Not Exactly a Newtype: 004 - Must Satisfy The Beast!
Before I begin yabbering on like I do, I just wanted to take a moment to show my appreciation on behalf of both myself and the Gunpla Network team, to you, for taking to the time to drop by and read the reviews and news articles, and these blogs. It really is something I fell into via my moderation/admin role with the Gunpla Network crew. I wanted to help out more. Dannick asked could I write stuff. I saw it as talking with a keyboard…. whats not to like? And I’ve really enjoyed it so far. My angle was always going to be more about the personal experience, coming at it as a mature age Gunpla newb, and the community experience. I am regularly astounded by the genuine decent people I meet and chat with every single day amongst the various social media I’ve been drawn to thanks to Gunpla, and without you guys and gals there is no community and the is no Gunpla so to speak of and then there is no Freedom!!!!
So…. thank you, and let’s get on with it.
So far I’ve talked about the general vibe that really got me hooked on Gunpla, the great people and the buying (which I’ll cover more as the weeks go on). But in the end, 'it really comes down to the building. The community really doesn’t exist without the building of the kits. For those of you that can remember or those of you that are pretty new to Gunpla like I am, it’s a bit of a steep learning curve. I see it as at first your looking through a sorta telescope binoculars viewfinder thing, and out the other end you see ‘some Gunpla’ awesomeness. Using the telescope, you seek and buy your first kit and you build it. And as soon as its done you have like a zillion questions about other kits and panel lining and painting and decals and mods and yadda yadda yadda. Then someone comes along and kindly shows you that you’re looking through the telescope binocular thing from the wrong end!!!!!
You ever done that?
It’s like a form of tunnel vision. It’s sorta blurry and it’s just not quite right. You turn the magical Gunpla telescope binocular viewfinder thing around the right way and holy crapballs!! You now have about 30 x as many questions and you start to see the variety in kits and qualities and the whole HG, MG, RG, PG, etc thing starts to make sense. At first I didn’t know a Zaku from a Z’Gok or GM from a Jesta, but slowly over time, over many many kits, and watching hours of Gundam anime and reading through posts, I started to see the differences both aesthetically and… I want to say mechanically or technically? Just those little moments that each kit has. It might be the way an elbow joint works or the way a skirt armour flap doesn’t work or a curve in some armour that just drives your inner boychild crazy. But you start to build a little catalogue of aspects of different kits that do or don’t tick your boxes.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….then there’s the RG ABS parts…that come off the runner ready to rock and roll moving in all directions. The instructions say turn it this way, twist it that way and boom….you’ve got a leg inner frame with 3 points of high level articulation. Insanity to the power of crazy.
So you build your first kit, you build your first couple of kits, you build 5, 6, 8 kits, and your world of Gunpla is growing exponentially with every new kit. With every build, you find two more you want. With every build, you try new techniques. With every build, you make mistakes and swear a little.
But it’s a hobby.
That’s exactly what a hobby should be in my opinion. Enough challenge to…challenge you and plenty of reward. And by golly Bandai have that down to a fine art don’t they. Now I’ll straight up right now confess…. I’m sorta known as a fast builder in my world of building buddies. My first kit, the MG RX-78-4 took a couple of days. Then moved on to the MG Zaku II “Char’s”. But before I’d finished the RX-78-4, I’d ordered a HG Sinanju and a HG Unicorn. My first straight from box to snapped build in one sitting was the HG Unicorn [Destroy Mode] and it was about 6 hours straight. Started on a Saturday evening after dinner was done and my family were settled and didn’t stop until about 2am. Wow! It was intense. It was a little exhausting. And it was amazeballs. I started with a box full of plastic and about 6 hours later I ended up with a killer RX-0 and I loved it.
Like really loved it.
Going back a bit, I started my Gunpla building like a week before Christmas of 2017 and so I had about 3 weeks of holiday leave to just dive in to Gunpla around my usual family holiday activities. With much guidance from a certain GN moderator who I blame entirely for my addiction (after me asking a million newb questions on GN, Mark basically handed me a fresh needle and said “you’ll love it man”) I ordered a bunch of Origin kits and proceeded to punch them out like a factory. At least every second or third night I was cracking a fresh box after dinner and around 2am the next morning I was posing and photographing the latest addition to my collection, and my wife would wander in to the kitchen each morning to find me crashed out on the couch like a drunk man and a new ‘little guy’ on the kitchen table. After 2 or 3 builds, I knew I was in deep and I bought my first Detolf. I now own three Detolfs.
And so the rampage went on. I built and built. I started to detail and add decals where they weren’t supposed to be. And all along I was spamming the crap out of the couple of Facebook groups and my Instagram feed with dozens of pics of the newest love of my life each and every night. And the feedback was polite and accurate and encouraging. And I found myself doing the same to other builds. And I knew, that not everyone that saw my builds actually thought they were ‘great’. But they were encouraging all the same. They knew the feeling of having a fresh build and the sense of achievement I was feeling and that I deserved a little pat on the back for contributing to the community because that’s what is done. We all started somewhere. We all look back on kits and think “ohhhhh dude what tha heck were you thinking???”. And as time goes on we all take our own time to explore weathering and decaling and painting and modding and so on. Eventually we find our happy medium and we get that rhythm of opening a box and going about it our own way. And we know that many times before and many times from now, another builder will lift the lid on the same kit and they’ll put their spin on it. They’ll have their ways of getting it done. But we all start with the same kit.
As I’ve said before I’ve been in to various forms of RC vehicles and more often than not, the level of enjoyment and achievement is directly proportional to the amount of cash you are willing to shove down your kitchen sink in order to get said RC vehicle up to specs so it ‘performs’. Yes Gunpla costs increase with complexity and quality of kits but there’s always a base value around the middle and in my opinion its consistent and it’s high quality and always a great platform to build from. There’s plenty of cheaper kits that we can use to hone our skills or try new techniques or just bash out on a Friday night with a couple building buddies and some snacks.
I guess what I’m really going on about, regarding the building, is it offers us, as builders, every possible level of enjoyment, challenge and reward. Depending on what level you aim at and what kits you choose. And you can be guaranteed someone else has opened the lid on that kit before and had similar thoughts and questions and plans as you do when you lift the lid on yours.
“Should I paint it?”
“What detailing will I do?”
“Should I get metal etched parts?”
And so on. We build these kits as individuals but we build them also as a collective and we post our WIPs and pics those that have built the kit you are displaying remember their wins and losses and they see what they could’ve done based on your approach. There is always something to learn and as long as we are always willing to learn and are happy in the hobby, we will always experience the Freedom of Gunpla.
And so on that note… I encourage you to grab a kit from your backlog or your local hobby store or your fav online ‘dealer’ and savour the moments of mindfulness and quiet as you chug away at the build. Enjoy the process, the journey of the build. Then when you have something you want to share with us, put the effort in to present or pose your results that best highlight your efforts and/or delights with the Gunpla at hand.
We… are the Freedom.