Gunpla Builders World Cup – Australian Finals
16th July 2011 @ Sydney Manga and Anime Show, Darling Harbour Convention Center, Sydney
*You may wish to grab yourself a beer or a hot drink for this review
I won’t lie to you, it is super long
…. Here we go folks!
It was dull and damp in Sydney when I touched down at a little past 7am. The pilot had announced it would be ten degrees outside, but it felt like less in the biting wind sweeping across the tarmac as I alighted my flight from the Gold Coast.
Carrying only a backpack full of Gundam Australia T-Shirts it was quick trip through the terminal down to the subway. I boarded a near empty train and within 5 minutes had spoken to two forum members who were eager to meet up. Random, who was heading out the door, and Mokana Man was already waiting at the event (with a landmark to recognize him by). I hopped a tram from Central down to Darling Harbour, where I soon met up with Mokana Man and Freya.
After introductions we met up first with Tristan and his perfectly adorable cosplaying 5 year old daughter. Very keen for his shirt he slid it straight on over what he was wearing. Next to arrive was Random and with that we headed to the nearby Harbourside mall to meet up with some other GAF members, grab a bit of breakfast, and offload some more shirts. So eager was Random for a GAF shirt, he bought 2! Donning one without hesitation as seen below..
I murdered my chicken and egg burger from Oporto, remarking on the quality of their hash brown between arrivals of more GAF members eager for shirts. We had Meneh and Quang Vuong if memory serves, before I looked over at a very patient yet excited little girl who had waited far too long for the event she had traveled hours with her Dad to see. Sorry for making you wait while we flapped our gums Ruby. True to your name you were a gem. Thank you also to Oporto; unofficial breakfast sponsor of me and breakfast of a champion.
During the course of our conversation the Zeon flag was produced. It was at this point I captured an enemy flag! Draping the victorious spoils of war about my head and pulling my best mad face for the camera. Word to Onyx.
I continued to wear this for most of the event.
It would appear that during our hour or so of banter a formidable line had accrued outside the event. I couldn’t be bothered getting out my camera but it was well documented by the other guys. Turns out this line was for pre sale tickets, and you could practically bypass it and stroll into the event with a short stop at the pay on entry booth. What is that about best laid plans? Apparently the other GAF guys that were there early didn’t wait to get it at all, thus was the folly of our excursion to the food court. So an hour in line we did wait, with no shortage of amusement from the many entertaining cosplayers, and trying to get our Otaku on and name some of them.
Upon entry it was apparent that the event had taken a sizeable step in the direction of professionalism. The first thing I saw, and possibly one of the best things I saw all day, was two girls with beam sabers in very skimpy Feddie outfits! Score one massive victory to Hobbyco for that one! Random and I rushed over for a photo op, which must have been on his camera
The very next thing I saw was the GBWC display booth,
…where I made a B-line to the Snap fitted MG Epyon that was on display,
..and the incredible
BB Battle Scene Diorama.
This year the amount of high quality entries was staggering, and I am filled with excitement by the level of skills on display from our junior entrants! Well done juniors! You blew me away.
First and Second Place
The next thing my attention was immediately drawn to was the first place winner, quite the attention getter it was as well!
Yes, it IS an MG Dom in a lava hangar with a lava and carbon fiber paint job. Yowee! Smokin hot. Total eye catcher and very easy to see why the Judges selected it for first place in the open category.
A bit tricky to see but there’s some nice exposed internal/mesh work in the legs
A few things that really impressed me, and a few that made me wonder..
Overall I’m pretty sure you’ll agree it is a stunning entry.
Before proceeding to the main body of images for all of the entries I’d like to bring in some shots of second place, and discuss a few points about both. First, some pics of the incredible Hillside Hangar GP01 Diorama by Scott from the Ghost of Zeon:
Now I will go on record as saying I thought GoZ was robbed of first place by a brilliant and outstanding yet on technicalities alone a slightly inferior entry. I guess you win the GBWC with wow factor, and it has been that way for as long as I’ve followed I suppose.
Both of the first and second place winners demonstrated loads of technique and amazing skills. The difference was in the flaws, attention to detail, and execution. Both amazing entries but IMO GoZ excelled in the execution. What one should consider while reading my critique is this: at an elite level such as these entries are approaching, it is the tiniest of flaws that differentiate 1st and 2nd place. So a critique is not necessarily a criticism, because judges will usually be forced into a position where nitpicking is essential to decide the winner.
The main differences for me were the Dom's Carbon Fiber paint was very well done, but a little bit under detailed in places such as around recesses in the panels. Was that Kosutte Ginsan on the chest and scope? So super shiny. Mega points for showing no difference in shine in the corners and recesses. A really lovely effect which I applaud.
The Dom's pose was a bit unimaginative, though you can't get a lot out of a MG Dom.. The GP01 was as static as they come but that was part of the theme of the dio. It made sense. A hangar in a volcano, whilst super cool, kinda does not.
Another thing that looked incredible but I struggle to see the relevance of was the thruster packs over by the wall. The Dom's Koto rifle looked amazing, and the extension of the Dom's lava armour to the gun was a very nice effect.
What really impressed me most was the work that went into the stalagmites and stalagtites below the deck and the rock wall behind. There must have been a thousand pin vise holes drilled into that. Amazingly realistic.
Apart from a slight blending issue with the white colour in the lava which was only noticable up close, the lava looked utterly amazing.
The thing I struggled with was that the undersides of the shoulders and skirt armour looked either unfinished or a bit rushed. The skirts were noticeably puttied, and the pla plate under the shoulders, whilst very precise and greatly detailed, made it look unfinished. It would have looked so much better painted black. Hopefully though if you're reading (Greg, was it?) this will give you an idea of what you might like to consider improving/tidying up before taking it to Singapore, if you do intend to enter the same build into the World Cup finals.
I did love the cut away section of armour and mesh. They looked great but could really have used some highlighting of the internals beneath. I thought the paint job was quite incredible, the lava effect was executed with near perfect precision, and it was super, super glossy showroom beautiful.
Now when I say technically superior, the Hillside Hangar dio was not without its flaws but they were somewhat more minor than the Dom's.
The most amazing things about the Hillside Hangar for me were the amount of different areas where a subtly different story was taking place, the perfect attention to scale in every aspect of everything that was placed in the hangar or around on the hillside, the crazy amount of added detail on the GP01, and the realism of the textures and tones used in the diorama.
There were 5 different groups of people all doing different things, and I can tell that a lot of thought has gone into placement of the figures and items to ensure it was balanced, un-crowded, and everybody had a purpose; they are not randomly inserted to fill space. Each one of the figures was so precisely painted. The MS itself fit perfectly with the theme. It was painted in field drab colours, adequately weathered to imply field use, highly detailed with additional pla plates and AM parts, and had medium to heavy modifications to the head, arms, and shoulder mounted cannon, all of which were executed with precision.
The pre shading around the back walls of the dio offered loads of depth, and the grass, rock, and tree work on the hillside was model-railway-authenticity quality.
Drawbacks for me would be the writing on the ankle armours. I was initially so excited about these, yet they seem to have melted or been obscured by the paint. The orange and black cables stood out a bit and looked a bit much like a piece of wire as opposed to a heavy machinery DC cable. At first I thought the use of shaped parts from the runner/frame in dio's was a novel and clever idea, but I have now come to the decision that it just looks like a piece of runner.
In both instances these are minor nitpicks in what is ultimately elite level entries.
All in all both 1st and 2nd place were astounding quality entries and deserved the top two spots.
You guys should be proud of yourselves. I am proud to have you representing us at the World Finals!
Perhaps a top up to your beverage will be in order? It’s ok., I’ll wait..
Refreshed? Good. Back to the programme..
Ok so on to the pics of the other entries..
Oh but wait, I am pulled away by Mokana Man to be introduced to Scott from Ghost Of Zeon! It was a pleasure meeting you mate. Next year I hope we can hang out for a bit longer and chat in more detail.
Back to the entries.. I’ll try to add some info about them if/where I know/remember any..
GAF Member Freya’s entry (Pron. Free-ah)
..and a quick hello to Alistair from Zombster. His stall was packed and he said he was selling loads of Gunpla which I always love to hear! Lots of people buying gunpla means lots of new interest in the hobby! If you’re reading Al I need to hear from you about QMHE ASAP.
Then back to the entries…
Ghost of Zeon’s SD baund Doc: 2nd place SD Category
Mokana Man’s NG 1/144 Galbaldy
Mokana Man’s ever so seedy Safety Beargguy
Wait! Who’s that?
Lovely lime Gelgoog
Some very serious creativity going on here! (It was
a kitbash of 2 mega size model zaku's! Sorry freya!)
This is 1/60!! Kitbashed with a Dendrobium. I think it was Freya who described it as “Ballsy”. No doubt.
Freya’s super shiny HG Sinanju. That paint job was a marvel to behold.
Meneh’s fire damaged entry! You can see the smoke damage on the clear silicone bits..
Noless’ VF-25. Lovely work.
Whoops! Didn’t expect to see this at GBWC..
Upon reaching the other side of the competition entries I was pulled away from my feverish shutterbugging by Random to be introduced to Rhyan from Hobbyco, the driving force behind GBWC 2011 and the mastermind behind the BB Diorama. Not only was Rhyan very polite, he was super eager to tell us all about the sleepless nights and painstaking hours that went into the dio, thumbing through each page of his build diary as he explained it to a captivated audience of five, even returning after being called away to tend to the display booth.
Among the many things he told us about the build process was that he went through three copic markers panel lining everything, as the wash was taking too long, hundreds of dollars worth of paint, many late nights, and hours upon hours spent slaving over a hot compressor in the back of the store.
In my opinion it paid dividends. All of the models were very precisely painted and the diorama itself was a work of art. I believe the story was that Bandai offered their own BB Diorama which would have been logistically difficult and costly to transport, and the models that filled it are snap fitted. Rhyan told them he’d make his own, and reports that they were blown away by it. Rightly so. It was very cool.
He also told us the cost of the signage for the display booth. It was high. I thought it looked fantastic.
I’m very humbled to learn that Rhyan shares the same commitment and motivation to furthering enjoyment of the hobby in Australia that I do, and seems genuinely passionate and excited about doing so.
We exchanged business cards and continued on with taking in the awesome diorama.
I’m assuming these are the kits that comprised the armies depicted in the diorama
It was at this stage that we made the decision to head upstairs and check out the Gunpla workshop and see if we could snag a free First Grade Blue Frame. This is where things started to become a bit unraveled. We were greeted at the top of the escalator by a Maid Café. Yeah, this is pretty much obligatory to give this a try. Unfortunately they are booked until 4pm, so we make a booking, pay in advance (through the nose as well!) and head on around to find the workshop. To my chagrin it is also booked out until 4pm, so we make our reservation for 4.30 now what to do…
My bright idea was to go and drink. Destination unknown. Turned out to be a lovely Harbour side establishment by the name of the watershed Hotel, and drink we did… or I
did anyway. I don’t know if everyone else shared my thirst...
I stopped paying attention after my second or third pint. James Squire Amber Ale on tap. Very refreshing considering it’s syrupy hue with a distinct honey aftertaste. Went down a treat, maybe slightly too well...
It was awesome to get to know the guys a bit better. I had removed my zeon flag bandana and draped it over the table as a table cloth, and one of the bar attendants recognized it as “Char’s Counter Attack”! Champion!
During our drinking session both Zahmad and Yami came by to join us. Yami was pretty quiet but I had a few words with zahmad which I enjoyed. I hope next year we can all arrange to meet for lunch or something?..
So I was pretty full after our drinks and all I really remember was going to the maid café and trying to keep myself and Random in line as we were both a bit pissed. We gave the maids a bit of a hard time (gomen!) enjoyed our meal and were chastised for taking photos of our group. Cheeze!
On to collect our free gunpla and the award ceremony, which if you have read any of the rest of this thread will know was amusing in itself. They wouldn’t let us in the workshop (no surprises there) but we asked fairly boorishly to have our free kits. Again, apologies to the guys running the workshop for the lack of manners of a couple of us..
After the ceremony most of the guys headed straight down stairs to collect their entries, and it was at that point we lost them. By the time we got down the exhibition hall was closed off and everybody was filing out into the brisk evening air.
For me, back to Random’s house for a BBQ with the lovely Mrs. Random and Random jnr, and more beers until around about midnight. I did alright considering I was up at 3am for my flight.
I would conclude by saying it was overall a very professionally run event
. In comparison to last year’s BAKUC event which in it's own right was great. This year everything was a major advance. The venue, the display booth, the way the models were displayed, the lighting, the amount of entries, the quality of entries, the attendance, the level of interest… all doubled. If not more. Outstanding.
I’d like to say a massive personal thank you to Hobbyco and Bandai for an awesome event, a fun day, and for showing us your commitment to growing the hobby in Australia.
Rounding out with the obligatory linkage, if you have the energy after reading my novel you would be well advised to check out Ghost Of Zeon’s wrap up of the event plus Gallery, and Mokana Man’s footage.http://www.ghostofzeon.com/other/gbwc2011.html
Thanks for reading!
I would be most grateful if you see your model in my post if you could step up and claim your work!
More than happy to provide anyone with hi-res shots on request.
Mega looking forward to seeing some more pics! I know there were a few snapped of me with various people during the day.