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Mega Size Zaku Complete – Go See it at Robot4Less

March 29th, 2012 No comments

Last weekend I put the finishing touches on the 1/48 Mega Size Zaku. I built it for Roy, who owns Robot4Less, which happens to be about literally around the corner from my house. It’s now on display there next to a couple of other Mega Size models built by speed-builder Martin. Click on the Picture Link below to see the gallery.

(A Little) Model Building Progress

February 25th, 2012 No comments

I spent most of December and January working on the house in preparation for a baby we’ve got coming in April. When I could spare a little time I worked on a mega-size Zaku for Roy at Robot4Less. It’s all painted and awaiting clearcoats and decals/weathering but in the last few days my focus is on the Bluefin Unicorn. I’m excited to get it done, the shading came out pretty nice.

As if I needed to divide my attention further, I started another project. A couple weeks ago one of my built models sold at Robot4Less and I had some money burning a hole in my pocket. So, I went on a detail parts shopping spree. I bought photoetch parts for 3 Valkyries, 2 Sherman tanks, a truck, a jeep and a Quad Gun Tractor, as well as gun barrels for the Shermans and a resin cockpit set for my Tamiya F-16.

Then last week I got sick and was home two days from work. I hate painting when I’ve got a cold (because of runny nose and sneezing not working out under a respirator mask, yuck) so I didn’t want to work on the Mega Zaku and I had just got the PE parts for the Quad Gun Tractor so I pulled that kit out and went to work on it. I’m doing a bunch of kitbashing/scratchbuilding on it to turn it into a remote-control command vehicle for my Jin-Roh Patlabor (JRP).

The first thing I did was make room for a rear-facing pilot. I cut a rectangle out of the roof and built a box on top of it to give the pilot some headroom and space for a TV monitor so he can see where the JRP is going. Next I built a little TV screen that will have a camera-eye-view decal on it.

I had to swap parts for the pilot, using the arms and legs of the Canadian driver figure that comes with the kit with a Nazi torso and head so he looks right. I’ll have to use some sanding and putty to turn his shorts-and-scrunch-socks-wearing legs into pants-and-jackboots-wearing legs.

I installed some rails across the two center rear seat bases to provide a seat mount for the pilot since he’s backwards and off center. Next I went to town with another new tool, my punch and die set. It makes hole, discs, and if you line them up right, rings from holes in discs.

I used these to make some low-tech-looking electronics for the cockpit. I also installed a base and a mount for a large antenna mast (think news van).

Next I built a little control column using plastic bits, more punched discs and the handles from a 1/35 scale .50 caliber machine gun.

Here’s how the cockpit looks put together:

In this last picture I moved the box on the left that sat on the wheel well to the floor because it got lost behind the antenna mast.

I’ll still add some wiring and maybe a few more bits. It occurred to me that the real Gun tractor has a bunch of hatches/tool boxes that open into the rear and I’ve just made disappear. I’ll probably build something to represent that some of them are still there and maybe make the others look welded shut.

On the outside of the Gun Tractor I sealed off the normally tarp-covered “sunroof” and I’m planning to “up armor” the Gun Tractor in the way that modern Humvees serving in Iraq/Afghanistan are with some plastic plate. I’m also thinking of putting in the windows backwards and framing them to look like thick ballistic glass.

OrangeCon 2011

October 9th, 2011 6 comments

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:

TGG Entries at OrangeCon

TGG Entries at OrangeCon

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:
Nopales in Afghanistan?

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:

Info about and a picture of the Mexican Flag

Wikipedia entry on the Nopal

Okay, so maybe the Strikers on maneuvers stateside in the southwest somewhere… But what about this WWII era British 25-Pounder? lulz

Nopales vs. Rommel

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:

Asuka in her Rebuild of Evangelion Plugsuit

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:

Rick Dom II

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.

My favorite Zaku

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.

Those Gundam Guys Sweep (Finally)

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.

The people have spoken

The people have spoken

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:

The take

Categories: Events Tags: , , , ,

See My Models at Robot4Less

July 15th, 2011 No comments

Recently the Robot4Less store got a nice big glass display case. Roy, the owner invited me to bring in some of my built models. I’m always glad to put up my models because to be totally honest I like to show them off, but also I hope they generate more interest in the hobby. Hopefully it helps Roy sell more models, too! I know I get inspired when I see other people’s work. I took five models, the Cherudim, the Peace and Freedom, the Enact, The Hazel OWSLA and the Sazabi:

I put up a little sign pointing people to my site as well as ThoseGundamGuys.org and the Gamerabaenre Forum. I also got a Southern California Gundam Model Competition sign put up. There’s another thing I want to generate interest in!

I talked to Clem (Gamerabaenre) and he said he might take a couple kits over as well. I’ll probably rotate different models through the case over time.

Roy asked if I would be willing to sell some of the models I brought it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I have no idea what to charge for a kit and I’d have to decide which (if any) I’d be willing to part with…