Building Robots: Let’s enjoy our walk to Mecha.

In the spring I had been watching various different Youtube videos on air brushing and resin model kits (Godzilla®, King Kong®, and some supremely well crafted Predator® kits that were being produced out of Thailand). I really wanted to get back into air brushing and tried to track down a model kit of modest price on my own. I did not succeed, but then, our friend announced she was headed to China for the summer and I asked her, if she were out and about one day, and it didn’t impede on any other events she wanted to undertake, could she look for a model kit of King Kong® or some other such hollywood creature when on a walk about. So several weeks passed, and we were not in contact, but I felt the urge to look around Markham to see what I could see. Well not much luck in the few places I was looking, but I found a Warhammer 40K® titan robot model, which I promptly built and thoroughly enjoyed putting together.

So off to I fled in search of another robot, and there I found (re-discovered) Gundam model kits from Bandai. I remember seeing these when I was younger and wondering “How on earth do you fit such a massive robot in such a flat box?”, well let me tell you, it’s because they come shipped to you in about 500 pieces and you get to assemble the whole lot yourself with instructions written in Japanese. So, obviously as a youth I didn’t care for the idea of spending money on a model kit and then either losing pieces to my family’s dogs, or losing interest in it and not bothering to finish. I guess now that my day job consists of multi faceted projects, and a myriad of shifting project needs, I now have the attention span and desire to spend 10 – 30 hours working on these incredible mechanical items.

And my God there are so many of them!, so many different shapes and sizes, which meant I had to do a bit of reading and research to figure out the whole HG, MG, PG kit ratings. Although to be honest I started with a 1/72 scale Armored Core item from Kotobukiya which nearly drove me crazy. Those pieces are so damn small!! My manual dexterity is in the toilet. But I spent around 9 – 11 hours on that Armored core item and was really proud to get those couple of hundred pieces together.

A new obsession is born. After that kit, I went on to build a whole slew of other items:

1/60 Strike Freedom Lightening Edition • 1/72 Valkarie Macross • 1/60 GAT-X105 Strike • 1/100 Sinanju Stein • 1/100 EXS Gundam • 1/100 Hi-Nu Gundam • 1/100 Nu Gundam • Just starting a 1/100 Geara Doga with a 1/100 MSN 04 Sazabi Ver Ka on the way.

Needless to say I’ve taken to this hobby. I will admit to never having watched the show in any of its iterations. I tried to watch one of the movies on Youtube, but I just couldn’t get into it. This is really something you can dive in to though, holy cow! You can lose yourself in hours of details if you want to. There are pistons and wires, and joints and plates you can mess with, not to mention those modellers who create battle damage or dioramas. It can get pretty insane, and depending on how obsessive you are, it can be a long journey. Hence, a long walk to Mecha. A not to subtle knock on the pilgrimage to Mecca, but not really. More of an interesting head line than anything else really. I digress.

The culmination of this model building was to be a full on 1/60 scale resin mecha model kit. I went through G-System Best (did not have a good experience with them), and ordered an AGX-04 Gerbera Tetra that looks pretty awesome. See images below.GBT 1 GBT 2 GBT 3

Now the on-line spec’s list a few things which once received, proved to not be true: (a) This item was not cast in multiple colours as advertised, it all came in tan resin. (b) the electro plated thrusters were in plain resin, with no plating on them. (c) the pre-assembled NewG internal structure came in pieces not in a separate gift box. (d) I ordered on Oct 4th, had a shipping notice on Oct 10th, and then by Dec 1st, 2013 I had not received anything. So I wrote back to them again asking after my order (realize that paypal lists your address and details for vendors to see) and had to supply them with my address and shipping details for the fifth or sixth time. But I will say this, after the second set of emails asking for my item it arrived from Hong Kong in six days.

The only kit that I have tried to paint was the 1/100 EXS Gundam: Below you’ll find a few of the steps I took. It turned out ok, but if I could do it over again I would paint the white pieces individually, rather than on the sprue (worked great for the few blue items). And I would have painted in a spot with far better ventilation. I also didn’t bother with too many of the stickers. It was my first time with Dry Transfers, and I should have practiced first, because I came away with some good chunks of the logos on my fingers from handling them improperly.

Which reminds me, I am scared to death of the Photo Etch parts that came with my GSB order, oh my!

All in all I’d say it is a fantastic hobby, if you are trying to maintain some sort of manual dexterity, working on your focus, or just trying to do something physical where you can see the advances you make daily. I work in a digital setting on a computer, so having a physical item constructed right in front of me is a great feeling that i don’t get much of on a day to day basis. Also fun fact, learning to follow instructions in a foreign language you can neither read nor understand is a great way to let off steam, once you begin to rant and rave!

Later – M