Holy hell, I’m tired beyond belief. This year’s Anime Expo is but a memory now. The majority of my time spent at the convention was in the Exhibit Hall and in the panels/workshop rooms. I didn’t take the time to check out any of the various events happening as this year, I was one of two assistant managers in the Exhibit Hall, and that black hole of a place just sucks the life out of you. However, I did get to spend some time with some friends I haven’t seen in years, as well as further solidify some relationships with vendors.

First and foremost, the hall and my staffers. Without them, nothing would have run as smoothly as they did. They are a good bunch of folks and I had a ton of fun with them. As we closed the hall Sunday afternoon, we initiated a little game of tag. Fun times.

Funny story, so up until the past two years, I was just a con attendee; and three years ago, when I hosted my first model building seminar; I actually met two of the staffers. Well, sort of. I have a tendency to interact with the audience, a lot; so on one occasion, a couple got up and headed for the door, so I innocently asked where they were going, as I usually either wave good bye to folks or welcome them when they enter or leave. What was fairly unexpected was a response, “we’re going to the bathroom” … my response, “together?”; and innuendo and comments ensued as they left the workshop room. The real surprise was that they came back, and sat down to enjoy the rest of the workshop.

So when we met at staffers this year, and the mention of workshops and panels came up, they recognized me and remember the story, and were pleasantly surprised that I remember them as well. When they could, they came to my workshops and panels.

So even moving out from staffing the Art Show to managing the Exhibit Hall, I was still responsible for the model contest. The changes I made from the previous year are still in effect and the show runs very smoothly. I occasionally dropped by to check on things, but really, everything was running as smooth as possible. There were 18-20 entrants which is a vast improvement upon the previous years. So I guess I’m starting to get through to people.

An even bigger surprise was the following kits. They were built by the guy won the airbrush/compressor last year: and there was such a dramatic improvement over his kit he built and put on display last year. Amazing! That right there, makes all the effort, worthwhile. I think I need to bring back the tools raffle. Perhaps another airbrush and compressor.

A great deal of the entrants all know me; many are good friends of mine. As I had a panel presentation around the time I scheduled the judging, I left the judging to folks that I had judge the previous years. I think I will be making a formal panel of judges, and start taking applications for judges as well. Stepping away from the judging also keeps me from any sense of favoritism. I think the judging this year was very fair and for all the entrants, they are more than welcomed to check their scores and even ask the judges what they felt needed improvement. For it is only when we get criticized for our kits that we learn to build better.

Aside from staffing the Exhibit Hall, I also had panels and workshops. Here is a picture of me feverishly working on updating the workshop/panel materials on each day.

Now in previous years, I normally did 3 two hour long workshops that were in the format of a seminar. This year, I wanted to shorten my workload and do 3 one hour long panels instead. But things with a vendor started to happen, and I requested for 3 workshops in addition to the panels. This year, I had hands on building at the workshops; and I think that helped some folks out, and garnered some additional interest. I had the help of several model building friends to wander around and help people out. Then there were others that just went to the panels/workshops to listen to me babble incoherently about random crap as it may or may not pertain to model building.

Funnier still, I got hit on by two women during the workshops. My friend that were within earshot agreed that the verbal advances were very aggressive. Gotta love otaku girls.

So this year, bluefin donated a great deal of kit to help promote model building. The problem I ran into was that folks came up to grab kits, and just booked. If I do get kits for next year; I’m gonna mark every box and then inform the workshop staff that folks are not to leave with the kit. Keeping the kit here along with numbers and what group works on what will help stifle the folks that are just in it for the freebie. I will definitely be much more prepared next year. I learned a great deal and will definitely work on making some vast improvements so that folks get much more hands on learning than they did this year. Everything this a stepping stone, and every year can be improved upon for the next. One must never become complacent.

So, while hosting the workshop on the first night, a friend that I have known from various model building message boards and have met several times in Pittsburgh for Tekkoshocon, and at Otakon in Baltimore; JJ and his wife Jeanie showed up. They were out here because of Morning Musume. And I will see them when I’m out at Otakon in two weeks.

The one time I got to leave the frigging hall and convention was with Brandon and we headed over to the ESPN Zone for lunch… aaaahhhhh Guinness is good for you! The Nokia center are is setting up for a Michael Jackson memorial that will happen there on July 7th. The juxtaposition of cosplayers, reporters for the memorial, and the scene in general was very surreal. Anyways, I enjoyed the brief amount of time away from the con; even though everyone around us was dressed up; and V and John wandered over as well.

Here are some random cosplay shots… Some good, some decent, and some, well, you just need to see for yourself. I didn’t know Jacky Chan had a chubby younger brother that liked to dress up as Chun Li…. it just reminds me of that City Hunter movie he did where he dressed up as Chun Li for a scene…. altogether too bloody creepy.

Now on to the important stuff; the MG Exia and 00 Riser on display at the Bluefin booth. For those that recognize my logo that I tend to put on my resin figures and every now and again, on my mecha kits; check out the back of the right shoulder on the kit.

A little back story; on June 21, I received an email from the vendor asking me to build two kits for display at Anime Expo, the 00 Riser designer, and the MG Exia. The only problem is that I wouldn’t have gotten either kit until Friday at the earliest. But I made a call to some local model building friends that I know would be able to thoroughly help me with the project; and the ball got rolling. The Exia came on Thursday June 25; sans instructions. But the group of 7 model builders are experienced enough, and we have pictures of the MG online so we can figure things out. We took about 4 hours to clip, sand, and test fit the bugger. Then the next four days were a complete blur as we rushed to finish both the 00 Riser and the Exia. On the fourth night, after receiving the kit, and after we had completed the kit, I received instruction. *sigh* I have pictures of the build progress, but they will have to wait until the kit is actually released before I am allowed to post them. For now, here are just some pictures I took behind glass at the booth. The next stop for the Exia will be Otakon, and then probably Comic Con. I just hope that it’s not damaged by moving from con to con.

One of my staffers showed me a picture of her with Laker Rick Fox. Apparently he is an anime fan, or maybe just his son… But wandering the halls, I saw him, and just needed to snap a picture with him myself. I didn’t have my camera on me, so this was taken with my camera phone. Well pretty damn cool regardless.

Rick Fox

More pictures from the convention are here: http://gamerabaenre.com/ax_2009.htm

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Derek

    Wow…first of all just wanna say thanks for all the great workshops/panels you did at ax this year. I didn’t even have a close idea of how interesting model kits were hahaha. But now of all my friends and I are stricken with Gundam mania xD Thanks for all the hard work! It was definitely one of the highlights of this year.

    On a second note, I really really admire that Exia model in the last part of the blog. I definitely spent a good deal of my time in the Exhibit hall drooling over how it looked over at bluefin. The thing that swayed me the most was how incredible the finishing looks on it. Maybe this belongs in the forums but do you mind sharing some general comments on how you reached that look?

    Thanks alot!

  2. GameraBaenre

    Thanks! I’ll be posting up a full detailing of the build progress for the Exia including pictures and such when it is released. But ask away in the forums, I’ll just respond without any pictures 😀

  3. Chris T

    Great to see you having a great time! Only got to drop by for 3 hours, o well, next year!

  4. Matt

    Hey Gam,

    Looked like you had a good time. What are your thoughts on the Exia? Yours turned out great. How does it compare to other MG kits? Are you allowed to say?

  5. Derringer

    People came for the workshop, but stayed for the wisecracks. So remind me, do you like rough or smooth? 😀

    There were 3 things I saw people enjoying. One was yourself. You have a charm that people just find oddly appealing regardless of what’s coming out of your mouth :p

    Two, your advanced techniques section was really well received. It made people go “oooooh” at seeing weathering, paint chips, etc. being done through relatively easy methods. It reminded of the feeling I had when I saw your Gogg a while ago on CoM, which essentially was “omfg that is so 13377 i wanna do that!” It leads me to believe that showing works that are more than just OOB is the key to inspiring people to reach higher, especially if the process is well documented.

    Three, having a place to build kits was the best idea ever. There were always people working on kits while you were talking and they had opportunity to ask you questions as they came across problems. I think the most common question was where to get tools and what tools to get. I think this could be improved upon if next year you had the option of selling nippers before, during or after the workshop. This way there would be enough tools to go around if you planned to have another “build at con” contest.

  6. GameraBaenre

    Rough at first, then smooth near the end 😀

    This year was a big learning year for adding in actual model building. I have ideas for next year if I want to continue this. I think it worked out well. But the problem of giving out kits and people just booking when they get kits will still be an issue. I think a solution would be to work with the workshop room staff and to take the kits back if people are leaving.

    I can number the boxes off and give numbers to people so that when they come back the following day, they get the kit. If they finish it (basic sand and snap), they get to keep it, if not, then it stays. The contest idea kinda fell apart, and that is completely my fault. I think stating that the contest will happen at the end of the last workshop would be nice, then people would finish and bring them up and we get to do some quick criticism and judging.

    I still look for lots of ideas and feedback from some of you guys that pay attention. Thanks X for the insight. Definitely helps out.

  7. Bhop

    I had a good time. I thought it wasn’t as good as last year overall though. I dunno what it was, it seemed smaller, and the screening rooms seemed to all show things that I didn’t care much to see. The cosplayers were fun to watch and the workshops were like comedy shows, so it made it all worth while.. heh..

  8. Akita

    I seriously had loads of fun at the workshop… Nice to see that people are that interested in building kits.

    I think the workshop idea was fine, but the HG is probably overkill… Why not SD? As well, people who brought 1/100 or 1/60 are totally out of their minds…

    One thing I learned, definitely bring tools next time… Nail Clippers and the pens I bought at the convention just don’t cut it…

    =P -oh, and I am in one of the pictures… I am famous!

  9. Erin

    I was pleased to see members of Team Nubbins present in your photos; I’ve already alerted the other members of our RickDomTeam, which gave us all warm fuzzies inside. That, and how silky smooth the model felt after we agonized over all your instructions.

    I hadn’t put together a Gundam model for years, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get back into the habit. Your workshops were a great way to get that mojo back, and there were times I wished I had brought pen and paper so I could take down notes.

    On a more serious note, 4chan.org did request to me that I remind you of Rules One and Two.

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