Like the rest of the world, I was in complete shocked when I heard the tragic news of the passing of Kentaro Miura. My introduction on his amazing work of Berserk, was mere recently. I started buying the omnibus’ Berserk Deluxe Editions by Dark Horse Comics about two years ago. It wasn’t until I had the 6th Deluxe Volume Edition (manga Vol 16-18), where I actually started reading the manga, and to say the least, I absolutely love it! Berserk has been my introduction to the manga world, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Kentaro Miura has managed to create such an incredible fictional universe, that I think it’s even superior to those popular in the west. A Song of Ice and Fire, I’m looking at you.
I would put the world of Berserk next to The Witcher as my favorite fictional fantasy universes (behind Tolkien’s legendarium). Amazing character development and story arks, bundled with an extreme level of well crafted mature content. Berserk stands out from anything that I’ve read. I’ve even come to love the 90’s anime adaptation. I’ve literally been rewatching them every single day for the last month or so before going to sleep.
Berserk was still an on-going manga, so with Kentaro Miura death, it will be saddening to see if this amazing story doesn’t have the ending that he envisioned. Or if it even has an ending at all.
Since I decided to collect the entire Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Prime 1 Studio statue line (with the exception of the Toad Prince), I wanted a nice and elegant solution to display my statues. So I had two choices, either to build a custom display or to purchase some ModuCases. Both of which have their pros and cons.
Custom: No wait, Cheaper in price
ModuCase: Expandable since they’re stackable, Built-in lighting
Custom: Handy work skills required
ModuCase: Price, one year wait (might be shorter now), Difficult to setup
I opted to purchase some ModuCases. Off the bat, the company has absolutely fantastic customer service, they answered all my questions almost immediately and they were very responsive within the entire purchase and received time frame. I can see why within the statue community, their customer service is highly praised. I bought a MAX140 and a MAX140Plus display cubes, in addition a riser and a top board. By the time I submit my initial order and received the products, it was almost exactly one year. I know the delayed was caused by COVID, but definitely waiting a year to receive the display cases left a sour taste in my mouth.
One of my biggest misinterpretations of opting for ModuCase was me thinking that it will require little to no work compared to just building a custom display. Man, was I wrong. While assembling the display, I quickly learned this was not going to be an easy process. Building a Max140 is a very difficult process (at least to me). It took me over 4 hours to build the MAX140! By time I wanted to build the MAX140Plus, I was in such a bad mood given the difficulty I was having building it, even got to a point where I accidentally dropped a rail on my Triss Merigold Prime 1 Studio Statue causing a minor chip (not even noticeable). These combinations of events caused me to simply say “fuck it! I’m tossing this shit out to the trash”. I literally threw away a $400 statue display that I waited for 1 year to receive.
Thus said, I love the Moducase display that I was able to actually assemble. It is a really elegant way to showcase high-end statues. Though, I’m already dreading the time when it will come to disassemble the display.
A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across an OfferUp post of someone selling a Yennefer of Vengerberg Prime 1 Studio statue for a very significant low price. I was very suspicious at first given that the post only had two images, and the images were not of a good quality. I sat on it for a couple of days, and finally decided to message the seller. He quickly responded saying that the statue was still available.
I originally passed on purchasing this statue because I wasn’t a big fan on how Yennefer’s head sculpt looked like. So when I saw the Alternative Outfit statue announced, I immediately jumped on it and pre-ordered it, since the promotional images of Yennefer’s face were so much better than the previous statue. Given my impatience of with the Yennefer Alternative Outfit statue not arriving until the end of this year, with combination of seeing a significant discounted price statue, that it’s sold out and hard to find anywhere (even e-bay), and the fact that I could get my hands on one immediately. I pulled the triggered and decided to buy the statue listed on OfferUp.
Man, was that a correct decision! The statue exceeded my expectations, Yennefer’s head sculpt (and Ciri’s) looks much better in person than in the promotional pictures. The base of the statue is fantastic as it follows the theme of slayed monsters. As I mentioned, since the images on the OfferUp were not great, I wasn’t sure whether it was the regular or exclusive editions. So I picked up the statue, I was ecstatic to see that it was the exclusive edition. An interesting thing is that the statue itself is technically not an exclusive edition. The seller mentioned that he won it in a raffle made within Sideshow business partners, so my statue is technically a sample production piece. The statue itself is in immaculate condition (with the exception of a white collar string that I glued back), so I don’t really care if it’s just a production sample, nor do I think it hinders its value.
The Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades by G. A. Henty is a coming of age story about a young English boy named Cuthbert who lived around the time of The Third Crusade. The story has great examples of friendship and chivalry. After all, it was originally aimed for children.
The story starts in England, with our hero performing heroic deeds, which later we see him joining the English armies that would go on crusade to the Holyland to recapture Jerusalem. In here, we see the calamities and successes the crusader armies had during The Third Crusade, and how our protagonist fits into these events. For a complete fictional story, the historic events that occurred during the Third Crusade are exceptionally well described in this book. Obviously, certain changes had to be made to fit the young Knight into the narrative of the story.
One interesting comparison between this story and the book The Boy Crusaders, is the rivalry between the English Saxon and Norman ethnic characters, while on the latter it was an English and French (non-Norman) rivalry.
Overall, this is a great story with many heart warmth examples of human dignity, regardless of religion.
It took almost exactly three years of waiting to finally receive my Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon Prime 1 Studio statue. Not only has this been the longest wait time that I’ve for a statue, but so far in The Witcher 3 Prime 1 Studio line, this has been the most disappointing one for me thus far. The statue it self is beautiful, but Ciri’s pose seems somewhat unnatural. She appears to be walking, while looking down. To me, she doesn’t really look like she’s in an attacking mode, which I would’ve prefer. While I do love the statue, it is certainly not my favorite.
Overall, I’m glad that I manage to pre-order and buy this statue from Sideshow. I freaked out because this statue kept on getting delayed, all while Prime 1 Studio marked it as “Sold Out” almost two years ago! I was fearing that Sideshow was going to cancel my pre-order and I had to resort to e-bay, which now the statue is going for twice as much as its original price. Lucky for me I was relieved to finally receive my statue. I’m also glad that I opted for the Exclusive edition since I wanted to pair up Ciri next to Geralt, and I think Ciri wearing the Witcher medallion makes pairing the statues more epic.
Moros y cristianos: la gran aventura de la España medieval (Moors and Christians: The Great Adventure of Medieval Spain) is the second book of the three book volume series of The Spanish Reconquest. Sequel to La Gran aventura del reino de Asturias: Asi comenzó la reconquista (The Great Adventure of The Kingdom of Asturias: How the Reconquest Started), this book continues the events following the timeline where the previous book left off.
This book covers the next 212 years of the reconquest timeline, culminating in the epic Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. In those next 212 of the reconquest, a lot of things happen. Thus this book is roughly three times longer than its predecessor! The book starts from the rise of the Caliphate of Cordoba, and it’s complete hegemony overall all the Christian kingdoms, to it’s rapid decline and disintegration. This leading to what is my favorite era of the reconquest, which is The Spain of the five kingdoms (Leon, Navarra, Castile, Aragon, and Portugal), and the Taifa states of Al-Andalus.
While indeed the reconquest was an arm conflict. One thing this book really emphasizes a lot is the important element of the conquest, which was the migration onto the south from the common folk that were not necessarily warriors from the Christian North, and how incredibly dynamic the process was; making it into an unstoppable force.
This book does have maps, and family tree charts of the different Christian royal houses, I still feel might’ve needed some sort of appendix indicating who is who. This book is massive, with a very extremely long list of characters (most of which have the same names), so having a clear glossary with dates, might help anyone new who wants to dive into the awesome history of medieval Spain without being overwhelmed. Thus said, even if you’re not interested about the history of Spain/Portugal or The Crusades, but are only interested about extending your knowledge of the middle-ages. Then I would highly suggest reading this book. The vast amount of content dealing with medieval politics is absolutely incredible. Think of A Song of Ice and Fire, multiplied by 100.
Masiosare, nuestro extraño enemigo (Masiosare, Our Strange Enemy) is the sequel to the fantastic book Los mitos que nos dieron traumas. This series of books are an attempt to try to describe the sociology and idiosyncrasy of the Mexican people and its culture. Unlike the first book, this sequel does not take a comedic approach when describing such complex topic. Instead, it is really a well crafted novel of Mexican history and economics.
Personally, I find it difficult to fully comprehend the political nature of The Mexican Revolution. This book does an excellent job describing this. It breaks down the war into different episodes. Were it might sound a little repetitive, albeit necessary to fully understand the entire political environment.
As I originally mentioned this book does not take a comedic approach, however some of the actual generic views and sociology of the Mexican people are flat out hilarious. For example taking the Mexican Revolution War as an example, in current Mexico all factions minus the original ruling dictatorial government are seen as heroes. Forget the fact that all factions turned on each other causing a full scale war over the entire country that lead to the deaths 1-2 million people. Yet, in current Mexico they’re all seen as heroes, and the war is seen as a revolution even though in fact it was civil war whose end goal was a political power grab.
This book takes a really strong approach against The Mexican Revolution War (ie civil war) and its profound negative long-term effects had, culturally, politically, and economically.
Overall, this book is well worth the read even if you don’t know or care about Mexican history and politics. If anything, you’ll want to read this book if only to learn why Mexicans hate each other, and why they hate foreigners even more.
La Gran aventura del reino de Asturias: Asi comenzó la reconquista (The Great Adventure of The Kingdom of Asturias: How the Reconquest Started) has been probably my favorite read of 2020. This book is fantastic. It narrates the history of the Kingdom of Asturias starting from the Visigothic Kingdom, and its fall under the hands of the Umayyad Caliphate, to later its evolution to the Kingdom of Leon. You’ll read about the different phases of the Asturian kingdom. From surviving annihilation, to consolidation, and finally expansion. You’ll read about the birth of the counties of Castile and Portugal in liege to Asturias, the establishment of the Kingdom of Navarra, and birth of the Frankish counties of Aragon and Catalonia. Also the role that the Franks played during this era.
An important element of this book that I really enjoyed is that it goes equally into incredibly detail of the history of Al-Andalus.
The history of The Kingdom of Asturias literally felt like it came straight from an epic fantasy novel. I love reading fantasy novels because of the incredible immersion they provide, and I definitely felt deeply immerse reading this book. Not to mentioned that Kings, Knights, battles, political intrigue, and magic are included here! Which was very fitting when I saw the following tweet posted by the official Spanish tourism account:
The author’s eloquent writing is fantastic, and to be admired given the sources during this period of history are limited. He constantly reminded us what is myth and what possibly happed. I really hope this book gets an English translation soon, so everyone can read and learn the spectacular history of The Kingdom of Asturias.
Sauron Vs The Numenorean Army Polystone Diorama Statue
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Sauron Vs The Numenorean Army Polystone Diorama Statue
For quite some time, I’ve been wanting to buy the Sideshow Collectibles Battle of The Last Alliance: Sauron Vs The Numenorean Army Diorama statue. Originally release in 2010 with an edition size of 700 units made. Finding the statue for a decent price hasn’t easy, and I wasn’t willing to pay the reseller’s two to three times of its original price of $300. Needless to say, patience has its reward, as I was able finally buy the statue for just above its original retail value. The statue is roughly 1:10 scale, and although it’s fairly small compared to my other 1:4 statues, the detail on it is fantastic. Even for a ten year old statue.
My statue collection continues to grow, and with my Moducases soon to be arriving, and my current existing pre-orders, it will continue to grow. Exiting times for my newly expensive hobby.