This past weekend was the annual IPMS Orange County’s Region 8 Contest: OrangeCon. This is always a great contest to attend. More so now to spread the word that is Gunpla. While setting up, an older gentleman looked over at me and exclaimed, “Hey, you’re one of Those Gundam Guys!” This always makes me chuckle. He then proceeded to tell me that he had met me a few years back at a previous OrangeCon with a friend of his that I had known from a previous IPMS Nationals in 2007. The guy was from Arizona and was inspired by our talk about gunpla and brought his own custom made Zaku; pictured below. Apologies for the dark pictures. SciFi is the redheaded stepchild of model competitions, so we’re usually in some dark corner out of the best lit areas!

He said that he was having a blast building gunpla and was building more. He ended up winning 1st place in the Sci/Fi Mech/Gundam category – that got split into SciFi Gundam and Scifi Non Gundam. But more on that later. I chatted with him for a while and told him about our show, but he’s unable to come because he lives in Tucson. Blah, people from all over the country are flying/driving in for SCGMC. But that’s another story. Fellow TGG members Brandon and Jonathan came and entered their kits. They got 2nd and 3rd in the SciFi Gundam category.

More about Orangecon after the jump.

Here are some of the other gunpla entries; I missed one entry that was a diorama of an RX-78 stomping on a Zaku in a city landscape which was well executed for being a first time diorama build for the creator. My camera’s battery had died by the time the guy placed his entry. And I had left all my spare batteries at my house. Chatting with the guy, he’s also on Reddit where he saw some of my works. We made sure to hand flyers for SCGMC to him and his friends; hopefully they will come next month; his diorama is a perfect fit for this year’s “RX-78” theme.

They had split the SciFi category into Gundam and Non Gundam, but judged the modified Geara Zulu kit. Yeah, this stuff happens all the time with IPMS. So it just makes me laugh. I was outside chilling and heard some people come out of the contest room to complain that their kit didn’t win and lost to another person that always wins awards. I had to keep from laughing aloud and this is pretty typical of ANY contest. Hell, I’m guilty as well for complaining about not winning. Sometimes we need to step back and just enjoy the events, enjoy meeting and chatting with fellow modelers, learn new tricks and teach your tricks to others, and most importantly; acknowledge that nothing in this world is perfect. Judging a model contest is SUCH a subjective activity. I thank the folks that put all the hard work into organizing and running a show of this size. I hope that one day our little SCGMC will become this big, or hell, I can dream that it will become bigger. Wouldn’t that be scary as all hell.

I took over 350 pictures at Orangecon before my camera’s battery died. Here’s the link to the full gallery: IPMS OC OrangeCon 2017

I was hoping that the commission figure kit I finished last week would win something so I could have something additional to send to the owner; but the competition is too damn good. But with Orangecon done, I can finally pack her up and ship it out to the owner. I already have another project lined up from the customer. But in the meantime, it’s time to focus on SCGMC.

With that, I crack open the bag of 7 resin pieces of varying size that will be my entry for the “RX-78” theme award for this year’s SCGMC. We at TGG like to push the creativity level and hope that folks think outside the box when they see our themes. Sometimes we are restrictive, but most of the time, it’s as wide open as anyone’s imagination. I picked up this Azumanga Daioh chibi resin kit earlier this year while I was in Hong Kong because it just screamed RX-78. It is taken from a scene where Osaka dresses herself up as the RX-78 GP03 Stamen with Dendrobium. So, this is my RX-78 entry.

I started out just pinning the kit and cleaning up flash. The kit is obviously a recast, so there are some rough mold lines and rough alignment holes. But I get her pinned for the most part. Some other pieces I used magnets to get the best alignment. I cut a small piece of acrylic rod, drilled out a small section and fit a brass rod that connects to the tail of Mr. Tadakichi, since the Dendo needs to be in flight. I have a simple wood base from Michaels that I will need to sand, stain, and gloss.

Once pinned, I can get down to the initial sanding and clean up work. Metal files are VERY useful in getting into tight areas a sanding stick won’t reach.

After each piece is sanding, it’s thrown into a tub of industrial strength degreaser to remove mold release. There will be a decent amount of masking, so I need to make sure all the mold release is removed.

This kit is pretty simple so this shouldn’t take too long to finish. I have some P-Bandai kits arriving this week, so this is a good thing that this thing is relatively simple.

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