This past AX was probably one of my shortest stays at the convention. I normally spend at least 3 days, but there were just too many people and nothing that truly pulled me as far as interests. Where I used to wander the halls and take pictures of just about everything, I pretty much only focused on the GBWC, my two panels, and promoting SCGMC as much as possible. This year was pretty damn crowded. I don’t believe I have ever seen this large a sea of people. And in the previous years, the lines for registration after the first day is usually fairly tolerable; I’m pretty surprised at how long people still had to wait for getting registered even on day 3. Yeah, this con has taken a huge jump in attendance. I also noticed that the exhibit hall has grown considerably with a great deal more vendors. Crazy.
Granted, I did pull out the creeper cam a few times and did snap only a few pictures of some of the cool cosplays that walked by, but there was just too many people for me to justify stopping them to snap pictures. But as for GBWC, I believe I captured pictures of all the entries, sans my Sazabi, but this can be seen in the case shot that I took on Friday. There were a few more kits added in on Saturday.
I’ve seen some posts from folks that comment that a great deal of these entries suck, that they can do better. Well? Where are your entries? As for as sucking, well, I’ve been presenting gunpla build workshops/panels since 2006 or so, about 8 years of panels every year. We’ve even started build gatherings once a month where folks can communally learn from one another. In the past 3 years, we’ve even started to host our own Southern California Gundam Model Competition (SCGMC) and do live demos and teach on that front. You can only drag the horse to water so many times. I mean, I hear people comment that builders in Asian countries build so much better. Is this true? I don’t believe so. We would believe that the gunpla communities in Asian countries are so much bigger than they are here, but I don’t believe that’s true; maybe once upon a time this was true. But not in this current day and age. What folks see online as the great Asian builders are a small group. What they don’t see is the shear number of snappers and folks that build at the same level as most of the entries here. We see pictures of contests and such. But pictures can be deceiving. Attending one of these competitions on Asian soil, you’ll see that there are just as many “crappy” kits on display as there were here. People tend not to post up crappy kits, because, well, they’re deemed crappy. There is hope that a good number of the folks that entered this contest on our shores sees the potential in what can be done with some glue, some paint, some extra plastic, etc; and starts to move beyond the level they are at; then the community and skill levels can grow.
I saw countless people with bags and bags of gunpla. And given the question, most folks are shy about their abilities, fearful of taking that next step, excuses that they cannot afford to buy the tools. Yet they’re holding hundreds of dollars worth of model kits. Buy one less kit, and invest in some tools. A beginner level airbrush will cost as much as one Master Grade kit. The perspective is funny when you stop and think about it all.
Ok, off my goddamn soapbox, here are the winners, pictures of the winners at least:
I believe there were 4 categories and then the best of show, Best 1/00 and larger, best 1/144 and smaller, Bandai judges favorite, Bluefin judges favorite, and Best of show.
So here’s the whom and what won:
- Best 1/100 and Larger: Kendal Chow, Zeta Plus “Sialia”
- Best 1/144 and Smaller: Angel Del La Cruz, Hazel
- Bandai Judges Favorite: Min, God Gundam
- Bluefin Judges Favorite: Michael Wine, Geara Doga
- Best of Show: Dan Salas, Core Fighter
A side note that 3 of the 5 winners are part of a Southern California group of gunpla modelers known collectively as Those Gundam Guys. Congrats guys!