Monday, December 5, 2016

GBWC Malaysia 2016: An Old Man's Random Thoughts

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4th Dec 2016, Sunday, was the Malaysia round for this year's GBWC. I had an enjoyable day meeting up friends of old and new, cheer n feel the excitement and happiness of the contestants and winners, and some fruitful discussion with various individuals for some plans in the coming year.

 photo 15326457_919657218166408_5270943069051669737_n.jpg There are many sites that have had done very detail coverage n report on this event, so i aint gonna do it here. However, I am gonna share some personal views on things that i realized during the event:

Rule #1 in a Competition: LOUD!!!!

When there are 200+, somehow similar (all Gunpla) other entries that are competing with you for the attention of the judge; the first thing u need is to find a way to make the judge stop longer at your entry. Imagine the judge make it a standard to stop and look at a kit for 1 minute, plus that little time he use to think about it and write down points, that would easily take him 2 hours just for his first round of overall viewing!

In real, probably the judge will not even spend more than 10 seconds for the first overall inspection. Just assume is 10 second, so this first 10 second that your entry's interaction with the judge is crucial. Make sure your work  photo 15232120_914036838728446_2816941124291775204_n.jpg has the thing to pull him back for further inspection, n you have gotta do it fast. 10 seconds, that just a conservative estimation, u have, to do that. To create an impression in the judge's heart so he will come back again for some more time to look at your kit.

So make it loud, make it impossible for the judge, or anybody, to ignore your entry. On top of that, make sure the impression will stay in their mind when they look at it.

The few more direct attempt will be : Size, Bright (Best with extra light source).

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Purpose Of Your  Display

No matter how much u wanna argue, GBWC is a commercial event; it is meant for commercial gain for Bandai and its local distributor. So treat your kit as a commercial product.

Again, ask this question, among all the other products displayed in the event, why would people be even consider about mine?

The quality of product seem important, but it is only AFTER the consumer purchase it. Apple products are good quality? Majority people wont even consider it before it app ears so frequently in Hollywood blockbusters. Head & Shoulders is good to control dandruff? Nobody would purchase it before P&G drowned the you with its advertisement.

Same thing, put yourself in Bandai's shoe. What this entry can give me? Will this entry be any good to appear in our posters for the coming year? The first thing Bandai will eliminate is: entry that appeared to be to similar to other licensed products other than Bandai's gunpla. This immediately will affect those entries that modify the gundam kit to look like Ironman (Marvel), Five Star Stories (Kits by Wave & Volks), Zoids (Tomy) etc.

 photo 15230789_914036805395116_4197631521400617673_n.jpg     photo 15179133_914036528728477_7057566807510800234_n.jpg    photo 15230542_914111688720961_2855587959099792582_n.jpg  photo 15178229_914034945395302_1598574679303147845_n.jpg     photo 15267959_919657251499738_5533259479566483949_n.jpg Besides that, try to have your entry to carry elements that benefiting when Bandai/local distributor use its image in banners, posters, flyers etc for promotions of gunpla products.

In a nutshell, treat it like a product your company is going to pitch for a contract. What out product can give you where others cannot. For that, u gotta understand what Bandai needs too. Aside from the obvious ones (eg Bandai not interested in promoting Zoids), Bandai probably are not interested in promoting crazy scratchbuilding skills, extreme complicated painting skill, overload of details, use of multi medium etc.

 photo 15253407_914110635387733_3033375025748198372_n.jpg photo 15241266_914071015391695_68093350428778465_n.jpg I am not saying those listed above are being ignored by Bandai, what i am trying to say Bandai's agenda is different, even if they appreciate the thing u did with a different intention. Example, showcase of high level of detailing. Bandai is not interested in that (In fact, high skill level stuff sometimes frighten away newcomers, which Bandai definitely dont like); thought Kawaguchi might pick a kit with loads of details, but his intention (My guess) high possibility is not about "this modeler has good skill in detailing" but "This kit will attract the attention of a lot of people n create to urge to get a kit to build".

This is what i mean by, the end result might be the same, but with totally different intentions. So make sure the purpose of your entry is clear. If you want to sell your kit, you want the buyer to pick your kit outta the other 200+ similar products, what you have to offer?

Art Direction and Presentation

This is pretty much the extension of the previous topic; is all about presenting your product/entry in the most admirable way to create the urge of the buyer to pick yours instead of others.

People are very used to professional ways of products being presented to them, to used to it till basically many people actually ignore n forget how and why they r being presented in such way. Even many of the commercial art graduates; from the regular post in social media where they were complaining their clients change their designs and such.

 photo 15220182_914036452061818_3305638139986177797_n.jpg A very simple n direct example. When u go buy a diamond ring, u realize the shopkeeper will take the diamond out from the glass cabinet, but he/she wont directly give it to you but first put it on a tray and pass to you? and most gold n diamond jewelry are put on velvet?

 photo 15179199_914110532054410_5838768540880720450_n.jpg The velvet makes the diamond looks nicer. this is probably the majority of people will get up to. It is true. but if one can think n see the reasons behind "making it look nicer", it helps them in other aspect of life.

First, putting on a tray with velvet then hand to you, instead of directly to your hand, is because the time sequence: let u see it again on a dark color velvet before you pick it up to look closer. Dark color velvet is because velvet doesnt gives contrast highlight. Even if it has some, they are very soft highlights, which in contrast with the diamond's. As a result, in comparison, our eyes pick up the sharp highlight from the diamond, n create a stronger impression that the diamond is so crisp and sharp. Besides that, velvet generally gives a soft and pleasant sensation yo your skin when u touch it (majority people). Third, because of the history of velvet, and the frequency of it appearing n associating in the rich, noble, and royalty (Sometimes even sexy) in mass media like movies.

When u understand things like this, u can actually understand why professionals do their art direction, composition and such in the way u see day in day out from different media.

There are many parts in this (and it's knowledge wide enough for people to study in university n get a degree in it) but one simple rule in majority, if not all, of the professional works (TV, posters, banners, packaging, advertisements etc): EVERYTHING THAT APPEARS SERVE A PURPOSE. They are there with a purpose, an intention; nothing is by accident.

Yeah, it sounds a little vague n abstract. I will just take one simple example, a thing i see too often in GBWC: Dead Space or Negative Space. This is design means space that doesnt serve a purpose, or even be a distraction; simple means, space that doesnt need to be there.

 photo 15356711_919657241499739_6324622840326670020_n.jpg Do not underestimate the effect of negative space; especiallyin such an event when time is scarce in grabbing judge's attention. It is not being neutral, in fact, more often it is a negative element in your entry. Extra useless space can easily make your main subject looks "SMALL", make the diorama looks "EMPTY", extra space which might carry extra mistake in modeling makes your  entry looks "FLAWED", etc etc. These kind of words u will try your best not to impose into your judge's mind, and unfortunately negative space is genius in creating such things.

Of course, there are other things besides negative space; it is just an example. In short, if there is not a need to put it there, do not put it there.

Presentation Part 2: Display Base

Kak Rosmah ask you to design n make a dress so she can wear to some important dinner. You have spend so much time to research, trial n error, slowly hand made everythread n beads, and finally you have a good one. You call her telling her you are ready.

"Oh i cant wait to see it. Can i see it now, so i can decide whether yours or other designer's gown i will choose?"

"I have the dress with me now, but now i am still shopping in the morning market in Pudu wet market. If you can't wait, you can come here and have a look."

"Sure, i will come."

What happen in the end? You show her the dress under 11am Malaysia sunlight, with the smell of chicken blood in the air, dirty water on the floor, n occassionally Mr fish monger walk pass you guys while yelling "jaga! jaga! air panas.....!"

 photo 15267807_914035632061900_3355397203236622367_n.jpg Dont think she will love your dress.

Display Base is the same shit. You have your 6 months continous late night work, hundreds of hours researching looking at other modelers work in the net, studying books for advance techniques, tried-redo-improve color scheme etc; in the end, u present it in a cheap 3 days half hearted get-it-all-done display base.

Same question as previously asked, what impression you want to create in the mind of the judge? I dont know. But a cheap base, for a very high chance, will create an impression of: " This dude is not serious in his entry." "This entry wont take much time." "Not nice." "Lazy" "No planning" "No time" etc etc. Only thing i can bet on is, none will be good in helping you to impress the judge nor your audience.

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A 6 months work deserved to be display in a 6-month-worth display case. Having a bad display base is like; spending 6 months in creating a monster gundam, but only the left leg u snapfit n leave it unpainted. Will the impression be "Wow, such a beutiful 6 month work!"? or "Wow, the leg is not even painted (While the other beautiful parts are all ignored)!"?

In my humble opinion, when u start to plan to do a kit, ALWAYS include to plan how you are going to present it. So the display, the way to present is always together in the initial plan when a project start. NOT after you have done the kit only u start thinking about the base.

Some might think the gundam is the gundam, base is just a base. But in this kind of display event, your gundam is not important, your presentation is. Both the gundam and your base is presentation.


Photos are taken without consent from Becky customizer @ Hope she will forgive me. Anyway, this is one of the place where usually i can easily find complete news and photos.


  1. Luckily this year winner is a gundam, i saw alot of people build their stuffs into something like ma.k or spider and scorpion or other animals. From what i see they are basically using gundam parts to build something which is not gundam, and it starts to losing its meaning, it's hard to define gundam but imho i think gundam should looks like gundam. Good jobs for all the winner tho!

    1. From the way u sounded, i assume u r one of the old timer like me...hahahahah.
      U see it as a gundam competition, i saw it as a scale modeling competition; but in the end, GBWC (Gunpla Builder World Cup), Bandai doesnt say it is a gundam competition nor worse, a scale modeling competition... hahahah guess both of us are wrong. At this current time.
      Anyway, the event belongs to them n they want to play it whichever way they like. If we wanna join, we are bounded by its rules n expectation; especially for getting a spot on the podium.
      I m, too, feel disappointed and confused (mainly due to my assumption on how n what this event is). However, after 3 years where Kawaguchi has direct decision in choosing each countries' winning piece, i think this is the best i can guess what Bandai wants.
      Confirm not scale modeling competition.

  2. Well said! Thank you, at last some of us share about it. I hope this article may help our builders. Especially the newcomers. ^_^

  3. This year we got dragon momoko.. wow