News from Kochi-power Research Institute (Part 26)
Until the end of this blog, there are only 5 more articles including this time.
I can’t say this blog is very popular, but some people are watching, so why?
From the beginning, I had decided that 30 times was my goal. Also, because I was going to be busy with my day job. I think I’ve done most of what I wanted to do, starting with the “Grand sumo tournament with soft vinyl monster dolls" series starting from this time.
What will happen to our institute when this blog is finished?
I’ll reveal it in the 29th and 30th (final) installments, so look forward to it.
By the way, I’d like to ask you, Professor, what do you actually think about “Mobile Suit Gundam“?
What was that all of a sudden? Well, the last episode is coming soon, so I’ll answer you specially. When I first watched it when it first aired, I thought that this was the start of a very exciting anime. However, that excitement ended after a few episodes. There were several reasons for this, but to be honest, there were no attractive enemy mobile suits after ”Zaku,” the drawing techniques at the time were not up to par with the content of the story in many episodes, and the same voice actor (Ichirō Nagai) was used for all but the main characters to reduce costs.
So does that mean it’s a bad rating?
Well, I recorded all the episodes when it aired, so I don’t have such a bad impression of it, but I’m personally not interested in the episode about supernatural power. If it hadn’t brought up “Newtype," the story would have been more to my liking as a war story. It’s a little hard to understand why “Gundam" is still so popular, even with plastic models. I’m sure the creators at the time think so, too.
What do you think of the works after “Gundam" of director Yoshiyuki Tomino?
Actually, I’ve watched up to “Aura Battler Dunbine," but I haven’t watched any of the later ones. Because I was a college student who knew a lot more fun than watching anime. That’s why I don’t know anything about the whole Gundam series and have no interest in it to begin with.
You say so, but aren’t you crazy about “Neon Genesis Evangelion" right now?
In fact, I had no idea that “Evangelion" even existed. I first learned about it at the Pachinko (a Japanese gambling machine), and rented the video to watch it later. Well, I found out about “Mobile Suit Z Gundam" from a Pachinko machine. Furthermore, I know “Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven," “Genesis of Aquarion," and even “Symphogear" in detail, although I’ve never watched any of the anime. I learned all of these in pachinko parlors, haha.
Kochi-Grand sumo tournament with soft vinyl monster dolls (1/4)
I held a grand sumo tournament with 21 self-made soft vinyl monster dolls walking on batteries that I had introduced in this blog. Prior to the tournament, a round-robin tournament (420 games) was held to determine the East vs. West ranking in order of performance. The next step was to determine the 15 days of matches according to the ranking, extract the videos and sort them. The battle between the wrestlers was completely gung-ho, and no artificial measures were taken. Nevertheless, the battle for the championship was heated, with the two Yokozuna leading the way, and it ended up going all the way to the final day. This kind of strange thing often happens in games. I have already uploaded the videos of the first five days on You Tube, and I will introduce all the fights in four parts on this blog.
YZ: Yokozuna (the highest rank: grand champion)
OZ: Ozeki (the second highest rank: champion)
SW: Sekiwake (the third highest rank)
KM: Komusubi (the fourth highest rank)
MG1-7: 1st to 7th Maegashira (names lower than the top four ranks)
HM: Hiramaku (same as Maegashira)
Terochilus, with a winning percentage of 0.944, became the Yokozuna of the east, and Prizuma, with a winning percentage of 0.865, became the Yokozuna of the west. Below, the east and west rankings have been decided in order of winning percentage.
Yadokarin, who has the same tire-running style as both yokozuna, had more defeats than wins, and the winning percentage of 0.475 made him Maegashira 1st. of the west. This was partly due to the fact that the body was larger than the dolly and his overall balance was poor, but it was also due to the fact that there were several cases where the automatic backing function caused him to leave the ring on his own. Bipedal types with tails also had a relatively high winning percentage (0.485 on average), while Gronken had a winning percentage of only 0.410 due to his large body swing and tendency to fall. Varricane (winning percentage 0.225), which has a large rotating head, and Takkong (winning percentage 0.216), which has thin legs for its huge body, did not perform well as monsters with tails. The bipedal Twintail, which had no tail, became the Komusubi, with a winning percentage of 0.543, but this was probably because its overall form was L-shaped and it was more stable than the other monsters. In addition, quadrupedal types should have an advantage because of their stability, but Stegon, who only shakes and is always passive (winning percentage 0.452), and Leogon, whose soles are smooth and slippery (winning percentage 0.405), had more defeats than wins.
It was hard to decide on the combination of the bouts. As in a real sumo tournament, the second half of the tournament is a round-robin tournament for the top ranks of komusubi and above, in which case the top ranks play each other from day 9 to day 15. In that case, from the 9th day, the lower-ranked wrestlers will fight against each other, but they will not be able to compete with the top-ranked wrestlers in the first half of the tournament. So, their first-half matchups should be decided carefully, otherwise they will have no opponents in the second half. Like a real sumo tournament, if there are a lot of lower ranked wrestlers, I can have a 15-day schedule with, say, 16 wrestlers in total, but this tournament only had 13 wrestlers, so it was a real challenge.
The following are the matches that have been decided. The east Hiramaku have 26 matches against Komusubi and above, while the west Hiramaku have 33 matches, making the matchups a little tougher for the west. However, the winning percentage of the Hiramaku in this tournament was 0.429 in the west compared to 0.419 in the east, so we can say that the Hiramaku in the west did well.
As a matter of course, if the number of wrestlers is not even, one of them will be left out of the competition. This time, with a total of 21 wrestlers, I wondered if I should leave out Ultraman, who is not a monster, but I decided to give the daily opponent an unearned win, assuming that one of the 22 wrestlers is always absent.
(4) Sumo ring
The actual ring is said to be 4.55 meters in diameter, but I built a ring about 1/11th of that, with a diameter of 40 cm. The materials used were styrene boards and cork boards, and a double-sided tape was used for adhesion. The bales that make up the circle are cotton ropes with a diameter of 6mm. All the materials were purchased at Home Depot, but the cork board was the most expensive.
The cork board is advantageous for Marusan type monsters that have a reverse rotation prevention roller on the sole of the foot, but it is disadvantageous for the type that runs on tires, and it is difficult to settle the match, so I decided to put a transparent plastic board on the rink.
(5) Match-up rules
In actual sumo tournament, there are rarely draws, but this time I decided to call it a draw if the two wrestlers could not break out of the stalemate within about 40 seconds of the start of the match. The reason is if the two are so close in ability that it takes time to settle the match, it will lead to overheating of the motor and damage to the gears. As a result, out of a total of 165 matches, 21 matches, or 1/8 of the total number of matches, turned out to be draws. Since the championship is decided by the number of wins, not the winning percentage, a draw is comparable to a loss for the top-ranked wrestlers aiming for the championship.
(6) Injuries to wrestlers (damages to soft vinyl monsters)
There were many injuries, and I was forced to make repairs after each match. The main damages are listed below.
・The transparent plastic plate on the sole of the foot broke → New plastic plate was installed. Both feet were replaced with larger ones to improve walking stability.
・The drive belt broke 5 times and deviated 2 times → The drive belt was reinforced with vinyl tape glued to the seams, but this had become a weak point, so I stopped reinforcing it and it stopped breaking.
・The lower one of the two face flashing lamps stopped glowing → The LED cord was broken near the electrode and was restored by soldering.
・Damage to the joint parts of the soft vinyl → Only one part was damaged, so it was not repaired.
・It starts to fall over easily → Adjust the height of the auxiliary wheel attached to its tail.
・Universal gear damage → Disassemble and replace the plastic gear.
・It starts to fall over easily → Install anti-tipping parts on heels.
・Poor contact with the switch → Disassemble and replace with a new switch.
・Drive wheel spinning out → Bond the tire to the shaft with instant adhesive.
・The main body of the Terochilus stopped working → The metal fitting that receives electricity from the dolly was damaged, and was disassembled and repaired.
・Motor has fallen out twice → Reassemble the motor in the proper position.
・Motor stopped running due to overheating (twice) → Restarted by cooling.
・Damage to the joint parts of the soft vinyl → Replaced with new parts.
・MAT Gyro stopped working (3 times) → Disassemble and repair the drive unit each time.
・It starts to fall over easily → Install anti-tipping parts on heels.
・Universal Gear damage → Disassemble and replace the gear body with a new one. After that, the plastic gear was damaged in just one match. Replaced and repaired.
・Arm stops moving → Damage to the connector that connects the arm to the crank. Disassemble and replace with a new one.
・The metal fittings of the battery box have fallen off → Disassembled and repaired.
・Damage to the joint parts of the soft vinyl → Replaced with new parts.
・Drive wheel spinning → Retighten the screws that connect the drive wheel to the pulley.
(7) Introduction of the matches from the 1st day to the 4th day
Starting this time, I will introduce all the matches of the 15 days in four installments. First, here are the results from the 1st day to the 4th day.
On the first day of the tournament, Prizuma, the Yokozuna of the west, was suddenly defeated by Sasahiler. On the other hand, Terochilus, the Yokozuna of the east, ended in a draw with Z-tonⅡ. It seems that the drive wheels of Terochilus were spinning. Even on the fourth day, the Prizuma provided a win for Alien Nackle. The Prizuma found that because of its light weight, it could be pushed out of the way if it rode up on the opponent’s legs or other parts of the body, causing the tires to float. All three of them won until the 4th day: Ozeki Kingsaurus III of the east, Ozeki Gokinezura of the west, and Sekiwake Muruchi of the east.
The followings are videos of all the matches for each day. They are approximately 4-5 minutes long per day, so please watch them when you have time.
Celebration! “Return of Ultraman" 50th Anniversary.
The project to make soft vinyl monster dolls walk on batteries
（No.20 Soft vinyl monster dolls waiting for the electrification and their concepts）
I started this project with the ambition of making all the soft vinyl monster dolls from “Return of Ultraman" walk on batteries, but it was interrupted by the care of my father, moving for that purpose, my own job transfer, and illness. It’s been six years since I made my last work “Gokinezura," but I’m sure the soft vinyl monster dolls are still waiting for their time to come in a cardboard box in the closet. In this article, I’d like to conclude the series by introducing the soft vinyl monster dolls that I have purchased with the intention of making them motorized, but have yet to start, and the concepts of the motorization for each doll.
(1) Poisonous gas monster “Mognezun" (Bullmark)
Since it was a poisonous gas monster, I was definitely going to make it spew smoke out of its mouth. Since the mist-launching beauty device failed with the Arstron, I’m thinking of borrowing parts from a model train smoke generator or a mist-spitting Toy. The actual costume also has poorly processed needles on the back, but this soft vinyl doll has much thicker needles, so I thought it would be interesting to replace them with piano wires or something.
(2) Rock monster “Sadolar" (Bullmark)
The third episode, “The Monster Realm of Terror," in which Sadolar appears, is my favorite. I wanted to recreate the scene where Sadora, with his distinctive “keening" voice, fights Detton (Bullmark), who sounds like a pig. As a gimmick, I think the opening and closing of the scissors on the arms is a good idea, although there was no such movement in the play. I don’t think it’s necessary to plant a drive unit in the arm if it is possible to run a wire from the end of the arm to the gearbox in the body. However, since this soft vinyl doll is rather small, it may be difficult to install the drive unit inside the body.
(3) Radio waves monster “Beakon" (Bullmark)
This soft vinyl doll is cute and I really like it. Since it is basically a monster that floats face down in the air, I was going to use my Terochilus dolly to drive it, and as a gimmick, I was going to focus on moving the thorns on its back in various directions. I had also collected materials for painting, but unfortunately it has been shelved.
(4) Tsunami monster “Seamons" (Kaijūkyō)
Her husband Seagorath (Kaijūkyō) was not readily available, and the plan was abandoned, but I was seriously considering whether I could make the horns glow in synchronization with each other, or whether I could discharge electricity between the horns. The appearance of walking around on four legs like the Leogon I made is really suitable for Seamons, so it’s a pity that I haven’t been able to let her walk around yet.
(5) Cancer monster “Zanika" (Marmit)
I bought this soft vinyl doll just because it was cute, so I don’t really have a plan for it, but if I were to make it motorized, I’d like to make it blow shaving foam or soap bubbles out of its mouth. In fact, when I made a soft vinyl doll Garamon (made by Nostalgic Heroes, originally a plastic model of Marusan) to walk, I half seriously considered whether it could produce liquid from its mouth when it stopped walking, just like in the play.
(6) Water buffalo monster “Oxter" (Bullmark)
Since I find this type of anomalous monster rewarding to motorize, I bought it. The image of the completed form is that emits a distinctive cow-like bellow and moves forward swinging red fangs. I was also thinking of a gimmick that would allow him to move his long tongue in and out of his mouth. The soft vinyl doll is cute, but I think it would be good to make it a little creepy.
(7) Snowman space beast “Alien Varduck" (Bullmark)
Bullmark’s soft vinyl dolls vary greatly in finish depending on the person who sculpted them, but this Alien Varduck is a master’s job. I didn’t really have a plan for it, but I was thinking it would be a good idea to make it spit out a kind of powder that looks like snow from its mouth. However, it is also true that the humanoid monster is not very interesting because there is little room for ingenuity in the walk itself.
(8) Space Ninja “Alien Baltan Jr." (Kaijūkyō)
I am not sure why I bought this soft vinyl doll. He didn’t even make a “Ho Ho Ho!" sound in the play, and he was weak such as being shot dead by the Specium ray although he was saying “the game is still in the top of the first inning," so I think he isn’t very attractive character to take time and effort for motorizing. I may have just decided to have it as a partner when I completed the Billgamo.
(9) Tank monster “Dino-Tank" (Kaijūkyō)
Initially, this project was not limited to the monsters that appeared in “Return of Ultraman," but I thought that any monster that looked interesting would be a good target for motorization. From here, I’ll introduce some of the monster soft vinyl dolls from other than “Return of Ultraman." First up is the Dino-Tank from “Ultraseven." I have seen an example where the tank part was replaced by a plastic model, but I was thinking not only of running, but also of the dinosaur itself barking and moving. It’s an image like my Terochilus. This soft vinyl doll is called the “Sniper big explosion version," and the body turns orange when warmed up.
(10) Robotic monster “Crazygon" (Kaijūkyō)
After Billgamo, I was thinking of making another motorized robot monster, so I bought Crazygon from “Ultraseven." The appearance of the robot, which has a large pair of scissors on one arm like a fiddler crab, and the movement of throwing the captured car into the shutter on its abdomen are attractive. However, it would be difficult to walk by motorized means because the legs are too poor. In “Ultraseven," there are other robots that have been made into soft vinyl dolls that inspire creativity, such as the combined robot King Joe and the U-Tom that falls from its face when attacked, so I think I’ll save those for after I retire the job.
(11) Four-dimensional monster “Bullton" (Bearmodel)
This is Bullton from “Ultraman." The Bullton must be made to roll forward, but since this soft vinyl doll is very heavy and the shape is far from spherical, it seems difficult to realize as it is. It would be more realistic to wrap the body with two transparent circular plastic plates and use them like wheels to rotate and move the body, but it would not look good. It might be better to mold it with soft rubber and produce a squishy copy Bullton, but I don’t have the skills to do that, and it has been neglected for almost 10 years now.
(12) Space Ninja “Alien Baltan" (Bullmark)
It’s a very cute figure, but I wanted to make sure that the movements were realistic. In addition to the peculiar cry of the Alien Baltan, there are eyeballs that move around, although they have not received much attention, so I intended to start with the gimmick of the eyeballs. There is an image of an Alien Baltan crab-walking while opening and closing his scissors, just like the Bandai toy “Chiki Chiki Monster," but there is no fact that he actually walked like that, and what to do with its gait is troubling. Also, for some reason, Bullmark’s Alien Bartan has a large horizontal extension of his right hand, which may be a bottleneck to motorization.
(13) “Ultraman Ace" (Ginga Renpō) and Missile terrible-monster “Verokron" (Kaijūkyō)
“Ultraman A" will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, and the main character Ace’s charm lies in his shouts of “Tē～" (when he is in good shape) and “On, iyā~" (when he is in bad shape). If I add the fighting march and the background music that plays when Ace is in a pinch, I think I can fully enjoy the world of Ace. This means that the Ace itself doesn’t need to move around, and can just be fixed to the diorama. After that, I think it would be fun to place Verokron, which seems to be suitable as an opponent, in the diorama, and make it look like both soft vinyl dolls are punching out and fighting. If you think that the Verokron from Kaijūkyō lacks a bit of volume, you can also compare it to the soft vinyl doll from M1-gō.