Jul 112017
 

Anime expo has come and gone and I’m finally getting around to uploading the pictures I took from the two days I went and writing a little bit about the event. This was a great year for gunpla. Katsumi Kawaguchi came out to AX and along with a panel of Bandai folks did the judging at the AX leg of the GBWC USA Regions. That was pretty cool. They hosted a few Gundam and Gunpla panels. We also hosted our usual Gunpla building panels for all ages and the infamous 18+ panel as well. There was a new group that had a booth at AX this year. A group called Simp, and from our chatting with the folks there, they are a group that builds commission gunpla models and have started their own shop as well as selling some GK gunpla kits too. They had a pretty impressive display of built kits at the booth. Speaking of commissions, I had promised a guy that contacted me that I would start working on his figure commission in July (after I was done with AX and the GM Sniper project). So now that that’s done, the kit arrived today and I started to get cracking on it. The customer has some specific ideas so hopefully I can build to his expectations.

More about AX, our panels, AX GBWC, and the Saber commission after the jump!

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Jun 252017
 

I picked up a bunch of these little guys when I was in Japan a few months ago. They’re not quite 1/35 scale, but pretty close. The UC Hard Graph 1/35 Ramba Ral Commando kit’s Zaku head is bigger than this; so I would guess it’s about 1/40 or so. Hell, since this is a gashapon toy, it’s pretty much non scale. I have been buried in the GM Sniper project since the beginning of the year so it is time to build something simpler. I cracked one of these guys open at the June build gathering and started doing a little sanding and assembling. The kit is VERY simple. It comes in a ball – the irony yes.

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Jun 152017
 

Since AX is around the corner and I’m still SLOWLY finishing up some fixes on the GM Sniper project. My workbench is fairly clear and I can mock up some quick tutorials. It is always good to revisit some technique that you don’t even think about anymore because they’ve become so automatic and sure, I’ve made video tutorials in the past. But like any good story *cough*spiderman*cough* we can always use a new reboot right? Well, here goes. First up is a quick 6 minute long tutorial on airbrushing and shading. I use two parts painted with different base colors to illustrate a point. The base color will always affect your lighter shading tone.

Next up, I’ve gotten questions about cutting pla plate as well as how to build those cool looking heatsink/radiators. Granted, for the purpose of the video demo, I did a very crude mock up for the sake of time and complete lack of planning on my part prior to just turning on the damn camera and recording. I did actually make a quick first piece. But even that piece isn’t anything to write home about. Again, demo purposes and those parts will be trashed anyways.

Since we’re doing some bits and pieces for AX, I also threw together a montage of the progress from the GM Sniper 2’s sniper rifle build.

And finally, I actually started this video last night along with the above one, but I needed to wait a day before the damn glue cures, so it has been a day since the part was glued and I just finished the second part of the video.

I’m still thinking up more quick little tutorials I can do in the next week or so before AX, so if you have something that you’d like to see a video for, let me know!

Jun 112017
 

Angel, Nate, and I went to A-Kon in Texas this year for the first time. We had applied for a fan panel as our continued SCGMC promotion tour we decided to try this year. We had gone to Tatsu Hobby’s event, IPMS Seattle, IPMS Las Vegas, and other folks went to IPMS San Diego. I rushed and for the most part, finished the GM Sniper 2 Project, so I brought that as my entry for GBWC at A-Kon. I also forgot one of the batteries for it so no lights for display this time around. There were a good number of GBWC entries. We got to meet and chat with a lot of modelers and the Texas Gunpla Club members too.

I’m pretty sure I got pictures of all the entries, so here they are:

One of the winners wasn’t present to accept their award, but we took a group shot of the winners that were present. Of course I need to plug Those Gundam Guys.

Here are the winners. Best of Show went to the Fawn diorama. Best Small Scale was the “These crazy kids” diorama. Judges choice was the Nobel sporting the Texas Gunpla Club colors and flag.

Our main purpose was to do the panel as well as shamelessly plug our own show, Southern California Gundam Model Competition. Angel snapped a few pictures while we presented. We had a pretty good crowd at the panel and the attendees were pretty interested in the materials we presented. There’s hope that some of the folks will take interest in the event and come out to see a real competition.

That said, us at TGG did have a little bit of confusion to the GBWC results. But, in my experience, I’ve gotten so used to the wide spectrum of judging that nothing surprises me anymore and I just enjoy the event for what it is. We had chatted with the guy that built the Zeta. We felt that the kit would have looked better without the additional display (painted motherboard, cotton explosion, etc) The two were not even mated to one another, so it really felt slapped together. There’s no cohesion. At least if there was some sort of a backstory, it would make a little more sense. Looking at the overall results, it seemed like the judges took more influence on the background add ons than focusing on the actual kits. Again, this is too subjective to argue about – but at least with SCGMC, if the kit is not categorized as a diorama, the surrounding displays don’t really add much to the overall value of the kit. That’s why it’s always good to bring the same kit to different competitions because you never really know how a judge here or there would view the project. And with that, you get some pretty damn good insight into future projects or even how to improve the current project.

One other issue I had with one of the bluefin staffers that was handling the contest with just his SHITTY FUCKING attitude. This guy Jonathan – no idea what his last name is, and don’t give a fuck. I submitted my entry via their online form earlier in the week, but apparently that didn’t make it to the “official” list they had. So the little douche tells me that if there isn’t space when modelers on “the list” enter, then my kit gets bumped. Since when did they no longer allow walkin entries? Hell, since when did they not openly welcome and encourage walk-in entries? The guy then moved another kit to make room for mine and in doing so, one of the models fell over, so the staffer just repositioned it and had it leaning against the diorama’s building. When I came back during the judging, I was chatting with some of the builders and the guy that built the GM v Zaku diorama (leaning GM) was complaining that this staffer refused to let him reposition the leaning kit. Seriously? You fucking moved it, then uncaringly repositioned it, then refused to allow the builder to fix the issue? I chatted with the other staffer about this because he and I have known one another for years; and I mentioned this and his response was, “Really? And I knocked off points because that kit was leaning”. I know that this was Jonathan’s first time running the competition. So some benefit of the doubt should be allowed for judging style, organization, and his handling of the event. I just hope he either learns to lighten the fuck up, or they just have someone else more experienced or with a better attitude. The guy’s a fucking dick and more than one modeler was complaining.

It’s harder and harder to take GBWC seriously anymore. Be it the judging results, the attitude towards the contest as it seems like it’s a chore for them and they have to take precious time out of their day to “deal with the contest”. I feel the eye rolling when a modeler comes over and wants to enter the contest. Not just Akon, but I’ve seen this at Otakon. I’d love to visit some of the other events that are not AX or NYCC and see if there’s a continuing trend/attitude. But I seriously get the general feeling that the newest guy draws the short stick and no one really wants to deal with this contest. It’s more of a formality than anything else for them. At the end of the day, it’s a marketing ploy, that’s it. I’ve been continuing to support it as best I can, since I really do want it to succeed. But other than bitching and moaning, we have no control over anything. Hence we continue to support SCGMC and try to act on the feedback we get year to year to improve our contest and keep it as honest and legitimate as possible.

Akon was fun. Definitely cool to meet so many more modelers and chat about all things gunpla. I only wish I didn’t have to leave so soon or I could have spent more time with the folks there. Yesterday was a long ass day and I need a few days to recover still. I really hope all the modelers we met make it out to SCGMC some day!

Jun 072017
 

This last bit of work has been ongoing since I finished the Sniper. This is the display base. I got the idea to do an relief style display when I was up at Tatsu Hobby’s Blue and Yellow Ball event a few months back. I saw a display that had half a figure projecting out of a wall piece and thought that would be a really cool effect to try with a kit. So I want to start small first, then possibly do something bigger in the future. A more wall mount piece in the future, but here we go. I had been working on the Zaku bit for a while and only touched a little on the wood base in a previous update. I have some electronics involved here too. Previously, I had a ring light attached at the bottom of the box with some angled styrene sides. Aside from that, I also have the electronics that will drive the mono eye. I’m using some tinyduino boards to power and run the mono eye.

Here is a quick video of ths base.

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May 242017
 

I got to thinking about the kit and the mods I made for the thing and never really got around to listing them out. It is not only for the competitions that I plan on attending; but a visual reference to how much really changed on the kit from the stock photos Bandai and others have put out to the dizzying camoed painted completed version I have now. I also realized that when I snapped “final” pictures the other day, I left some sticky tack on the lower area of the GM’s slide down visor. So I took some new pictures with some slightly altered lighting to fix the rather harsh looking light against the kit.

Using stock photos, here’s the direct comparisons:

The list of mods after the jump:

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May 212017
 

This past week was spent finishing up work on the GM Sniper 2. Realistically, there were only 7 or so steps left from the last update. The decals, the after decal gloss coat, panel lines, flat coat, weathering (in two steps, paint chipping and pastels), then the final flat coat. So there’s not much to see in the progress other than some quick snaps during the above processes.

But the sniper is still only the first part, granted, it really is the “main” part of the project. I still have the complementing base that needs to be finished before this project as a whole can be tied off as truly finished. I’ll quickly go through the final steps for the GM then get back into the base work, and at the very end, the completed gallery; all after the jump!

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