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Neo

Mall Mecha in Jan/Feb Journal

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A big shout out to Jerry Escobedo-Sainz for his diorama of the Odaiba Gundam display!  I visited the site back when they had the RX-78 Gundam, and have to say Jerry captured the scene to a tee!  He even did the little bus gift shop!  The current Unicorn Gundam that resides there does a light show in the evenings, which the Gundam did not.

When the RX-78 first went on display, it looked kind of like an amusement park prop, but details and stenciling were added by the time that I saw it, and it looked pretty realistic, especially the inner joint mechanisms.  I’m sure the Unicorn Gundam has the same level of detail.

60 foot tall Mobile Suits may be impractical in real life, but there is an ongoing project in Japan to make a full scale Gundam “move”.  How far they take it is open to question, but I hope they can show skeptics like myself that they can do it.

BTW, I have to comment on the negativity that this model genre gets.  I was also a “scale only” modeler once, and thought the Japanese anime kits were just dumb junk.  But after I built my first Gundam kit back in the early 1980s, I was hooked.  I still build scale kits, but the Gundam and other anime kits also get into the mix.  There is no difference to me - they are all plastic models.  They can look spectacular finished using current weathering methods.

Time and again I have heard the old trope that plastic models should only represent actual, historically significant machines, and nothing else.  I have had that told to my face verbatim at an IPMS meeting.  That is total bunk; those little plastic planes fired no shots and won no wars.  Gunpla is here to stay, and Jerry’s diorama proves that very good models can be made from them.

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I agree. Although Gundam models don't generate a great deal of interest for me; I can still respect and admire a well-built, excellent detailed model. They are all models as you say and deserve to be respected as such; especially given the incredible talent most of these Gundam modelers have. I was entranced by that diorama in the Journal and I'm thrilled that the editors included it.

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Thanks Maddog!  I feel the need to defend the genre, not only Gunpla but all other genres that are not airplane/tank/ship/car.   That is what IPMS should be about to ensure its continued existence.

Here are some pics I took back in 2016:

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This is the RX-78-2 Gundam, the one that started it all in a TV show back in 1979.  The show's early history was similar to Star Trek - it originally did poorly in ratings, but became a smash hit once in syndication.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Edited by Neo

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That is awesome! I never saw any of those pics of that real one before today. I also read your article; before I had just gone through and read the photo captions. What fantastic information that I finally learned after all these years! A lot became more clear now. Great job once again!

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Thank y’all for the kind words expressed towards my work. I haven’t been in Japan myself but I’m planning to go. 
And yes, Gunpla is getting more adepts, and the possibilities are mind blowing for this genre of plastic models. 
I wanted to make the diorama as accurate  as possible, so I used Google Earth for measurements of the plaza, and the angles of pathways and the mall front itself. Not all is 100% accurate because of practical reasons for  ~1/150 scale, but it gives you the sense of the plaza. 
And talking about growing the Gunpla community, here are some photos of the past Model Fiesta 39, here in San Antonio a couple of weeks ago. 
Thank you again for your comments!

- Gerardo “Jerry” Escobedo-Sainz

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Edited by Paperjerry

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On 2/22/2020 at 9:56 PM, Neo said:

Time and again I have heard the old trope that plastic models should only represent actual, historically significant machines, and nothing else.  I have had that told to my face verbatim at an IPMS meeting.  That is total bunk; those little plastic planes fired no shots and won no wars...

There have always been mundane subjects such as automobiles or cargo vehicles that were not historically significant machines. There are models of figures, monsters, animals, sailboats, and the entire science fiction genre of items that never existed or may have only been movie props.

Even a model of the TV series Batmobile, a fairly iconic vehicle, is mainly a model of a vehicle that is just a mock up of vehicle that is based on someone's imagination.

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12 hours ago, RGronovius said:

There have always been mundane subjects such as automobiles or cargo vehicles that were not historically significant machines. There are models of figures, monsters, animals, sailboats, and the entire science fiction genre of items that never existed or may have only been movie props.

Even a model of the TV series Batmobile, a fairly iconic vehicle, is mainly a model of a vehicle that is just a mock up of vehicle that is based on someone's imagination.

And yet I hear the same thing told to me over and over again.  It gets old after 25+ years in IPMS.

Anyway, enough of my rant.  I just wanted to praise Jerry’s nice diorama.  I really liked it a lot!  Jerry, if you can, i’d like to see more detail photos, to see what characters are in the crowd!

 

 

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Here are more photos. 

If you want to see an overview of Model Fiesta 39, you can go to the Alamo Squadron Web Page and check on the video there (which by any strange reason, I'm the one on the "coder" of the video).

 

 

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Edited by Paperjerry

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On 2/28/2020 at 1:23 AM, Neo said:

And yet I hear the same thing told to me over and over again.  It gets old after 25+ years in IPMS.

Anyway, enough of my rant.  I just wanted to praise Jerry’s nice diorama.  I really liked it a lot!  Jerry, if you can, i’d like to see more detail photos, to see what characters are in the crowd!

 

 

I still believe sci-fi and fantasy models are the gateway to our hobby. Fans want to build a model of the latest star wars vehicle. Gamers want to build "their" in game version of their World of Tank tanks.

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Sometimes they go scale.  A friend who started off snapping Gundam kits together became interested in 1:72 WW II aircraft and 1/48 armor.  We helped him get started and now he is quite good at building them.  He has become a huge Tamiya fan.

The Model Gods must be smiling on him, as he met Mr. Tamiya and had lunch with him at last year’s All Japan Hobby Show!  I told him he’d better go have lunch with Mr. Kawaguchi (Bandai’s de facto PR front man) next.

And while I personally dislike World of Tanks, I do realize that the game is stimulating interest in armor modeling in kids.  I had a very good tank related conversation with a 10 year old kid who played the game, and was frankly shocked at how much he knew.  I didn’t expect kids nowadays to know what an AMX-13 was, or be able to tell me about post war British experimental tanks.

Sci-fi, Gundam, WoT- in the end it’s all good for the future of the hobby.

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To ease fears that Gunpla is taking over the hobby (it is, actually), here is a pic of my friend's first airplane model kit, a Tamiya Bf-109E:

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He had no idea how to build and paint an airplane model when he started, but we gave him advice and I think it turned out rather well.  He liked it too, and so has begun collecting more aircraft kits to build.  He was also interested in armor, and after a few tries, decided that he preferred 1/48 scale.  This is his Tamiya 1/48 Tiger I, with the accessory zimmerit stickers:

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And though I build at a snail's pace, here is my second Gunpla MG build, the Zaku I Ramba Ral custom:

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For me, I want to start weathering my anime kits like armor models.  It changes the look so much, from plastic toy to scale miniature.

So yeah, modelers can go either way (scale to Gunpla, or Gunpla to scale), and it all works out.  The main thing is to keep an open mind and help others out, regardless of what they build.  It sure pays dividends!

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11 hours ago, Neo said:

To ease fears that Gunpla is taking over the hobby (it is, actually), here is a pic of my friend's first airplane model kit...

 

...

For me, I want to start weathering my anime kits like armor models.  It changes the look so much, from plastic toy to scale miniature.

So yeah, modelers can go either way (scale to Gunpla, or Gunpla to scale), and it all works out.  The main thing is to keep an open mind and help others out, regardless of what they build.  It sure pays dividends!

Nice work.

I was doing some Kondo-ing, and just yesterday I gave away a gundam kit to a club member who was looking for something to work on with his grandkids that would help keep them engaged, particularly one of the little ones who is very attached to screens. I'm expecting a report-back at next month's meeting.

I think one of the great things about gunpla is that you can really go in any direction with them, especially on the finish. You could make them look clean or weathered, or do some fancy automotive colour-shifting candy coat. You're really only limited by your own imagination.

I agree with your final point, I just think we need to be careful with how we approach this and discuss it -- while I think people should be willing to try new things, it shouldn't be about trying to convert people to build what we build, rather, we should strive for the same mutual acceptance that airplane and armour and ship guys have with each other with gundams. Ideally, it should be "I like planes, you like robots, he likes tanks, and the the fact that we have a 109 next to a Panzer next to a space robot on the club display table is cool. Let's have beers and talk shop."

Edited by crimsyn1919

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Well said, guys! It is indeed kinda quid pro quo in the sense that one can share any theme, talk about it, and continue making a community. 

Our local Gunpla Club, San Antonio Gundam Association, is planning to get a couple of our experienced IPMS judges to a session for reviewing IPMS standards on judging, plus whatever recommendations they can give. So, we learn from each other.

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Great comments guys!  I’m not about converting people to sci-fi/Gunpla, I just want everyone to enjoy what they build and let others build what they want.  Community.

Brian, I’d love to see what you are “Kondoh-ing”, as I really like his aesthetic.  I was able to get 1/220 resin kits of the Breda and Buran in Japan back in the 1990s.

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I believe the maker was Kotobukiya, but the brand label was "Goikken Muyo" - "Your Opinion Is Not Needed"!

B-Club mag did a fantastic scratchbuilt Kondoh Geara Doga made around a stop motion armature, one of my all-time favorite magazine articles.

Gerardo, for judging Gunpla, the first thing I look for is blackout on the undetailed inner portions of the model.  I have seen very nicely painted and weathered models with shiny unpainted armpits.  It’s like having open intakes on a plane where the unpainted insides are visible.  Pretty much all IPMS judging rules apply to Gunpla, so it's not a leap in terms of approach.  Seams still gotta be filled, paint and decals need to be neat, and stuff needs to be put on straight.

Maybe we turn this into a Gunpla/anime kit discussion thread?  It might encourage others to join in and share their experiences.

Edited by Neo

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Thank you Neo, for your comments on the "armpits". Yes, inner frames for Gunpla is not very much a matter of detailing... unless it has a very intricate inner frame - I always give a coat of either Gun Metal, Metallic Gray or the like. 

And I guess Brian meant Marie Kondo for "Kondo-ing", the Japanese lady that teaches how to neatly clean your house - so Brian was cleaning his stash and giving away old kits (he can always correct me if I'm wrong). 

Also, nice to check on the B-Club magazine. Now we have "Hobby Japan" and other magazines that cover the ever growing amount of hobbies in Japan - including traditional modeling. Of course, Gunpla is the main theme. 

 

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The blackout is for the insides that have no frame details.  It goes a long way to hiding the kit plastic as well as creating enhanced shadows.  The downside is that it may not be feasible for people who don’t paint the outside of their kits, since the blackout can sometimes be seen through the parts.

Awww nuts.  Marie Kondo?!  A sworn enemy of the Stash!  My goof.

Gouf?

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They say Marie Kondo, I say Kazuhisa Kondoh.  She says de-clutter, I say buy shares in zimmerit paste and smartguns!

I stopped buying the Japanese model mags like HJ because they keep getting bigger and thicker, and their content is now heavily leaning towards toys and girlie figures.  I think it will only be a short matter of time before the girlie figures have zimmerit and smartguns.  Oh wait, they are already here - Girls und Panzers.

Edited by Neo

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On 2/24/2020 at 2:19 PM, Mark Deliduka said:

I agree. Although Gundam models don't generate a great deal of interest for me; I can still respect and admire a well-built, excellent detailed model. They are all models as you say and deserve to be respected as such; especially given the incredible talent most of these Gundam modelers have. I was entranced by that diorama in the Journal and I'm thrilled that the editors included it.

There are some awesome 1/72 scale pseudo military scale models that were originally produced to go along with the Robotech style kits. I was first introduced to these through the Revell Robotech series in the 1980s. Back then I built a lot of Hasegawa 1/72 scale armor and Matchbox 1/76 scale armor. These "Godzilla fighting" military wheeled armored vehicles were quite well done.

My understanding about the Revell Robotech series is that they combined totally unrelated Japanese animated series and created Robotech from it. It would be like a Japanese company combing Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica models and releasing them as a "Galaxy Wars" series where the Enterprise launches X-Wings to attack a Base Star.

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That is cool to know Rob! I never knew about those armor kits. I wouldn't mind building a few of them.

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This insert shows some of the ground based 1/72 scale armor kits. I still have several of the built ones, and the giant tractor trailer ground recovery unit, right hand side, second from the bottom, is one of the unbuilt ones.

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Some of the remnants of my built kits from the 80s.

The helicopter in the bottom left hand corner of the insert is in this photo. It resembles a reconfigured Chinook used to insert the robots.

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That is cool. I do have one of those attack helicopters mostly built; I got it in a box of discarded half-built models. I always wondered where it was from. Thanks Rob!

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Mark,

The kits in the flyer were mostly from the Japanese animated TV show “Dougram”.  Max Factory in Japan has been issuing new tool kits of the mecha and vehicles:

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/search?typ1_c=102&cat=&state=&sold=0&sortid=0&searchkey=Dougram&spage=1&Make=Max+Factory

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11 hours ago, Neo said:

Mark,

The kits in the flyer were mostly from the Japanese animated TV show “Dougram”.  Max Factory in Japan has been issuing new tool kits of the mecha and vehicles:

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/search?typ1_c=102&cat=&state=&sold=0&sortid=0&searchkey=Dougram&spage=1&Make=Max+Factory

I never knew exactly where they came from when I first saw them while in college in the early 80s. I knew the kits as depicted on the box were not as they were supposed to be painted. There were virtually entire decal schemes not used in the instructions. The kits were different scales and the manufacturing was different as well. You could tell they weren't from the same series. It would be like boxing a Monogram Colonial Viper with the MPC Darth Vader TIE fighter; roughly the same scale, but not quite and definitely different manufacturers.

When I collected my old kits from my parents' house in 2004, I found many of the poorly built kits and a couple I bought on clearance but never built. So I started searching for the original instructions online so I can build them as they were intended.

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