Soooooo….you came back for more.
Well thank you.
Firstly just a refresher on my last article…. I’m 45 and a Gunpla “Newb”… and I’m lovin it.
Ok let me start with the following extract from the urbandictionary.com…..
‘Contrary to the belief of many, a noob/n00b and a newbie/newb are not the same thing. Newbs are those who are new to some task and are a very beginner at it, possibly a little overconfident about it, but they are willing to learn and fix their errors to move out of that stage. n00bs, on the other hand, know little and have no will to learn any more. They expect people to do the work for them and then expect to get praised about it, and make up a unique species of their own.’
So I think it’s safe to say, I am a ‘Newb’. I’m very much a beginner. At times I am overconfident whether that be when I’m trying to weather my latest GM and just go waaayyyyyy overboard or when I post pics of my latest build at 1am after 5 hours of hard labour and I’m convinced the internet just went ballistic once they saw it. But most importantly, I am willing to learn and fix my errors.
Now this is in slight contradiction to what I hold as a fundamental element of Gunpla. There really is no wrong way. Yes to some people my GM may look over weathered. Yes to some people, the colours you chose for your 1:1 palette swap might not be what they would have chosen. But the key for me is I am happy with it and my wife thinks its ‘fantastic’… so now I can buy more kits, and I can now move on to my next build. Right here I’d like to point out that I believe it’s important when we are dealing with our peers that we don’t confuse over confidence with enthusiasm.
So what really amazed me the most about Gunpla was that when I started wandering around the various Facebook groups I joined I saw a predominately excellent attitude. Although there are clearly some advised guidelines when it comes to weathering and paint selection (to name a few), there really is a general sense of ‘yeah man that looks great…..keep it up’. And in a world of what is generally negative news and peeps telling you you’re falling short of this month’s department KPI or your teacher telling you that your recent assignment vocabulary choice was ‘odd’… Gunpla really can become a place of peace and rest. A space of meditation and reflection. Our own little Fortress of Solitude.
And I think for me, deep down inside where the little voices live and don’t usually get heard because I’m too busy talking over them and not listening to them, that’s what really got me hooked on Gunpla. It is, no doubt a somewhat meditative hobby and the zen like state I get in to, and I expect you do also, is now essential to my getting through the weeks and months of other responsibilites. Along with, the personal instant self-gratification when we post pics on the groups and the Instagram and get likes. Let’s not deny it, that’s cool, to think some guy or gal 10,000 miles away liked your work right!!! That’s just what we have become. And that’s ok, hey! Too often these days were told to be humble and to wait our turn. But when you’re not a sports star or banker or some other ‘appreciated’ community member it can be difficult to get that warm fuzzy feeling when you’re just clocking on and off each day, day after day. And Gunpla gives us an opportunity to be part of a community that promotes creativity and artistic expression without HAVING to conform to a set of rules and guidelines. Yes a scale model of D-Day Sherman tank should probably look just like it did on the beaches of Normandy 6th July, 1944. But Gunpla is fantasy and you can do what ever the heck you like with that Jesta Cannon man and no-one can tell you otherwise!!!
So I’ve gone a bit deep here, maybe a bit dark even. But before we get into the awesomeness of the building and the circus of Gunpla and so on, I just wanted to get into a bit of the sentimental meat of it for me and bring it down to a grass roots ground level. Why we love Gunpla as a community. And as much as this ship may have already sailed, I’m a newb right, so eveything is new to me. And no matter what people say about my builds or your approach to your builds or what the next anime series should be about…… Gunpla really is Freedom my friends. Freedom to build it the way you want to. Freedom to build it exactly as it looks on the box art if you choose. Freedom to not even build it at all. But in my opinion, most importantly, the freedom to do whatever you want with peeps who think the same as you, who laugh at the same things you do. Freedom to get pissed off at the same things they do. The Freedom of telling the rivet counters “please don’t tell me the exhaust vent weathering on my 18m bipedal fantasy robot is WRONG mate”…. they just don’t get it. Yep, take advice if you ask for it and constructive criticism is always healthy and you’ll power up on a regular basis if you practice and apply said advice. But most of all, hold on to that sense of Freedom. If you’re lookin at a GBWC build and it’s freakin you out and stressing you….. you’ve lost your freedom. If you’re evil backlog is haunting your dreams…you’ve lost your freedom.
Based on previous hobbies my suggestion is to take a break. No defined time. You know the saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. Its legit. It usually refers to a loved one not a hobby, but its legit. Give it a break. Put all your tools away somewhere. Stop looking at Gunpla all day when you should be working or paying attention in class, and find some peace elsewhere, then when you come back to it because you couldn’t stop thinking about it for the days, weeks or months you stayed away it’ll be so much sweeter and you’ll be extra keen. My other suggestion is build something cheap and easy. I have a little bit of a reputation as a quick builder. I don’t try to build quick. It’s not a goal. But if I have a nice HG I’m really keen on…and I open it up on a Friday or Saturday night and my family goes to bed and I’m alone to do my thang…there's a 99.999999% chance that HG will be snapped up by morning, ready for some detailing and a clear coat. For me It’s like a good movie, or a good book. I just can’t put it down until I’ve reached the last page. I personally build the feet first and work my way up. It’s just what I like. To see the mobile suit grow into the full finished product.
It's around then that I snap back to reality, out of my medative state, look up the kitchen clock and say “holy shit its 2am!!!!”. But that’s where Gunpla takes me. And I’d hope, Gunpla takes you somewhere similar. I’d pray to the Gunpla gods that it’s the time of peace for you in the week. Or it’s the time to catch up with fellow builders and chat and build and be in a space that gives you time to refresh before you start another week working for da man!!!
Until next time..... Be free my fellow Gunpla folk.