Tag Archives: GBWC

A quick look back at 2016

Well that’s 2016 nearly done, and it’s been an interesting year although not as productive as I would have liked (I feel I say this every year?). First off, congrats to Win AKA the Paint Pusher for his second place entry in this years GBWC, and to Tim AKA Child of Mecha for placing 7th. Seeing these works in progress and following they’re time at the GBWC event was a fantastic rollercoaster. Congrats too, to everyone who entered and to Kasuke Yokota for that stunning winning piece that was an incredible testament to the hobby

Looking back over the past year, I think modelling wise I have made some improvements, I feel my detailing skill and air brushing is improving having tried a few more differing styles of light modulation, and new types of paint. I now understand why so many people love using Mr.Color lacquers. It seemed like the UK was never going to be able to get a supply of this stuff and the moment it was available, I stocked up without regret. The coverage, durability and boldness of colour is fantastic.

My favourite kit worked on this year is most certainly the RE/100 GP-04 Gerbera. I find the proportion and design very pleasing, as well as the solid construction and engineering. Painting and detail was a pleasure, and I would even consider getting another for an alternative colour scheme. My experience with the RE/100 line is limited to only 2 so far and both have been fantastic kits. I think I’ve been won over, but would still prefer MG’s, as all good fanboys probably should.

Painting wise, I really enjoyed the Typhoon Cerberus. Although it was a tad laborious, the final result was satisfyingly spiky and battle-ready, and it’s a model I still get much enjoyment from in the display cabinet. The Efreet too was great fun, whereas it’s not in my top 5 kit’s aesthetically, it holds a memory of a nice challenge among fellow YouTubers that I hope we can repeat in future.

I sometimes forget too that I went to Japan this year – it all seemed to go by so quick and it was such a pleasure to take one last look at the 1:1 Gundam in Odaiba. It’s sad it’s coming down next March, but it does get me kind of excited as to what is going to happen next with the 40th anniversary looming. A walking, moving Gundam perhaps? The mind boggles at the thought.

The relaunch of the Mecha Lounge was a nice addition this year, and where the membership is (as expected) slowing a little there remains the beginnings of a community all about the modelling. Hopefully 2017 will bring some new contests and build offs to really get those creatives in gear. I honestly did not expect it to do well at all, and quickly dry up in interaction but members are still logging in and posting, despite it’s seemingly archaic interface. Thank you to everyone who has joined up so far, you’re all the ones making it work.

GunplaTalk, now on it’s 20th episode has been a real pleasure to be a part of. I have met and chatted with some great chaps throughout the year and made some new friends. I look forward to doing more of these in 2017.

YouTubing has been admittedly slow. I think it’s down to the fact I feel like I am delivering more and more of the same content in the form of WIPs, where I am repeating the same processes over and over. I don’t want it to get too dull, but at the same time I want to start posting vids weekly again. If not, the facebook page will be hosting the odd live video feed now and then. We shall see how goes.

I’ll round this short ramble up with a thank you, to everyone in the community and all mecha modelling nerds out there. You’re a genuinely super community, with a gratifyingly low amount of dickery. Much love and respect to you all, have yourself a bloody Merry Christmas and a blooming marvellous New Year.

Dear Bandai, the UK wants a GBWC! (I think?)

As the 2017 GBWC event reaches it’s final heat in Japan, I have been salivating over the incredible work on show from all over the world, and I am left thinking as I annually do, I wish I had the opportunity to join this fantastic competition.

Being from the UK where the hobby is still very niche, and where kit sales are limited by a handful of highly competitive small, local and Japanese retailers without any UK wholesale agreements all vying to take business from the Goliath of international model kit retailers HLJ.com, it’s hard to gauge just how ‘big’ the UK scene really is in terms that Bandai will take notice of – actual sales. I wonder if HLJ.com report their sales by country? Would there be any benefit for them to do this even? I do however know one thing for sure. We have some exceptional talent that deserves a slot in the GBWC, and we would be a fantastic addition to a growing international event.

I find that here in the UK we are at a kind of impasse, where our talent meets the requirements but we’re simply held back by a technicality – for want of a better word. Is there a way to show Bandai how well their kits are selling in the UK? It would require, I would think a direct link to the event organisers and a concerted effort from all retailers selling to, and from within the UK reporting back sales figures, or a large wholesaler to take up the ‘risk’ of stocking Gunpla. I just can’t see this happening. Local UK retailers are working with crazy small margins to aviod been smashed by import charges and to not pass these costs onto customers – meaning smaller Japan-based retailers and individual sellers are able to undercut them on price. This is all business, and completely understandable – the demand is that people want the best prices for kits, and have little to no interest in paying that little bit more for the short term, for long term gains in terms of better deals for UK-based retailers – which would not even be guaranteed at this stage. It’s pretty obvious to state that if more UK retailers where selling Gunpla, competition would increase and prices will drop, but without affordable access to wholesale for small retailers, this is distant goal.

Don’t get me wrong here. This is no hit-piece for any retailers out there, I am just writing this as I see it with the experience of talking to retailers worldwide and wholesalers like Blue Fin over in the US, but this highly competitive nature of Gunpla sales here in the UK is definitely a stumbling block in the way of getting a GBWC event here in the UK. There are some questionable techniques in my opinion too employed by some retailers in social media that create these strange, factional echo-chambers with brand advocates exchanging pointless defamation for causes unknown. If your service, advertising and prices are good, and you have a good and expandable business model – there should be no need for such activity, surely one of the rules of business is to not limit your potential customer base? I will avoid these sellers, but would not begrudge anyone else wanting to get good prices, nor bear any ill feeling towards retailers having to work with no advertising budget and social/organic reach alone. Just like everyone else of course, I will look for the kits I want at the best prices and put ethics in last place (as bad as that sounds, it’s true for most of us on a budget) – and instead advocate for the hobby here in the UK as and where I can, recommending retailers on the basis of who is best for the hobby. In light of this, I am hoping that I can attend next years IPMS show in Telford along with a few other Gunpla fans (thanks to David for working to pull this together), to see if we can gain more interest in the hobby – because this is where it really matters for hobbyists and retailers alike. If you feel the UK needs representation in the GBWC, I urge you to do the very same. Talk about it, especially with your more nerdier mates, get them involved and show them just how incredible this hobby is. If you need a shout-out for anything social you are doing for the hobby here in the UK, have a facebook page, YouTube channel or blog to share, drop me a message. Always happy to help, and of course, get yourself a membership on the Mecha Lounge!

We need a real world cup!

I think many would agree, as much as we like the GBWC (Gunpla Builders World Cup), it’s not really a definitive competition of mecha modelling. Although it’s winners and participants are undoubtedly exceptionally talented, I think it fails to highlight the real talent this world has to offer, and (arguably) does not do much for the hobby.

What we need is a real mecha modellers world cup.

First, let’s look at where I think the GBWC fails.

  1. It’s far, far too committed to commercial interests. The contest excludes geographical areas of lesser commercial interest (Where Gunpla is relatively unknown, or where there is no official Bandai distribution of Gunpla). It is therefore on a side note, by definition not a ‘world cup’. All models must be official Gunpla. (Made by Bandai). Understandable this one, but none the less a definitive aspect that makes this a non, all encompassing mecha-modelling contest.
  1. It fails to a degree to inspire people to paint or modify their models by not including a beginner, intermediate or advanced category to the contest. Granted there is a Junior category – but as it stands you have to be an exceptionally good modeller to even have hope of placement. Commercial interest also comes into play here – why bother to motivate people to spend months working on one model, when you can have them buy 10, 20, 30 snap-fit kits a year what look OK instead? There is certainly a bigger interest in Bandai’s eyes towards collectors than modellers.
  1. It allows local organisers to negotiate rule changes, to suit local business interests. This might not sound like a bad thing, but as we have seen in some regions this has lead to some seriously convoluted rules that have affected some modellers ability to even take part.
  1. Judgement is not centralised, or controlled in a fair manner. This point probably needs a little citation since I am making some assumptions here, but let’s look at an example of how judging in a contest works really well, the Kennel Club of Britain. When it comes to judging – judges are selected from previous participants with at least X amount of years within the discipline. They are only allowed to judge once in their entire career within the dog showing world. They are not allowed to judge in any area where a participant has competed against the judge at any point. They are given specific guidelines to follow. This makes a lot of sense to me, and although a little complex it still shows it can be done. I can cite some pretty shocking judgements in past GBWC events, based not at all upon modelling ability but will refrain.

I don’t want to come across as overly critical of Bandai here – after all the GBWC for me and for many is an excellent event to watch and discuss and provides myself and many with great inspiration. They also make fucking awesome models! I just want to illustrate the point that without the commercial gains, the GBWC would not exist.

So how would a mecha modellers world cup even work?

Pretty much the same way the current GBWC runs – but without the restrictions. I would imagine, a central organisation similar to perhaps the IPMS (International Plastic Modellers Society) made up of experts in the hobby would work to produce overall rules and judging guidelines and prizes, and regional representatives would be in charge of putting forward winners for a world contest.

Regional winners can be decided in either venue-based contests, or online, with the world contest being held in different countries each year – depending on the popularity or interest in the hobby in that particular country.

This is of course, overlooking quite substantial cost when looked at in more detail. I would think, the world contest would most likely start out as an online venture. The popularity of the hobby is probably not quite at the same level as scale modelling as it’s less internationally established, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility at this time.

So i’ll ask the question. Is it time we had a proper, international mecha modelling contest, for modellers, for the community, for us, without commercial or regional restriction? A contest based purely on skill, not defined by the models you buy? The Mecha Lounge proved it could work online, to a degree back in 2012.

I propose the formation of the IMMC, the International Mecha Modellers Committee!

 

 

GBWC 2014 China – My picks

So, I was in ‘gloat mode’ last year after correctly fluking guessing who the winner of the GBWC 2013 was going to be, so I thought this year I would post my pick as to who I think potential finalists will be!

Let’s see if I am anywhere near getting it right… 🙂

Here are my picks for potential winners in China’s leg of the GBWC.

china_gbwc

This one is definitely my favourite, hopefully this does well!

china_gbwc4

A bit of an obvious choice..

china_gbwc2 china_gbwc3