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!

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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?

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.

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…