The State of the Gunpla Union – 013111

Welcome to the first SOTGU of 2011.  It has been a busy month and and before you know it, 1/12 of 2011 is already done.  Also, technically the 2nd anniversary of ASM has come and gone as well.  I don’t really go out of my way to celebrate or anything, I’m just happy to be going along at my own pace, with those who like to tag along.  But still, it’s always nice to have more people tag along, and so I’ve linked to my facebook ASM on the left side of the main page.  Feel free to stop by, favorite it, and make new friends.  In fact, due to me figuring out how to post from the iPhone, the facebook page will likely be updated with various picture updates and tidbits faster than the blog.  So, consider it more of a real time tool to catch up with what I’m doing.  There may be other slight updates around the site going forward depending on the time.

As for current Gunpla, I continue on with the PG Strike Freedom, and I’ve finished the wings and dragoons… finally.  It seems that most kits must have some area of tedium, be it weapons block, decal block, or in Strike Freedoms case, 8 wings and dragoons to build.  Still, that next WiP will be up sometime this week so look forward to it.  After I finish up the wing joint fix, it’ll be time for initial photos、followed by planning on how to finish up the frame and all that, with decals and finishing up with top coat.  If anything, I see the final touch ups taking up quite a bit of time, but we’ll see.

People may also not that the MG ReZel is finished, but I’ve held off on it because I accidently lost the tiniest part of them all, the V part for the waist.  A replacement part will be heading my way shortly, which means I can finally finish off this kit.

So going forward, what’s on the Gunpla forefront for me?  Well, I’d like to knock out the RG Zaku II, but I have an idea kicking around for the long overdue Musha Mk. II.  Of course, I’m also on a bit of a PG kick too, and after seeing the latest Dengeki Hobby homage to 0083, I think I might need to go ahead and knock out the GP01 that is sitting up high on my backlog.  There are also rumblings for a 2011 GaiGun/ASM Collaboration, but nothing certain just yet, we’re both juggling quite a bit as is between work, family, and CoD.  Thankfully, there really isn’t much coming out that I’m interested in at this point that should distract me.  Or at least  so I thought!  On my current interest lists:

Gundam Deathscythe Hell – I’m glad that I waited.  While the wings at full extension look a bit odd, it looks good when closed up tighter.  The darker color scheme is also great as well.

Extreme Gundam – This one kind of came out of the blue for me.  I was interested in the design when I saw the first prototype, but the combination of blue and white, with the clear metallic blue highlights have made this a definite pick up.

I will also say I’m intriqued by the upcoming HGUC kits for Gundam UC as well.  In particular the ECOAS Jegen and the Dreissen, but other than those two, there is nothing on my radar for a while.  In regards to Wing Gundam MG kits, I’ll be waiting for Heavy Arms, but the rest of the lineup is a pass at this point.  What with the next episode of Gundam Unicorn out in less than 2 months, I would hope for another MG follow-up, but Bandai is laying low and going the HG route by the looks of it.

Somewhat of a shorter SOTGU this month, but the PG Strike Freedom has dominated most of my Gunpla time, and the upcoming spring kits look to be so so at this point for me.  I guess with 2010 wrapping up Gunpla’s 30th year anniversary, 2011 will be quite a ho-hum year perhaps.

Any thoughts on how this year will go for Gunpla, and what are you all looking forward too?

Advertisements

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #04

So I’ve finished up the mobile suit portion of the PG Strike Freedom, and we’ll take a look at some shots.  As I’ve mentioned before, the gold plated and extra finish parts of the frame only cover maybe 75% of what’s actually visible.  Overall this doesn’t distract too much, at least at this point, but it’s still a small disappointment after such hype what made about the finish.  So let’s take a look at some shots and you all can judge for yourselves.

The biggest offender of the bunch, the waist mounted giant rail guns

Unfortunately the back of each of the waist armor pieces aren’t plated either.

The waist itself, as well as the fairly visible leg/waist joint there.

As see with the rail gun attached

Right on the ankle joint, but not really noticeable here

The side of the lower leg, also not as noticeable here

The arm is fairly fine, save around the elbow area. Unfortunately you get nub marks on the back side which are visible.

The shoulders, when extended, you can see some yellow.

Overall, the biggest stand out has to be around the waist area and the reail guns at this point for me. Considering how you slide the rail guns around to the back, the yellow is visible, even when you put the beam rifles in their place. Also, a huge complaint I have about the rail guns is they fit very loosely on the pegs, and will fall off easy. Due to the way they are made, you can’t stick the peg in all the way to get a good fit, so I find it a little frustrating.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for the mobile suit. The build is solid and I find the engineering to great. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table like PG 00 Raiser did with locking functions for arms and legs, and GN drives, but it is solid. Unfortunately, the planning on the extra finish/gold plated parts falls short, and it shows. This means you have to go that extra mile to touch things up if you want the full effect. Of course it can be argued that a Perfect Grade is all about going that extra mile for perfection, but I thought that when you drop 26,000 yen, or well over $300 for a PG, you’re paying for that perfection already included. Slight rant if you will, but you want to go into a PG kit expecting the best, and so at this point I’ve seeing great, but not best.

So, here’s a bunch of quick shots of the mobile suit for you, and this weekend I plan on moving onto the final part, the dragoon system.

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #03

Moving on with the build, we’ll go ahead and jump into the waist, arms, and rail guns.  Starting off with the waist, there really isn’t anything special about the build.

The parts for the waist

Put together

As I mentioned before, I’ll be skipping the build pictures for the legs, as GaiGun has a good post up on them already.  But still to give you an idea of how they look, here are the feet and legs for you.

Feet

Legs

Pretty articulate at this point

Putting what we’ve built together and…

Next up, the arms and rails guns. Honestly, there isn’t anything special about the arms either. In regards to the waist mounting rail guns however, the curse of yellow plastic that I mentioned last post rears its ugly head yet again.

A completed arm with the pieces required

Also pretty articulate at this point

Completed rail gun and parts needed

Unfortunately, no plated or extra finish gold here

With the arms finished, we’ve come to the end of the frame build at this point.

Completed frame

Overall, the design and construction is rock solid, as befitting a PG kit. There are no complaints here, but at the same time, there isn’t much that’s “new” aside from the various gold plate/extra finish parts. If anything, the one disappointment in regards to the gold is for as hard as they tried to make it work well with all visible parts, it still comes off half ass considering how much of the regular yellow plastic looks to be visible. Of course, it may not be as bad as I’m making it out to be once I actually put on the armor. So, the net plan is to move onto the outer armor for the mobile suit. Depending on how things look, I’ll consider painting the visible frame parts. So the next post will be looking at just that.

Just how will it turn out…?

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #02

Continuing on with the WiP for the Strike Freedom, today we continue on with the backpack and torso. The backpack itself isn’t a complicated affair, but I run into an issue that will rear it’s head a few times during this build.

The parts for the backpack

As you see above, it’s a pretty simple affair of putting the two halves together and snapping on the thrusters. You notice as well that there are only 3 plated gold parts, the thrusters and a part that sticks out a little in the rear. Completed the backpack looks like this.

Side

Back

Front

So that issue that I just mentioned? It’s that not all the visible gold parts are of the plated, or extra-finish type. With the backpack, obviously Bandai is assuming that you’ll be too busy with the Dragoons to notice, but even then, I find it to be lazy, considering how well they designed most of the rest of the kit.

Speaking of the Dragoons, I’ve left them for last, due to the other engineering foresight, brought up by Plamo Addiction. There are a variety of methods to counter the joint issue, but I’ll think about that at the end.

Anyways, sticking the backpack on the stand and you get something like the below. In regards to the stand, I’ll direct you to GaiGun’s WiP #0 on that.

Stand

So with the backpack out of the way, let’s move on to the torso. Going through this, it seems to be fairly standard torso fare, similar to the PG Strike or PG Astray. We have a “center” block style, and then the “left” and “right” torso sides. These then slide into the “center” block.

We start off with the cockpit

Completed cockpit with the “central” block pieces

Some sliding action for the cockpit there.

And the completed “central” torso. You see where the “side” torso pieces hook in.

The side torso pieces.

Left side completed.

And the torso, completed.

From there we stick on plated gold parts for the chest vents and neck area, but I’ll showcase that next part when I look at the waist area. So far, there’s been nothing spectacular with the build, but this is pretty basic stuff right now, and as always, there’s only so much you can do with the torso. Next up, I’ll be moving onto the waist or arms. In regards to the legs, rather than double post, I’m just going to direct you to GaiGun’s WiP #2, as he does a great job.

But, the one thing I’m seeing, and you’ll see in upcoming WiP’s, is the curse of the visible yellow frame will strike again.  Meaning, I’m going to have paint some of the frame to have some consistency.  Now what gold to use…

Gunplar Meet-up 2011

As you all may be aware, Buster Beam of Plamo Addiction has decided to make his next move in life, and head back to Canada.  Having met with him twice last year, in Akiba and the 1/1 Gundam in Shizuoka, I knew how much of a great guy he was, and couldn’t just let him head home without getting together one more time.  A quick email to GaiGun of Gaijin Gunpla to see if he was on board as well, which he was, and the ball started rolling for a Gunplar Meet-up.   This past weekend was a three day holiday in Japan, and we used that to get together one last time in Japan for drinking, gaming, and of course Gunpla!

I just happened to be in Tokyo on business on Friday, so I used that to stay in Akiba for the night and catch up with people before meeting up with GaiGun in Akiba Saturday evening at our usual pub, to get the party started.  After hitting back a few rum & cokes to get us nicely toasted, we headed off to Yodobashi Camera and Asobi City before jumping on the bullet train to head back to my new stomping grounds, Osaka.   Upon arriving in Osaka, we proceeded to my place to continue the drinking combined with online split-screen COD: Black Ops, until about 4:30 in the morning.  The plans for sight seeing a little before Buster arrived were put aside for the more needed sleep, and after sleeping most of the day away, we headed off to Namba to pick up Buster. We did some quick sight seeing around Nipponbashi, the Akiba of Osaka, but soon moved to the drinking.

The Dotonbori area of Namba

The Glico running man

After some drinking at Namba, we moved back to Tennoji to hit up a local izakaya, or Japanese style pub/restaurant to continue the drinking.  All three of us just happen to be fans of Z’s posts about food, so we thought we’d share with you some similar shots.

The 270 yen Izakaya, everything is 270 yen!

Starting out with beer and edamame

Gyoza!

Cucumbers covered with eatable raiyu sauce

Don’t forget yakitori and takoyaki!

Several beers, cocktails, and sake bottles later…

Of course, we didn’t just get together to drink, we got together to game and gunpla as well, and we got together a bunch of kits to work on.  At least to the best of our drunken ability, we had been drinking for about five hours…

Gunpla loot

And don’t forget about Call of Duty!

But still, we’re here to build gunpla (while drinking)

Gundam UC in the background while we build.

The results of the gaming, drinking and gunpla

You could say the excessive drinking, along with Call of Duty, Gundam Musou 3, and Gran Turismo 5 kept the number of completed Gunpla down to 3, but we all had a hell of a time doing it.  We really got to work off each others synergy this weekend, and had a hell of a time.  Gunpla is great, but Gunpla mixed with alcohol, gaming, and friends at the same time is priceless. While Buster will be missed as he takes his next step back in his home country, his spirit will still be with us as one of the original 3 foreign Gunplars in Japan.

The State of the Gunpla Union: 2010 in review

Happy New Year!  Hope everyone had a good and happy holiday season.  Having stuffed myself curtesy of relatives during the day, while playing Black Ops with GaiGun and Lupes at night, I didn’t have much time for sleep or writing.  But, since I never got around to doing this last year, but let’s knock out that last State of the Gunpla Union for 2010, big review style.  Looking back at the year 2010 and I realize that it was a milestone year for me in a big way.  It had ups and downs, both in my private life, and my Gundam life, but thankfully, I felt like I ended the year on a positive note with both.  To be honest, if you would have told me I’d be where I am now at the beginning of 2010, well, suffice to say, I wouldn’t have believed you, and probably would have expressed that in not so polite wording. 

Honestly, looking back at the last 12 months, the biggest ups and downs happened in my private life.  While I kept most of it out of the blog, as you all know, I parted ways with my previous employer in April.  While I was honestly contemplating leaving anyways if I had found a better job at the beginning of the year, when it came down to me actually leaving (and with no job lined up) there was certainly a lot of hesitation and worry on my part… Still, I wasn’t at rock bottom, thanks to savings and an understanding wife, so there was nowhere to go but up..  I will have to admit, there were some things that pleasantly surprised me at that point, including the willingness of my wife to work while I looked for that next paying gig.  Things happened much sooner than I was expecting, and I received offers for jobs (including my new current job) that really made me say wow, as well as realize all that hard work with Japanese, and sticking it out in HR paid off. 

I will say this, not bragging or anything, but simply.  If you want it and work hard enough, you can do anything. That’s simply it.  I wanted to learn Japanese, and stuck with it, and stuck with Japan, that got me to a job that I’m proud of, working with a company that I’m proud of, and in a unique position where I’m in the forefront of globalizing the Japanese HQ with its global affiliates.  It’s exciting, it’s great, and this is what has made the year go from down to up in a matter of a few months.  And so I say the same to anyone out there.  cheesy I know, but it’s true.

But, as I said, I tend to keep most of my private life out off the blog, and so I’ll leave the private ups and downs at that.  Suffice it to say however, that the first half and second half of 2010 were two totally different beasts.

So how about the year in Gundam?  Writing this post I realized that I need to keep better track of what I’ve finished, as unfortunately, I can’t recall!  Most of my built plamo kits are still packed away from the move, so I can’t go back and count.  So I’m going to hit my personal highs and lows of the year month by month, somewhat similar to Buster’s write up.

January – Nothing really happens Gunpla wise as I’m in America for part of the month.  I do write a rant that gets some attention.  Looking back at the rant, it still stands, although Bandai is still sometimes releasing the token cheap Gunpla kit. (MG Wing Gundam, for example).

February – Things pick up with the release of the first Unicorn OVA, which is only marred by the fact that there are 6 month waits between episodes.  Also a big high of the month was the start of the ASM/GaiGun Victory Gundam Collaboration

MarchGaiGun and I finish our Victory Gundam Collaboration, and top it off with photoshoots at the HLJ Studio.  A damn good time, and perhaps we need to come up with a 2011 collaboration as well?  I also initiate the 2nd GAF Group Build with the Unicorn Gundam.  While some people complete this, it eventually implodes with along with GAF’s original server….

April – Not much happened in April due to the work situation…

May – But if I’m going to be a bum, I might as well build Gunpla, and I knock out the MG Wing Gundam.  This ended up being a great kit, and surprisingly not overpriced like a majority of kits released in 2010.

June – Managed to hit the Gundam Café in Akiba.  The blog underwent an update in style which coincided with the start of HLJ’s first Gunpla Contest.

July – The highlight of this month was the MG Full Armor Gundam.  My first time to actually build the 2.0 Gundam and color me impressed with the articulation.

August – It goes without saying the highlight was the meeting of the 4 bloggers of the apocalypse at the 1/1 Gundam in Shizoka.  The Gundam Super Expo was good, but didn’t back the punch that the 2009 Gundam Big Expo had.

September – Not much happened this month due to family visiting from the states, and work starting to pick up.

October – Started working on a gentei version of the MG Z’Gok, along with various non Gundam kits.  In Gundam blog news, Ngee Khiong closes shop, and people cry about it for a week, and then he’s promptly forgotten thanks to other sources such as Gundam Guy and GunJapGaiGun throws down the gauntlet at the new and improved GAF forums and the MG ReZel Group Build starts.

November – Finish up the Z’Gok, while also knocking out several HGUC kits, including the Sinanju, 00 Gundam Seven Swords, and three Ecopla kits.  Unfortunately, I’ve still not finished taking pictures of said kits.  Also start on the RG Char Zaku II.

December – We finish the year with the PG Strike Freedom dropping.  I start on this while finishing up the MG ReZel for the group build.

Which brings me to the here and now.  Looking back, I realize that I did a bit more than I thought I did, but I still come back to the fact that I’ve not followed up so much on the blog.  Another thing is I didn’t do much to increase my overall Gunplar skill.  One thing to do this year is to get back to the photoshoots, and get those going.  That alone is a month or two of content depending on how I space it out.  But overall, 2010 was a decent year Gundam wise.  Particular stands are the ASM/GaiGun collaboration, MG Wing Gundam, the 1/1 Gundam in Shizuoka, the (bi)monthly drinking sessions with GaiGun, and year ending with the PG Strike Freedom.

And so what to look forward to in 2011?  At this point, aside from a passing interest in the Deathscythe Hell Custom, there isn’t much coming out in the near future that screams “build me!”  And thats good, because my goal is to continue to whittle down my backlog, work on those photoshoots, and slowly but surely work on increasing my skill set.  Still, i have high hopes for more UC Gundam love, and I’m pretty sure March will see some exciting news of upcoming Gunpla kits to coincide with the 3rd episode of Unicorn Gundam. 

So that my (long) year  in review and my (short) list of things to do in the new year.  How was 2010 for you all, and what has got your fired up in 2011?

Finally, althought I’m not concerned with numbers and what not, here are the cold hard stats from wordpress directly.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 87,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 64 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 230 posts. There were 740 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 246mb. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was October 14th with 509 views. The most popular post that day was 50th Plamodel Hobby Show Gundam News!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were gunpla-inochi.com, gundamguy.blogspot.com, gaijingunpla.blogspot.com, en.wordpress.com, and chubbybots.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for sinanju, gundam sinanju, pg 00 raiser, geara zulu, and sinanju gundam.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

50th Plamodel Hobby Show Gundam News! October 2010
11 comments

2

SGB WiP – Sinanju #8 October 2009
7 comments

3

Gunpla Construction: PG Gundam Astray Part 1 March 2009
2 comments

4

SGB WiP – Sinanju #7 October 2009
6 comments

5

WiP: PG 00 Raiser #07 December 2009
3 comments