Not Exactly A Newtype 001: The Awakening
Soooooo…… I’m not exactly a newtype?
Firstly let me introduce myself.
I am Scott Tiller. At the time of writing this the following is so…I’m Australian….I’m 45 years old…. and I am lovin Gunpla. I’m a member of a few Gunpla Facebook groups obviously including the Gunpla Network, of which I am also a part of the Admin Moderation team. Thus, I have the opportunity to share with you my thoughts and feelings regarding Gunpla from a noob's perspective. Not about just the plastic wobots, but the experiences I’ve had so far directly related to Gunpla, namely: a family holiday in Japan, the community, the types of members it seems to attract and why I’m staying for the long haul… just to name a few.
From the start, (around the end of December 2017) thanks to a long time hobby mate, I picked up my first Gunpla kit. It was a MG RX-78-4 G04. Snapped it up pretty much overnight and was just blown away by the results. Didn’t panel line it, didn’t even put decals on it. I stared at it like a twit for hours. My wife was slightly concerned but, I was deliriously happy and so she let me stare at it like a twit. From there, I picked up another, and another, then I ordered a bunch online, then I got a cabinet, then I got another cabinet annnnnd aproximately 4 months and 23 kits later….here I am shouting from the roof tops “I love Gunpla”. Like a pig in mud loving the entire Gunpla experience. Thanks to some solid guidance, I’ve watched stacks of the anime, from Mobile Suit Gundam episode 1 right up to the end of Zeta. I also smashed through all the solid OVA’s….. 8th MS Team, Origin, Igloo, Thunderbolt, Unicorn etc etc etc…… I’ve watched soooo much Gundam.Actually Unicorn is where it started. I watched it... I didn’t understand it. But it grabbed me by the proverbials and has never let go. In fact, I’d say the grip just gets tighter and tighter.
Now I’m expecting that my story is pretty similar to many many stories out there. There’s just something about the whole Gundam and Gunpla thing just totally floats my boat.The building of Gunpla is obviously the main focus here. When I built my first MG Zaku foot and saw pistons snapped together and move, I was at a loss for words. I dunno why. I tried to suppress it coz it was just odd. But the little Lego and Mecanno boy in me just went wild. Like “WILD” wild. I was taking built feet and hands to my wife and trying to show her how amazing it was like a 6 year old… “but honey theres no glue and it all just snaps together and it moves and its soooooo amazing!!!” “oh yes dear that’s amazingggggg”. And so it went on. Every new kit had something to offer. It grew from a box of runners to a scale representation of a 18m bipedal, fictional, usually human-piloted war machine. And I made it with my bare hands. And I prayed to the Bandai gods every night in thanks for the bounty they had supplied me with.
So along with the building came the community. Until recently I’ve been ‘off the grid’ (not a user of Facebook), pretty much until mid-last year, when I got into some RC rock crawling, and from there I was able to explore Gunpla as well. I’d followed a number of peeps on Instagram (including GN) and knew I was keen to give it a crack. Once I did get amongst the crowds I was so incredibly amazed by the generally fantastic attitude and genuine sort of joy that seems to emanate amongst the Gunpla community; both locally in my home town of Brisbane, Australia… nationally, as I got to watch the Aussie scene communicate in the usual banter and laid-back manner….and even more impressive…the international scene, which I must say is based mostly on my time lounging around in the foyer of Hotel Gunpla Network. I come from RC hobbys which is mostly aircraft and a lot of UAV/drone stuff. And my lord…. I’ve never seen adults behave like such children the way they speak to each other. I was definitely not comfortable with that type of social media scene. So, when I found the Gunpla scene to be such a positive and encouraging international group of people, I was like….. “Yes… I am home!!!”
I’ve met quite a few people both online and in real life: from the punter OOB builder like myself, to a GBWC Australia winner. I’ve even met model making gurus who have been in the industry since a “runner” wasn’t a “sprue”, but was the guy that carried news to the king!!! And nowhere in the degrees between the two levels of skill and experience do I see a drop of malice or ego. All I see is a DESIRE to impart knowledge and share and praise and see the community flourish. And there’s a place for everyone in there. Everyone has a skill level that allows them to open the same kit as the other guy and have the same “oooohhhh” and “aaaahhhh” moments when they cut away their first RG inner frames that have moving parts straight off the runner (what tha…???). It’s a level ground that every Gunpla builder can work up from. No stainless steel differential ceramic bearing, multipath mega bandwidth high cost hop ups can make MY kit ‘perform’ better than YOUR kit. Only our imaginations separate us and neither is greater or less than the other.
Gunpla IS freedom my friends.
Me as a builder I see it this way… I’m the human pilot that could probably hold his own in a mobile suit with the right gear; but I’ll always be second best to the Newtypes….. but then again, I don’t mind…..I’m just happy I’m a pilot
So I’m going to finish here, but this is just the FIRST in a small series of articles that I hope will remind you what it’s like to be a Gunpla noob. If you’ve been at it a while and lost a little of the magic; maybe… just MAYBE… my story can help you get a little of it back again. I’ll cover my approach to building, I have a ’90 second sanding rule’… I’ll cover my trip to Japan as an absolute Gunpla noob, and I’ll cover a bunch of other stuff. The key of it all being that this is a noob’s perspective… and being a noob is BLISS!!!. I wish I could stay a noob forever.