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.

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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 – 033111

Much like GaiGun, I’ve not found the desire to blog or gunpla in the recent weeks following the Tohoku earthquake.  To be honest, I’ve done not much of anything aside from work and coming home and watching the news.  No gaming, no gunpla, not following the latest gunpla news or anything.  As I mentioned before, thankfully everyone at my company was safe, but there arose the situation where people were still affected by loss of homes or family.  Also, as a former JET, I was saddened to hear about the loss of a JET member as well.  This earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis, and rolling black outs affecting the Kanto region will continue to affect things for the long term it seems.  But life goes on, right?  We pick up and rebuild, and even if I wasn’t directly affected, I need to pick up and go forward.  I’m happy that the efforts I’m doing at work is going to help our employees and those affected.

And with that said, let’s get back to the Gunpla!  Moping around isn’t going to get these kits built.  March obviously didn’t see much done, but I have started on one thing…

Yep, doing the PG Strike Freedom got me in the PG mood and I’ve started on the PG GP01.  Yeah, I know I need to get back to finishing up the PG Strike Freedom as well.  As you see, it’s looking big and pretty here.  In fact, it’s so big that it will be pretty hard to take good pictures with my current setup most likely.

But yeah, the goal is to actually get some stuff taken in April, as we’ll be doing some spring cleaning and rearranging a couple of our rooms.   With that said, I’m debating on what to do with some of my older already built kits.  Not that I’m going to throw anything out, but my original backlog was somewhat of a giant lot of stuff I got cheap, and in that were a few kits that I just built and that was it.    So, I may be passing on those kits to people who might want to take them and make them something special.  This is just something floating around my head right now, so I’m not sure how this will work out.  Of course, by reading that, you may think I’m getting out of Gunpla or something.  I’m not, but priorities are priorities, and Gunpla has always been somewhat of an escape for me.  Now with a job that keeps me busy, and that I actually really like, I’m having less time to build then before.  There is also a Gentei kit coming in July that I’m saving up for too, so  I’m thinking about that too.  But no worries, the gunpla is still going on, just not as much.

Of course there are kits on my radar coming up.  As mentioned last month, I’m looking forward to both the MG Epyon and RG Strike.

MG Epyon

RG Strike

The RG Strike especially looks like it’s going to be amazing if the pictures aren’t lying.  If anything, the Strike might be the first real look at what the RG line is capable of.  When you really stop to think about it, the RX-78 Gundam is as about as simple as it gets, and the Zaku-II as well.  So the Strike might be the line’s real chance to shine.  Other than these two kits though, there’s not much else coming out at this point that has got me excited, or that I can really concentrate on

While it’s a bit of a short post this time around, I figured it’s good to get back on the ball, even if it’ll take a while to get back into things.   We’ll see how April goes!

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #05

With the mobile suit itself finished, we move onto the next step, the wing units and dragoons.  Otherwise known as the tedious part.  We all joke about weapons block, or decal block, and what not that tends to hit almost every model kit out there, but in this case, the Strike Fredeem has boring repetitive parts block.  I found the best way to handle this was to just do it in bits and pieces off and on over the last week and a half or so.  Business trips and the usual company affairs did keep me away for some nights so it’s not like it really takes that long.  It just feels like it does.

So, onto the dragon units themselves. Considering that there are eight dragoons, I went ahead and knocked this out over a couple of nights.  I did a couple the first night to get it down, then set up an assembly to knock out the rest the next day.  In particular, nothing special about this, just a gimmick to slide the “thruster” part of the dragoon in when you attach it to the wing tip.

A jumble of parts, all this just for the dragoons

A step by step from top to bottom for the complete dragoon build.

Setting up the assembly line.

After working on the dragoons, we move onto the wings themselves.  Basically there are four wing units with two wing tips, if that makes sense.  It still means that you’re building eight wing tip units though.  I knocked these out as well over three nights doing two or three units a night.

The parts needed to put the wing tip together.

Put together you get some simple interlocking movement as well.

Which you can see the range below with the dragoons attached.

The second wing type, pretty much the same except for the top, which will connect the wing to the previous built wings.

Same range of extension as the last parts.

So after building all this wings, it’s time to put wing type A together with wing type B.

And throw on the top and you’ve got one of your four wing sets.

All four finished.

What you don’t see in the above pictures are the gold decals that are put on to highlight the wings and dragoons.  I’m planning on saving those after panel lining and top coating.  Overall, the wings are just huge.  The length of one is easily the height of your average MG.  The interlocking movement, while simple, works well.  The downside is that the gold latticework, for lack of a better word, doesn’t pop back into the wing easy on some of the wings.  Also, like Buster noted, putting the dragoons on and having them stay in the closed position can be touchy sometimes. I’ve taken apart a few of the wings and put them back together, but still have touch parts, or less that smooth movement.

Overall, the gimmicks work well, but when you have 8 of the same thing, the probability of one of those wings not working as well as stated increases significantly.  While good for posing as well, there is no extra attachments for the back to have dragoons flying around, like the MG Hi-Nu.  Again, I come back to very solid kit, but with some design choices left to be questioned…

So that leaves very little left to do, just the connecter for the wings and the backpack.  But that will be a section all its own, as I plan on tackling the wing joint fix.

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #04

So I’ve finished up the mobile suit portion of the PG Strike Freedom, and we’ll take a look at some shots.  As I’ve mentioned before, the gold plated and extra finish parts of the frame only cover maybe 75% of what’s actually visible.  Overall this doesn’t distract too much, at least at this point, but it’s still a small disappointment after such hype what made about the finish.  So let’s take a look at some shots and you all can judge for yourselves.

The biggest offender of the bunch, the waist mounted giant rail guns

Unfortunately the back of each of the waist armor pieces aren’t plated either.

The waist itself, as well as the fairly visible leg/waist joint there.

As see with the rail gun attached

Right on the ankle joint, but not really noticeable here

The side of the lower leg, also not as noticeable here

The arm is fairly fine, save around the elbow area. Unfortunately you get nub marks on the back side which are visible.

The shoulders, when extended, you can see some yellow.

Overall, the biggest stand out has to be around the waist area and the reail guns at this point for me. Considering how you slide the rail guns around to the back, the yellow is visible, even when you put the beam rifles in their place. Also, a huge complaint I have about the rail guns is they fit very loosely on the pegs, and will fall off easy. Due to the way they are made, you can’t stick the peg in all the way to get a good fit, so I find it a little frustrating.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for the mobile suit. The build is solid and I find the engineering to great. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table like PG 00 Raiser did with locking functions for arms and legs, and GN drives, but it is solid. Unfortunately, the planning on the extra finish/gold plated parts falls short, and it shows. This means you have to go that extra mile to touch things up if you want the full effect. Of course it can be argued that a Perfect Grade is all about going that extra mile for perfection, but I thought that when you drop 26,000 yen, or well over $300 for a PG, you’re paying for that perfection already included. Slight rant if you will, but you want to go into a PG kit expecting the best, and so at this point I’ve seeing great, but not best.

So, here’s a bunch of quick shots of the mobile suit for you, and this weekend I plan on moving onto the final part, the dragoon system.

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #03

Moving on with the build, we’ll go ahead and jump into the waist, arms, and rail guns.  Starting off with the waist, there really isn’t anything special about the build.

The parts for the waist

Put together

As I mentioned before, I’ll be skipping the build pictures for the legs, as GaiGun has a good post up on them already.  But still to give you an idea of how they look, here are the feet and legs for you.

Feet

Legs

Pretty articulate at this point

Putting what we’ve built together and…

Next up, the arms and rails guns. Honestly, there isn’t anything special about the arms either. In regards to the waist mounting rail guns however, the curse of yellow plastic that I mentioned last post rears its ugly head yet again.

A completed arm with the pieces required

Also pretty articulate at this point

Completed rail gun and parts needed

Unfortunately, no plated or extra finish gold here

With the arms finished, we’ve come to the end of the frame build at this point.

Completed frame

Overall, the design and construction is rock solid, as befitting a PG kit. There are no complaints here, but at the same time, there isn’t much that’s “new” aside from the various gold plate/extra finish parts. If anything, the one disappointment in regards to the gold is for as hard as they tried to make it work well with all visible parts, it still comes off half ass considering how much of the regular yellow plastic looks to be visible. Of course, it may not be as bad as I’m making it out to be once I actually put on the armor. So, the net plan is to move onto the outer armor for the mobile suit. Depending on how things look, I’ll consider painting the visible frame parts. So the next post will be looking at just that.

Just how will it turn out…?