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?

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.

MG Char Use Z’Gok (EXF Version) Photo Gallery

Continuing with my slow pace of knocking things out, here are the photos for the MG Char Z’Gok.  While I like the Z’Gok in general, I can’t really place why.  While imposing, the Z’Gok is unfortunately limited by… well it’s form I guess. While the waist is movable, you really can’t twist it around and have realistic (at least realistic for the Z’Gok) poses.  And of course a lack of neck doesn’t help.  Still, I love the color scheme, as this was a rare extra finish version kit in which that gate damage doesn’t stand out too much.   If you can find it, worthy of a pick up, in my opinion.

WiP – MG Char Use Z’Gok (EXF Version) Part 2

Continuing on with the WiP for the Z’Gok, we left with the upper body and arms finished as seen here.

Crabwalking

Honestly, going on from here I’m already over halfway done, with only the waist, legs and feet to go.  Jumping into the waist we find an abundance of rubber parts for where the legs and upper waist connect.  This gives it more of a rubbery, seal kind of look, which I guess fits considering the amphibian nature of the Z’Gok.

Waist parts

Next up we move onto the legs, which is pretty much the exact same as the arms.  These also have the gimmick of being able to extend and shrink slightly.

Leg pieces

We follow that with the pretty large feet and lower leg parts.  Honestly, the Z’Gok has huge feet, and that gives it quite a bit of stability.  While the feet have good left/right move ability, front/back is pretty much out of the picture.

I wish I had Shin guards like this for soccer.

Flat footed?

Connect the pieces and…

And that’s it, a rather fast build considering the unique build of this mobile suit.  Put together we get the following.

Here comes Z’Gok

Overall, the colors look excellent in extra finish style, and the gate damage isn’t as noticeable as it is on Gundam-types.  The only thing is that you can only do so much with the Z’Gok when it comes to posing, giving its rather wide feet, and a torso that can’t twist around.  Still, I’ve been taking some shots with my new set up, and hey, it looks good enough just standing around.  So, next up, photo gallery!

The State of the Gunpla Union – 103110

Coming up a day late, but will call this an October post for the sake of maintaining the monthly post cycle. 

It’s that time for another block of text of what I think about the State of the Gunpla Union.  And, it’s another apology for lack of posts.  Just when I think things slow down, they pick right back up.  As I posted last week, current posts/photos/reviews brewing in no particular order: 

  • Kotobukiya Rockman Photoshoot & Review
  • MG Char Z’Gok EXF Version WiP & Photoshoot
  • Eva-02 Photoshoot & Review (written, just got to do the pictures)
  • An American in Akiba
  • GAF ReZel GBP Project

The main things holding me back on items 1-3 is the photoshoot.  New home means setting up a new photo set-up, and unfortunately I’m not getting good photos.  I need to stop by a dollar store to get another sheet of black paper too, as white just isn’t cutting it right now.  

I was also playing quite a bit of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and DJ Hero 2, which had me entrapped, that is until my faithful PS3 of nearly 4 years decided to die on me.  So I guess I’m partially in shock, because while I’ve sent it in for repairs, there’s a good chance I’m going to lose all that save data that I’ve accumulated.  Guess the lesson learned is to constantly back up your stuff…  

But, now that I no longer have a gaming out, that means I can get back to the important stuff, the Gunpla!

On my currently in progress list is the ReZel of course, and having just seen UC Gundam episode 2 in the theaters, I’m fired up for building both it and the HGUC Sinanju.  Speaking of which, UC Episode 2 brings on the awesomeness again, and at the same time the pain of knowing we have to wait nearly 6 months for the next installment.  Like I said, I got the chance to see it in the theaters, but having to attend a work event on Saturday kept me from going on day one.  Unfortunately, the two movie event items, the gentei gundam and blu-ray both sold out on day 1, so suffice to say, I was a pretty sad camper.  Especially when it became obvious that nearly 50% of the allotment all went to the theater in Shinjuku.  Thanks Bandai, for screwing your fans in cities other than Tokyo.  But oh well, that saves me money so I shouldn’t complain too much. 

The plan for November is to keep chugging at the ReZel and Sinanju, and hopefully whittle the backlog down a little before the big drop of the PG Strike Freedom in December.  While the RG Zaku II looks good, it’s one of those things I know I probably won’t build if I buy it right off the bat.  Also, I’m actually going to be spending a few weekends in Tokyo for work so weekends will be tight unfortunately.   By not picking up any other Gunpla, though, I have a good chance to knock stuff out. 

A bit of a shorter note this month, but still just to let you know where I’m at.  What’s on peoples to-do list for November?

WiP – MG Char Use Z’Gok (EXF Version) Part 1

When the urge to build calls, it must be answered!  And it called me to do a quick snap build of the Extra Finish Version of Char’s Z’Gok.  This version is a gentei kit from the 2007 Character Hobby Show, and I picked it up in Akiba this summer before moving to Osaka.  Since it’s an extra finish version, this will be a simple snap build, as panel lining and what not tends to have adverse effects on extra finish parts.  So lets jump into the build!

Red on white, simple enough

The extra finish looks beautiful

Just looking at the above parts and I can see that while the silver will have some nub damage that will be visible, the red and pink parts may hide it better.  We’ll see as we go.  The build looks to be fairly straight forward and simple, especially when you consider that the torso and head is pretty much all one big piece.  Having build the HGUC version, I wasn’t sure how the gimmicks would work, but there are a couple.

The parts for the torso/head/upper body thing.

Put together

The flaps on the front are movable on the MG, so I guess that is to help signify the vents used while underwater. The mono-eye, while movable, doesn’t link up to anything like the Zaku-II, so you have to take the top off to position it to your liking.  While we are at it, let’s put together the back tanks.  It’s interesting to note that while the outer armor is extra finish, the black pieces are done up with a light pearl glitter too.

The tanks

Moving onto the arms, one big difference from the HGUC is the usage of soft rubber piping to help accent the arms.  This also allows you to shrink and extend them as well.  An interesting gimmick and helps you get a little more out of this kit than the HGUC version.  Another point of interest is, that while not pictured, it comes with the option of creating 4-clawed hands as opposed to 3-clawed hands.  I don’t recall seeing a 4 claw version, so I went with the tried and true 3 claws.

The arms

Finished

Today we get about halfway done with the kit.  I’m taking it slow as I don’t want to cause extra damage on the color parts, but surprisingly enough, the nub damage doesn’t jump out as much as one would think. That is, aside from the silver parts.  I’m finding that to be a great thing, as this finish looks really good in these colors.  Too bad they can’t do the same for silver and gundam colors!

Halfway there….