Too many runners, not enough walkers

When you first start out in the hobby, you are likely consistently impressed by the work you discover, and quickly realise that many of artworks you see are customised. It makes sense that in order to get to that level, you need to start customising your models. But if you ask any experienced modeller where you should start as a beginner, the most common advice you are likely to receive is ‘learn the basics first’. Why is this? and what are ‘the basics?’

The ‘basics’ for me anyway are being able to remove nub marks, make seam lines that are not a part of a models original design invisible, and have a basic understanding of paint types and priming. It’s not much at all when you think about it. Especially when there is a whole plethora of online tutorials to cover all of these aspects from a lot of scale modelling perspectives. Whatever is available to you material wise, in whichever country you reside in, you can find a way. No excuses! It does not even take all that long too to master these skills. I would estimate anyone getting it down within 20-ish hours of activity. It’s also worth mentioning too that, if you want to be good at this hobby, spend some money on tools, paints and materials. The model kit that has just come out and you must have, can damn well wait if you are serious about this.

From a combination of social media, forums, websites competitions I see an awful lot of model artworks. Whereas my modelling experience pales in comparison to many outstanding and not so outstanding modelers out there, I still like to think I have a good eye for a well executed model. I can say when something is objectively good, based on more than my own tastes, and continue to be blown away by groundbreaking ideas. What becomes tiresome for me though is seeing attempted customization of models that have not been thought through and more so demonstrate the modelers laziness to learn the basics. Not only are these kinds of models disturbing and sometimes comical, it also frustrates me because I feel as though it’s a tremendous waste of time for the modeler, and it tends not encourage any useful feedback. It can also attract a lot of trolling and nastiness, such is the nature of social media. You can tell in some instances, that hundreds of hours have been ploughed into a project but the end result is a mess of clutter, clashing colour and sloppy workmanship. The time could have been better spent simply making a nice paint job, and ensuring seams are dealt with. I would rather look at a basic, but clean paint job than a mess of jutting plastic. Right out of the box, no mods, no additions, just the basics. Some of the most incredible works I have seen have had no modification, or subtle well thought out and complimentary modification that works with the models original design, along with a knockout paint job. Rarely do I rate one which has 6 out of scale weapons strapped to ugly arms protruding out from a nubby spray can painted HG freedom. Creating an original concept that’s interesting and exciting, can never be fully realised or appreciated without the skill to create it.

To conclude, and I think I have probably written about this very same subject before but it’s worth a revision, don’t run before you can walk. People will not be impressed with your first few models, regardless of how complex a customisation you have in mind. Just knock out some nicely painted, tidy kits. Once you can do that without struggle, get some advice, start a little scribing here and there. Further down the line, try chopping up some plaplate. Become adept at all the skills first, before combining them all. It takes, on average, 10,000 hours to master a skill. If you work on your hobby for example, 10 hours a week – you’ve got 20-ish years to go until you’ve mastered it. Just to put it into perspective!

 

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.

Are you a modelling realist, or a stylist?

Are you a rivet-counter, or a boy-racer? A very interesting suggestion for something for me to thump my keyboard keys about from Zach, I thought I would tackle the question and ask the community at large – which is more pleasing to do, and to look at?

Let’s start with a couple of definitions if I may,

A stylised model is one of conformity to a paradigm, or commonly showcased style. They’re generally ‘clean’and free to weathering, pretty realistically impractical, with oversized elements to give it that element of action or expression. Details are multi-coloured, tiny and metallic. Paint works come in a blinding array and combination of palettes, hues and finishes, but are commonly pre-shaded from the outside in to provide depth, and visual interest.

A realistic model involves more aspects of weathering, damage and physics. It has a more logical approach, with more theoretical elements. Creativity is found in method and execution. The kit looks more real, and requires arguably a great deal more practical skill to fool the eye into believing that what you are looking at is much closer to it’s proposed existence, and/or situation. It also invites more defined criticism, would it really look like that if it was hit with a .50 calibre rifle at 300m? Are their enough rivets, to hold that panel in place as it’s being smashed to the floor on a planet at 6g’s? I have seen some spectacular disagreements in this style descend into brass infantile insult I might add. Grab some popcorn when you see it!

So which is more popular? A quick gander around the social sphere and on blogging platforms reveals high contrast, bold colour palettes and fine detail win popularity contests. Realistic models however appear to garner a lot more interest from practising modellers, and model fans as opposed to anime fans and kit collectors. Either way, popularity does not indicate which is objectively the best.

Which method, is more enjoyable? Making a realistic kit from concept to execution is like riding a unicycle on a telephone wire. It’s either going to be very impressive, or people will think you are very stupid for attempting it in the first place. You could also topple off, making an awful mess on the pavement.  Both methods have their painful moments, but realism will at the most basic level for each method, have more steps and take longer to produce. Stylistic models are perhaps a little more expressive in execution, so perhaps modelling without being tied to Earth’s gravity is more liberating? (had to get a Gundam reference in somewhere, I hope you get the point). Perhaps too, realistic models have a very high degree of satisfaction in completion due to the sheer amount of work and research invested in it. I see equal merits and pitfalls to both.

If you are new to mecha modelling, which path should you take? Of course, start at your own tastes, with one caveat – get the basics down first. If you are considering adding battle damage, make sure you can first for example remove a seam line. If you want to make an intricately masked motif in an absurdly erotic pink on a shield or piece of armour – make sure you know how to paint first. Whichever method you choose in the long run, try out both, or even mix it up. Either way, develop your own style!

So what’s your preferred style? Where you one, then switched to the other? mix it up now and again? A complete purist? Did I get something wrong? Let me know, I love to get the conversation going as always, and thank you for your contribution 🙂

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!
By
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!

What makes a good mech design?

I am constantly surprised when discussing mech designs among friends, that we have such a diverse range of tastes when it comes to design. From a modelling technical point of view, I think we are similar (the more experienced among us often citing some interesting missed points), but as for aesthetics the differences often break out into some lively discussion.

So, I’m going to write a little here about what I like in a mecha design, and a few designs I love. This does not include custom designs or scratch builds. Special thanks to one of my Facebook page followers Solomon for suggesting this topic.

Kit wise, I’m not too fussed on scale, but if I had to choose it would as I am sure many other would choose a Master Grade. I do enjoy HG and RG kits, but in terms of ease to paint and level of detail, MG’s are my favourites. Can’t say much about PG’s since I have no actually built one yet, even with 2 in my possession.

People seem to quite often associate their preferences in terms of timelines. Although there is a small influence and preference having watched all of the Gundam Anime, I don’t tend to favour my buying choices by timeline or series, I just like… what I like. Saying that, a majority of my favourite designs to hail from the UC timeline.

I mostly enjoy a mech, that looks like a mech. A strange thing to write perhaps, but here’s my reasoning. A lot of mobile suits from the CE (seed) era look very slim, athletic, and have more human-like proportion – I would categorise these as less ‘mechanical’. Zakus, Doms, Jestas, Geara Dogas and Marasais have a lot more bulk to them signifying they have an awful lot of electronic gubbins, thrusters, weaponry, power generators and pistons internally – I define them as being more ‘mechanical’ in nature. So to summarise, I prefer the more terrifying, ‘almost obsolete’, angular and less advanced look. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a few more organic looking suits such as the Astray however. Let’s list up a few of my current all-time favourites.

kagusuchi_kou_gundamuk_1Probably my most favourite non-Gundam designs ever pretty much typifies my preference for bulk and outright fear – and that’s the wonderfully outlandish Kagustuchi-Kou frame arms model. It’s stark angles,  inexplicably elongated fin head, huge weapon-bearing forearms and a pure ‘tank on legs’ look is right up my street. It’s interesting that, despite that comparison to tanks, I have no interest in tanks at all.

F91_008Slightly deviating from the paradigm is the F91 Gundam. A smaller suit from the latter UC timeline with a more ‘organic look’ that has just a few extra features that appeal to me on other levels. It’s broad shoulder pads with the F and 91 symbols, human-like faceplate (when it goes into overdrive mode, correct me on the terminology if you feel it’s appropriate) and the maneuvering ‘flaps’ within the calves are some of my favourite features. It also happens to be one of my favourite animes, might be an influence in there somewhere.

geara_doga_gundamUK_11The Geara Doga is the SS shock trooper of the UC timeline. It’s Wehrmacht-esque aesthetic just screams ‘military dictatorship’. The distinct bowl-shaped head with menacing visor covered mono-eye, armour-clad musculature, external tubing and insane leg length just look as terrifying as a zeon mobile suit should. Gloriously brutish. Love it.

A popular choice is the Astray frame series of suits from the latter CE timeline, I think for the main reason that it looks like it would perform as efficiently as a ninja. It’s drawn-back armour revealing it’s inner frame, combined with it’s piercing gaze and long, 12_astray-redframe_12shogun-style v-fin – and of course that insane katana blade on the red frame model is striking – and not surprisingly the most popular mech design that is yet to feature in any full-length anime series. I hate to admit to being a part of the masses of people who love the design of this kit, but I am.

Finally, the Gundam GP-01fb. The Full Vernian/burnien version in particular because of those peculiar shapes. The bulbous shins, oddly large cone-shaped rear thrusters and sheer experimental ‘bulk’ really appeals to me. The 0083 stardust memories OVA is my favourite of all time, not just for the anime but for all of those wonderfully military-style designs, bridging the gap wonderfully into the Zeta era style kits. The GP-02 on the other hand, just (for me) takes it just that little too far.

TOY-RBT-2547_26These are pretty much my favourite designs right now, but the list goes on much further, and at times changes. Right now for instance, I have the feelies for the Tsugomori (knights od Sidonia) style designs, that comprise of some strange proportions, mixing spindly feel and arms with elongated heads, chubby little bodies and utterly nuts-long guns (yes, this kit does come with that rail gun). My taste tends to change depending on a huge range of factors, but I am yet to lose interest.

So how about you? I love to hear what people like, and I find it even more interesting when people tell me why. There have been times when someone has pointed out an aspect they like on a design I hated, that I gradually changed my opinion on. What floats your boat?

February Update and Stuff

Since I last posted things have been a little slow, mostly down to a spate of wintertime illness’ and catching up on life activities. I have a couple of bits of news.

dreissen

Firstly, I came first in the gunpla builders showcase facebook group modelling competition. I was super-chuffed and this one was pretty special to me as it’s the first compo I have ever won! The model was the HG Dreissen, completed at the end of 2014, the start-to-end build you can have a gander at here. Special thanks to all the chaps running the group, and to everyone who participated 🙂

Secondly, as you’ve probably heard, the Mecha Lounge is no more. It was all down to time really. Myself and the admin team just did not have the time required to put into it, and to get it modernised and promoted enough to keep up with social media. Sad times, and will be missed for sure. I met some thoroughly awesome people there, made some great friends, learned a crap ton of skills and am very glad to have played my part in it.

Thirdly, I’m working still on the MG Duel Assault Shroud, which is already in my top 5 favourite MG’s of all time. I love it. You can see my most recent WIP video (part II) by clicking here.

Fourthly, We have launched our first, inaugural ‘free-style’ build off over in the UK Gunpla Builders group on facebook, running from February 1st until May 1st. If you fancy a bit of a challenge feel free to head on over and submit an entry.

Fifthly, try saying that when your mouth is full of cheese. There is no fifth bit of news, only that I am planning to put together one of my prizes from the contest, the G-Reco over the weekend. Should be fun, although i’m kind of stuck right now without any filters for my paint mask.. gah.

2014 in review

It’s been a mixed bag of good times and bad times this year for me on a personal level, but on a modelling level it’s actually been pretty good. I put out a total of 7 fully painted models this year and delved a little into modification with some third-party metallic parts, photo-etch and pla-plating. I think I am ready to take it up a notch.

My personal favourite model this year is the Sinanju Stein. I have always been a massive fan of it’s design, and to get to paint and customise my own was a pleasure. The results I was very pleased with. I was pretty pleased too with the GM Thunderbolt, bringing back that familiar joy of working with HG models again. They’ve certainly improved, detail wise over the years and have featured a lot in my work this year.

Worst model? Well.. I have not worst as such but there are always little things you spot after making a model that you wish you had done better. I think I could have concentrated a little more on detailing on all of the models but it’s something I will be bearing in mind during the projects of 2015.

2014 has been a good year for meeting new people in the community too, and forging some friendships even more. Our Gentlemanly Build of Gentlemanliness Jesta build-off between myself, Justinius Builds, Hummingbird, Darren, Effael and Derrick has not only been a build-off but an ongoing chat amongst us for several months now, and the banter is both insightful and hilarious. It was also a pleasure to do a unique ‘build swap’ experiment with my friend Augis over in Lithuania, hoping to do another one some time 🙂

The UK Gunpla Modellers Group formed this year over on facebook has been steadily increasing too, and it’s been great to find so many fellow hobbyists relatively locally. Fingers crossed the membership increases. Special thanks to all the members in the group for making it so active and interesting!

The youtube channel has vastly surpassed my expected subscriptions, now nearly reaching 1400! I will continue to stick out vids in the new year for all my ongoing projects.

Lastly, I just want to thank everyone who has shown me tremendous support, feedback and encouragement throughout 2014, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a marvellous New Year!

Laters old chaps!

 

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!

 

 

When good models, turn bad!

When we’re talking about what models are good or bad, there’s always an element of subjectivity involved, but there are times when I am astounded by how obviously bad a model is, and yet it’s somehow held to acclaim.

Logically, there are a few factors involved in aesthetics here – settings aside individual tastes there does appear to be a bit of a cultural, or regional difference in what’s an acceptably good model. In my experience, it appears that the more extreme modifications in with extra plating and parts  stem from southern Asia. The more bizarre, clever  and complimentary to the original design models from Japan, China and Korea. The more restrained, conservative and paintwork-orientated from the west. By no means a definitive characterisation but none the less generalised to illustrate my point.

That said, it still remains a mystery to me how some models can be held in such great acclaim, when they have obviously poor aesthetic value, but very high technical value. One such example that frequently pops up is the mecha peacock. The mecha peacock is when you take a normal model, and stick an ungodly amount of wings, guns, missiles and gizmos on its back, making it not only making it look ridiculous, but hideous at the same time. Another such example is over modification. When skirts have been extended or modified so much it’s almost comical, or limbs and torsos end up so contorted it fires off your mirror neurons with an audible “ooo. that just looks.. painful..”. Models also falling foul of the koto curse also fall into this category. A thruster on the models forehead is not a great idea, no matter now original you think it is.

All of the above can be done very, very well to great effect, but a lot of the time it seems like modellers are simply doing it, for the sake of doing it without giving any due care or attention to how the final model is going to look. It’s almost a cliche to see this now, and a rarity to see it done well. I guess, people need practice but do they have to do it so publicly? (lols).

There is also the factor of laziness, and bad feedback. Did you ever hear the story about the king, who was fooled by a tailor into thinking his new, invisible clothes were all the rage? And how all of his loyal subject applauded their ballbag-naked king in spite of him clearly being fooled? I get the impression sometimes that some modellers of acclaim suffer from this. I have seen, on closer inspection some real schoolboy errors from some seriously skilled modellers – and we’re talking visible nubs and jagged pla-plating here, followed by an endless stream of reverence from the modelling community.

Perhaps some people just don’t feel confident enough to point out these flaws through fear of being attacked by the modellers friends and followers, or just don’t want to ’cause any drama’ or be called a ‘noob’, or be chucked out of the ‘clique’.  All the same I think everyone should have a right to opinion without fear of reprise, and i’ll defend it where I see it, even if I don’t agree with it. Undeniably however, it’s apparent there’s no getting away from tribalism in any hobby. I try to see it as that when I am attacked for my own opinion – and avoid any superfluous keyboard warrior-y.   Anyway, I speculate, back to the subject.

I guess in conclusion I am saying, don’t fall for the vajazzle. A Sinanju, with a shiny paintjob and 17 extra wings, 12 gatling guns, a skirt akin to a broken umbrella and a modified dildo may have taken some time and effort to complete, but it does not make a good model. Let models appeal to you on a visual, not conceptual level. See the model, regardless of the modellers popularity. Don’t believe the hype.

The Tenets Revisited: There’s no such thing as a Mecha Modelling Pro!

A few weeks back I wrote a little post on the “tenets of being a mecha modelling pro”, and after a few weeks of thinking about it on a off and discussing it now and again with a few other modellers, it suddenly occurred to me without sounding too obvious, that it’s a whole lot more complex than just a standard tick sheet of pre-ordained requirements. I admit to a degree at the time there was a subtext in that piece along the lines of the last point – having respect for people in the hobby regardless of their skill level, but none the less due to my structured way of thinking I was perhaps a little naive in thinking it could all be summed up.

So why the change of heart? I look at many, many models from all around the world on a daily basis through blogs and newsfeeds, through facebook shares, groups and youtube, and can almost guarantee I will find some aspect that does not agree to either my limited technical experience, or aesthetic pleasure. I’ll also frequently find someone posting an image somewhere, declaring it to be a masterpiece when I feel it clearly is not. Decreeing anyone as a “pro” is surely entirely subjective. Someone else may praise another modeller, and be in agreement with many others that an individual has a ‘pro’ status, but you’ll always find just as many opposing views among thier peers. Even regular competitive winners could, in effect not really be declared as “pro’s” simply because not everyone has the means to compete, maybe due to locale or mobility – or maybe just because they’re not even aware of any such competitions. I have seen plenty of models in my time that could certainly trail blaze any contest, but remain as just pictures on the internet, with little to no acclaim. Perhaps the term ‘pro’ should only apply to technical ability? If that’s the case does it really have any merit?

In a hobby that holds so much subjective opinion, and so sporadic in taste and nature, is there really any such person as a “mecha modelling pro”? Is it that we just simply have our own favourite modellers who vary in popularity rather than skill level – and who are subject to such a title through smaller social circles and local communities rather than a majority of opinion? With this in mind, logically you can draw the conclusion that the title of a universally ordained ‘mecha modelling pro’ just does not exist!

I now find myself being less interested in the term since giving it some thought. I’ll concentrate on what matters – what I like, and who influences and inspires me to be better. These people will always be the “pro’s” to me.