Artist re-imagines political bigwigs as fearsome mechanized transforming robots

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RocketNews 24 (by KK Miller):

The leaders of countries are like super heroes on the political world stage to some people. So why not envision them as Autobots, the heroes of the Transformers franchise?

Artist Gunduz Agayev has transformed a number of the world’s political leaders with his art, mashing together heads of state with instantly recognizable vehicles from their country. The floor of the UN national assembly would be very different if everyone could transform into these alien robots.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin

President of USA Barack Obama

President of Turkey Erdogan

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Queen Elizabeth (United Kingdom)

Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei

 

Father and son in China turn car parts into profit by building enormous Transformer models

Transformers car parts in disguise

RocketNews 24:

What do you do with a background in fine arts, an empty factory, and used car parts? Make realistic models of Transformers, of course! At least, that’s what this father-son duo in Hunan Province, China decided to do, and they’re making a very lucrative living do so.

With the exploding popularity of the Transformers films in China, this farmer saw an excellent business opportunity and ran with it. While we have seen the ingenuity of Chinese farmers before, this man’s work definitely takes the cake. These guys are literally turning one man’s trash into another man’s treasure.

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The farmer’s endeavor was not without difficulty – the first model he worked on took him three years to finish, but with the help of his son he was able to complete it. The duo’s work has rightfully garnered a lot of attention, and the initial hardships were undoubtedly worth it, as they’re now raking in over one million yuan (over US$160,000) per year selling their models.

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McDonald’s Japan releases Doraemon Happy Meals!

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RocketNews 24:

It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been enthusiastic about collaborating with various anime and character franchises to come up with goodies for children. In the past we’ve seen toys featuring Pokémon and Yokai Watch, as well as Pretty Cure, Super Mario and Transformers, among others, being offered with their Happy Meals, and kids certainly seem to be, well, happy with their Happy Meals, since almost 100 million of these sets are apparently sold in Japan each year.

This month, none other than Doraemon, the time-travelling blue cat robot, makes an appearance as six different Happy Meal toys, and they definitely look ready to delight children across Japan!

The Doraemon toys have just been released from McDonald’s this past Friday, in collaboration with the new movie Doraemon: Nobita’s Space Heroes that is currently being shown in theaters across Japan. 

There are three types of toys available at this moment, and a different set of three toys will be offered starting March 20. Some of them feature Doraemon gadgets we know well (and wish we owned), and we can see how these baubles may get kids excited!

▼ These are the three toys currently available: the “Anywhere Door Game”, “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger” and “Look into it! Scope”.

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▼ And from March 20, these three will become available: the “Run! UFO”, “Exciting! Space Camera” and the “Memory Bread Drawing Kit”.

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Here’s a closer look at each of the items.

▼ The “Anywhere Door Game (Dokodemo Door Game)” is actually a miniature pinball machine in the shape of the Anywhere Door, which has to be one of Doramen’s most popular tools. There’s a different game on each side of the door, so you get two games in one toy.

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▼ The “Doraemon and the Spinning Burger (Doraemon to Kurukuru Burger)” features the Burger Director character that appears in the new movie. With this toy, when you place Doraemon and Burger Director close to each other, the Burger Director will start spinning.

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▼ This “Look Into it! Scope (Nozoite! Scope)” acts as a periscope, and you can look through the lens from the back of the planet on which Doraemon is sitting.

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▼ You can wind up this “Run! UFO (Hashire! UFO)” to propel it forward. What’s neat about this toy is that it can detect and avoid obstacles and also avoid falling off the edge of the table.

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▼ This “Exciting! Space Camera (Dokidoki! Space Camera) lets you see four different Doraemon movie scenes by looking through the lens and turning the dial on the side.

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▼ The “Memory Bread Drawing Kit (Oekaki Anki Pan)” contains five picture cards that you can copy and trace to create 10 different types of illustrations.

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In addition to the toys, the Doraemon Happy Meal comes in three adorable types of boxes, which should also put a smile on kids’ faces.

▼ The boxes all look cute, but we think Dorami-chan in the middle looks particularly charming. The boxes with Doramon’s and Dorami-chan’s face have a bit of a pop-up shape on the top. dora-box

Well, we think these toys actually look quite nifty, and we can easily imagine kids who’ve seen the Doraemon movie begging their parents to take them to McDonald’s for the trinkets. Hmmm … we wonder how many parents will be forced to make six trips to McDonald’s for all the items.

The Happy Meals are available at prices between 432 yen (US$3.56) and 504 yen ($4.15) depending on the food item you choose, but we expect the Doraemon toys will go quickly, so if you plan on getting your hands on one – or a few – of them, you may want to get to a McDonald’s sooner rather than later!

Village in Taiwan has dozens of anime and children’s characters painted on its houses!

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RocketNews 24:

Don’t you agree that our surroundings influence our mood? Being in a bright, vibrant environment usually makes one feel more positive and happy, and the positive energy in us in turn has the power to influence the mood of others around us.

A small village in Tainan City of Taiwan has been attracting attention online and attracting visitors because of the cheerful vibes that emanate from its brightly colored walls. With walls covered in colorful paintings of SpongeBob, Totoro, Doraemon and other characters and motifs, there’s no doubt this village must be a happy place!

Now more famously known as Cai Hui Cun (彩繪村), which literally means “painted village,” Hujia Village, located in the Shanhua District of southern Taiwan, used to be a quiet, rundown district until about a year ago. Since then it has blossomed into a vibrant tourist spot that continues to see an increasing number of visitors each day, and it’s said that property prices have even risen, thanks to its brilliantly painted walls. What’s more impressive than the numerous wall murals is the fact that this amazing transformation started with a home project that stemmed from the filial piety of five sisters.

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According to Yahoo News Taiwan, some time last year, the Li sisters, who spent a couple of their childhood years living in Hujia Village, went back to the village to visit their grandmother. The trip back to the old village brought back fond memories of when their grandmother used to care for them, and that triggered Fan Ting Li’s inspiration to paint the outer walls of her grandmother’s house as a way to express her gratitude to her 86-year-old granny.

With no experience or training in painting wall murals, the Li sisters had a rough start. The elderly woman watched with worry as Fan Ting and her sisters, Hui Qing, Guan Yu, Qing Yan and Wei Zhen, spent long hours under the scorching sun, and asked her “silly granddaughters” to give up on the idea several times, but the sisters were determined to complete their project.

Studio Ghibli murals

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Residents of the village gazed upon them with curiosity and doubt at first, but were eventually moved by their passion, and some even volunteered to join them. Their little home project gradually spread throughout the village, and their painting team once grew to the size of 18 members coming from all walks of life, including an eight-year-old elementary school girl.

▼ Western influences

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Watching as the voluntary painting team contributed their time, effort and money to beautifying their village, the other villagers too, often contributed to their cause by bringing them snacks and beverages. There have also been private companies that donated items to aid in the decoration of the walls, but due to the residents’ limited funds, they narrowed down their mural locations to the houses of elderly residents who lived alone, hoping to brighten up their days.

▼ Japanese anime characters

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Since word of the painted village spread across cyberspace, tourists from near and far have begun visiting the village, not only bringing some liveliness to the once-sleepy place, but boosting profits for local businesses as well. The local authorities have since acknowledged the efforts put into Hujia Village, and have given their word to contribute to the beautifying and expansion of the painted village.

▼ Chinese motifs.

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The Li sisters and their team of mural maestros can still be spotted creating more wall paintings in the village on weekends. If you’re interested in stopping by, the location details are below! Although the area has pretty much turned into a tourism spot, bear in mind that these murals are painted on actual residences, so it would only be nice to show some consideration for their residents, just as you probably wouldn’t appreciate strangers littering or creating a racket outside your house.

Village information:
台南市善化區胡家里300號 (陽明國小)
Tainan City, Shanhua District, 300 Hujia Village (Yang Ming Elementary School)
*Note: The Painted Village is in the vicinity of the elementary school.

 

Look out for this school as a landmark to guide you to the Painted Village.

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Cute animals in powered exoskeletons: 6 wondrous items from the 2015 Wonder Festival (Japan)

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RocketNews 24:

The latest edition of Japan’s bi-annual Wonder Festival brought out both male and female cosplayers, plus Sailor Moon figurines, which are well-known stalwarts of any good event celebrating anime and the creative arts. But what about the actual handmade models that put the wonder into the festival?

Amateur hobbyists converge at the event to display and sell unique goods, resulting in an array of never-before-seen models and items that can’t be found anywhere else. From ramen kewpie dolls to seductive vegetables, we’ve got photos of the most imaginative and eye-popping goods you’ll see this season.

Sylvanian Families powered up in exoskeletons

These little guys are a great introduction to the creative, no-holds-barred, mixed influence nature of the show. The cute, furry animal characters won’t put up with any funny business in these outfits.

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▼ 2,000 yen (US$16.84) for an exoskeleton set? You won’t find these sets at your local toy store.

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Ramen Kewpie Dolls

Incredibly popular in Japan, cherub-faced Kewpie Dolls are always up for a bit of creative cosplay, having appeared in the past as fish roe, balls of algae and all manner of fruit and vegetables. Popping up in a bowl of ramen, however, complete with cascading locks of noodles, is a surprising scenario, even for this character.

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Relive memories from long-lost amusement parks

The model kits at the Yukinonz stand might look ordinary, if not a little amateurish, to the untrained eye. Nostalgic hobbyists, however, would see this as a unique chance to breathe life back into old fun parks which have sadly disappeared or fallen into disrepair.

Nara Dreamland once shuttled happy passengers around the park in a shiny, three-carriage monorail. Today, it sits lifeless amongst dilapidated buildings, visited only by curious haikyoists, or urban explorers.

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▼ The submarine is another abandoned monument from Nara Dreamland.

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Takarazuka Family Land once had a glorious ropeway in operation. Sadly, the ropeway and amusement park no longer exist.

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Vegetables with attitude

Otonamiya is a company that uses resin and clay to create an extensive range of goods, including the Kewpie Ramen figures featured above. It’s their remarkable harvest of carrots and radishes that really steals the showm though.

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Optimus Prime featuring Original PlayStation

If you’re a fan of the original PlayStation console and have a soft spot for Transformers toys, this is the stuff dreams are made of. Takara Tomy A.R.T.S is set to release this kit on 28 February. Standing at 19 centimetres (7.5 inches) tall and retailing for 10,800 yen (US$90.94), Optimus Prime folds up neatly into a replica original PlayStation console, complete with memory card and controller.

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Venus de Milo action figure

The Figma doll series, produced by Max Factory and distributed by Good Smile Company, has done more than just give this famous beauty arms, creating a fully poseable Aphrodite to keep artists and fans of classic sculpture entertained for centuries to come.

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There are some great gems to be unearthed at the Wonder Festival. With the next event scheduled to be held at the Makuhari Messe Convention Centre on Sunday 26 July 2015, we’ve still got some time to save up for our upcoming wondrous purchases!

Transformers Bumblebee figurine by World of 3A

Transformers Bumblebee Figure By WO3A

 

No one makes figures quite as beautifully as World of 3A does. Immortalized this time around is the fan-favorite Bumblebee from Michael Bay’s Transformers films.

Standing at an impressive 15-inches tall and 12-inches wide, he’s fully posable with over 65 points of articulation. If you’re familiar with these kinds of figures, they usually only come with 30 to 40, so 65 is quite cool and bendy. Complete with an interchangeable right arm, detachable combat face shield and super realistic body paint, the flawlessly detailed replica features LED lights in his eyes, chest and canon.

The Bumblebee Figure By WO3A retails for $390 and can pre-ordered at Bambaland starting December 12.

 

Transformers Bumblebee Figure By WO3A

Transformers Bumblebee Figure By WO3A

Transformers Bumblebee Figure By WO3A

Transformers Bumblebee Figure By WO3A

Transformers Bumblebee Figure By WO3A

Transformers Bumblebee Figure By WO3A