Monday, May 7, 2018

Gunpla #35 - HGGO Gundam FSD + Long-range Beam Rifle Prototype


This kit is basically an upgrade of Gundam Local Type North American Version. If you check the package, it's obvious that Bandai just added one extra runner for the mini gattling gun, big shield, ammo drum and some body parts. The rest of the accessories are from local type. It's quite a greedy business strategy by Bandai, since they just provide the original beam rifle with Heavy Gundam which is a p-bandai, and long-range beam rifle which is a special-limited bonus from Gundam Ace manga magazine.


Since this kit is actually identical with local type (except for the chest and waist parts), I won't talk about articulation. Anyway, one of the best reason to buy this kit is probably the spare parts. You'll get ALL part and accessory from the local type, which means, you can choose making gundam FSD, original local type or the north american type, or if you can also mash those kits as you like. Unfortunately, the sticker decals are just enough for the new parts of FSD, thus you can't add some markings for the extra parts/accessories.


Now, let's talk about the gun. Not the puny machine gun of local type, but that BIG long-range beam rifle prototype from Gundam Ace magazine. The weapon is one of the original weapons of FSD as depicted on Origin MSD manga, and it's designed by the famous Katoki Hajime.




That big beam rifle had two barrels and could be extended (if you buy more than 1 magazine, of course). It also could switch into a kind of ordinary beam rifle and beam 'pistol' if you remove the barrels. The gun also has attachment for the backpack and shield (the one with stance).


It's a badass big gun, but as you may expect, it's also heavy, and that means, it will be hard to pose  the gun with the gundam kit. I found the flimsy hands of HG kits (not just FSD) were struggling to hold the gun properly, especially for the trigger handle. Luckily, there's an option to move handle to the back side of the gun, hence making it easier for posing. Furthermore, the mini gattling gun is on the way while posing the big gun, thus it's better to detach the gattling gun before putting the long range beam rifle.






Overall, I'm quite satisfied with these kits, and I recommend it for everybody who wants to try the HG kits from the Origin series. If you're confused to choose between FSD, local type or north american local type, I suggest you to choose FSD since you'll get all parts from the previous gundams to make either one of them, or a custom one.

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RX-78-01 [FSD]

Pros:
- All parts from previous gundams included
- Badass color scheme and markings

Cons:
- The original weapons are limited release (p-bandai and gundam ace magazine)



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Gaijin Story #11 - UTokyo WiFi Networks for Newbies

When the first time I became student of Todai, I barely used the wifi connections provided by the university except the one at my research institute (AORI). Moreover, as a research student, I have never been provided UTokyo account by the university or the student affair section of my graduate school. I survived somehow by cable and wifi connection from my laboratory. It's such a hard life to become a kenkyuusei, wasn't it?

After (officially) becoming a graduate student however, the university bombarded me with so many information, procedures and guidelines, including for the wifi networks on campus. One of my fellow student joked that with such massive information, we may not be able to finish reading all of them in 3 years of our study.

I write this post for student or anybody (including visitors) at UTokyo who needs wifi connection at the university and still confused with the guidelines. Please note that the wifi connections I mentioned here are the ones provided by the main university network system, not the graduate schools/faculties as they have their own wifi system.

If you're at any campuses of Todai (e.g. Hongo, Komaba, Kashiwa etc) and turn on the wifi connection of your device (laptop or smartphone), you may notice some wifi connections available like this one:


There are basically three kinds of wifi connection at Todai (in red circle), with their own advantages and disadvantages.

1. UTokyo-WiFi
User            : UTokyo students, staffs and faculty members only
Account issuance: Using UTokyo account
Network setting : Required
Pros            : Fast and reliable, Free access to many e-journals, Good for academic works
Cons            : Limited locations, Complicated network settings, Expired after 6 months

This is the official wifi connection of Todai which could be accessed exclusively by the members of the university. In order to use this wifi, you firstly need to obtain your UTokyo account. The account should be distributed during the guidance session of your department when you firstly admit as the student of Todai, and it's extremely important for accessing any on-line academics/administration system (course registration/UTAS etc.)

After obtaining UTokyo account, you should login and register an email address for any contacts/notification regarding the account. After that, you can issue UTokyo-Wifi account by accessing this website. Please keep in mind that UTokyo-Wifi account is different from UTokyo account. In the past, UTokyo-Wifi account could be issued after taking seminar of ECCS at Hongo campus. Starting from FY2018, the account could be issued directly after admitting into the university (no seminar needed).


Log in using your UTokyo account and make new account application. The account information (user id and password) will be sent to your registered email address. After obtaining the account information, you should add the UTokyo-Wifi connection using the settings as described on this page. Tell the truth, the network setting is quite complicated, even for me who used to work with network systems in the past. If you feel confused with the settings, you can ask help from friends or inquiry form of the above mentioned website. Another important thing is, the UTokyo-Wifi account will be expired after 6 months, thus you should issue/renew new account periodically in order to use this service.

The good thing of using this wifi connection is, it's fast and reliable. It's also extremely important if you want to access academic information system such as UTAS or e-journal libraries from campus. 

2. UTokyo-Guest
User            : Visitors, Anybody at UTokyo campuses
Account issuance: Using cellphone number
Network setting : Not required
Pros            : Easy access, No account expiration, Free
Cons            : Limited locations, Slow connection, No academic services provided 

This wifi connection mainly targets the visitors of  Todai. In order to use this wifi, you just need your phone number to get an account (your user id). Either international and domestic phone numbers are eligible to use this service, as long as they can receive call (from audio guide). It's free and no network setting required for using UTokyo-Guest, hence it's really convenient for visitor or user with limited knowledge in network settings.

Users can directly connect to the wifi and open web browser. When trying to open a web page, user will be forwarded to the login page. The login information will remain even if the browser is closed (reset only in shutdown/restart). For more information about this wifi, you can access this page and manual.



Anyway, as the name suggests, it basically can not be used to access academic information systems of the university. The users however, could use this wifi and VPN to access the internal network of the university if they have UTokyo account. Another bad thing about this wifi is, it's slow, especially in the period of high network traffic.

3. Eduroam
User            : Anybody who uses participating institution email service
Account issuance: Using participating institution's email
Network setting : Depends on the visited institutions/locations
Pros            : Fast, Worldwide access, Free
Cons            : No academic services provided, Network setting could be complicated

This wifi connection is the most interesting (at least for me) of all. Eduroam is a free international roaming service for user in research, higher education and further education. Using this service, you can access wifi connection not only at Todai, but also at any participating institutions, all over the world. So let's say you join a conference at a university in US or UK who uses the same roaming service, you still can access the wifi using the very same account you use at your home institution (in this case, Todai) and vice versa. The authentication system/network settings however, should follow the ones of the visited institution.



In order to issue an account, it's necessary for the user to have an email address of participating institution. In case the user is a member of Todai, he/she needs to have an email address using Todai's domain (u-tokyo.ac.jp). Next thing to be keep in mind is, if the user uses eduroam service at Todai, then the network settings should follow the ones used in Todai. That means, the network settings will be the same with UTokyo-Wifi, which is yeah ... quite complicated. Anyway, if you have done the settings for UTokto-Wifi, you should be able to do it again with ease for eduroam.

For issuing an account (for Todai's member), go to this page, click on the "New Account Application" link, and input your name and Todai's email address. After confirmation, you will receive an account notification on your email with user id and password information. You can log into the account management page to check the details (change password etc.).  After issuing an account, you could do the very same network settings as UTokyo-Wifi as explained above. Just remember, if you want to use eduroam anywhere else than Todai, the network setting should be different.

The account will be expired after 1 year, but could be renewed if the registered email address is still valid at that time. Another important thing is, similar with UTokyo-Guest, eduroam could not be used to access academic information system of the university, unless the user uses VPN and UTokyo account.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Gunpla #34 - RG Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee Norn


When Bandai firstly announced RG Unicorn Gundam for release in 2017, I was among the most hyped people in the world and even able to get the first batch kit (because I live in Japan), the premium unicorn mode box. Sadly, I was too busy for completing the kit because of my studies, experiments and exam. The right leg and two feet were the only parts of the kit I could finish.

Unicorn, still in 'development stage' since September 2017
Therefore, when Bandai announced that they will release RG Banshee in February 2018 which was coincident with my 'free' time, I knew that I shouldn't let the chance went away. I got another premium unicorn mode box, this time for the Banshee. Seriously, there were no differences whatsoever between normal and premium box kit except for the picture on them, but of course, the 'premium' word alone is enough for the die hard fans to hunt for the kit. Some of them just for collection, while the others took further step: re-selling the kit with higher price on many auction sites.
Banshee with its thicc premium box
 I bought the Banshee at a retail store in Kashiwa with just 3000 Yen, which is 25% cheaper than the normal price. I haven't checked it, but I noticed the box was slightly bigger than the unicorn one, indicating more parts inside it. It housed 19 runners in total, and based on the name plates, we knew that 9 of them were newly molded for the Banshee, which was really a good thing. Design wise, Banshee was practically identical to unicorn, with slight modification on some body parts. The new additions were the extra accessories for the Norn upgrade which includes Armed armor DE/XC, revolver launcher, beam jutte and its effect part.

The building process itself was quite similar with unicorn. Extra time though was needed to complete the extra parts. Due my office duties, it took around one week to finish the kit. Every thing was smooth and straightforward. Extra care however, should be taken in order to assemble the head unit because there were so many small parts, in particular with the horn around Banshee's elaborate v-fin.


Once finished, the completed product never stopped to amaze me. It really was a marvel of gunpla design I've ever seen. The detail was so great with lots of panel lines and multiple color separation all over Banshee's body. In its unicorn mode, Banshee looked so compact, robust and much more modern (in my opinion), but once it transformed into Destroy mode, gone the minimalist looks, replaced with the badass and classic gundam persona. The transformation was quite simple and secure since it shared the same inner frame with Unicorn. The articulation was also great for an RG kit. The armed armor XC on the backpack also articulated really well in both unicorn and destroy mode.



One of my favorite new accessories was armed armor DE, which is basically an upgrade for the shield to make it meaner and bigger than before. The enormous shield also had a special connector for attaching the shield onto Banshee's back for extra propulsion (just like TR-1 Hazel custom). Other than armed armors, the kit also introduced revolver launcher with beam jutte and its effect parts. Three pairs of hand are provided by this kit: standard closed, open closed (for beam magnum and beam sabers/jutte) and open hands. With the price 200 yen more expensive than the original unicorn, I could say that Banshee had more values with its extra accessories. The decal stickers were also pretty good and not hinder much of the original appearance of the kit. You also get extra parts from the RG unicorn if you want to make a normal/novel Banshee instead of norn. The only accessory missing from RG unicorn was the bazooka and storywise, it's reasonable.


The only downside of this kit was probably the golden parts and I guess anybody knows why. If you want to have more accurate color, I suggest to repaint the golden parts.  Also, it's unfortunate that this kit doesn't include armed armor VN/BS to make the original Banshee from OVA, and I'm pretty sure that Bandai planned to releasethem as p-bandai exclusive. Other than that, everything came with this kit looks just fine.


The verdict, this kit was fantastic, and in term of design, I think it's the best RG ever made by Bandai. It's slightly more valuable than the RG Unicorn due to the price, accessories and gimmicks. If you don't have RG Unicorn yet or you have to choose only one, I strongly recommend you to get this kit instead of unicorn.

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RX-0 [N] Unicorn Gundam 02 - Banshee Norn

Pros:
  • Everything except for golden parts
 Cons:
  • Nothing except for golden parts         

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Research Note #9 - Useful Linux Commands for Works

Note: This list could be updated anytime.
Latest update: Feb 22, 2018

1. Show, set and unset the environment variables

$ env (bash)
$ setenv (tcsh, csh)

$ export test=something (bash)
$ setenv test something (tcsh, csh)

$ unset test (bash)
$ unsetenv test (tcsh, csh)

2. Module operation for environment variables

$ module avail (show all available module)
$ module list (show loaded module)

$ module load moduleA (load moduleA into environment variables)
$ module purge moduleA (purge/unload moduleA from environment variables)

3. Run configuration script (bash)

$ . ~/.bashrc

4. Show the type of current active shell

$ echo $0

5. System information (cpu, machine, architecture, distribution)

$ lscpu (shows cpu/socket, cores, threads \ total cpu = sockets x cores x threads)
$ uname -r (shows kernel version)
$ uname -m or uname -arch (shows whether linux is 32-bit or 64-bit)
$ lsb_release -a (shows distribution release name)

6. Renaming wrfout files from UPP with 1 or 2 digits f hour into 3 digits f hour (bash)

$ for f in WRFPRS_d01.[0-9]*; do mv $f `printf WRFPRS_d01.%03d $((10#${f#WRFPRS_d01.}))`; done

7. Counting number of files in a directory from ls command 

$ ls -1 | wc -l

8. Checking memory use

$ top
$ free -mts 10 (shows the current total memory in megabytes, updated every 10 seconds)

9. Suspending a running program, then run it in background or foreground

Ctrl-Z
$ jobs  (showing all jobs, indicated with number in square brackets)
$ bg %1(run job 1 in background)
$ fg %1 (run job 1 in foreground)
$ ./wrf.exe & (run wrf.exe in background)

10. Screen for multisession ssh-connection
$ screen (Open new screen session)
$ ctrl-a (Shows control command)
$ ctrl-a c (Open new screen window)
$ ctrl-a d (Detach screen window)
$ ctrl-a n (Move to next screen window)
$ ctrl-a p (Move to previous screen window)
$ exit (Exit current screen session)
$ screen -r (Retrieve any running screen session)

11. Making GIF animation with ImageMagick
$ convert -delay 25 -loop 0 *.png contoh.gif (makes a contoh.gif from all png file in current directory with infinite loop and 0.25s delay/frame)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Gunpla #33 - HGGO Gundam Local Type (Rollout Color)


I have a bunch of kits from Gundam The Origin series, but this is the first one I've officially built. When Bandai announced the first Gundam Local Type (the white-blue one) I was thinking like "Oh, the first gundam of the series, I will buy it", but the hefty price held me up from grabbing the kit, and now, I could say that I've never regretted that decision.




Like a common P-Bandai kit, Gundam Local Type (rollout color) is basically a recolor of Gundam Local Type North American type which was released as retail kit. No new molds added whatsoever with the only difference on the marking sticker. It's a little bit expensive than the retail version though. The only reason I chose the P-Bandai version was because of its color. I thought the yellow color scheme stands out more as it reveals the panel lines which were hindered by the black of retail version. I also like the "Heavy-equipment" and "Test-type" color theme as it looks much more of a prototype mobile suit. Moreover, the yellow gundam is rare, isn't it?



As it was my first Gundam kit from the Origin series, I could not compare it directly with the other HGGO Gundams. Anyway, because they share the same molds, I think the articulation is pretty much the same with its retail counterparts, which I found very good as it could do some nice poses. This was also the first build which I tried to customize by trimming the v-fin and cutting the front skirt in half.





I really like this kit, especially the accessories. It came with shoulder canon, machine gun, shield, 3 beam saber hilts, 2 beam saber effects. Unfortunately, there's only 1 extra hand for holding the machine gun. Anyway, Bandai provides us with 2 connectors to attach either machine gun or shield at the backpack. Since it shares some molds with the normal gundam local type, we also get the backpack from the previous release and spare parts for the chest vent. The marking stickers is also nice and blending better than the retail one. The only complaint I have was the ankle armors which were not movable as it molded in one with the leg parts. I also omitted the horizontal stickers for the arms and thighs as I thought they are giving too much retro feels to the kit. 



The conclusion is, this kit is very nice. Indeed, it's not the best out of the Origin series, but in terms of color scheme and marking sticker, I personally think it's definitely better than the American type version.  

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RX-78-01 [N] Gundam Local Type (Rollout color)

Pros:
  • Cool color schemes
  • Nice accessories and marking seals 
  • Good articulation
Cons:
  • Lack of extra hands
  • Unmovable ankle armor