Not Exactly A Newtype: 14 - Strike A Pose!
For most of us I expect, the snapping up and completing the various stages of a building Gunpla is rewarding, and our end game is having our models on display to admire and inspire us to build and collect more. And I expect many of us, really enjoy getting rad pictures of our builds. I personally, like photography of many different subjects and Gunpla gets a lot of my attention. That’s when I feel “yeah I like this build and I think others might too, so I’m gonna post it up and get that warm fluffy feeling when the Likes pour in”…right? I’m not saying I’m great at the Gunpla photography. I’m not saying I do it right or wrong. I always use my iPhone 6s. Very rarely do I use filters, maybe for Instagram coz that platform is a bit more arty for me. I have a half decent backdrop and light setup so that helps.
But I know I am my biggest fan. And I believe everyone should be their own biggest fan. Whether it be an OOB No Grade 1/144 that took an evening in front of the TV to snap up and that’s where it ends or an epic 3 month resin conversion, if at the end you can’t look at it and get that sense of satisfaction from the build then I feel for you because I think it’s essential to enjoying simple good old fashion Gunpla. No need for the elitist telling you where you go wrong and if you follow their 8 week plan you’ll be a better modeler guarenteed. No need to buy and build the kits ‘everyone else' is building. Just good old fashion wandering around a local hobby store or favourite online supplier and buying a kit you like, or digging through the backlog and finding a gem you’d forgotten about, slapping it on the bench and goin for it. And always remember that although there’s definitely aspects of modeling that can be done better, when you are enjoying the hobby there really is no ‘doing it wrong’. Always remember that. But there is one aspect of Gunpla that I believe with very little effort and a few minutes extra work, some of us could do better.
Ladie’s and gentleman…. strike a pose!!!
Yup. I really appreciate the work anyone puts in to a kit and so I generally ‘Like’ everything…but when I see a great build in that standing at a ‘police line-up’ stiff as a board pose I can’t help but think “you coulda done soooo much more so easily”. They usually still get a ‘Like’. It doesn’t occur to me every time, but at times I can’t not I see a lack of effort in to the pose. Usually it’s not because the builder doesn’t care, they just havn’t been shown a few tips and tricks, and when they do the penny drops and boom…pose city. There are times where we’re walking to the lunch room at work or school and just flicking through…..”Like, Like, Like…..”. But when we get to sit on the couch or take a long poop, and we enjoy the Gunpla in our feed and we have the time to really admire the work of a fellow enthusiast…. things like this become apparent.
So, how hard is it? Where do you start? Why should you bother?
In my opinion, it’s really easy. It’s the easiest part of the whole build bar opening the box in the beginning. It usually takes very little time at all. It’s obviously not something that everyone just see’s and does but we all know when we see it done well. Where do you start? Well to begin with, there’s ALWAYS a really great example of a pose for your fresh kit right there on the box art. Some crazy weapon raised legs asplay head focused on a target hammering in to battle pose. As good as it can get. So start with that. You may not have a flying stand to replicate the art work but you can at least look at that and see examples of articulation that brings life to the build. And, there’s this thing called the internet. Go ahead and Google up your kit you’ve just built and you will get endless examples of that kit in a zillion and one poses. No one owns the poses. No one is trolling around ensuring no one poses their RG Zaku II ‘exactly’ like they did and flaming them for doing so. Well not yet. So yeah…to be a giant we must be willing to stand on the shoulders of giants that went before us.
Why should you bother? Frankly, if you’re going to put all that time in to a build, all that crisp panel lining, those strategically freestyled decals, that detail in to the weapons and exposed inner frame and so on, then it is remiss of you to not pose the build in photos or in your display that highlight and emphasis the effort you have taken. And I think more importantly, as I’ve already mentioned, it brings the build to life for you as your biggest fan. Not all poses have to be epic mid strike fight style. Some of the best posing is the subtle manipulation of the kit standing near straight up and clearly going nowhere. But in your mind’s eye, even though it’s on a perfect white or black or any one colour backdrop, you can imagine it standing in a hangar being prepped for a sortie, because the pose is just right.
I’ve already admitted I’m no jet at this but I do enjoy this aspect very much. These articles are never to give you a fish but to teach you to catch your own fish. And in that I have only a few points of advice, from hobbyist modeler to hobbyist modeler, that you may take and apply on your own builds or notice in other people’s builds as you endeavor to improve your end game result. If I’m going for an action pose, so anything except standing tall and awesome in like a hangar type scenario as before, I like to try and use at least a tiny bit of articulation in every possible point of moveable parts. Often we neglect the waist twist or the ankle joint or the head tilt. Even the slightest of shift from dead centre in those areas can change the whole pose. Tilting the head down and shooting a photo sorta lookin up at the head straight in to the suits ‘eyes’ can give the impression the model is actually 15-18m tall. Say on a flying base, having the head tilted down slightly, somewhat parallel to the angle of the rifle barrel also pointing somewhat towards the ground, can give the impression the pilot has a specific target in sight and give some life to the pose. Amidst all that turning the waist just a few degrees reduces symmetry across the pose and again moving away from the ‘police line-up’ pose. As for feet….. one thing I always try to do is if the mobile suit is standing still or not in a moving pose I ensure that both feet are firmly flat on the ground. Keep in mind an RX-78-2 is gonna be somewhere around 45-60 ton depending on the load out and the feet are its point of contact with the ground and when the suit is standing dead still and the feet aren’t flat it can seem a bit odd…if you’re like me and look for that sorta stuff.
In saying that if you’re going for a ground based moving pose, catching the mobile suit mid swing of a weapon or moving towards and enemy whilst firing its weapon, then having some of the foot off the ground just dragging the front edge or something similar, that can give a great sense of movement and life to a very simple build. When on a flying base keep in mind many mobile suits have thrusters in their feet so think back to Tony Stark’s testing of the Iron Man suit in the garage where his movements were very exagerated due to the primitive state of his tech at the time, and notice what his feet did. They can be in all sorts of angles keeping the suit steady during hover or decent, as he focuses on the job at hand.
Quickly touching on arms, arms can easily give away if the mobile suit is static or falling or steadying for a bazooka shot. Again Google is your friend. One thing that I have seen in the posing of the great modelers I love to see at work is the consideration of the mobile suit as a machine and taking in to account the machines ‘centre of gravity’. Consider how much weight is up above the torso and look at some really nice poses and you’ll notice that the chest is often sort of puffed out putting a lot of the weight over the feet kinda pivoting forward at the hips, and using the ankle and waist joints to maintain an upright stature. And the shoulders are rolled back slightly and the arms are by the side, not dead straight but not curled, like some sort of earth moving machine that sitting idle, hands relaxed but not stretched out open, in a ‘standby’ state. All the hydraulics and actuators are at their resting position and the mobile suit is stable and safe for the maintenance crew to climb all over.
As you can see there are a lot of tiny tweaks that I think can really make the difference. Just take an average build and make it much more alive and entertaining, and guaranteed to glean more ‘Likes’ from you peers and fellow hobbyist modelers. You may not be looking for ‘Likes’ that is not specifically the goal here, but they are on display for you to enjoy and I guarantee you’ll enjoy your display a whole lot more when there’s life in your poses. Some kits can be a real pain and a challenge to get them looking right and that’s another great aspect of Gunpla for me, striking a pose that does the mobile suit justice. I think the RX-78-2 is one of the most versatile kits and you can see many many people take a totally OOB build and use the MSG scenes and get some fantastic poses that regardless of the time put in to the build, it just looks great and transports you to those epic MSG 0079 battles. And always remember there is no wrong. Things can be done better, but it’s never ever wrong.
(Some images in this article were used with permission from the 'Gundam Meme's Official' Facebook group. Other images in this article were found via Google image search. If any of these images are yours and you'd like them taken down or given credit then please contact us ASAP and we shall do so with out any issue at all)