Well, this year was definitely the most interesting OrangeCon ever in the years I’ve been going to OrangeCon. Those Gundam Guys had a pretty good showing, we filled out our category pretty well:
There should be 2 more Gundam kits in the first picture and another piece of our crazy diorama to the left of the one above but somebody left early. We’ll get to that.
Roy from Robot4Less also had a couple of tables and while I don’t think he sold a lot of Gundam kits I know he did sell a few and seemed pretty busy selling paint and tools. I haven’t talked to him since the show, I’m curious to see how he did.
I set up my models and then left the show room immediately and spent a lot of time in the vendor room digging through photoetch parts and decals for my airplane and tank models (didn’t find much but got a couple things). When I got back everybody had set or was setting up their models. Me, Nathan (Pascalior), Angel, Clem (Gamerabaenre), Manny (mbizzle), Brandon (bhop), Casval (Sid R’icel), and Sean (Grand Admiral Shawn) had all entered models. It was fun to see Nathan there shaking as he set up his model, because he was all nervous. I remember being that way several years ago. Now I just throw the models in the box and go…
Before lunch I actually took some time to walk around the show room. I had to laugh when I got to this one:
Not that there’s anything wrong with the model, it’s very well done and I think it even won a prize. But since this is a Striker, a modern armored fighting vehicle and it’s in the desert, there’s the automatic assumption that it’s got to be Afghanistan or Iraq. Now, look at the cactuses.
They’re Nopales!!! WTF are Nopales? They’re Mexican cactuses! Nopales are a pretty big part of Mexican culture. If you’re really Mexican, people joke that they can see the Nopal on your forehead. They’re even on the flag, the eagle is sitting on it:
Okay, so maybe the Strikers on maneuvers stateside in the southwest somewhere… But what about this WWII era British 25-Pounder? lulz
Hey, when I put a haystack in my Mustang vs. Citroen diorama, I researched European haystacks, because different Europeans make different-shaped haystacks… I can laugh at somebody putting the really really wrong kind of cactus on his diorama. Especially one that screams, “Viva Mexico!”
Anyway, a little before lunch I got a douchebaggy idea… What if we all pooled our People’s Choice Award votes and agreed to put them on the same Gunpla kit? The few of us that were right there did a little huddle and agreed that Angel’s The O was the most impressive. We even got Angel to vote for his own without knowing, we just gave him the number and didn’t tell him which one it was. We imagined the judges counting the ballots and rolling their eyes at all the votes for the Gundam model but then some other model winning. There were at least 40 or 50 entrants, and there were just six of us…
Anyway, after that the show room closes for three hours for judging. Normally we hit up a sit-down restaurant for a long lunch but Nathan had to go teach a class so we just went to Chipotle. We then went and killed some time at Brookhurst Hobbies. I spent some time following him and got some tips on Vallejo paint and pigments. After that we hung out at Clem’s for a while. About 3 we headed back and the drama began…
So Clem entered his Asuka bust in the contest. The contest rules state no nudity, but while Asuka’s new plugsuit is opaque:
Clem painted the lighter parts in a skin color that made it look like she was strategically “you could get away with it on TV after 10 pm” not really naked.
The head judge saw the bust and disqualified it for nudity. Clem had one of his classic freakouts. Sean tried to explain it and calm him down and I tried to remind him that we’re trying to get these people to come to our contest next month, and this wasn’t the time to make a scene and alienate the IPMS crowd but he pretty much said “Fuck it” and packed up and left. Oh boy…
Anyway the rest of us shrugged our shoulders and hung out to get the contest results. I got third place with my Rick Dom:
Angel got second with his O and Clem won in absentia with his Sazabi. Clem also placed in the diorama category and in the humor category with his Bearguy. We all looked at each other like, “You gonna pick up his trophy?” but nobody did.
I was a little disappointed that Casval’s RG Zaku didn’t win but a few minutes later they called “Casual” up to get his best Out-of-Box prize so that was great! Later on, Brandon placed for his US tank crewman figure.
Overall, this was the best-judged Gundam category I’ve seen at an IPMS event. The three winners at Anime Expo all got prizes here, and my Rick Dom got one, too, so aside from the drama I was quite pleased.
The real sore spot was what happened in the 1/48th scale tanks category that Brandon had entered. While Brandon didn’t necessarily expect to win, he was “surprised” by the winner they had picked. I went over a bit later and looked, but forgot my camera. The winner was an OOB Tamiya Sturmgeschutz in desert yellow. It wasn’t a piece of crap or anything but it definitely had some issues. There were some parts of it like the cupola and a rail behind the “turret” that were clearly a lighter shade than the rest of the kit, the kit had a slight sheen to it, and the cupola’s sheen was a bit glossier. As picky as I think of IPMS modelers being, this didn’t seem right. On the other hand 2nd and 3rd place were a pair of Marders with a lot more going on in them.
So we’re standing there talking, they’ve announced all the awards in our categories and we’re just waiting for them to stop calling out awards so we can pack up our models and go when I hear over the PA “…Angel De La Cruz for his The O.” By this time I totally wasn’t paying attention we were mainly talking about Clem so I asked Nathan, “What was that for?” He said “Something about People’s Choice.”
What??? Really? Yep.
I have not laughed so damn hard for so long in YEARS. And I’m trying not to because I didn’t want it to look like we’re all busting up because we had punked OrangeCon. I mean, we had… but we never meant to, nobody thought it would work. it was just SIX VOTES!!! I guess everybody else must have voted for themselves… and we were like the dogs that had caught the car.
Anyway, after I went away and made a couple texts and could stop laughing I went back and packed up. I took Angel back to Clem’s because he had stormed off and left Angel stranded without a ride. We didn’t have Casval’s big ‘ol trophy or Brandon’s figure trophy for his tanker, but otherwise here was the TGG take: