maneuverable aile striker, the powerful close-encounter sword striker and the deadly long-range launcher striker. While the original Gundam Seed showed that Strike mostly utilized one striker pack at a time, the remastered version revealed the mobile suit in the form that the audiences had in their wild imagination: Perfect Strike, when all striker packs are combined into one machine.

The Perfect Strike has been released several times in gunpla form, most notably, by 1/144 HG Seed Remastered and 1/100 MG (as P-bandai) in 2013. Of course, long before that, many gunpla fans have tried to recreate this iconic mobile suit, especially in RG line. While it is possible to make RG Aile Strike Gundam to be equipped with Sword/Launcher Striker packs, a modeler has to modify the Aile Striker with some parts from HG Perfect Strike Gundam or even stratch-built parts to perfectly recreate the Perfect Strike Gundam. It took at least 7 years until Bandai officially released The Perfect Strike Gundam in RG line.


I know what you're thinking right now: Is this just an RG Aile Strike Gundam with Launcher/Sword Striker packs slapped together? Well ... 90% correct! This is indeed the very same RG Aile Strike Gundam plus Launcher/Sword Striker packs, minus the Skygrasper. Nevertheless, the RG Perfect Strike came with several new parts which were previously absent from RG Aile Strike or RG Skygrasper.

A single new runner of RG Perfect Strike with battery packs, new aile striker and stand connector
Firstly, it came with battery packs and parts of modified Aile Striker packs for hosting the Swords and Launcher Striker packs. So, no need to cannibalize the HG Perfect Strike anymore! The new Aile Striker also has slightly different design from the old one. The bonus is, there are parts to make the original Aile Striker, if you want to make it instead the perfect one, of course. The battery packs could be removed individually if you wish.


Secondly, and this is an important addition: a special support part for the waist-body connector. Aile Striker is heavy already, and you can imagine what will happen if another two heavy weapons are attached to it. The purpose of this support part is to fill the gap between waist-body connection, hence preventing the body from bending backward when Perfect Strike pack equipped to the Strike Gundam.

Special support part for body-waist section


The last new additions are a 'standard' clear stand (with new connector) and a big sticker sheet. The stand is necessary since the backpack is so enormous and it's impossible for this kit to stand on its own feet (if you could do it, please teach me how). The stickers are identical with RG Aile Strike + Sword/Launcher Strike with some new stickers for battery packs, which made me a little bit disappointed, because I would like to see some new 'Perfect Strike' markings as MG version.




Having nearly identical parts with RG Aile Strike makes this RG Perfect Strike posses all the weakness of the former: flimsy parts and weak joints, typical of early RG kits. While I had no problems with the limbs and articulated hands, the joints of front/back/side skirts really got on my nerves! They kept falling off every time I tried to pose this kit. Another annoying thing is, the figurine of Kira Yamato which came with it. Bandai seemed so lazy to give us a new figurine of Mu La Flaga who was the 'real' pilot of Perfect Strike. This kit also comes with fixed hands (of Sword/Launcher Strike), Strike Shield, and the beam effects.

Anyway, another bonus which is a big plus (in my opinion) is the ability to make Launcher Strike Gundam or Sword Strike Gundam individually, even though the manual has never mentioned about this. Yes, this kit also came with the backpacks for both Strike modes. It's a shame that the new Aile Striker doesn't have gimmicks to switch between normal and perfect Aile Striker as MG version did. Otherwise, this kit will be truly 'perfect'.





Posing with this kit was basically same with posing RG Aile Strike. While the stand could basically do its job, I eventually used action base 4 and 5, with 8mm U-shaped connector for posing purposes because the standard RG action base connector was really easy to wear off. Nevertheless, once it's get into the proper poses, this kit was really cool to watch!

Verdict? Despite few additions, the RG Perfect Strike Gundam is a cool kit, especially for collectors. The support part did its job pretty well, even though the kit couldn't stand on its own.If you don't have RG Aile Strike Gundam and don't want Skygrasper just to make Perfect Strike Gundam, then this kit is truly for you. Otherwise, I think you shouldn't spend money for it (except if you don't bother for having nearly identical kits, of course).
   
-----------------------

GAT-X105+AQM/E-YM1 Perfect Strike Gundam

Pros:
  • All Strike Gundam weapon packages in one kit
  • A special support part to prevent body from bending backward
  • Ability to switch into Launcher/Sword Strike Gundam individually
Cons:
  • Suffers from early RG 'syndrome': fragile parts and weak joints
  • Old figurine of Kira Yamato instead of Mu La Flaga
  • No 'Perfect Strike' markings on the sticker decals as MG version 
             

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Gunpla #54 - MG RX-78-02 Gundam (Origin ver. - Banpresto Ichiban Kuji Vol. 2)


Finally, another MG in five years! This time, it's a special kit, RX-78-02 Gundam Origin. Ver., released as one of the main lottery prizes of Ichiban Kuji, which is very famous among otaku community in Japan. The lottery tickets were sold at some 7Eleven convenient stores in Japan (not every 7Eleven sold it though), each with 630 Yen price tag. If you want to play, just take voucher(s) on the shelf (which showed the event was taking place), give it to the cashier and pay, then you can draw the tickets from the box (based on the number of vouchers you bought). The more tickets you buy, the bigger chance you get to win the main prizes. There are two main prizes (A and B) and one special prize (last one prize, if you buy the very last ticket of the event). To make the story short, this gundam is the prize A of Ichiban Kuji this time. Last year, the same event also took place, with the main prize was MG RX-78-2 Gundam ver.3.


How did I get this kit, you ask. Well, I just simply bought it online. Last year, I tried to play, and to my disappointment, I only got a green zaku tray and a rubber gundam runner key chain (one of the weirdest  key chains I've ever had). So, I decide not to waste money for the petty prizes this time. After scouting Yahoo!Auction for two weeks, finally, somebody sold it for a cheap price, 3900 Yen (the original retail kit costs 4500 yen in stores).


I will make the review short and simple, since this is basically just a recolor of the retail version. There are only two runners of this kit which have clear colors: runner A and F, which are the colored parts for the armors (blue, red and yellow). The white armor and inner frame parts have solid colors. Interestingly enough, the white parts of this kit are in 'pure' white instead of orange-ish white of the retail version. Also, the black/grey parts are in metallic grey (sort of) this time. To make it simple, only the torso, some parts of waist, some parts of head, feet and shield came in clear parts.


This is the first time I built a clear kit and I am not a big fan of clear kits, but I found semi-clear kits (only some parts are clear) are quite interesting, and I could say that I enjoyed building this kit pretty much. Except the colors, I assumed everything is 100% similar with the retail version. The build was quite tricky on some parts, mostly for distinguishing the parts from runner gates which were concealed by the clear colors. In general, every thing was going smoothly, and once completed, I immediately made some poses with it and took photo shots. Posing the hands were quite challenging because they were articulated hands, nevertheless in the end, I could get some good shots. The clear parts are gorgeous and it pretty much concealed the blandness of this gundam. 

The verdict, if you like clear gunpla, this kit is an excellent one, and I personally prefer it than the last one prize (it is the same gundam, but has reversed color parts, with only runners A and F have solid colors). Since the event has mostly ended in Japan, I believe you could only find this kit at hobby shops or online stores soon. Some places you may consider to find this kit (if you plan to visit Japan) are: Mandarake (Shibuya, Nakano, Akihabara), Ami-ami and Yellow Submarine (Radio Kaikan building Akihabara) or Hobby-off (almost in every city).

---------------------

RX-78-02 Gundam (Origin ver. -Banpresto Ichiban Kuji Vol. 2)

Pros:
  • Clear parts are gorgeous.   
Cons:
  • Some clear parts concealed the runner's gate, need to be extra careful while building it. 
      

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Gunpla #53 - P-Bandai HGUC Emergency Escape Pod - Primrose Review



Hi, guys. It’s me again with another gunpla review. This time,  I will talk about the recently released premium bandai exclusive add-on for High Grade Universal Century, Emergency Escape Pod, Primrose, from Advanced of Zeta series. Anyway, I would like to inform you, who have not watched the unboxing video of the kit before, that it has the original price of 1404 Yen, excluding the shipping cost of course. This add-on follows HGUC Hrududu which has been released few months earlier. The remaining questions probably, what could you do with this add-on kit? How many variations could you make from one kit? Does it worth your money? In order to answer those questions, without further ado, let’s review the kit.


Firstly, I will talk about how many kitbash variations you can make from this kit, based on the manual. If you read the manual, it said that we can make five kitbash variations using the primrose, which are: Hazel Owsla, Hazel Next-generation mass production machine, primrose equipped with hrududu, primrose equipped with tri booster unit, and the last is primrose equipped with enhanced shield booster. It also said that you will need at least two primroses to make all those variants. Furthermore, you will need one unassembled pbandai Hazel Custom with expansion parts, two unassembled advanced Hazel with expansion parts, one assembled Hazel II and one assembled Hrududu. You probably think the requirements are too much, anyway, you don’t actually need all of them. I will show you soon how to make those kitbash variants with minimum requirements.





Anyway, this is the original form of primrose. It’s quite simple and you could actually build it less than 10 minutes. Basically, it consists of three parts, the main body, the backpack and mega particle cannon. The mega particle cannon could be deployed by moving certain part to another peg connection. During the assembly process, you will have to choose between Hazel Custom type and Advanced Hazel type backpack. For this review, I will use Hazel Custom type backpack. Anyway, if you want to make a single kitbash kit, I strongly recommended you to choose Advanced Hazel Backpack. Why?? This is the reason.




Here are the backpacks of Primrose on the left, and Hazel Custom on the right. It’s obvious that they are nearly identical. They also have same gimmicks for the booster connection. The main difference is the colors. While Hazel Custom backpack mostly uses different color parts, the primrose use ... well ... stickers, which is quite big messy to put on the kit.


Anyway, the main point is, unless you just want to make primrose in its original form, separately, without kitbashing with other kit, you practically don’t need to make a second Hazel custom backpack. Furthermore, If you simply want to make Hazel Owsla, you won’t need Hazel custom backpack. And that’s why you’d better choose Advanced Hazel backpack type.

Another thing, similar with Hrududu, even if the manual said you need pbandai Hazel Custom and Advanced Hazel, you actually could use the retail or normal versions of those kit, which were previously released in 2005, because they are actually identical with the only difference was the expansion parts for making Gundam TR-6.


Hazel Owsla
Anyway, this is the first kitbash variation of primrose, the Gundam TR-1, Hazel Owsla. To make this mobile suit, you will need : Hazel Custom for the head, arms, legs, feet, beam rifle and shield. Advanced Hazel for the scope, sub-arm, and feet booster, Hazel II for the backpack, Hrududu for the blade rifle extension and finally the primrose for the torso, shoulders, mega particle cannon and special hand to hold the blade rifle.




It looks badass and I personally prefer this Hazel form compared to Hazel-Rah. Hazel Owsla also has pretty good articulation and quite easy to pose.



Hazel Next Generation (Mass Production Machine)
The second kitbash variation using primrose is Hazel Next Generation Mass Production Machine. This mobile suit is basically Hazel Owsla stripped of its armors, beam rifle and shield with Hazel custom backpack. This Hazel variant only uses beam saber as its main weapon. Honestly, it looks so cute compared to other Hazel machines.


The third kitbash variation is primrose equipped with Hrududu. I didn’t make this variation because in order to do that, I have to disassemble the Hazel Owsla torso back to primrose original form. While it’s possible, it will be quite complicated to do that. Anyway, of course, you can make the Hazel Owsla to use Hazel-custom backpack, and connect it to hrududu. And viola ... you will have this.

Hazel Owsla - Rah (?)
The forth kitbash variation is primrose equipped with tri booster unit. It’s almost similar with the third kitbash, except you will need Hazel II backpack and two mega particle cannons. That means, you will need two primrose kits. I also didn’t make this because I only bought one primrose.


The last kitbash variation is primrose equipped with enhanced shield booster. Again, it’s similar with the third variations, except you will need two shoulder armor parts of primrose, two booster shields and advanced-hazel type backpack, another reason why you’d better chose it while building primrose.


In summary, these are the (very) minimum kit requirements to make kitbash variations with primrose:
  1. Emergency Escape Pod/Original form --> 1 Primrose
  2. Gundam TR-1 Hazel Owsla --> 1 Primrose, 1 Hazel Custom, 1 Advanced Hazel, 1 Hazel II, 1 Hrududu
  3. Hazel Next Generation Mass Production Machine --> 1 Primrose, 1 Hazel Custom, 1 Advanced Hazel
  4. Primrose equipped with Hrududu --> 1 Primrose, 1 Hrududu
  5. Primrose equipped with Tri Booster Unit --> 2 Primroses, 1 Hazel II
  6. Primrose equipped with Enhanced Shield Booster --> 2 Primroses, 1 Advanced Hazel (or 2 Advanced Hazels, if you prefer more accurate shields)
Of course, aside from what manuals said, you can actually make other variations since AoZ kits are pretty easy to kitbash. One more thing, this kit also comes with one (very standard) stand base similar with HGUC Hrududu.

Hazel-Rah and Hazel Owsla
And, finally, it’s time for the verdict. Well, I would say that the primrose is a fun add-on because you can make many kitbash variations, of course, if you have the kit requirements. Anyway, Rather than using those ugly stickers for part separation, I think Bandai should give us better backpack for this kit, because they actually have produced it before with the old Hazel Custom. Also, I couldn’t understand why they still keep telling us on the manual of the necessity for pbandai version of Hazel Custom or Advanced Hazel, while we actually could do kitbashing with the retail released kits.
Nevertheless, I think this kit is a must buy for the fans of AoZ series. If you are short of budget, you can just buy one primrose. But if you want for kitbash kits variations, you’d better buy two or even three primroses.

Okay, that’s all for the gunpla review this time. Thank you very much for reading, and ... see you again next time.  

----------------------------

Emergency Escape Pod - Primrose

Pros:
  • Very wide possibilities for kitbashing
  • The Hazel Owsla form is quite solid and has more articulation than Hazel-Rah
Cons:
  • Extensive use of stickers, even though the (old) original backpack of HGUC Hazel Custom has been already used specific parts for color separation.
  • Quite expensive, and you need to buy at least two primroses for making more kitbash variations