New UK Gunpla Group on Facebook!

Just a very quick note to let you know about a new facebook group started today, the first (I think) of its kind, with the aim to see if we can get a little UK Gunpla community going.

If you fancy joining in the fun, head on over to:

UK Gunpla Modellers Group

and have a quick gander at the group description before introducing yourself 🙂

Let’s show the rest of the world that there are people in the UK who do this!

UK Customs Charges Calculator

Buying something from Japan in the UK? Not sure how much the glorious empire state UK customs are going to charge you?

I knocked up a little google spreadsheet for you, all you need to do is enter in the total cost of your goods and the shipping in the blue boxes, and it’ll work out the total ransom cost you’ll have to pay customs!

Remember though, if your order is over £135 you’ll need to add on Customs Duty, which is a whole new infinitely complicated ball game. I’ll update the spreadsheet when I can work it all out.

It also may not be 100% accurate due to HM customs exchange rates being taken at different times, but it’ll certainly be in the right ballpark. The handling fee is also charged by Royal Mail – so if you are using EMS shipping be prepared to pay it. Other couriers may charge different handling fees so bear this in mind!

Click here to view, or download a copy of the UK Customs Ransom Calculator. 


Happy to help, not hold your hand

I was inspired to write this today by Toymakers facebook post on ‘neebie mentality’ as it spoke a lot to me about our experiences with newcomers to the hobby. Whereas most new-comers to the mecha modelling hobby are enthused enough to learn something new through research, there are often those who don’t seem to understand that nothing with regards to the vast resources of the internet is a niche any more.

If you are new to something you naturally gravitate to real human experience, rather than to going through the more time-consuming method of reading and researching. This is a fact I can accept and it’s obviously a lot easier to get more definite answers from peers in areas you are unclear about by simply asking. However, when you are asking questions that can so easily be answered by typing in a search query into google – that’s just plain lazy.

Let’s take a hypothetical, but entirely common question asked by a ‘newbie’. ‘What Gundam model should I buy?’. Setting aside that this is an entirely subjective question, the answer nearly always is generally a HG model. Let me quickly google that question right now and see what happens:

Untitled-2So, in 874,000 results I can already spot several websites, youtube channels, blog articles and Yahoo answers to that single question. So the question is, why are the ‘newbies’ asking?

My first response would be because they are lazy, by second would be because they want to interact, become familiar with you and gradually make their way into the community or gain a more ‘expert’ and personalised opinion other than what google throws out. The second is an entirely good reason to ask that question, but it’s not the right question for gaining meaningful and helpful peerage –  the first is just plain annoying.

Of course, as someone new to the hobby it’s hard to understand what would be considered an annoying or dumb question – so there is also an element of responsibility that comes with answering questions, and to make sure you always make it abundantly clear that it is your own opinion, and thus subject to your own experience – not the empirical truth.

Asking questions of someone with experience in the hobby too as a ‘newbie’ should never expect a response – especially so if they are more higher profile modellers. This sometimes leads to the ‘holier than thou’ feeling I touched upon in my damn elitist post.

So to wrap up, I am not here to be your own, personal Google or instructor, but I think I am a helpful chap, amiable and approachable, and I’m happy to help out as long as you don’t treat me like one. Always do ask questions, but do yourself a favour by doing a little research yourself first.

Having a little Googled background knowledge will go a long way to helping you open up discussions more as it’ll show your enthusiasm, and increase your chances of making some valuable connections in the community who will help you be the best you can be.



Are you being critical enough? Damn elitist!

Good, critical and informative criticism is hard to come by – and really only comes from experienced partakers of the hobby – but why should the more experienced modellers offer any feedback at all when they are sometimes branded (quite incorrectly) as ‘elitist’?

Another problem comes when you have a personality in the hobby, who’s own standards are perceived as professional by the majority comes under fire from experienced modellers who may not perhaps be as well known within the community. Again, another arena where this ridiculous term is thrown around.

I appeal to anyone reading this, learn to understand quality feedback – discern wind-up (trolling) posts from the negative and ignore them, and take notice of the negatives that focus on specifics. Define the passive praise (which is never of course, bad by definition) from the genuine awe (and bask in pride), and reciprocate the feedback you receive with questions to dig deeper into peoples opinions. All opinions are subjective, but a subjective and detailed opinion should be taken much more seriously than the passive commentary, and appreciated.

Also, for anyone with any experience in the hobby – don’t be afraid to give out your real opinion. The reaction from the modeller will tell you if you should interact with them on any level in future. You’ll soon find yourself with a good circle of peers who will always be there to help you improve, as long as you keep interacting.

Most importantly, if you are ever unfortunate enough to be branded an ‘elitist’, rest assured that’s one person you’ll not need to interact with any further – and is most likely the guy who tells his dentist he can do a better job than him because he once read a book on dentistry.

Real ‘elitists’ you’ll find are the ones who rarely interact with anyone except a small group and have a very apparent and massive superiority complex – and should be given their correct title. ‘Assholes’.

Anyway, I would have liked to delve into this a little deeper but I am very short on time 🙂