Welcome to ASM 3.0

Welcome back to an American Salaryman in Osaka. Or, as you may have noticed by the slight site redesign, more simply, An American Salaryman. I’m your host ASM and it certainly has been a while.   Looking at the last post, I notice it’s been six months actually!  Time flies when you have a newborn, along with an increasingly busy job…  leaving some things to be put aside while dealing with said responsibilities.  One of those things has obviously been Gunpla, and the site.  Now as my son gets older, and hopefully work settles down, the idea is to get back into the fold, and really start knocking out that backlog, along with catching up on the latest releases.

As you may have noted by the redesign, I’ve moved the facebook plugin to the left here, and probably for the short term will be posting more on-the-spur pictures and updates to FB first before updating the site.  The plugin should allow you all to check out whats going on a little more real-time, rather than leaving you all hanging here.  I may look into a way to aggregate the FB posts here in a monthly catch up post but I’m not going to get ahead of myself.

On Gunpla, we saw the last thing built being the version 1.5 7-11 Gundam, and since then I’ve put a couple of kits together, nothing special, but I may try and start of slow with simple photo shoots and reviews of what’s going on.  In the meantime, feel free to look back at all the old posts here, and stick around while I ease back into the Gunpla and blogging life!

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HGUC Gundam (Version 7-11 1.5)

So it only took about 5 weeks to complete one HG kit.  At this rate, my backlog is going to take years to finish.  Anyways, while later than the rest of the crowd, here are a few pictures.  I didn’t bother with the weapons since I’ve already got like 5 beam rifles and Gundam Hammers from other kits.  This Gundam is doing nothin but pimpin 7-11.  Anyways, tackling one kit at a time!

The State of the Gunpla Union – 101211

Whoa, an actual State of the Gunpla Union address?  Yeah, it’s been that long.  As you may have already noticed, updates have been (un)surprisingly lacking in the previous couple of months.  Bluntly put, I literally have no life now thanks to my beautiful son.  But I’m sure my fellow parents out there know how that is.  So by no means am I unhappy about it, but the reality has set in that the time that I now have is extremely limited.  So that means things just aren’t happening, like gunpla and gaming.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t stop thinking about it and talking about it.  So let’s talk about Gundam stuff.

First up, Gunpla stuff.  As Gaigun already posted, there was another 7-11 Gundam campaign similar to the one done about 2 years ago.  This time around not just an updated Gundam figure, but a 7-11 Zaku II and Beargguy as well!  Suffice to say these things sold out pretty much the day they were lined up in 7-11 stores around the country.  It doesn’t help that each store only got like 2 of each kit.  But somehow I managed to snag a full set at Akihabara on a business trip thanks to a cool 7-11 manager.  There was some other nifty stuff like another lucky draw for Gundam stuff, as well as a tie up with Nissin Cup Noodle too, so I snagged things here and there.  I actually have another set of the cup noodle gundams, which would be cool to use for a contest….   I am trying to build my 7-11 Gundam but I’m literally going at a pace of one part per night, so I’m still an arm, leg and head away from completion.

For other gunpla news, I have to say that the MG Sandrock is looking better and better, aside from the ridiculous amount of decals (Thanks Katoki!).  To be honest, Sandrock and Shenlong Gundams were never my favorite and I found them quite bland next to Heavy Arms, Deathscythe and Wing, but I’m liking the look of this design.  After Heavy Arms, all that is left is TallGeese (and honestly, I never liked TallGeese, I don’t understand all the love it gets) and Bandai will have milked a majority of the GW mobile suits.  There are still the EW versions though… Leave to Bandai to take all your money!

MG Sandrock

In other MG news, this year’s big December release is the MG FA Unicorn.  Honestly, I’m kind of up in the air on this.  I’ve already built two MG Unicorns, and two HG Unicorns, and I still have another one sitting around.  Toss in the… inflated… price for all the extra weaponry and I have a hmmm, going to have to pass on this one feeling.  The green psychoframe is cool, though, but not worth the price of admission.  I keep looking at it and thinking, why is this call (F)ull (A)rmor Unicorn?  It gets just another shield and really no more armor, shouldn’t this be the (F)ull (W)eaponry Unicorn?

MG FA Unicorn

The next RG Freedom looks good as well, but since I have only built 1 of the 3 RG I already have, I’m in no rush to pick it up.  With RG’s coming out at a rate of 1 every 3 or 4 months, I figure the next one will probably be around February or March.  While early to speculate, I wonder if we won’t see something from Gundam OO next?  There is always Gundam Age, but they will probably release the MG long before moving to the RG line.

RG Freedom

But as you all know this year’s hobby show is from October 13th, so we should get quite a bit of info for the next six months or so of Gunpla releases.  I’m sure it will be dominated by Gundam Age materials, with a section given to the GW MG line up.  But perhaps we may just see the next PG in store?

Speaking of the hobby show, applicants to the Gunpla World Cup Japan Round who pass the first round of picture submissions will have their pictures displayed at the hobby show for the second round of judging.  As you all know, I submitted my GP01.  While not going all out, I did a paint job, panel lining, and water slides followed by a flat coat.  Sad to say I did not pass the first round.  I had hopes that Bandai wouldn’t take all bling bling kits, but would take some more.. solidly done kits to even it out.  Probably they did take some average kits to make it look fair, just mine wasn’t one of them.  So here are the pictures that I submitted.  Will need to do a full photo session soon because I am quite pleased with how the kit turned out.

So I guess the next couple of days should have some exciting news if we are lucky.

Moving onto other thing Gundam, what’s hot in the blogosphere is Gundam Age.  Having watched it real time on Sunday, I must say I’m not sure what to think.  The general reaction seems to be positive, but that it’s definitely aimed at the younger generation.  I think that’s quite true as a lot of the jumps in logic simply don’t allow for deeper… interaction so to say as other series have.  As an aside I have read that some people think that all Gundam series are aimed at kids, but I think that is not so true with some recent series (especially regarding UC timeline series.)

Gundam Age

Anyways, back to the subject at hand, GA Ep 1 was your standard enemy attacks colony, hero gets in Gundam, and fights off first enemy stories.  The style of design quite reminds me of old Super Robot anime series which definitely is not quite Gundam, but still good.  Stereotypical design?  Yeah, but vibrant in the colors and music is decent.  But we still come back to the fact that GA is aimed at a much younger crowd, as we again see how things are glossed over, such as the actual horrors of what the attacks do.  Aside from Frit’s mother dying in the opening scene, I get the feeling that this will be a much lighter death free Gundam.  As for design, the Gundam Age itself is decent, but not feeling everything else.  I’m pretty sure when we get to the part swapping power ranger/super robot style episodes things may get pretty lame.  I can see it already, with the heavy mech style Frits going to move in to close range and punch the crap out of his enemy… hmm…

Anyways, first episode is decent, but the series will require a certain turning off of expectations that previous series have for seriousness and more adult themes.  The good thing is that Bandai is at least giving the older crowd some UC love based off the plans to take the Origin and animate it.

So what are the thoughts on upcoming gunpla, the hobby show possibilities, and lastly Gundam Age?

Gundam Perfect File

As some might have see on Gundam Guy’s blog, there is a new interesting weekly serial magazine called Gundam Perfect File that has just come in Japan.  The basic idea is that every week the publisher puts out a file of info about all things Gundam, and you file it away to look up whenever you want.  While normally I wouldn’t go for such a thing thanks to the abundance of something called free information on that wonderful technical doohicky called the “internet”, I did pick up the first volume for one thing.

Gundam Perfect File

That’s right, the binder.  Usually in serial periodicals that this publisher puts out, they give you something nice in the first issue at a discounted price to suck you in.  Well, like I said, I don’t need the info, since we have the internet, but I’ll take that nifty binder.  I actually decided to pick it up for a couple of reasons.  First up, it’s only 290 yen.  Getting a nice A4+ binder that’s fairly big and sturdy, and comes with a nifty Gundam design on the cover for less than 300 yen?  Sure, why not.  Secondly, the binder comes with a really neat set of dividers, which divides the series up by timelines.

Throw in free dividers? I’m sold.
Nice artwork too.

So then why pick up a binder like this all of a sudden?  Obviously I don’t have time to build anything at this moment, but one thing I have been want to do is put my MG booklets in order.  When done building the kits I throw out the runners and the box but I keep the instruction book.  You never know when it’ll come in handy, right?  Anyways, keeping track of these B5 sized booklets becomes a bit of a hassle as it’s hard to find a good B5 binder.  But with this giant binder, with dividers?  All the more reason to put things in order.

Let’s put things in order!

Everything fits perfect.

And there you go.  I actually will probably pick up another binder and divide them by UC series and everything else.  It’s only 290 yen, why not?  I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.  So then for those who are wondering, how does the full Gundam Perfect File serial work out?  Well it’s 180 issues, published weekly.  That’s then roughly 45 months or nearly 4 (!) years to completion.  The price after the first issue goes up to 590 yen per issue, for a grand total of 105,610 yen, or with today’s crappy exchange rate, roughly 1,300 dollars.
Yeah, I’m happy with just the binder.

MG Nu-Gundam Photos

So as all now know, I’ve been somewhat busy with family things lately, but while spending a week in the hospital while my wife recovered from her c-section, I found the time to do a simple snap build of the MG Nu Gundam.  I actually went out and did the decals, panel lining, and top coating.  The results came out quite nice as you’ll see in the pictures below.  Now there aren’t any action poses, which might not make some people happy, but I think the Nu Gundam looks best and imposing just standing there.  Also, unlike the MG Hi-Nu Gundam, this kit doesn’t come with a stand for the fin funnels, which limits what you can do with them unless you utilize your own solution with stands.  Pros for the kit is it is quite stable, thanks to the usage of die cast parts in the waist and legs, and for the most part handles the top heaviness fairly well.  With the fin funnels attached, the height of the kit reaches nearly pg size which was quite impressive as well.

Comparison shot

Anyways, while no action poses, here are some pictures for you to check out anyways.

The State of the Gunpla Union – 073111

First of all, I’m still alive. Yes, really. I know it’s been two months since the last post, but as you all know, life happens.  Honestly, there have been a couple of big things that have kept me busy. The first being work, but there is only so much you can say about that. Work is work right? As for the other thing, well I’ll get to that in a bit. First off lets catch up on Gunpla and things.

I’m obviously two months late in chiming in on this but let’s talk Gundam Age. At this point I’m sure everyone is quite aware of the facts, but for those who may have been living under a rock as it seems I have for the last two months, I highly suggest you check out Falldog’s write up here on Gundam Age, if you haven’t already. I’ll wait, go ahead.

Ok, now that you’re back, my opinion is disappointment, but I understand the reasoning behind the move and this media mix style. I’m fastly approaching the middle age bracket that wants to see more UC timeline anime and higher quality kits and what not, but Bandai needs to worry about the youth bracket and to sell those toys as I guess it makes more money for them now.  While Bandai has been unashamedly forward about the media mix style with anime, games, and toys route they are taking with Gundam Age, they thankfully decided to remember the older bracket and give us the animated version of The Origin Manga. While a retelling, the manga was excellent, and I hope they give it a full TV series at least rather than an OVA.   And bluntly put, First Gundam is old animation-wise, so a remake would be awesome on the eyes.

Anyways, back to Gundam Age, on the mecha designs, I will give the Age Gundam a thumbs up and will build the eventual MG, but everything else… Well I guess you have to keep it simple for the seven year olds right?

OK, I’ll build this at least

In other Gunpla news, as we all know, MG Gundam Epyon landed during my blank period, and yes, it’s built and done.  I haven’t taken much pictures of it yet as I’m probably at least going to try and complete decal hell with it and top coat it.  Initial thoughts is that it’s pretty awesome, but for reason, the proportions bother me.  the length of the legs compare to the tiny torso really jumped out at me.  It’s a small nitpick.  You really can’t tell in pictures.

It’s Bluepyon?

I saw this over at Plamo Addiction, amazing paint job.  Flipping it from the dark red to this blue, and having it come out this good is pretty damn nice work.  Honestly though?  I might be going against popular opinion, but I just don’t think blue suits Gundam Epyon.  I think the style fits a darker color scheme, but that is just me.  To reiterate though, it’s an awesome paint job.

Anyways, onto kits that I’m working on or have finished, and really need to just do a month of nothing but photo posts.  First off, the PG GP01 is almost done, considering I started back in March, I should really finish this up.  This also will be my entry into Bandai’s Gunpla World Grand Prix.  One thing I’ve learned in entering contests in Japan is that unfortunately Japanese don’t seem to like recolors as much as westerners do, so I think I’m going to have a better chance with this kit than perhaps my Sinanju.

GP01

I’ve also finished the RG Zaku II, and I have to say it does look really good.  Tiny tiny pieces though, and the movable frame is really stiff which means it does feel like it’s easy to break.  It’s on the table ready to get decaled this week.

RG Zaku II…?

Other completed kits include the HG G-3 Gundam that was a limited kit at last years Gunpla Expo, along with the Ex Finish Char’s Rick Dom which also was a limited kit from a Chara Hobby show a few years back.  I also did finish up the HG ANA Gundam kit too. Nice and blue, but having built the ANA Unicorn first, I think I spoiled myself.  I’ll have to build the ANA 00 Gundam to see if it comes out on top of the three ANA kits.

1/144 Line up

As mentioned, I also finished the MG Epyon, it’s going on the decal table sometime this month too.

For the time being it’s on the shelf

And I’ve had some free time in the last couple of days, so I’ve been doing a simple snapfit build of the Nu-Gundam.

Surprisingly straightforward and easy

And last, but definitely not least is the PG Strike Freedom.  The countdowm has started, and it will be done by the end of the month.

Thanks to Kjasi for the awesome video.  Nothing like lighting a fire under your ass like a countdown.

So in short, August should see the PG GP01, PGSF GAF GBP, RG Zaku II, and Nu-Gundam all being fully completed.  A bit ambitious, but I’ll see what I can do.

But as you may recall, I mentioned a limited edition kit dropping in July.  It was a few days late, but I did get it last week.  Besides work, that other thing I mentioned that was going to keep me busy?  That would be ASM Junior, and he’s a limited one of the kind.

With that said, things maybe slower as gunpla takes a bit of a back seat, but I will continue to post when I can.  As is, I’m already looking forward to being able to build Gunpla with my son in the future.