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.

Gundam – Imagination Gone Wild!

jamie-hefferSomething we all enjoy doing when it comes to building our Gunpla, is putting in a little effort to give your own little unique personal touch. Wether it be from something as basic as rearranging decals to a style and placement you prefer, to something a little more advanced like choosing a whole knew colour scheme. In the end you are making something that will satisfy you. Don’t be afraid of spanning out to knew ideas and techniques for that perfect you always wanted!

But what if you are struggling to come up with any ideas? We all have that moment when the Imagination part of the brain is switched off, even for the people who have been in the hobby for years it all happens to us! in that case why don’t you have a moment to sit back and have a little brainstorm? Ask some people in a community page? Any friends who are into Gundam and the hobby? why not ask them for a little brain booster! Or why don’t you take a peek at other peoples work for a bit of added Inspiration?
If you aren’t a people person, thats fine too, why not grab a pencil and have a little sketch of how you want something to look, jotting down notes can be very helpful to look back to when you start building. I always plan out my builds before making a start – I think it helps

I personally don’t think anyone should be scared of sharing their thoughts, their ideas about their plans and designs/completed and ongoing work. You want to make a huge megapartical cannon for that Zaku II? Go ahead and do it! (I think that would be pretty epic to be honest)

We shouldn’t be discouraged from sharing our work with one another, it doesn’t matter about skills, techniques. If you enjoy it, that’s what counts then there is nothing wrong with that! It was your brain that chose to do it that way! Yeah, I know there are some people who do tend to dish out some criticism in this hobby, but then that’s modern life for you. Take it with a pinch of salt. or take it as a bit of advice how you do is entirely up to you! but never be discouraged from trying to expand on greatness!

Missile Pods, Mini Guns or Extra Armour Plating? What do you prefer? When it comes to Mecha building just pile on what you’d like! Or alternatively take some off Maybe you prefer your Gunpla to use just melee weapons? why not make your Gunpla look like it just came out of the Battle of Odessa the choice is yours!

What I’m Getting at is, As personal opinion I think a little bit of thought can go a long way, Imagination is what spawned Mobile Suit Gundam, it is Imagination what gave creation to the mechs we all so love not just from this series, but other mech series too!

Maybe you are a purist at heart? Maybe you just Love the way your Gunpla looks as it is? Thats fine too, sometimes you just can’t improve on perfection as they say! Building out of the box there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you enjoy what you do in the hobby that’s all that matters.

As for me? 23 Years Old and I’ve been a Gundam Fan for the Last 10 years. I legitimately think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. I don’t enjoy anything as much as I enjoy Gundam, whether it be from watching it, to reading to as you guessed Building it! I’ve only been taking the Hobby seriously for the last Year, so In terms of skill and technique I’m not the best but I love it! I love a good heated debate about Gundam in general – characters from the series  and  Mech designs is a personal favorite, there’s always a “What if” when talking about Different designs and everyone has their own personal preference it’s nice to compare notes and even take some inspiration from such discussions!

I’ve never done a Blog post before, but I’d like to thank GundamUK for giving me the opportunity to do a Guest post!
It was actually kind of inspiring to write this myself (I’M PUMPED!) as some people would say, But if anyone is every interested in Having a discussion about Anything to do with the Hobby, sharing tips and advice, or having a heated debate about Anything Gundam By all means drop me a Message at my Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/ZeonicGunplaUk

Thanks for giving the post a read!
Jamie Heffer – Zeonic Gunpla

I’m also Into the Hobby of Cosplaying for Cons Too (As Char Aznable) if anyone has any questions about anything related to that, don’t hesitate to ask too!

Get yourself in a build-off!

So what’s a build-off, and why should you take part in them?

It’s pretty simple, someone or a group of modelers will suggest something to build, be it a type of kit, a specific kit or even a diorama over an agreed time, or no time limit at all – anything goes. Some groups will choose to do it just for fun, or even with a prize for the most well done. Whatever the rules, you should always take part whenever, and wherever you can. Generally, build-off’s are not competitive and more educational designed to help people improve. They also tend to not have any fixed rule about entering or even finishing a kit. Our Jesta build off from last year is still ongoing! It can be for just 2 people, or many more. Anything goes.

Why? Aside from the obvious test of your skills there is so much more to it. Building in a group enables you to get feedback from other participants in similar situations. Also, the more you interact with others, the more you’ll find friendship and opportunities to help each other out. Build-off’s can offer tests of interaction with other cultures from around the world helping you to better understand your mecha modelling brothers and sisters. It’ll also reveal those who you don’t want to interact with. Starting a closed group and a group chat on facebook is a really handy way to keep track of build-off’s, and for immediate interaction if you’re in a tight spot. It can also be a tremendous laugh, especially if the theme is particularly amusing. It need not be serious at all.

There’s tons of build-off’s going all over the social sphere right now, we’re even talking about doing one in the old gunpla forums facebook page. There’s also one (although the end date is fast approaching) over in the UK Gunpla Modellers group.

There are of course some modelers who only ever do huge, complex projects, commissions or competition standard kits so of course build-off’s won’t be for everyone.

So what are you waiting for? Build-off’s are great for a little relaxed build between bigger more complex projects. Give them a go when you can, and if you’re starting one, let me know!

Enablers! The influence of your friends in the community.

As much as I harp on about only buying the kits, tools and paints that you like and actually need, there are times when your friends enthusiasm overrides your sense of what you actually want. There is a term that some of you may have heard, in the marketing world called “social proofing”. This is when for example, you’re browsing a website and there’s a message somewhere on the page saying “10 people who have the same interests as you have bought this in the last hour!”. The same applies in my case when friends of mine buy certain kits – even if I have doubts that I like it. Luckily, for me, all of my friends have great tastes!

We would all like to think that we’re all in control of our decisions. Some of us are better at this than others and there appears to be an almost measurable spectrum. Some will rush out immediately to buy a new kit, just because it’s a new kit and they want to have it first or are just really keen to get it ASAP. Some, more measured will wait for a while for the price to come down, and then purchase – and some will immediately buy a kit the moment they see one of their friends has it. A mixed bag for sure. The biggest factor of course is budget. You may be much more careful in your decision making because of your budget, despite your wants and needs and I can see how that would be a little frustrating. I think this is more of a problem for collectors, but modelers for sure are not entirely immune.

Now I’ll be honest here, there have been times when I have got a kit super early in comparison with people outside of Japan, and it felt like I had bizarrely got ‘one up’ on everyone. It sounds ridiculous and shallow, but it happened. It’s not something I find addictive or am proud of, but it’s undeniably satisfying for reasons I can’t really understand!

The great thing is, in our hobby we have an awful lot of choice and there’s always something new to discover and share with others, bootleg or official.

My question to you is, how much do your friends, influence your kit-buying choices? How much does the overall ‘hype’ in the social media world influence you? I’m certainly not immune to it bar those kit designs I know I have never liked, especially when I see the monthly’s coming out in Japan being covered in the blogging world, or over on Zakuaurelius’ channel on youtube (who is very quickly being the go-to guy for YT-based mecha modelling news, check him out!). Have you ever got a kit before anyone else, and felt good about it? Are you completely immune to any kind of influence? Share your perspective!

How do you define yourself in the hobby?

When I first started out in the hobby, what made it interesting for me was the creative aspect. Coming from a largely creative background. When I first picked up a couple of kits while travelling in Japan back in 2012, I really loved how they looked, but the initial experience was more of a short-term novelty than a full-on hobby. It was only when I got home, and did a little research, finding the fantastic MAC forums and getting involved in the ongoing learning process of painting and modifying kits when I realised it could be something I will get great enjoyment out of, and it satisfied a creative gap in my life left behind from my music producing days.

Back then, the very definition of mecha modelling was just that, an art form. A creative outlet. Even though I am by no means any kind of expert in the hobby now, I define myself as mecha modeler and aspire to improve my skills, and that has not changed.

Fast forward to now, the vast majority of people in the hobby are collectors and assemblers – who’s interactions in the community involve showing off their OOB assembled kits, collections, boasts, comical memes with Gunpla and to discuss and speculate over Gundam anime and new model releases. That’s all perfectly fine, it comes with a combination of increasing popularity of anime and the ease of access to social media, and I’ve taken part in it myself. With fairly recent and frequent flare-ups regarding the alleged elitism of the modelling community however it begs the question – is it not about time we simply defined our differences, and stuck to the communities that are most beneficial to us?

It appears that no matter how clearly defined a group, page or community is especially on Facebook, certain folk deem it ok to go ahead and post an image of their collection of boxes expecting that ‘everyone in the community does this..right?’ without paying any heed to the name or guidelines of that group.

Imagine for a moment, if you were new to the hobby, after being inspired by mecha works online and wanted to get into the modelling aspect of the hobby, the first thing you’ll come across community wise on Facebook might be something like “I BUILD GUNDAMS AND I’M PROUD!!!” (Yes, it really is all in capitals, and with an unnecessary amount of exclamation marks). I would be a little put off when looking over the interactions on this page, and think it’s pretty much a superficial nerdgasm rather than a passion to grow an interest in. I would expect that asking some genuine modelling related questions in any of these types of communities on Facebook would either result in some terrible advice, some trolling from an arrogant self-proclaiming mecha pro saying “let me Google that for you newbie..” or no response at all! That new-comer would be thinking, “but this group says it’s about Gunpla..?”. This is one of many reasons why, I think community creators should be more actively definitive in regards to their communities interests to make it a better place to interact – and contributors more honest about what they do in the hobby. There’s this strange stigma it seems, that says if you are just a collector and assembler, that calling yourself so makes you some kind of moron in the eyes of mecha modelers – just be honest to yourself and fuck what any elitists think!

Of course, it goes without saying that each should accept each others differences and there will always be conflict and banter among hobbies of similarity. The definition between military scale modelling, and sci-fi ‘mecha’ modelling for example is pretty well defined, and in online communities too. Although there is shit-slinging now and then it’s largely agreed it’s pretty unhealthy. I think it’s about time the same should happen for modelers, and collectors alike – and especially so in Facebook groups as a lot of us in the modelling world perhaps feel a bit alienated by the bastardization of our ‘hallowed hobby’ (lol). Don’t get me wrong here, I hate the idea of tribalism – but you don’t ask for a Chinese dish in an Italian restaurant, and insult the chef and the diners for not being able to cater for your taste. We’re all hungry, and we have our favorite restaurants for good reason. It’s also fine to now and then, go to a world buffet… I hope that analogy did not confuse my point too much..

I was actually inspired somewhat to write this blog after a thread posted in the old Gunpla Forums group on facebook, a place for what I would consider the old guard (or old farts?) of enthusiasm for the modelling aspect of the hobby, and a place to generally grumble about the nonsense we see in the social sphere. The question I asked was (truncated a little) “why don’t people who collect kits, refer to their kits as a ‘collection’ instead of a ‘backlog’?”. The response was largely in agreement, with some interesting perspectives from others that got me thinking about how various people make these definitions. That does not mean that all definitions are subjective of course. I would at least expect that, if I started a community that says “for mecha modelers” it does not take a genius to understand that posting spoilers for build fighters is probably an inappropriate thing to post. Whereas if I posted a model and asked for some constructive feedback in a group all about the Gundam franchise as a whole, I should not expect a very high level of interaction or useful feedback, nor complain at the lack of it.

Goals for 2015

I’m not normally any kind of decent long-term  planner, often resorting to off the cuff or spontaneous decisions, and I certainly do not make any kind of new years resolutions when it comes to everyday life, much to my wife’s annoyance. However, this year I decided to put together a list. A small set of modelling related goals I would like to achieve in 2015, time and life permitting. Let’s break it down, and give it a review next January.

  1. Complete the PG unicorn, fully painted, detailed up with the LED set and the full armour parts.
  2. Complete a fully resin kit.
  3. Do at least one model, fully weathered and battle damaged.
  4. Take better photo’s, and improve my lighting set-up.
  5. Post more videos.

And that’s it! Not much.. I know.. but considering the amount of time I have available to me at my workbench, this will be challenging. Let’s see how it goes.

Happy new year everyone 🙂


Mark your model images!

Recently, a facebook group called Gundam Conversion Kit posted images from the well known modeller and friend of mine Ed. Getting added exposure from these groups, websites and youtube channels is great, but not so great when they are used for no other purpose than to provide content for commercial exposure, and have no credits or links back to the original modeller. It appears that this group does this regularly looking through the posts, some identifiable by markings on the images. When i pulled them up on it, as did several other modellers on their page they just played the ignorant card. I suggest dropping them a polite message too if you have the time to let them know we think what they are doing is unacceptable, here.

Another example is recently, we had a troll intercept the mecha lounge, who scraped and posted images of models claiming them to be their own work, when they clearly were not. As this particular, vile and very little man (yes, we know who it is) did little to disguise that fact, but it exposes another potential issue for modellers sharing their work online.

There are several groups, websites and blogs that exist sharing images without credits, having little respect for permission or copyright, and it’s somewhat unavoidable. Some will be doing it of course, just for the love of the hobby, and will happily correct with polite communication.

Now there is not a lot you can do, especially when you are sending your images off to large blogs such as GunJap or Gundam Guy who do credit you for your work, when unscrupulous scrapers copy your images for re-sharing.

Which brings me to my point – there are a few modellers out there posting pictures with no markings whatsoever – so I strongly advise that you do!

It does nto have to be a full-on, across the subject watermark – just a simple bit of text that is not easily edited out with your modelling persona, URL or blog. If your not fussed about being credited for your work, then by all means ignore this message!

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!



Just a quick update

So, I have been a little quiet of late but have been working on a couple of things. First up, I am working on a HG Jegan, in conjunction with a mecha modelling buddy of mine in which we each chose each others model to build. A full build video from start to end will be going up once this is done (probably in the next couple of weeks).

Also working on the F-95 conversion kit, prepped the wing frame and cleaned up the resin parts, not a lot of progress admittedly but progress all the same.

So.. thats it really! I will be putting out a few different style vids int he coming weeks thanks to some fantastic feedback I received over on the facebook page.

Hope you’re all good, catch you later 🙂


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!