This past Saturday was the monthly model build gathering. I believe we were about 25 strong. I actually got quite a bit of work done on my Saz project that I started early last week. People brought food and the grill was fired up. There was a little bit of drinking and a little bit of rockband towards the end of the night, but there was a great deal of building going on as well.
First off, I’ve been working on an HGUC Sazabi since last week. I’ve been doing lighting mods as well as cosmetic mods here and there. During the gathering, I spent most of my time working on opening up the lower chest vents of the Saz. I started with a small drill and drilled out some pilot holes. Then using some detail files, I cut across the holes and opened up the vent area while sanding the area down to straighten out the vents.
With the three vents cut out, a little metal mesh insert is placed on the inside of the parts as additional detailing. And with both sides completed, the parts are added to the torso for a quick picture. The other work on the kit I did involved sanding, so nothing too spectacular there.
Now on to the other projects that folks were working on. Yuki was working on some work stuff, so she was at the build table with us. Nicky was also at the table attempting to read but doing nothing but chatting with us while we all worked. In an attempt to return to gunpla building, Terry brought his O kit, for which Angel decided that he should also bring his O kit. Angel went to work on drawing out some panel lines and a few cosmetic mods.
And Terry used his to make fun little poses…
Nathan brought his completed 1/48th Sinanju Bust stand and a Huckbein to show off to the group. Everyone was impressed with the Sinanju. Nathan is getting better and better with each kit. There were some seams on his Huckbein that we pointed out and suggested some ideas on how to fix that issue.
Nathan spent most of his time painting. Even when he left to go pick up his girlfriend, she came back with him and watched him paint. I can just imagine this is how Nicky is while Angel is painting away at home.
And while Nathan was busy painting his kit, we had some fun with his completed kits. I give you, Sinanjuguy and Panda Base.
And further poof that girls do enjoy gunpla model building, and that they do in fact, come to the build gatherings.
And now some pictures of what folks were working on. There were a few bearguys being built. Kat was working on a Crossbones Gundam, John was working on a V Gundam, and Sean is working on another ship.
The paint booth was in use during the whole gathering which is a good thing. I did a little paint demo for the new crew. Basically showing them the importance of thinning, and that it’s about consistency of the thinned paint, not an exact ratio. The ratios works as a good guideline, but there are far too many factors that affect things for an exact formula. At the end of the day, it will come down to experience. Hopefully my quick little demo helped and soon these folks will be well on their way to learning the airbrush and mastering the tool. While doing the demo, I asked Angel to set up the grill. Dave brought brats and dogs, Angel brought chicken, Jeff brought some amazingly marinated beef short ribs, James brought corn and potatoes, and Dan brought beers and paper plates. I used the method I learned from Dave to marinate the corn using lime juice and chili pepper, and that seemed to go over very well with the folks.
And after a long day of playing with Duke, Hugo relaxes while Nicky rubs his belly.
This is it for the build gathering, up next is just a mindless rant, so feel free to skip this.
The build gathering is an interesting study on social order and how such different personalities come together and relate to one another based on a common interest. The interest is such a niche subject, but it works as a perfect example of society in general. One would naturally assume that since our hobby is that of a more nerd/geek type; that the majority of the folks would be socially awkward, overly shy, and just introverts. But this is far from the reality. The reality is that the group is just a normal sampling of everyday people; something one would find if they gathered up a random number of people out of a grocery store. There are the alphas, there are some shy folks, but in general, there isn’t a stand out personality type that can be used to define the group. The nerds, the introverts, and the shy folks are the minority.
After the build gathering, some of the new folks were sitting around with me and a few older members of the group discussing the dynamics in respect to the build gathering. This discussion prompts me to write this as I’m reflecting on the gatherings that have been held from the first through this past gathering. I believe that I’m still fairly close in following my original goal; which is the further promote this aspect of the hobby. Not simply cutting and snapping the damn kits together. But everything involved from proper cutting, sanding, priming, painting, mods, etc. I would love to eventually walk into an IPMS show and see the same level of respect given to gunpla modelers as the aircraft/armor/car modelers. I’m still far from this ideal, but I believe that I’m progressing towards that; bit I digress.
I did not start the build gatherings as a ploy to make new friends. Hell, I have enough friends as it is. But if in the process, the right personalities match up, such bonds are bound to happen. I’ve always viewed, or have tried to view the gathering as a teacher-student relationship. Where eventually the students become teachers themselves and pass on knowledge. “If you are not here to teach, then you are here to learn!” No where in that phrase is the idea of making friends. This is something that I need to constantly remind myself. Yes, some folks will be friends, but the majority will not. And it’s not an attack on their personalities or who they are, it is just the natural order of the universe. The idea that we are happy shiny people holding hands is absurd. We all have different political views, different outlooks on life, different ideals, etc; but we all share the same interest in gunpla. And if that’s the only common thread tying one to another, so be it.
All this is a preface to our discussion towards the end of the gathering. Over the years, I’ve managed to scare off or push away builders. For one reason or another, they’ve lost interest in gunpla or just lost interest in the gatherings. Not an issue. The issue is the folks that still have an interest, but won’t come anymore because of me or someone at the gatherings. This will happen, personalities will not always mesh, and this happens to those a little more sensitive to such things. In general, I’m not the nicest person in the world, but most of the meanness is done out of humor, to make others laugh. It’s nothing personal, but some folks can’t handle it. I’ve become more aware of that and as a result, usually stick to hammering those that can handle it.
Grover. The folks at the gathering know him. From his first appearance a good number of us were put into shock. However, things have been improving with him. At least on a social level. The guy is socially awkward. From my observations, collections from what I hear in passing conversations, and a little knowledge of the guy before he started coming to the build gatherings; I’ve begun to formulate a general idea of this guy. This is that one guy everyone knew in school that was a little socially awkward and didn’t have many friends for various reasons. It’s not that he’s a bad person, he just lacks the social skills that the majority of people have. Nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t matter how he got this way; my guess is that he has some overbearing parents that have sheltered him a little too much. But regardless, he’s capable of learning, and like anything, being sociable can be learned. My Fair Lady anyone? Still, according to various people at the build gatherings, he’s shown improvement with regards to social skills. He still scares a great number of people. The next thing we’ll have to work on with him is volume control and to not talk over people or loudly around others that are having conversations nearby. I think these build gatherings are a good environment for him. Perhaps, one day, he’ll make some true friendship bonds, or become more and more familiar and comfortable with an open social setting so as to not frighten away people on the first impression.
And then there’s the guy who thinks he’s friends with everyone, or that everyone wants to be his friend. He believes him to be above everyone. He’s condescending. He has a huge chip on his shoulder. Oh yeah, and I’m not talking about myself as it can be easily misconstrued as I have all these qualities as well. This guy hasn’t really been around, but showed up thse past gathering. We welcomed him in as always as we are always glad to have more folks over. But returning to the social commentary and observations of the various types of personalities that make up the build gathering group; this is yet another extreme minority, akin to Grover. To refrain from pushing folks out or scaring them, I pretty much just ignore or avoid too much interaction. There are group dynamics at work, and far be it for me to dislike one person that such a person would be excluded from the group. Others in the group like him, and that’s all that matters. The build gathering is not my personal play thing, I don’t own it, I’m just one of many facilitators. So long as it doesn’t affect the wide scope and goals of the build gathering; it’s not my place to exclude or include anyone specifically.
So what the hell did this guy do to earn a spot on my radar? Well, during the middle of the build gathering, I catch the guy walking out of my roommate’s room. I immediately know that he used her bathroom. Granted my roommate knows him and has hung out with him; but my roommate wasn’t home. What kind of entitled douche thinks so highly of himself that he can take such liberties in my goddamn house? When I asked him if he had just used my roommate’s bathroom, his response was that someone was using mine/stinking mine up. I had gotten the feeling that my bathroom was below his standards and that he somehow earned a social standing that is above all the other folks at the build gathering; and that this grants him such permission. At the VERY least, he could have come to me, and asked if he could use her bathroom. But no, this would be below this entitled asshole of a human existence.
But I bring this subject up inline with my discussions on Grover. I’m going to guess that proper parenting comes into play. Grover with his overbearing parents, was probably limited in social outings, that coupled with most folks refusing to see through the awkwardness and see potential; and just running off in the other direction when he’s upon the scene. This other fellow comes and looks down his nose at everyone believing that he’s above everyone. At the end of the day, I’d rather welcome Grover back; at least he knows that he’s a little socially awkward. Yet at the same time, unless folks sit him down and give him suggestions on how to be less socially awkward; he won’t improve, but I think he’s starting to take cues from folks and he’s learning. Bathroom tool has been told numerous times when he does something that just reeks of an entitled attitude, and still there is no signs of improvement. I’ve given up, it’s not my responsibility to play parent in teaching a child proper manners.
Towards the end of my build gatherings, most folks help clean my place up. This past gathering, a few from the newer group helped bag all the recyclables and even went so far as to divide them into different types of materials – bottles, plastics, etc. They even washed the dishes that were in the sink. I told them that they didn’t have to, since they’re still new and guests; but the response from them was that this is part of their upbringing. This is in addition to the idea that they’re serious about learning how to build and are very focused on building. I really hope that the interest in building continues, this new group is highly welcomed and I hope they continue to participate in our little monthly gatherings.
I know that a good number of the build gathering folks read this, and I hope that they understand that we’re here to learn, build, and promote model building in general. If we make some friends along the way, that’s just an added bonus.