I had some work that ran aground a long time ago, cleaning up and improving some of the old sketches that went into production of the game.
I got that stuff finished on Friday night/Saturday.
Sometimes it's good to come back to something and attack it with a fresh perspective.
The following have been added:
New Chicago City 1
Simetra - Infinity Class Prototype
Simetra - S60 Stinger
I notice that that there are some sketches that I added the 'X Project' sketchbook (which is a black Daler A3 sketchbook, into which, all X-Bomber sketches are pasted), that don't seem to have ever scanned.
When I get proper access to my office again, I will scan them out of there and add them to the site.
The ones I have in mind are a bigger illustration of the S60 Stinger Simetran fighter and an earlier illustration of the Alliance command carrier.
I'm tidying up the website's filesystem and moving some content from the news database into the main site content, to make the site more of a browsable collection and less like a blog.
It's Star Fleet and it's Friday!
Brad has finished work on Legtrax...
I chose this graphic for the front page because I really like the angle and the appearance of the engines.
You can find many more images on the SFXB forum and in the Star Fleet fan work area:
Yet another X-Bomber 3d build
Brad Smith - New Work
In other news, I downloaded and checked a full backup of the site, which is something that I should do more often.
The footprint of the site is about 24GB.
I've been working on chapters 8 and 9 of my Rain Song story that accompanies the game.
Also, I've been working on the sprites and damage effects for the battlecruiser in level 15 of the game.
I also contacted a number of translation companies for a quote to translate our scans of the Japanese manga, so that I could understand the story a bit better.
Machine translation of Japanese can be very hit-and-miss.
No-one's come back to me yet, so if you know of someone who might be able to help us, let me know.
Over the Christmas break, I've found some time to get back to working on X-Bomber the Game.
The ground defences on the exterior of the planetoid fortress are completed and I've managed to make a few further tweaks.
I have also resumed work on my Rain Song Star Fleet fan story that ties in with the game.
Chapter 8 is starting to come together quite well.
At the same time, I have simplified the game content on the website and made it accessible under a single main menu option, rather than switching back-and-forth between "about" and "media".
Matsukami has finished an amazing model of the Skull. Check it out on the SFXB Forum.
The 6th (April 1981) TV-Kun manga came up for auction.
This issue lacks the concluding part of the manga that I was hoping for, but click through to find out what info it does have on Star Fleet.
I have finished scanning the relevant pages from the January 1981 TV-Kun, which arrived last week.
This is another good instalment, as they all have been so far.
There is one instalment, that I haven't been able to find yet, which is the last of the six issues with Star Fleet features.
A few 1981 issues have surfaced just now, but not the April one.
I will keep looking and, when it shows up, I will make sure that it doesn't escape.
I did see one guy the other week on twitter in Japan, who had bought one of these TV-Kun issues. Infact, it might've been this one. He mentioned that it would be a great idea for someone to collect all six of them, which is a stunning idea.
It would be easier to do if they stopped buying them, just so they can photograph a single page on their phone and put it on twitter.
As I touched on in the update from yesterday, Matsukami has printed himself an astrofighter carrier (and astrofighter to go with it), based on Brad Smith's 3D models, from a few years ago.
Hop onto the forum for more info:
Re: Yet another X-Bomber 3d build
I especially like the weathering on the astrofighter's engine parts.
The relevant 3D models can be downloaded, for free, here:
Astrofighter | Carrier
I found this interesting image a while ago, from twitter user; Sayabu.
It looks to be some of the original Go Nagai drawings and storyboards for X Bomber. I like the illustration of the laser pistol in the upper-right corner.
According to the uploader, these had been sitting in his attic for some years.
Matsukami has added some great images of his 3D printed astrofighter carrier (and astrofighter) to the forum:
Re: Yet another X-Bomber 3d build
I will do a separate, fuller front page summary on it, soon.
I added some new, really nice fan artworks from Japanese twitter users; uei4989p and Nopple_1000 to the fan artwork gallery:
In other news, the third instalment of the TV-Kun manga is about to get shipped from the buyee.com warehouse.
It'll be going over FedEx, so it should be here before very long.
I also had some spare funds this month, so I ordered the Blu-rays of a sci-fi anime called Yukikaze; which, from what I've seen, is a tiny bit like UFO; only Japanese. It has really impressive and realistic air combat scenes with futuristic aircraft.
I'll give the whole series a watch and see about putting up some screenshots from the Blu-rays.
While we're waiting for this new issue of TV-Kun to arrive at buyee.com's depot, I wanna say thanks to the Star Fleet X-Bomber group on facebook...
I thought I would check on them the other day and, despite the fact that the website has had not many updates over the last few months, they must have been checking back on us often and had info from the site shared there that'd only been up a couple of days.
I'm really happy that people are sharing info from the site and carrying it further than the site can reach by itself.
I would've gone on and given them some encouragement but Facebook is awful and I'm not registering another account.
Anyone heading that way though, let them know I'm wishing them all the best.
Star Fleet X-Bomber | Facebook
At the same time, I was looking on twitter and Japanese users were posting content from the site on there.
Ironic that the Japanese users are posting content from a UK site about the Japanese show. The circle is complete.
Anyway, all the best for now, everyone. If you want anything adding to the site or you're having difficulty finding something, let me know on the email or the forum, and I'll see what I can do.
I received this issue of TV-Kun some time ago (back in May) but encountered quite some difficulty, then, managing a really good scan of the Dai-X cutaway, since a lot of the image disappears into the spine of the book.
Anyway, I revisited the process, since I had the February (4th) issue to scan as well.
Not many comic pages in this issue, but it does contain some of the most famous of the colour features.
The February 1981 (4th) issue of TV-Kun showed up about this time last month, having spent 75 days on the seven seas.
Perhaps they decided to send it on the Ever Given.
I wasn't aware that the shipping option that I was choosing was going to send it in a shipping container from Japan rather than on a plane like normal, otherwise, I would've chosen another one.
Anyway, it's here and it's scanned and you can see my various remarks at the top of the page (click the image).
I don't expect to find the January (3rd) and April (6th) issues anytime soon.
I have been looking quite intently for some time and none of them are showing up. So I am presenting what I do have in the remaining logical order.
Update - [ 2021.09.13 ]
I said today that I didn't expect to find the January or April 1981 issues of TV-Kun any time soon.
I checked again in the usual places and found neither, so I had to try something else and I checked Mercari over buyee.com, which I have not actually used to buy anything in the past.
Anyway, we got a bit lucky and it looks as though we have the January issue, which will hopefully be on its long journey soon.
Scanning and editing on the third and last instalment of the Shonen Jump X Bomber manga is complete.
That's that side of the project rounded off.
I am keeping an eye open for the two missing instalments of TV-Kun needed for the manga but I'm not hopeful about them materialising anytime soon, since I've not found them despite searching regularly for quite some time.
In the meantime, I will scan the two instalments that I do have, that are not yet on the website and people can fill in the blanks as best they can.
There we go! There's part 2 of the Shonen Jump manga scanned and uploaded.
I will try to scan the third and last instalment this week.
Update - [ 2021.09.04 ]
I've started off scanning and editing part 3. A few more evenings and the Shonen Jump side of the manga scanning project should be done.
I did not expect to have the Shonen Jump bit done before TV-Kun, since I started with TV-Kun, but the Shonen Jump instalments were significantly easier to find; not amazingly easy to get all three, but still a lot easier.
I am thinking of getting someone to translate these so that we know what the characters are saying, and don't just have the illustrations to go off.
If anyone knows anything about doing that, maybe you could shoot me an email, or better still, let us know on the SFXB forum.
I've started scanning the second instalment of the Shonen Jump X-Bomber manga.
I think I'm about half-way done. I need a few more nights to run the scans and edit the outputs.
This part is where the fur really starts to fly with the space battles.
Update - [ 2021.09.03 ]
All pages of part 2 are scanned and the editing is almost done.
Here we go! The scanning is complete. I will try and get the second one done in the next week or two.
Hi, it's been a while since there was any update ...
We've been working on a few crucial things at our end.
One thing that was hanging up the X Bomber manga scanning project was the fact that one shipment from Japan was hugely delayed.
I chose a different shipping option that looked reasonable at the time and after 2-and-a-half-months, it's arrived in the UK.
The shipment contains the first instalment of the Shonen Jump manga. I already have the second one, and the third (and last) is in the warehouse in Japan.
It also contains the February 1981 (fourth) instalment of the TV-Kun manga.
After that, all I need is the January and April instalments from TV-Kun, and to get the last instalment of Shonen Jump shipped, and that should be all the materials for the project assembled.
Update [ 2021.08.27 ]
I have started scanning the first instalment of the Shonen Jump manga.
The third and last one has apparently been delivered at home today.
The issues are quite dense with about 30 pages each, so it'll take some time to complete.
Here's an update on Brad's LegTrax model. I'm really looking forward to seeing it getting finished.
Click the image above to see the latest on the forum.
Also in my latest care package from Japan is a full set of mint, retail Japanese Zentrix DVDs.
It is difficult to express in words how pleased I am to get a hold of all of these; especially in such good condition, and retail discs, rather than the rental ones.
I was really lucky to find it, because I've seen sets of a-bit-used rental copies go for more than double the amount.
So that's a nice win, and one project on the site that I can bring to conclusion.
X Bomber Manga Scanning Projects
The Televi Kun manga scanning project ran a bit aground, as I haven't been able to find the 3rd (Jan 1981) or 6th (April 1981) issue, despite searching for them for some time.
Issues 4 and 5 are either here, or are on the way.
I plan to scan and editorialise them a bit all-together, and in the proper order, otherwise the result might be a bit disjointed.
So, since I was having trouble progressing that, I turned my attention to the other X Bomber manga by Naoki Kamohara.
That manga features in the 1980 Shonen Jump issues 6-8.
These were a bit less hard to find, (and also significantly cheaper). In theory, I now own all 3 ...
#6 is still on a boat somewhere. #8 is at the warehouse.
Lucky 7 is the first to arrive.
Twitter users in Japan have been a bit more active lately and I found two great artworks for the fan artwork folder:
- Kia_asamiya - X-Bomber and Dai-X (pictured)
- Nopple_1000 - Dai-X
In other news, I am working on a few other projects, but it may take some time to see the results, since the necessary materials are held back by huge shipping delays from Japan.
Star Fleet Project Omega - Future Echoes Prologue
Jiraiya aka Zordon has created a terrific trailer for a Star Fleet audio drama that he wants to make.
I was really amazed at how well produced it is and how great the voices are.
It's only one guy doing it and I was absolutely stunned.
SFXB 2021 Review
Andy Thomas; creator of SFXB, has done a really fantastic video that looks back over the last 20 years of SFXB and Star Fleet fandom.
xbomber.co.uk gets a mention here-and-there as well, which is real nice.
This is a historical video that looks back over how Star Fleet fandom has evolved in the UK, so I have uploaded a version to this site for safe keeping.
It's been brilliant knowing Andy through our Star Fleet endeavours.
He is one of the best guys I've ever known.
2021.05.29 - There was a bit of a delay in uploading this. The last several weeks have been a bit tough.
I am working back, filling in the missing weeks of Star Fleet Saturday ...
Sorry for the lack of a Star Fleet Saturday, last week ...
Brad Smith Dai-X
As you can see, Brad is doing fantastic work on 3D-modelling LegTrax.
You can find more images and give him encouragement on the forum.
I'm currently scanning the March 1981 issue of TV-Kun, which contains an interesting instalment of the X-Bomber manga.
The February issue is sitting in a warehouse in Japan, waiting to be shipped.
The January and April ones; the two that I'm missing, aren't showing up anywhere currently but they should show up eventually.
I did have good luck with my Zentrix project...
A few weeks ago, I wrote that I wasn't sure that I'd ever find the last 3 volumes of the Japanese Zentrix DVDs.
Then, a set of ex-rental copies; volumes 3-6 appeared, where the price was exorbitant but was steadily coming down.
I checked on FROM JAPAN one day and a full set of 6 retail copies appeared; in great-looking condition for very substantially less.
Since I didn't expect to see nearly as good an offer in the future, I bagged it and, hopefully, we should be getting that part of the site completed before too long.
Star Fleet Saturday didn't take much time to prepare this week, since the scanning of the second instalment of Televi-Kun had already been done last weekend.
So, enjoy what's turning out to be quite an interesting project.
In the last few weeks, the site has had a few other improvements.
The media system will use the new HTML5 video and audio tags to play mp4 videos as well as audio files without people leaving the page or opening a new tab. That seems to work pretty well.
The website can also handle webp images, although it doesn't perform any server-side resizing, since this new Google format is pointless, and hopefully, it won't catch on.
There are quite a few additions to the Star Fleet area of the site:
Publications - X-Bomber Super Manual
Toys and Merchandise
Star Fleet Saturday was a bit delayed this week...
I finished scanning the first instalment of the Televi-Kun X Bomber manga and full-colour feature, that were published in November 1980.
It's been a bit of a tricky process getting to this point, since the books themselves are not that easy to obtain, and not that easy to scan, as it turns out, either.
Anyway, out of the six instalments, I've managed to track down four in total and I'm working on the other two.
I may not manage it, but I will try to scan the second; December, instalment next week.
At the same time, the site has undergone quite a few other updates and additions. I'll write a little update, summarising those at some point.
It took me a long time to find it, but here's the third out of the six volumes of Zentrix DVDs released in Japan.
This one was in a red box, which I seem to remember, indicates that it was a retail copy, rather than a rental one.
It's taken me about 2 years to get this far but, hopefully, I'll eventually manage to get the rest.
I saw volumes 3-6 as a set on Mercari but I can't justify the £400+ cost for the three that I still need.
Menu screenshots and cover scan
I contacted my friend; Maria, whom I met over Facebook, (before we both ditched it), to see if I could complete the fan artwork section a bit with some of Maria's illustrations.
They really capture the nature of characters from the show well.
Anyway, I received some great scans; far better than what I'd found before.
Go and check them out because they're great. I've asked whether there's even any more where those came from.
Also, I have received my latest care package from Japan with another instalment of the TV Kun X Bomber manga.
I will have to get busy scanning those so I have something to show you next week.
The Star Fleet fan work area has undergone some remodeling.
I wanted to get rid of the separation between models and artwork for artists that needed their own folder. Sometimes, artists would have done illustrations and models or sculptures and it made no sense to split those into two separate folders.
Artists with their own folder are now all grouped together therefore:
Fan Artworks - Contributors A-Z
At the same time, the fan stories page was a useful guide to which contributors had written stories; better than sifting through individual folders.
So, the fan stories page is unchanged, and the fan artwork and fan models pages are still there to display content that's not organised into folders by artist.
There are also three new additions to the artwork folder:
- Lee, Shiro and Hercules by _108
- Makara by akunotsubo
- Orion and Makara by womanimel (shown above)
I designed this as a really vicious, mid-sized attack ship.
The 'saucer section' is effectively two structures that channel and attenuate the beam from the polaron cannon emitter in the centre.
The saucer also mounts two dorsal phasers on each side.
The ship has two forward and aft torpedo launchers, but beam firepower makes up the majority of its arsenal, to avoid the need for resupply in the field.
The ship is about the same length as a Prometheus or Excelsior class and is fast and highly manoeuvrable, and protected with a rapidly-regenerating shield system.
Uploaded a number of new items into the Fan Artwork folder:
- Dai-X and others by bludgeon3
- Dai-X and Shiro by nakaR6 (shown above)
- Dai-X by yakitetuiro
- Lamia by watari_saburo
- Makara by jamescorcoran78
- Princess Keeli and Dai-X by 3D12aRfHh5pUTZV
Edit [ 2021.04.10 ]
I found the Feb 1981 edition of TV-Kun, so we should now have 2/3rds of the TV-Kun X-Bomber manga.
I've just got to see whether it makes its way to the warehouse before my other items run out of their 45 days of storage.
Over the weekend, I brought a few search tools, that I'd been working on for a while, to the point where people can get some use out of them ...
The "contact" link on the menu bar has been replaced with a "search" button.
The site-wide search uses DuckDuckGo, which is a very privacy-oriented search engine.
The accuracy of the search results seem to be getting better-and-better, the more it gets used.
The two search boxes below, search within the titles and contents, respectively, of the site's database. Currently, it returns news and version history results, but this will be subject to change as part of a larger overhaul of the news subsystem.
There is also a link to the SFXB Forum's advanced search page.
Initially, I planned to build the search features more specifically into the news module, but it works better to have the search functionality together and accessible on the main menu.
Navigation [ 2021.03.12 | 18:31 ]
I improved the navigation for the News/CMS subsystem and added a way for people to 'like' anything that they come across.
At one time, the system did originally have a commenting system, which worked quite well but it was disabled because moderating the comments created quite a bit of overhead.
Image Upload [ 2021.03.09 | 16:46 ]
Behind the scenes, I added an image uploader and resizer, to make adding site updates quicker and easier and to get away from the problem of linking to content in the site's main content directories, where the file and directory paths can sometimes be subject to change.
Next Episode ...
Lastly, I finally binned my facebook account. If you'd like to contact me to make any suggestions about the site, don't hesitate. Use the link over on the right.
Alternatively, drop us a line on the SFXB Forum.
I have a mountain of new stuff to share on the site.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be tidying a few things up and trying to get those added.
Then I'll be going back to the game itself to see if we can finally get that finished.
I tidied my Star Fleet Saturday folder out a bit and made a few additions to the site...
I found some additional images of Matsukami's X-Bomber model from prinzemathieu on deviantArt:
Matsu Kami - X-Bomber
I added two images of some nice 3D-printed models of PPA and Qonto (from Sankukai) by twitter user; gooo_yaaar:
Fan Work - Models
I made a correction in regard to the 1993 poster that, on closer inspection, was for the Japanese laserdisc release rather than the soundtrack LP.
Laser Disc and DVD Sets
I added the seller photos, for completeness, for that, plus the B-club magazine, that arrived a while back.
I tidied all Star Fleet-related artwork from pixiv into its own folder and added, amongst other things, this nice painting by Kiriho.
The contents of other Japanese artists' folders have also been expanded/updated:
PLC and YmiscY
Edit [ 2021.03.28 ]
The below galleries have also been updated and expanded with new images:
The Firestorm section of the website has been expanded with some recent acquisitions from From Japan; scans and rips from the CD releases of the credits music from the original Japanese Firestorm show.
Star Fleet Saturday gets real easy when the content gets posted on our own forum.
Brad has been very busy yet again modelling the Dai-X.
Click the image above to see the progress on the forum.
I found another one of Maemura Kyotsu's paintings on From Japan the other week. Check out the second set of images on the page below:
Maemura Kyotsu Paintings
I cleaned up my office and found a very old drawing. Obviously the Star Trek TNG episode Best of Both Worlds made an impression when I was younger.
So I coloured it with Sharpies and did some work on it in Photoshop.
Here, a Galaxy-class ship encounters a new type of Borg cube and puts a big hole in it.
I may have got my hands on volume 3 of the Japanese Zentrix DVDs.
These were always difficult to get a hold of. The only way was to get them second-hand or as ex-rentals.
When I decided to try and round them up in 2019, you could get the whole set of 6 ex-rentals for about £200-300, which seemed expensive.
I haven't seen an offer similar to that for about a year now and they only show up individually and rarely at that. You often see used volumes running for well over £200 *each*.
However, a while ago, I managed to get volume 2 for a much more reasonable figure (in fact there were two and I ordered both), and volume 1 a while before that.
Just now, I saw volume 3 pop up for a fairly reasonable amount on FROM JAPAN and I've ordered it, although there's no actual photo on the listing; just the description and product code.
In the fullness of time, I may be able to get the other three.
In addition, it was very slow going trying to find any further instalments of TV-Kun that have the X Bomber manga in them.
March 1981 popped up and I've grabbed that as well. I already have the first two instalments; November and December 1980, but I have yet to scan them.
Wow, I really hit the motherlode here!
Lots of copies of all 8 volumes of the US VHS tapes of Star Fleet.
I think I'm right in saying that, these are the source material for the original SFXB website, and are where all the still images and videos on the site came from, before the DVDs were released in 2009.
I did give everyone else in the group first refusal, but Andy seemed to be running short of space, so I will look after them.
I'm running a Star Fleet museum now; every DVD release, laserdiscs, endless publications from all over the world; and now VHS. 😉
I guess the site is the same in a way.
I remember years ago, that a friend of mine passed on the laserdiscs and 2004 Japanese DVDs when he went travelling.
I don't know how he got them in the days before Rinkya and FromJapan.
I will get these scanned in because the covers are a really interesting impression of the show; a bit like the French comic books.
At the moment, I have absolutely masses of material from Japan and elsewhere to scan and add to the site.
Thanks very much Andy!
You might've noticed that Star Fleet Saturday hasn't been so regular, lately.
This is not an indication of a lack of interest in the site on my part; more that things've been a little difficult of late.
What I might move towards is either just releasing updates when they're ready, or an alternating thing, where I do an update on the game one week and something about Star Fleet the week after and so-on.
In any case, I have a small mountain of scanning material to work through for Star Fleet, so I made a start on the 2005 Special Effects Hero BEST Magazine VOL.5, which you can find here:
With things dragging on, we've got to keep ourselves entertained somehow.
I wanted to do an old Galaxy class ship that'd been refitted and pressed back into service after a good number of years.
It has practically no windows; only armour ... and more phasers.
Make sleep great again.
So Facebook has now banned the actor who played Captain Hunt in Andromeda...
When I watched all of Andromeda right-the-way-thru at University, I realised that, despite the show itself being crazy, the answer to "Which starship captain's better; Kirk or Picard?" was actually "Hunt", because he combined all the qualities of both.
On the one hand, Hunt was the inspirational leader and swashbuckling, womanising starship captain.
On the other, he was the disciplined military strategist, diplomat and idealist.
At the same time, he could also be very sarcastic and flippant; almost to the point of being arrogant, which oddly made him even more likeable.
Nobody could've been cast better in the role.
I did not have to look far for this week's Star Fleet Saturday.
Brad has been very busy reworking his X-Bomber 3D model and started work on the Dai-X as well.
Take a closer look on the SFXB Forum
Migration Away from Facebook
I've been busy migrating all the content that I put on facebook onto the website.
This has taken me about a fortnight but the process is now finished.
The website's hosting has also just been renewed for another 3 years (and 6 months for free).
Doctoku's AI Upscaling Project
On the SFXB Forum, user Doctoku has created a 720p AI-upscaled version of the first episode of the original X Bomber Japanese version of Star Fleet:
SFXB Forum thread
Google Drive direct link
SFXB Forum Issues
At the same time, I learned that newly-registered users on the SFXB Forum were having problems accessing the forum.
This problem in the forum's database has been fixed with a bit of SQL trickery, but it means that we had trouble with spam users who registered over the past months who were then able to disrupt the forum with spam messages as well.
I've pruned all spam users from the forum, along with any of their messages.
I've also tightened up the registration requirements and added a number of spam mail domains to the blocklist.
Lastly, after a recent upgrade, there were problems with the 'breadcrumb' navigation. That's now been fixed.
I added a much cleaner and better version of Japanese artist Shiina's Star Fleet illustration to the Fan Artworks section of the site.
The other week, I found this nicely-styled illustration by Ryuhi Misaki on twitter.
I found this yesterday. It's an article scanned by twitter user; bomberxf01, which the person claimed was part of an initiative to make a movie of the show, after the series ended.
The write-up didn't mention a date when the article was published, but I don't see how they could have produced a movie, with all the props, sets and puppets having been destroyed by fire ... unless they planned on re-creating them.
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