Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Afterthought - Malaysia 2014 Mid Year Challenge

The event ended last Sunday, 15th June 2014. Looking at the result and , especially, read about the post Ronnie Phoon (One of the judges of this event) in Pla-Zone Facebook group  https://www.facebook.com/groups/plazone/;  I bet there must be quite some intense fight between the local and the Japanese judges on the results of this event.

As a modeler who emphasize and continuing to pursue and improve on the fundamentals, I would raise all four to support what Phoon said. However, there's something I simply cannot ignore.

In the past, I have seen quite a number of entries in Bandai's event that got standings that i would think other entries would be more deserving; mainly based on the the fundamental works of these entries. Some are pretty sub-standard. My reasoning at that time was, "Ok, if wanna talk about finishing n workmanship, what hasn't the Japanese yet to see?" I would believe they r more overwhelmed by the raw element n creativity presented in the entry from this part of the world (The south East Asia).

After years of repeating incidents, and from experience after i have a workshop and deal more with the newcomers of the hobby, judgmental opinion aside, I think I am starting to understand the reasoning of the tendency of how Bandai would want to choose entries that would be seen by the world, or at least, the community.

Gunpla modeling is one of the most effective way to attract "new blood" into this hobby; whether they will pick up this as a long term hobby or not, at least, Gunpla is the reason that many first bought a plastic model. This is especially effective, at the same steps of animation and manga, to the younger generations. Young people, with their energetic character, plus the instant-noodle-culture nowadays, static models that require loads of time, patience, and persistency actually contradicts with who they are.

This explains Bandai and other static model manufacturers' dilemma, and Bandai's direction in making they Gunpla line of products. Fast, easy, snaplock, pre-colored; bam! everything is ready to be played and satisfied in the shortest time possible.

Now, go back the the event/competition. Fundamental works requires loads of time, tons of experience. When a new comer sees an entry, it s a completely different POV n opinion from a veteran modeler's. What's good for an entry is, first, it must be able to attract the interest of general public and the feeling of  "Hmm, I think i can do that too" feeling of a relatively new modeler.

That, explains the first choice: creativity; and is a plus that if techincally it is not sky high for others to achieve.

Of course, I see a lot of entries that are winning in creativity AND technical skill, and my utmost respect for that modeler and his/her work. Unfortunately, I, too, saw a lot of God-like technical skilled work that doesn't got recognized, that broke my heart. Well, the least I would like to tell him/her that in the eyes of modelers, he/she is the true winner.

Dont get me wrong, I am not saying the entries that got recognized that is also lack of technical skill do not deserved to be crowned or awarded. To me, Gunpla, unlike the traditional static model kits, is not about replicating the real thing but instead, to redesign. Just like advertising award shows, creativity comes first, production value is a plus, but secondary in most cases.

The simple question: U r half way working on your entry, u r ahead of your schedule n have more time than u need as your initial plan, what would you do? add in more crazy ideas that will awe the world or spend 3x more time n effort to brush up the fundamental that would be respected by modelers?

There is this tendency I observe in facebook, the #1 social media  in South East Asia. Newcomers welcomes modelers whose work that is more "achievable". They adore and learn from him. More newcomers saw, and they pick up the hobby due to that. Amongst them, many continue to learn, improve, and grow. In the end, the community grows. I think this is an absolutely good thing; I think this is what Bandai wants too. Some might say what's good with more people that do not emphasize on the basic element of plastic modeling calling themselves as a part of the community.

I say, the more the merrier. As for the fundamental part, well, to me, is just a choice of path; and the path chosen by many old timers, well, in this new era, new millennium, might not even be considered most suitable path anymore.

Suddenly, I think of Bruce Lee and his contradicting philosophy in martial art to the traditional Chinese martial believes and value system. Yes, the world is changing.

I will end this with a good example; i modeler i know and adore.I will not reveal his name but i think many would know him.

The first time i saw his work, I was thinking, yeah nice color, but the detailing, and finishing.... OMG, that's pretty sub standard; the detailing on the left and the right is not even symmetrical! In the end, his work got recognized. This is not the end of it, something good happened after that.After the win, he kept hardworking and passionate, in building, in sharing, n in promoting the hobby. Hundred, if not thousands, adored him and inspired by him. Many, due to him, got more serious into the hobby. Some follow his path, some choose another path. In either way, more are inspired and more get into the hobby. Whenever I meet a new friend in modeling, seeing his work, almost half of the time, I would have bet my money on he knows n connected to this friend of mine.

Some question my opinion in this matter and this friend of mine, "Is that really good to make an influence for this kind of modeling work?" Being a technically skilled modeler is one thing, to me, what this friend of mine achieve is even making me adore him more; he is almost leaving a legacy in this hobby. Yes, I believe that's priceless.

Time is changing. Holding on to the old value system is no harm, but perhaps if we open to the new ones we might benefit even more?

Photography credits go to Becky Law. You can visit her blog for more photos:

1 comment:

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