A group of us representing Those Gundam Guys went to Anime Expo, as we have been doing for the past several years to participate in the Gunpla Builders World Cup preliminary competition held by Bluefin. Dan, Angel, Mike, and I brought up our kits and put them into the display case on Thursday. We chatted with some folks spending most of our time trying to promote our show, the Southern California Gundam Model Competition since the audience at AX is just huge. There are thousands of people buying gunpla over this holiday weekend; the perfect opportunity for advertisement.
Done chatting a bit, we start to wander the hall. We hit up the Hobbylink Japan booth, and I chatted with Jim, whom I’ve known over the years as we talked about figure models. He’s a very talented resin figure modeler, so we usually exchanged pictures of our recent builds and such. A few days later, I told him that Volks was in the hall, and he was surprised. He’s a big fan of Volk’s figure kits and was unaware of their presence this year. I also got to meet Syd from the Hobbylink.tv web shows. I invited him to the gunpla panels we host, and left him my card with my website/contact info. I got a nice chuckle when he looked at my card and said he had heard about my site. He told me he’d email me if he could make on of the panels.
The group decided to start at one end of the hall and try to get all the booths. That didn’t work out very well. By about 3PM, we were beat the hell up, and only got half of the exhibit hall. They’ve added hall G to the convention and massively expanded things. We visited the Volks booth and I immediately grabbed a Revy kit I had been eyeing for a while at the Volks booth. I was pretty surprised they brought so many resin figure kits. Actually, this is prolly the first time in well over 10 years that I have found resin kits at AX. The other guys in the group eyed the products at the Volks booth, and eventually, over the next few days, Angel and Mike ended up buying Bang Dolls and Dan picked up a Mari resin figure kit from Evangelion. HAHAHA, slowly I’ll get all these guys building a resin figure.
The original plan was to get through the entire hall, then leave; we got through half and gave up. We had 3 more days, well, for a few of us, we had 2 more days.
Friday rolled around and some of our wives came, so we ended up doing the entire hall trek. The wife picked up some shirts from Fat Rabbit Farm, and I picked up a tri corgi butt shirt from the Lokisa booth next door. I snapped a few more pictures from new additions to the GBWC contest shelves. And we just wandered around for several hours. Friday was going to be our long day as we had our 18+ Gundam Model panel that night at 8:30.
The AV guy in the room was a bit of a tightwad. Some serious control issues with the kid, but it was all good, we got set up and were ready early. The previous panel was still ending when we wandered in, so we dropped off our gear and headed outside to where they had the line set up for our panel. We did some crowd work and handed out some SCGMC pins. In hindsight, we should have brought some of our shirts in backpacks and offered them to the folks that asked about our shirts when we were socializing. It was a pretty good time and we got some of the crowd pumped for the show.
This year; we tried something different from the previous years. I’ve been doing these panels since 2006; and every once in a while, we change things up. Most of the time, the changes fail miserably; but I think this year was very successful. Instead of just me, Angel, Dan, and Mike joined in as part of the panel presentation. I had gotten the slides done the previous evening, actually, early that morning as I procrastinate a little too much when ever it comes time to do the damn things.
The Drexel Grate, the guy that won the GBWC Prelim at Akon came up to use and introduced himself at our 18+ gunpla panel and took a picture with us. At Akon, Drexel and his group did a gunpla panel and according to Angel, they modeled their presentation after mine from last year. Pretty damn cool!
Syd from Hobbylink.tv showed up as well and set up a camera. He had sent me an email telling me he was going to come and asking if he could video the panel. I told him that it was the 18+ panel, hence warning him that a good amount of the material will probably be unusable; but he came anyways. He also mentioned that there were several people who came by the HLJ booth that were pretty excited about the panel. Also damn cool!\
Having done this for 9 years, I’ve still not learned my lesson to be more prepared. I had some issues with my laptop, so good thing that I had Angel bring his. I also forgot to bring the tripod, so the wife had to capture the panel using her selfie stick and my gopro. AND, I didn’t set the gopro to use a higher ISO, so the video captured was REALLY dark. But I did some video editing to digitally fix that. Other than these little issues; I think the presentation went VERY well. The room capacity was 300, and we filled that with another 50 or so outside waiting to get in when folks inside left. And we kept a majority of the audience. The new format works very well. From the perspective of our wives whom have been forced to attend these multiple years; so their opinions are quite valuable as they see things we don’t get to see. We didn’t get to take many pictures at this panel, but at least we did get the video. Next year I’ll put the tripod on the checklist and we’ll definitely have a better video.
At the end of the panel, Mr too tight in the pants AV dude threw us out so we didn’t have much time to chat with the attendees. But it was late and we were pretty damn tired. AND, I needed to get home to edit the presentation materials for the next morning’s gundam panel.
The all ages panel is pretty much the same thing as the 18+, minus the humor. Because we’re a bunch of old guys and our humors always dark and dirty. And I have to try to not step over that line at the all ages panel. Granted, I walk right up to that line, and dance around it, but I’ve been pretty good not crossing it and pissing people off. At least I don’t notice the “get up and leave in an angry and disgusted huff” at either panel, so that’s a good thing right? Right?
The all ages panel was at 10:30 in the morning; so we headed to AX extra early and just vegged out in the empty workshop’s room as ours was the first panel of the day there. We later got up and wandered down to the line for the panel to chat with the folks as we had done the previous evening. Gave out the rest of our pins and tried to sell off some of our shirts which didn’t go successfully. The crowd was definitely mellower; possibly because it was early, and it was Day 3; so the wariness is starting to set in for some of the hardcore con goers.
The room filled to capacity, but nothing as big and fast as the previous night. The draw is definitely the 18+ panel. We’re also competing with the opening of the exhibit hall; so it wasn’t a bad showing by any means. The interesting thing that happened is that the Bandai reps wandered into the panel just as we got to the GBWC slide. Talk about damn good timing; or they had a plant inside that messaged them when I got to this; but these guys always drop by the panel and snap pictures. Seeing a room full of folks interested in learning to build advanced technique always tickles them; at least I hope that’s the case.
Some folks have asked to download the slide show, so here’s the all ages version:
After the panel, we headed out and grabbed some food and did a little more exhibit hall wandering before watching the judging. The judges have put on their judging costumes and are busy marking down points. At the panel, I talked about adding a microprocessor to my entry and that there was a morse conversation, and when asked what the conversation was, I told them to go to the hall and figure it out themselves. Then when I reached the hall and looked at the display, I noticed that the lights were out and the bluetooth wasn’t responding. I made the decision to leave the batteries in; and they got drained. Oh well. Guess I should have brought some extra batteries incase this happened.
We did sell a good number of our shirts. And a good number of the folks that did buy them actually put the shirts on immediately; so here’s just one random guy that’s sporting one of our awesome shirts!
Yes, we still have shirts for sale! Granted we have less than 50 now, but we still have shirts available for sale! The is one of or ways to raise money to pay for the venue; so if you like our SCGMC 2015 shirt designs, support us!
After the deliberation and calculations, the Bandai and bluefin folks announce the winners. Funnier still is that while messing with the amp, that one bluefin guy who caused the shelf to drop on my Sazabi last year, looked like it was about to push over the entire shelf as he attempted to get the nic plugged in; will he ever learn? Probably not.
Best of Show
Bandai Judges Award:
Best Large Scale:
Best Small scale
HAHA, I never take pictures of my kits in the display case, so here a Link to my diorama.
Once the B&B folks got done snapping pictures, we took down our kits and headed home. It was a very successful Anime Expo. I had a great time chatting with folks I only get to see a few times a year; and I think we did some good promotion for our SCGMC show in November. Until next year, here’s all the pictures I took over the past few days; I’m pretty sure I snapped all the entries; except mine; but they should all be there.
An additional side note. The competition has vastly improved. I remember the first year they did this competition and the case was filled with snapped and unpainted kits. Not even nubs and seams were taken care of; and wow, such a change in skill levels. This is a good thing to see. Dan and I were talking and just looking at the overall entries; the skills have exponentially increased. This trend should continue and we’ll definitely have some really nice stuff to look forward to every year.