The State of the Gunpla Union – 053111

Looking back at the month of May, it feels like I did a lot, but yet didn’t get much done at all.  If anything, May was a mountain that I finally got over.  Due to that it felt like forever, but actually passed by in a whirlwind do to a variety of reasons.

First up, work.  I’ve talked a little bit about it last month, but May has ended up being the busiest month yet with some long hours and ups and downs, but things worked out for the most part with the issues that I was dealing with and life is settling down again.  I see another mountain in the distance but it shouldn’t be as bad as this last one.  If anything, I’m hoping this will let me finally get to go on some business trips abroad as opposed to all domestic Japan only.

One of the major perks of May through was meeting the mastermind behind Gundam Australia.  What was supposed to be just drinks and dinner turned into a 10 hour adventure in Osaka.  No one tells a better story than the man himself, so I highly suggest you check out his full report at GAF of what went down.  Well, full story so far as what we can legally tell you.

On the home side, the SO and I continued our spring cleaning and re-arranging of of how our room layouts are done.  I’ll be finished moving all my gundam stuff and setting up my workshop in our spare room hopefully in the next week or two.  This means I’ll actually be able to start taking pictures again, as the running gag is that… well I never get around to taking photos!  But actually, there is a bit going on at home that I’ve not posted about, so once we finish moving things around, I’ll actually have more room to do pictures and stuff without bothering the SO.  With a window by the desk where I’m setting things up, future plans no include a possible investment into a spraybooth along with a compressor.  This may allow for that eventual move into airbrush land.  But that all depends on things over the summer so nothing set in stone yet.

But now onto the important stuff right?  Gundam!  I actually didn’t get much of anything done aside from the Gentei Destiny Gundam.  I was actually fairly impressed by the kit, especially that it could hold it’s giant sword with no problems.  Pictures will eventually be showing up, but I think there are a couple on the facebook page.

The main thing I posted about though was my participation in the Gauntlet of the Apocalypse.  If you’ve not checked out the thread, then click the pic below and check it out.

Some amazing teamwork and synergy is happening there, and it’s the little touches that really makes this build special.  My particular favorite is the GAF Blog post providing breaking news on everyone’s progress.  I will definitely being doing what I can to make sure the retrofit of my Strike Freedom is ready in time for our initiative.

In other kits, the progress on the PG GP01 is about 80% done, I just need to finish the waterslides on a few parts and top coating and the GP01 Version will be done.  The full Vernier parts will take a little longer, but I’m not sure if I’ll even use them yet.  I’m also going to knock out some more HGUC kits to get boxes out of the way.  At this point I think I’ve got 3 versions of the HGUC 78-2/3 Gundam I need to build, so I just might do that.  But being too ambitious usually leads to nothing getting done at all so I’ll keep plugging at it at my own pace.

On next to the latest kit news, we saw the 50th Shizuoka Hobby Show this month, and to tell the truth I came away from the news quite disappointed.  No where near as exciting as last year, and only with short term release information.  In fact, the only “new” MG to be announce was the Delta Plus.  I held off on the HG Delta Plus because I figured Bandai was going to do something like this, similar to the HG ReZel, by releasing in well within a year or so of the HG release.  At this point, I’m sure we’ll have a MG Geara Zulu by the end of the year.  Aside from the already announced Gundam Wing MG kits (and you notice that Heavy Arms and Sandrock were the HG 1/100’s still) and 00 Raiser and Epyon, it was quite barren.  HG kits saw some love you could say, or at least G Gundam kits did, but overall, I found this years show to be a bust.  I will say that the SD Kshatriya looks awesome though!

So, the last major kit on my list to buy at this point is the Epyon, and I’m done for a long while unless something awesome is announced.  And given that there is a new series to be announced next week, I’m sure there will be new awesome kits coming out this year… perhaps.

Looking good!

But, I’m still on track for a special kit arriving in July as well, so that will probably take up some of my time for the foreseeable future aside for the PGSF, so perhaps it’s for the best.

While nothing exciting on the horizon in my opinion, what’s everyone looking forward to, or planning on spending these long summer months working on?

GAF PG Strike Freedom Group Build

As some may already be aware, one of the four gunplar bloggers of the Apocalypse taken the stand yet again to throw down the gauntlet for what may be one of the most ambitious group build projects yet.

As people know, Busterbeam, Gaijin Gunpla, Lupes, and myself first came together at the predecessor to the GAF forums as they are known today, to participate in the now legendary MG Sinanju Group Build Project.  This project is really what gave us four bloggers the start in the Gunplar blogosphere as well, leading us to be sometimes termed as the four gunplar/bloggers of the Apocalypse.

The Sinanju GBP led not only to great synergy among like minded individuals, but helped us meet new people like Sonar and Gundam Guy, and to actual friendships that have transcended the forums.  So yeah, it was pretty damn cool.

But while we’ve all kept going in our respective paths, and putting out new works, there is always talk about that original synergy and effort that was born out our first GBP.  Well, Busterbeam has decided to take his turn with the Gauntlet of the Apocalypse and formally challenge not only us, but anyone else who is interested to bring their best to the gunplar game, and take it to the next level.

And when I say ambitious, I mean it.  We’re not going HG, no sir.  Not stopping at MG.   We’re taking it straight to the PG level.

I’m proud to announce that I will be participating in the GAF PG Strike Freedom Group Build, and I join Busterbeam in challenging my fellow gunplars who may have picked up this monster of a kit, and who have not finished yet, to join in with us.

Here are the official group build rules:

1. You must already own a PGSF
2. You must be part way through your build process. It can be that 5% in (classified as: “I looked at the manual and thought about it for a while.” or 95% finished (classified as: “I have a couple more decals to put on and then the final top coat”), as long as your somewhere between 1% and 99%.
3. The standard Strike Freedom color scheme is banned.  Re-colors only.
4. You must think of a noun by which your PGSF will be referred to.  We were talking about using the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse theme (thus the title) but who wants to name their PGSF “Famine”?  Anyway you have time to think of the word/s you want to use.  Just post it when you post the final pictures of your PGSF at the GAF forums.

and the final and most important rule.

5.  You MUST finish EVERYTHING by September 1st.

Strict rules, but it’s all part of the strive to push ourselves to the next level, and to create that new Gunplar legend.

As you can probably tell by the WiP’s up to this point, I’m pretty much in the 90% area of finished. While the actual kit was a solid build, I was somewhat disappointed with the wings/dragoons, and even more disappointed by the less than “Perfect” grade of the various gold parts.  This group build will allow me to come back to the PGSF and fix those problems that I saw with the kit, and to challenge myself to actually get past the current plateau I find myself on and move for the next level.

For the current progress, feel free to go back over the previous WiPs.

Part 0
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

So, who else is going to pick up the gauntlet and join in the Gunplar League of the Apocalypse?

Lastly, while not set in stone yet, the theme/noun that is floating around in my head?

“We’re going Digital”

The State of the Gunpla Union – 043011

This month’s SOTGU is a bit delayed (as usual) due to a couple of different things.  Long story short, April was just a really really hard month.  It didn’t help that I caught a cold the last couple of days of the month.  I basically spent the first few days of the long Golden Week vacation getting over a cold, only to have an operation yesterday to remove an impacted (embedded?) wisdom tooth, to now spend the next few days in pain waiting for the swelling to go down.  But going back to April, it was simply a hard month.

Why is that?  Since I’ve been stuck in bed for the last few days for cold/teeth/swollen face reasons, I thought back on it, and I guess it comes down to work.  As everyone knows, I now work at a much bigger company than when I was in Tokyo, and on top of that, a major Japanese global conglomerate.  This April was the first time I got to really see how the workings of such a company works on a variety of levels.  I really could go into it, but I’m sure it would be boring to most.  To say the least, it’s very different from the small-sized company I worked at before.  In short, my April consisted of: 1.) HR Ops dealing with 200 new grad and mid-career hires. 2.) two business trips to Tokyo/Yokohama dealing with benefits for international employees. 3.) Working on preparing services and operations in Shanghai and supporting the employees scheduled to be expatriated there. 4.) Working with employees scheduled to be expatriated to other locations abroad. 5.) Dealing with issues with currently expatriated employees in Singapore/America.  6.) Counseling and followup to employees affected by the earthquake last month. 7.) Writing reports and preparing my first evaluation with the company. 8.) And as usual, helping out my co-workers with anything and everything in English.

Whew, that’s most of it I think?  Now it might seem that I’m complaining, but the truth of it is, despite all of this, I love my job.  It has a ton of responsibilities, but I’m given the chance to make help the company move forward, and it’s great experience overall.  Still, this month came with some of the frustrations that come with an old school Japanese mindset trying to work in global market…. That and I’m hoping this first evaluation will reflect well and that it will come with the appropriate compensation.  What this does mean though with the added responsibilities and leeway I’ve been given, that does mean more work, and even being on call now in light of crisis management since the earthquake.  I now get to carry a blackberry for work despite not being a manager, due to some of my unique roles.   So overall, less time for Gunpla it feels like.

But some other good points of April included being able to meet up with GaiGun in Akiba during one of my trips to Tokyo, as well as getting in and actually finishing the HGUC ANA Unicorn Gundam.  I also went ahead and knocked out the regular HGUC Unicorn Unicorn (Destroy Mode Ver.) even though sadly it plays second fiddle to the ANA version.

Various Destroy Mode Unicorns

Other than the two Unicorns built, the only other Gunpla action that happened this month was the my ongoing progress with the PG GP01.  You can see more pictures of it on the Facebook page, but if things go well, I should be finished with it sometime this month.

Building, decaling and topcoating as I go

There really isn’t much out on my radar going forward though, as I’ve said for the last few months, aside from the RG Strike and MG Epyon.  If I had more time I would use it to tackle the backlog but it still sits there unattended due to more pressing needs.  Still, as I started spring cleaning in late April, we moved my work desk to the spare room where everything is stored, and with the absence of the PG GP01 the backlog does look somewhat smaller?

The new location of the work desk

The current backlog (with some exceptions)

The current backlog part 2

There are a few other kit boxes that aren’t “stocked” in the spare room, consisting of the RG Char’s Zaku II and HGUC 0 Gundam, but you get the idea.  I still haven’t moved my more recent built kits to the rack yet though, and they sit lonely in the Japanese tatami room.

A variety of grades

Now I know a lot of people are wondering what happened to the PG Strike Freedom, well, there are some plans coming for that soon enough, so you’ll be hearing about it again shortly.  I’ll probably try and whittle down the backlog by doing some of the gentei kits that I would only straight build anyways.  We’ll see!  I guess though aside from the RG Strike, most people are finding a bit of a lull in gunpla?  For us here in Japan (us being me and GaiGun that is), work, and dealing with how the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear plant disasters certainly have put a damper on things.  Add in to PSN being down and now there isn’t even much desire to game…