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Archive for February 2008:

Camouflage and Faerie Myncis

This certainly is a busy week for petdays isn't it!

I was always dubious about a camouflage colour when it came up as a suggestion, so it comes as something as a surprise to me that generally speaking I really like camo pets. The mynci is no exception.

The colour-scheme stands out (the irony!) as it must be pretty unique within Neopia. Which is always good - I like seeing pets use unusual shades where possible. It's a very... realistic sort of look. I'm not expert on camouflage patterns, and wiki was disappointingly low on examples for me to look at, but this seems a pretty plausible combination of shades. I want to say it reminds me of the uniforms the mini-squaddies in town wear. At least on the darker parts - I can't imagine that bright green being of much use unless you're fighting in a vat of gooseberries. And last I heard, gooseberry situated skirmishes were on the wane. However it does make a certain amount of sense on a cartoon monkey; standing on the forest floor and looking up at the canopy, the sunlight filtering through the trees makes leaves appear quite bright. Erm, I think so anyway.

The actual patterning is nice too. It's subtle enough that it doesn't dominate, but there's still a definite presence. Similarly the shading isn't particularly noticeable, yet the pet doesn't look at all flat. A very nice job by the artist all round, down to the very nicely selected tan iris.

The faerie mynci on the other hand... It's interesting, I'll give it that. I like the shape and particularly the patterning of the wings, it certainly makes a change from the tendency to make them either super-simple butterfly wings (unexciting) or overly frilly (not suited to the mynci). As for their colour, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it. It's from the shoyru's muted tones camp rather than typical faerie bright shades, and I think it could have looked rather lovely if paired with something grundo/meerca inspired.

Unfortunately instead it was paired with this bizarre blue concoction which I am really struggling to describe. There's something really, really off about it and I can't put my finger on it at all. It's somehow... neon perhaps? It reminds me of CMYK printing and highlighter pens and the 1980s. The pink-purple eyes and dull wings probably aren't helping. It's almost like it's been shaded with completely the wrong colour or something. I don't know what's wrong, but whatever it is is really really wrong in my eyes.

The (not-so-)little tuft of hair only adds to the 80s vibe. I like the little purpley bit at the front, though it's odd when that's not carried through anywhere else on the pet at all. The highlighting (or it's just a lighter colour) along the outer edge looks nice too. But overall it just looks like too much - that's a huge amount of fluff to suddenly on a pet which otherwise seems to have very flat, smooth hair. I think it's because I'm trying to apply human logic that it appears to be placed too far back. But even if it makes sense there, artistically it doesn't work.

Bit of a hodge-podgey mess really. Which is a shame because those wings really are nice.

Love them? Hate them? Want to take the opportunity I missed to make jokes about winged monkeys? Then head over to the forum and do your civic duty.

(Edit: it's a shame you can't see the time these things are posted - this was at 08:20 on 22/02/2008. Completely by chance. I'm easy to please.)

Desert and Skunk Tonu (Tonus? Toni?)

Hot on the heels of yesterday's underwhelming chias, today we have a couple of very nice, very sharp-looking tonus (the pronunciation guide says the plural is tonu, but I don't think I like that).

Skunk first. It's just a colorfill, but it's a good colorfill. Perhaps a little too dark - I don't remember whether my monitor tends toward light or dark, but if there are any that are darker than mine, it's going to be very hard to make out details - but the gray parts are just about the right shade and the artist has thankfully avoided any extraneous colors besides the green eyes, which are barely noticeable. It's a shame you can't see more of the stripe. I suppose the mane gets in the way, but I wonder whether the stripe could have continued into it. Or would that have been too Bride of Frankenstein (or Sweeney Todd)? All in all, a very nice color and something you could easily use as a base for an interesting outfit, were you so inclined.

Desert is less visually striking, but still well done. The blue gem on the circlet is nicely eye-catching. The subtle blue highlights on the mane and tail add a level of interest that plain black wouldn't have. They seem right. The ixi and the uni, neither great pets themselves, are the only ones that share this characteristic, but somehow it just says "Desert". The anklets and gold horn are a nice touch. I personally would take off the skirt thing if I had one of these. It's awkward and unnecessary, but it appears to be the desert fashion. The gold toenails are barely noticeable, but it's nice that they match the horn, and the false beard is another nice detail, though it unfortunately gets a little lost in the mane. Perhaps a bit longer would have worked better?

Discuss the new tonus on the forum.

Gold and Rainbow Chias

Chia day was actually on Monday, but the long weekend in the US has meant a delay... I haven't heard any protests, though, since chias are hardly the most popular pet. And, late as it is, they didn't get such a bad deal overall.

The colours are rather disappointingly boring- where's the zombie chia? It might have been a crowning glory in chia colours... but no, we have gold and rainbow. Except I was sure that the gold chia was actually jelly. There is no jelly chia, so I wasn't completely out with my guess. Looking at it again, though, it is not translucent, as jelly should be, though it is very shiny. Unfortunately (chia lovers look away now) the best I can think about a solid gold chia is that it could be melted down to provide a sizeable lump of gold to use for some other purpose.

The rainbow chia is certainly bright and cheerful- I think mainly because the centre of its body and therefore the largest areas of colour are in the hot citrus colours. It reminds me of Rowntree's fruit pastille ice lollies.

Moving on, the chia gnomes are actually very cute- they're small enough that the ugly hare lip isn't visible (and the beards hide that too) and as a bonus it appears that they're wearable- bad news for gardeners and gnome collectors, but good news for everyone else. The school supplies are nice, and the mutant chia hole punch, random as it is, is pretty.

Some chia owners might feel short changed by the fact that there are only two items of chia clothing, but they are at least nice looking pieces of clothing. The dress is suprisingly pretty, considering how shapeless a chia is, and the coconut suit is cute, though it is a novelty item (but then, chias are one of the more novelty type pets).

Have your say here.

Royal Lennies

Happy Lenny Day! Seems like there's a lot you could do with royal for lennies; they're almost the right shape for wearing clothes already. Let's see whether they live up to the potential...

Well, the male has some really neat clothing. Scepter, crown, ring, sandals, and that suit. The base color is a very lovely greenish blue, which I'd like on its own - well done, TNT! The clothes seem almost too detailed for the size, but maybe it'd be better in the larger pet lookup image. All the jewels are a sort of bright green that might have been better with a darker shade - still, it's appropriately shiny and regal-looking. (You know what would have been neat? A magpie, with his collection of shiny things... maybe for skunk, though.) The jacket is quite elegant, though if it's supposed to reference a specific culture, I can't identify it. Still, very nice-looking, and a decent Royal.

Female is less satisfying. It doesn't have the level of detail that the male does; she does have a ring, but unfortunately it's so small you can barely see it, and it seems to be the same color as the base color. The dress looks more or less like a shapeless purple sack. It might have been better shorter, so that you could see her feet. The headdress is kind of nifty, though again, if it's supposed to be something specific, I don't recognize it. The base color is lighter than I think it should be, and it doesn't seem to go very well with the purple - they don't clash, but they don't seem to have anything to do with each other, either. Finally, the fan looks wrong because of the foreshortening - the tassel redeems it a bit, but what would have helped it more would have been some more interesting pattern than a plain purple semicircle. The royalgirl is just not very impressive, and in my opinion, not worth the price of the paint brush.

Whether you agree or disagree, you can have your say on the forum.

Jelly and Speckled Zafaras

Zafara Day brings us two very nice colors.

I love what the artists have done with speckled since customization, and this one continues the trend. The uneven spots look a lot more natural, and the distribution seems like it might actually occur in a real animal (disregarding the green, of course). The trademark spots on the ears blend in with the speckles but without being totally lost, and the clumping of white on the tail, feet, and hands (if that's the right word) add a nice contrast to the rest of the pet. I like the unique gray eyes as well. My only criticism is the shade of green on the chest. It seems just a touch too dark. It's not very different from what's used on other species, but something about it is off. But overall, this is very nice pet, and one I'd certainly consider owning.

Overall I like the jelly, but the color is a little too bright for my taste. Something closer to the koi might have been nicer (incidentally, having looked at the koi, it seems that the transparency issue is indeed what caused that awful brown color. Good to know). The shading looks different from normal - I guess it has more intermediate shades. It gives it a softer look, and of course a shinier one, but in the process it's a bit of a mismatch with the normal Neopets style. The only transparency in evidence is the hair - you can just see the curve of the head behind it, and sadly the result is to make the hair look like a flat paper cutout. Despite all this, though, it's not a bad pet, and if I happened to zap one I might keep it. But that's me - I like zafaras.

Discussion thread is here.

(Figures that it'd be Zafara Day that finally lures me out of not posting. I think we've all been feeling uninspired.)