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.

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The State of the Gunpla Union – 093010

It’s that time of the month again, to catch you up on my thoughts on the state of the Gunpla Union. As mentioned last month, August was a bit of a whirlwind month, and while I hoped to settle down in September, I had my father come in for about 10 days, which pretty much put everything I wanted to do on the back burner.  Still, it’s always a pleasure to have family and friends visit me in Japan, so for the most part it was a great experience.  I’ll have some pictures down towards the end of the post.  But first up, my thoughts on this month’s Gunpla news.

Up first, the PG Strike Freedom.  Some good discussion happening over at Plamo Addiction, so I highly recommend reading up here to see what people are thinking.  To re-iterate my stance though, while it’s not PG Unicorn, it’s still better than something lame like a PG Quant or what not, so, yeah, it’s on my want list.  Pricing is… well expensive, but as we’ve discussed before, Bandai seems to be taking the PG line and trying to up the price standard as much as they possible can.  In terms of volume, it’s supposed to be the biggest, but looking at the pictures, it seems up there with the GP01 or the Zeta, and those were both 20,000 yen.  So why the increase in price?  I’m sure there are good reasons, like design cost, or new techniques being more expensive, etc, but overall, it’s probably just because they can.  Still, the Strike Freedom is a fanboy favorite, so I expect this to sell much much better than the 00 Raiser.  Funny enough, you can easily still get the first run bonus stand with the 00 Raiser here, pretty much anywhere.  In the end though, we have only seen one prototype picture and various mock ups, so looking forward to seeing more of the finished product, to help justify my purchase.

As for other releases, here is my current watch list of already released and upcoming kits:

  • HG Delta Plus
  • HG Hi-Nu Gundam (GB Colors)
  • MG Deathscythe
  • HG Sinanju
  • MG ReZel
  • RG Char Zaku-II

So my thoughts on the above?  Well, currently the Deathscythe, Delta Plus, and GB Hi-Nu are out, but I haven’t picked them up yet.  While I was planning on getting the Delta Plus, I wonder if there would be a possible MG version of it 6 months down the line, similar to the MG ReZel.  Thinking on those lines, I’ve decided to hold off on it.  The Deathscythe as well, is something that I may pick up down the line, but there hasn’t been much of the “Build me!” that I had with the Wing Zero. And the Hi-Nu, that’s pretty much a kit I can pick up at any time so I am in no rush to  pick it up as well.

As for upcoming releases, the MG ReZel is definitely one I’m interested with, along with the Sinanju in a smaller form.  Both are scheduled to come out on the same day as well.  RG Char Zaku is on my watch list on principle, but I haven’t even cracked the box on my RG Gundam.  To be honest, my backlog is pretty big, and has gotten bigger with the additions of gentei stuff over the last few months.  I think I may literally hold off on buying anything until I actually finish what I’ve got to build, or at least knock out half of it or so.  I think some of my fellow Gunplars share the same problems, with us jumping ahead without finishing our current problems.  At least I am happy to know I am not the only one!

My next problem now is what to build!  I need to finally finish up a review kit from HLJ as well as step back to do some other kits that I prepped for but didn’t have time to do, like the Musha Mk-II.  But at the same time, I’m actually wanting to jump into my non-Gundam kits such as my Rockman kit (and I have some ideas with this one) as well as my Macross Tomahawk kit.  Kotobukiya’s new deformed kit from Patlabor looks cool pretty too, so I may pick this up down the line.  Lastly, I’ve never watched Zoids, but some of the kits look pretty detailed and bad ass, thusly I’m watching Lupes’ WiSSSP closely to see if it may tip me over the edge.  But again, in the long run, it’s my interest in all these other kits that seem to be pulling me away from what’s right in front of my eyes.

Rockman

D-Style Griffon

Tomahawk

And it’s not just new and upcoming kits that is keeping me busy, but the fall gaming rush, with me having picked up the new Ryu Ga Gotoku (Yakuza) game for PSP, along with FF14 (yeah, now I need to get my computer to run it!).  Throw in Castlevania, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Gundam Musou III, and other releases over the next few months, and I’m screwed with free time.  See, now I want all that free time I had when I was in-between jobs!

No matter what though, I’m planning on sitting down and digging into some kits over the next month, my hand has been twitching for my plastic nippers and a hobby knife, so I’m going to get going on that.  Also, while I won’t have an Akiba post this month, I will be hitting up Tokyo in a few weeks to spend a day in Akiba with my fellow partner in Gunpla & Drinking, so look forward to a post in October.

Also, I will be getting some of the HG 00 Raiser ANA kits, and may have some available through the blog, but no promises yet.  I’ll post if I do though, so please check back.

So, some pictures of my last couple of weeks.  And as usual, what are all of you guys looking forward to, and how are you handling your backlogs?

Tokyo – Asakusa

Tokyo – Asakusa

Sumo

Yokozuna Hakuho

Osaka – Dotonbori

Kyoto – Arashiyama

Kyoto – Arashiyama

Osaka – Sky Building

Osaka – Sky Building

The State of the Gunpla Union – 083110

After a nearly six month break, welcome back to my monthly State of the Gunpla Union Address.  While I’ll pick up on the Gundam stuff in a bit, I actually wanted to let everyone know how things have been.  Since it’s been a while, the post today is a little long, grab your reading glasses and dig in.

First up, as you all are aware, I became unemployed in mid-April, due to lack of economic improvement in the industry I was in.  At the time I was unsure of how things would turn out, it’s hard enough to get a job in America, much less in a country where English is not the first language, and everyone is a foot shorter than me.  Still, I had obligations here, big ones in the form of family ties, that made it hard to pack up and leave, although I did consider it more than once.  That, along with the general goodness that is Gunpla, gaming, and several trips to Akihabara to meet up with fellow Gunplar and drinking buddy Gaijin Gunpla helped me get through the first couple of months.  And just when things looked like they wouldn’t be going anywhere, I had movement from three companies in July.  A whirlwind of first and second and final interviews took place in the space of about 3 weeks, and by the end of July I had not one, but two job offers to choose from.  Not to brag or anything, but I consider myself very lucky this time around, as Japan, while awesome and convenient on so many levels, is still very closed to foreigners in terms of jobs other than English teachers or Recruiters.  So, with that said, I had two offers, and they both shared a common factor.  Both companies were located in the Kansai region, specifically, Osaka.

So what does this mean?  I’m technically no longer ASM in Tokyo, but An American Salaryman in Osaka. Hmm, doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well…  But, you go with what you’re given right?  The job offer I took asked that I come as soon as possible, so I actually joined my new company on the 27th of July, coming to Osaka before even figuring out where I would live.  From there, August has been nothing but a blur, with a ton of things to do, starting a new job and house hunting in Osaka while also returning to Yokohama to pack and move to the new home.  From there then it’s the unpacking and buying of new furniture and all things needed, while also visiting the in-laws for the summer Obon holidays.  Still, I managed to squeeze in the Gundam Super Expo and the historic(?) meeting of the Gunplar minds at the 1/1 Gundam in Shizuoka.  A busy month to say the least?

So what am I doing now?  Like my previous job, I’m doing HR, but in a new industry, specifically pharmaceuticals.  This is the next step up in my career, and I get to do global support, and with luck I’ll get to travel some, going back to the states along with England and Ireland sometime in the next year.  Still, I’m pretty sure it’s not as cool as being able to build Gunpla on the clock like someone else I know!  Overall though, I’m in a new stable position and so I’m happy how things worked out, and I consider myself lucky I only had to go through 3 months of worry and anxiety.

With that said, let’s get on to the Gundam stuff!  A brief recap of things.

The Gundam Super Expo: Wasn’t bad, had some good gentei stuff which I’ll need to post up later (still haven’t found which box my Heine Destiny is in though..).  Still, considering it was a free expo this year, there wasn’t much “new” info as there was at last year’s Gundam Big Expo.  They’ll be touring around Japan this year though, so for those in Nagoya, Osaka, and Sapporo, you’ll get the chance to check it out.

1/1 Gundam in Shizuoka:  This will be getting its own post up next, but as much as we hype it up, this truly was a great meeting of the minds, which honestly should happen more.  I also realize how lucky we all are in Japan as it’s very easy to meet up.  This wouldn’t be possible back in the states due to distance…  My thoughts and pictures will be up next.

New kits: With the move, my backlog is doing nothing but increasing, with me picking up Gunpla despite all my tools being backed up.  The new damage to my wallet coming in the form of:

  • 1)     RG RX-78-2 Gundam
  • 2)     HG RX-78-2 Gundam (ANA ver, Gentei)
  • 3)     HG RX-78-2 Gundam (Shizuoka ver, Gentei)
  • 4)     HG RX-78-3 Gundam (G30 Ver, Gentei)
  • 5)     HG Angelo Sauper Geara Zulu
  • 6)     HG Gundam Mk-II (Ecopla)
  • 7)     HG Guntank (Ecopla)
  • 8)     HG Guncannon (Ecopla)
  • 9)     HG GM (Ecopla)
  • 10)  SD Unicorn Gundam (Clear Ver, Gentei)
  • 11)  SD RX-78-2 Gundam (Shizuoka ver, Gentei)
  • 12)  MG Heine Westenfluss Destiny (Gentei)
  • 13)  MG Tokugawa Ieyasu Musha Mk-II (Gentei)

Listing that up, I realize that’s… a lot.

Arguably the best of the bunch?

Upcoming kits on my radar:  There is a lot of stuff coming up that is looking really good.  Hands down PG Strike Freedom is own my mind.  Ver. Ka means awesomeness yes, but my main question is, will it come with the dragoon system?  Line art shown so far shows only the mobile suit.  I’m sure it will, but I can’t wait to see a picture.  Secondly, New Ver. Ka kits seem to be traditionally released in December, so does a PG Ver. Ka mean there is no MG Ver. Ka this year?  Third, money, money, money.  The PG prices have been on the rise, jumping to an astronomical 26,000 yen for the PG 00 Raiser, where will PG Strike Freedom stand?  Any which way, for those in Japan, ordering from Amazon will most likely be the cheapest option again, with up to 47% off preorders on Gunpla.

Next up, MG ReZel, for the most part yes.  I’m just a bit surprised on the turnaround time from HG to MG.  For the most part the turnaround time feels longer which means you have this “Awesome, they are making an MG version!” kind of feeling.  This time around though it’s more of a “I just bought the HG version, f*ck!” feeling, with a slight bitter taste to it.  Still, the ReZel is an awesome kit, so I’m interested in seeing how they’ll do the transformation, and if it’ll require part swapping.

MG Deathscythe, despite being my favorite design from Gundam W, memories don’t hold up to harsh reality, with a stunted looking head and no wings making Rob a sad man.  At this point a no buy.

HGUC kits: Delta Plus, yes, yes, and another yes.  Hi-nu Gundam (GB Colors), a re-color, but I like the scheme so yes.  Sinanju, maybe, Sinanju is an awesome machine, but the idea of that trim in 144 size scares me.  Double O kits and other Gundam Builder kits, in general, no.  Double O designs just don’t really do it for me, and aside from the recolored Hi-nu Gundam kit, GB kits also aren’t really jumping at me.

RG Char Zaku-II, at this point, I don’t know.  How many times can you build a Zaku?  Of course then again, how many times have we all built the Gundam?  I’ve not started on my RG Gundam yet, but the word is it’s awesome in detail and awesomely easy to break. Not sure yet if I would want to do that twice over.

That’s pretty much it for now on upcoming kits for now, what new additions have you all gotten that you’re excited about, or what upcoming kits are you looking forward to?

In other good news, GAF is back up, so for those missing the place to hang out and chat, discuss Gunpla, and participate in group builds, hilt up the link and re-register.

Lastly, things will still continue to be slightly slow on updates until around the beginning of October.  While I’ve been at work with the new job for a month now, I’ve still got unpacking to do at the new home, and squaring that away.  Also, I’ve got family coming next month so I’ll be out and about with my dad for a couple of weeks.

Thanks to all for sticking through with me over the last few months, and please continue to do so going forward.

Now… what to do about the blog name…