This past Sunday was the Pasadena Modelers Society’s annual model contest, ValleyCon. A few of us from the build gathering went and entered our kits into the competition. Not all of us are gunpla builders, and congrats to Sean for his wins in the 1/48th tank, 1/350 ships and 1/700 ships categories. Brandon on in the figures category. There were tons of excellently built models across all genres of plastic/resin/vinyl. Our little niche of gunpla builders made a pretty good showing as well. I think we impressed upon the show’s chairman that not all the gunpla builders actually know one another.
The model kits. A fellow that I met at Valleycon two years ago showed. Two years ago, he had brought a PG Gundam that was nicely built. This year he brought a couple of scratch built kits, a kitbashed Sentinel Gundam, and a 1/48 Nu.
Angel brought his O kit that he had finished at 5:30AM that morning. He’s not completely finished, but close enough for the sake of the competition. He also brought along his 1/144 Exia.
Dan brought his Zaku I, the Ruby Guard GM, and his modified Cherudim.
Dan also brought Nathan’s kits to the competition.
Some of the IMPS OC club members brought along their sci-fi kits. So there were some Dougram and Mak kits in the mix as well.
And from the American scifi world. A little side note here, the C3P0 and the Sea View kit was at this show last year. Most of us like to keep to the idea that if a kit was shown at one event, that take it out of competition for the same show at a later date, unless of course there was major modifications/additions done to the kit to merit a follow on entry at the same event. It’s interesting that modelers will enter the same kit under the premise that it had not won an award previously, so a reentry is merited. I’ll bring the same kit to different shows, but never repeat a kit at the same show, unless well modified or rebuilt. Personal choice I guess.
There was some well done scratch built sci fi kits as well. I believe they are original designs, or I just don’t know where the kit came from. And the last picture shows a group of kits built from randomly found junk such as a lego box, sensor light, mouse, etc. The idea here is great, but there’s a little something missing in the execution. It’s nice to grab things, glue them together, then paint it, but taking the additional step of sanding, puttying, and possibly adding styrene strips, rods, etc to really turn the items into things completely unrecognizable. The initial idea for these builds was cool when I saw the same items a few years ago.
This is what won first place in the Science Fiction Hardware category. Granted in another competition, it would be entered into the real space category as opposed to be “science fiction”. Even more interesting, is that there was a category for rockets and artillery, and there were only two entries in that category this year. While hanging out with Dan and Brandon, I called that kit as the category’s winner. It is such a burden to be right all the time. (sarcasm)
Scifi was only a section of the show, granted it was a pretty good showing; there were tons of other models at the show. I took a great deal of pictures, but I’m positive that I didn’t get everything. Click here for the show pictures.
Nicky has our little model contest days completely figured out. Down to the end of the show when we bitch and complain that us gunpla modelers, and just science fiction in general are looked at as the red headed step child of the model building community. I tend to go to these shows for inspiration, and for the past seven or so years that I’ve been attending these contests, I’ve learned a great deal and have gotten tons of ideas and sparks of inspiration for my own projects. The whole reason I started hosting the build gatherings was to build up the gunpla category in various competitions. The reason I presented the workshops at various conventions was to promote the hobby. So inspiration hits again.
I’ve attempted and pretty much failed at trying to revive the online model a month competition. Realistically, the logistics and time spent to keep something like that running was just not worth it. But I did learn a few things from it. Models once a month isn’t feasible. Models once a year however, that would work. But why keep things online? The goal is to popularize the genre in the local community.
So here we go, *ding*… light-bulb… We do a Gundam Model Competition. No other genres of anime, yet, because for any slim chance of success, we shouldn’t bite off more than we can possibly chew or even digest. Lets start small, keep a narrow scope of focus. Granted the Gundam universe is HUGE, but we can control that with categories and such. What do we need, a venue, some vendors, trophy sponsorship, and possibly corporate backing, but I’m not too keen on that idea.
I’m thinking if we want something this year, we’ll have to get it done around early November for this to even be feasible and enhance our chances of success. A ballroom booked at a local hotel should suffice. We’ll need to rent out table space and the room for a day. I do not expect this to be a large event, but we have to start somewhere. I envision the event to have a section for the competition, section for vendors, and a section for workshop presentations on various Gundam Model building techniques. We’ll even call this the “Southern California Gundam Model Competition” (SCGMC) just to centralize this and give the event a focus.
Again starting small and potentially building this up; we’ll need sponsors and vendors to help offset the costs of running such an event. Local shops, possibly the local gunpla distributor, etc. I think I know enough people that I can probably get this running. But we’d need sponsors to help out with trophy costs, and vendors to help out with the cost of renting the venue. Again, we’re starting small, grass roots type stuff. I will also look towards some of the local model building IPMS clubs for some input or potentially sponsorships.
I’d also like a raffle for kits type thing that’s done at the local contests. Sponsors can donate kits for the raffle and it’s another means for supporting the event.
Again, keeping with the idea to not bite off more than we can swallow. The contest will be Gundam centric. Anything from the Gundam universe. Open for Bandai kits, resin kits, scratch builds. Categories will need to be clear, as it’ll be difficult to fully break down the categories. We have to be flexible enough for potential splits in the various categories. Main categories are as follows:
Best of Show – best out of everything
UC (everything within the scope of the Universal Century: Gundam, 80, 83, Zeta, CCA, F91, Unicorn, etc)
– 1/100 and larger: First, Second, Third
– 1/144 and smaller: First, Second, Third
AU (Seed, 00, Turn A, Wing, G, etc)
– 1/100 and larger, First, Second, Third
– 1/144 and smaller: First, Second, Third
Best Diorama, any scale.
The rules for this will be strict, the scene MUST tell a story. A single kit standing on an elaborate base is just that, a kit on an elaborate base. A kit in a hanger with people and other machines that tell a story, such as the unit is being serviced, the unit is being built, the unit is being stolen, etc. A static unit on a hanger base with nothing else is not a diorama.
Theme award, any scale
The idea here is to create a yearly theme, that overlaps the above competition. Basically a kit can qualify for one of the above categories as well compete against everything else within the scope of the theme. Ideas would be best grunt, best hero suit, best Char unit, best Amuro unit, Best Zeta, Best Seed, Best Wing, etc etc.
OOB, any scale
Best out of the box build. The same idea as the theme award, just an additional award. Kits must be box stock and only use what is given in the box. Instructions must be included as proof of participation in the OOB competition.
As it stands, I’d love to get enough participation to merit a potential of 16 or so awards. The judging criteria will still need to be discussed.
The Venue Part Deux
Can this be done? Yes. Will this be successful, I don’t know. I’d like it to be successful. The participation for such competitions at local venues such as Anime Expo and other such events has proven some level of success. The cost of participating in a multiday event is prohibitive to most. And the focus at an anime convention just isn’t there. Competing at local model contests isn’t giving us what we want either. We need a separate Gundam contest.
General admission would be something around $5. And akin to how most competitions are run, we can charge a dollar per entry, and folks will not be limited on the number of entries they bring. For those that just want to see the event, attend the workshops, and purchase kits and supplies from the vendors, they just have to pay the general admission fee.
There are gunpla modelers all over Southern California, is there enough of an interest in participating in a one day Gundam Model Contest event?