This past Saturday hosted the second annual Southern California Gundam Model Competition – SCGMC 2012. This year, we grabbed the larger of the two rooms at the local Holiday Inn Express, which afforded much more room for attendees for the various aspects of the show. From my perspective, I thought we had a pretty good show. We can always use more growth, so I think this next year, the group and I will make a more concentrated effort to hit up more competitions and see about generating more interests within the general model building community. But I’m definitely happy with our turn out this year. For next year, we’ll definitely need to get a counter so we can at least track the attendance trend. As far as modelers, we had 37 individual entrants, up two from last year. The number of models was 87, down one from last year. I was actually expecting less this year because there was a good possibility that with last year, everyone brings their old kits, and there was a possibility that people didn’t build enough. Its good to know that folks are still busy building! We had 4 demos this year, I changed out the mod demo for an advanced airbrush demo that focused on shading and fine use of the airbrush – which complimented the first demo session of basic airbrush usage. Dan did a demo on decal design that interested a great deal of people, and I followed his decal demo with a quick diorama building discussion.
From last year, we took in a great deal of the suggestions given to us from the previous year and tried to implement as many as possible. Someone had suggested that we show some clips from various Gundam series, so I brought a screen and with a computer connection, showed sequential clips of all the Gundam series ordered by release date. Another suggestion we took was to add a beginners/intermediate category to the competition. However, that led to a little bit of confusion when the entrants were entering the contest. For next year, I believe we should add an additional sheet of paper that helps folks when deciding on their level with some sample questions:
- Did you fix the seam lines? If no, beginner.
- Did you use an airbrush? If yes, advanced.
- Did you do any modifications (electronics, physical mods, scratch building)? If yes, advanced.
- Have you won at a previous SCGMC event? If yes, you are open to join the challenge(NEW!) category.
A list of general questions about technique and level of attention to the build will help folks better categorize their entries. As usual, the judges will have final say in what kits belong in what categories and will move them as necessary.
This year our crew came up with a few more ideas on how we can improve. Along with the printed schedule, we should also put down the raffle times so folks have a better idea on when to return to the room to listen for their tickets. The group also suggested we create a “Challenge” category, which is a level above the advanced for those folks that have won at previous SCGMC events, or those that want to pit their skills against some of our more higher level model builders like Dan, Angel, Brandon, etc. It’s an attempt to help level the playing field while also trying to encourage more participants that may be too shy to enter the competition.
For those that attended, please send us your feed back! We definitely listen to your suggestions as a means to better the event’s experience. So do not be shy, or think your comments are too trivial. Comments and critique on how the show went will definitely help us improve for future shows.
Our judging criteria. We use a system similar to how our local IPMS club judges. First and foremost, the entries are judged on the basic build skills. Were the seams fixed, were the plastic nubs/gates sanded away, was it painted, how smooth is the paint, if decals were applied, is there silvering, etc. The focus here is the basic building skills, and the system starts with a total possible 20 points where points are deducted for infractions on basic build quality. The next criteria is aesthetics, a very subjective system which is rooted in creativity. How creative was the paint scheme, how well does the weathering (if any) matches with the suit, how well placed are the decals and the design of the decals; etc. Here, there is a total of 10 points that can be gained. The next criteria is modifications. What modifications to the kit was done, any electronics, scratch building, resin conversion kits, and basically everything that the modeler added that did not already come with the kit. A total of 10 points can be added here. The flip side to modifications is that it reflects against the build quality. The more modifications, the higher the possibility of a drop in build quality due to a missed seam, glue spots, poor integration of the modification, etc. There is a balance.
As a group, we try to promote proper model building skills over everything else. But also reward creativity and modifications to help balance things. Since we only had a handful of beginner kits, I combined them into one category and judged it as well as the Universal Century 1/144 category. I also had the help of Angel. The figures, general mecha, and diorama categories were judged by Brandon; a seasoned IPMS model builder that has done vignettes, dioramas, star wars, and anime figures so he was the most qualified person to judge those categories that did not enter any of those categories. The Alternate Universe category was split with Gundamm Seed kits getting their own category in the 1/100 level; all other Alternate Universe kits such as 00, AGE, and Wing were in one 1/100 and larger category. There was also the 1/144 Alternate Universe category. These were judged by Manny and Angel, both of which did not enter into those categories. The 1/100 UC and Zaku special theme award was judged by Mitchel, a long time modeler that didn’t enter anything this year. Again, here we follow the IPMS rules for judging in that the judge cannot be a active participant in what ever category they judge. The criteria for being a judge is also open to attendees who have won an award at a previous SCGMC event – so we’re always welcomed to the idea of having more judges. However, we would like to limit the number of judges per category to 3.
For anyone interested in how their kits were judged and what areas they could improve upon, do not hesitate to ask. If posted here, or emailed, I will forward the questions on to the appropriate judge and hopefully get an answer. But for now, I can discuss what I saw in the beginner as well as the 1/144 category. Starting with the beginners. It’s understandable that the seams were not take care of; but to really push oneself out of the beginner’s category, seams must be done. Some of the paint is rough, and some kits were not even painted or sanded completely. Quality of the build was the Xue Eins, a very nicely done kit, but it still had seams and didn’t really gain much from a creativity or mods standpaint. It was only beat out because of the creativity of what I called the Marvel Gundams as they were done in a Spiderman theme. The paint was rough, but the creativity in mods and painting to create the very obvious reference to Spiderman helped balance out the points lost in build quality. The Laker’s Zaku was quite creative, but there were seams, finger prints in the paint, and some rough paint areas that pushed it into the third place category.
The 1/144 Universal Century was difficult as well. Third place went to the Zaku twins. Both were built almost perfectly, so they scored high in the basic build, and got some high marks with the very nicely integrated LED mono eyes. The Zakus only edged out the shiny Gouf Custom because the mono eye on the Zakus were better implemented. The mono eye on the Gouf was just a surface mount, so the integration with the overall kit was a bit lacking. Build wise, the Gouf was very well constructed. The Zaku however lacked a bit of wow factor in comparison to the Hi Nu and Dom. The Hi Nu was perfectly built, it got points for creative use of the stand and the funnel system, but did not have any modifications and the little spot on the base looked like a glue spot and just distracted from the entire kit. The Rick Dom Ground type won based on the number of seamless mods and excellent build quality.
This year’s theme was the MG Zaku, and here are the entries for that category, with the Zaku Cannon winning the category. George from Boston brought his old 1/100 Zaku from the 80’s. It was built quite well and painted nicely. It got a nice nod from the judge for being a kit from the 80s.
The best of show went to a Monster Hunter kit that was just amazingly built. This won at Anime Expo a few years ago too, just the impeccable build quality as well as the amazing paint, which was hand painted. Funny to have this beat out all the Gundams at the “Gundam” competition. But quality is quality.
Since I didn’t judge the other categories I will just post pictures of some of the other winners. I will have a complete list of winners updating this post tonight.
I know that after this event, I’m definitely inspired to build more for next year’s event. And from our accounting, it looks like we can definitely do this again next year. So as with last year, please send us any and all comments and suggestions so that we can continue to improve this show. I didn’t really get much time to run around and take proper pictures of everything, but I was able to hand off the camera to my friend before it ran out of batteries. Hopefully I’ll get some more pictures from others and that they get posted somewhere. For now, here are the rest of the pictures taken from my camera: http://gamerabaenre.com/?page_id=2699