I'd like to remind everyone about or ask those who haven't yet to please give to help those affected by the quakes in Japan. Yes, I'm aware the media has pelted you with news of it non stop over the past week or more. And I also know how the media stops caring when something newer and prettier comes along. So please, donate what you can to the Red Cross or to the Gundam Australia Forums fund. They are working to help those who have helped us entertain ourselves. Tatsu Hobby is donating 10% of their sales this month to help out. Hobby Link Japan has raised there prices by a mere 2% and that 2% is then matched by them and they're donating that to help out as well. Tatsu Hobby is based in California, HLJ is based in Japan. I know HLJ is donating a smaller percentage, but...
Video from Youtube, HobbyLink's Channel Not my video, etc.
... they are in the thick of things! And I think they get higher sales numbers anyway.
In short, however you want to get money to the Japanese people is up to you; through direct donations, or even buying from one of those stores. Every little bit helps, even just a dollar.
/PSA But seriously, give what you can.
For ease of reading, I'll BOLD out section so you can just scroll to the portion you want to read if you don't feel like reading this lengthy post.
I received a lot of kits for Christmas this past year. Uhm... lets see...
MG Sword Impulse, MG Exia Ignition Mode, MG The O, MG Hi-Nu, MG Destiny EBM, MG Strike Freedom FBM, and PG Wing Zero Custom, and I think a couple more...
Here's the kitch of it all: Hi Nu, Destiny, Strike Freedom and the PG WZC are all TT Hongli kits! Some of my friends thought they were getting a good deal when they got them. I don't blame them, they were misinformed and they aren't really into the hobby. I thought it was a very thoughtful gesture, just a bit misguided. Now I'm not going to start the whole debate over bootlegs. They exist for everything, not just Gunpla. I would most likely never buy a bootleg Gunpla myself, but now that I have them, I'm going to build them and I'll post my opinions here.
FUN SHOPPING FIND!
Fun find: I went to a local hobby store in November, I think it was. I found a MG Destiny Extreme Blast Mode sitting in their scratch and dent section. I was looking at it in pure shock and awe, I haven't bought a Gunpla in person since Toys R Us carried them! And this place specializes in cars, military, lots of trains, and RC stuff. I usually only go in for special supply needs that Hobby Lobby doesn't carry. NEVER did I expect to find Gunpla treasure. So, I took it to the counter and asked if I could look through it and make sure all the parts were there. Turned out to be missing a tiny piston piece for one of the shoulders and it was partially built (Head and about halfway through the chest). I made mention of this and the guy behind the counter, Randy, says, "Well, online it goes for $56, I bought it for $20... how's $15?" I felt a large brick shaped object hit my lower intestine and gladly took the kit!
I asked Randy where he was getting his prices from, turns out there are two local sources for Gunpla! Advantage Hobby and Tower Hobbies. Advantage is brick and mortar as well as online and their Gunpla is a warehouse item, so I can't go in and buy them, but still. There's also a warehouse here in Champaign, IL that distributes them... That's when the blocky object with very sharp edges landed in my pants. I've been here for 5 years and these stores were here the whole time!? GAH! So, anyway, I've been buying a lot of Gunpla lately, my backlog is now up to 69 kits. AND! Randy mistook the Destiny he was selling me for the normal version. So I got an only slightly used $89 (as per Tower Hobbies) kit for $15.
After a visit to Gundam Store and More for the missing part, I now have a Bandai and a TT Hongli Master Grade Destiny EBM. Expect a full write up on construction, plastic quality, etc in a full on comparison come this (late) spring/early summer, most likely.
GROUP BUILDS/BUILDS FOR OTHERS
I'm working on a couple of Wing related projects (again). A member at The Gundam Australia Forums has initiated an Ode to Cannon Fodder Group Build. My entries for the GB will be a 1/144 kit bash of Mercurius and Veayate into a Virgo and I'll be "dumbing down" a couple of Tallgeeses to make Leos.
My fiance also has a MG Hi-Nu, so her and I will be starting on that as our "Mondays off together" project, starting this Monday. We will call that a couple's build. She also gave me permission to put shelves along the top of the office walls for displays! God, I love her! Her only stipulation was she gets a section for her kits above her desk... DEAL!
A friend at work, I found out, liked Gundam and Gunpla years ago and was considering coming back to the hobby in between his War Hammer 40K projects. When I told him I had pre-ordered a MG Deathscythe Hell EW Version (and explained EW/Custom confusion) he hopped onto that bandwagon and pre-ordered one with mine. He and I will be working on that also starting next week, on Tuesday.
Another buddy of mine who I had met in Japanese Language class years ago and I hadn't talked to in quite a while contacted me on Facebook and told me he had some kits he was never going to build and they had been sitting around for a few years still sealed up. He sold me a MG GP-01, MG GP-02a, MG Ez8, and a MG RX-78-2 Version 1.0...
ALL OF THEM HAVE AMERICAN PACKAGING! From when Toys R Us was carrying Gunpla. WOW! These have been sitting around for a while; 8 years now? So, for him, I will be working on the GP-02a as my evening projects while my days off are dedicated to Hi-Nu and Deathscythe Hell.
And the only other major project I have planned for this coming year so far will be a Char's Custom version of the HGUC Hyaku Shiki. I have the HGUC Gryps War Set and the gold on that particular version of Hyaku Shiki is just perfect! But, also from Christmas, I got a Hyaku Shiki with the Hyper-Mega-Bazooka-Launcher-of-Death-and-Destruction-and-my-God-could-they-make-the-name-of-this-weapon-any-longer-? HGUC set and that Hyaku Shiki has a nasty brown color of some kind... Well, Char's red looks pretty bad ass on the Hyaku Shiki.
Image from ImageShack via Google Search, not my photo, not my work, etc.
I might try for an Extra Finish job with metallic paint and clear colors. We will see.
Well, I think I've been long winded enough!
Until Next Time: Happy Building!