I bet, when you started building your first Gunpla, you did not realize that there was more to it than cutting the parts from the runners and snapping them together. Removing nub marks, filing, sanding, and top coating were not the initial skills that you intended to learn. Admit it, Gunpla was merely a simple toy that you can build and play with afterwards.
Now, you’ve learned to custom paint, kit bash, scratch build, etc. As far as you’re concerned, you are doing a great job. But how can you really tell? Social media is the best portal in which other builders, collectors, and hobbyists can get a glimpse of your work so you post photos in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Seems like you always get positive reviews, likes, and comments. The problem is, photos are really not good mediums for judging your work. If you really want to know your skill level as a builder, join competitions.
Have you ever had somebody tell you that they joined a contest for the experience? So should you. Chances are, you will not win your first competition but the experience you can gain will benefit you more in the long run.
You are judged more on your building skills
In Gunpla competitions, fundamental building skills take a large chunk of the judging criteria—practically, almost 50 percent. Why is that? More than designing and conceptualization, customizing Gunpla is mostly about craftsmanship, and you are judged as a craftsman. A perfectly-executed OOTB (out-of-the-box) build can win against a poorly-crafted custom build any day. If your beefed up Sazabi loses to an OOTB Zaku, that’s when you know you have to go back to the basics.
Compare your work with those of the best builders
You might have seen their work online—on blogs, Facebook, Instagram, etc.—but photos really don’t do justice to the actual work of a master builder. Nothing compares to seeing a masterpiece with your own eyes. You might not see it at first but the best builds have a similar quality: they are flawless.
Mingle with other builders
A contest’s venue overflows with knowledge that is just waiting to be shared. All you have to do is talk to people. The simplest Gunpla building advice you get might be what you exactly need to up your game. You can easily spot contest participants. They are usually the ones that carry Gunpla boxes. You never know, the first few people you chat with might be master builders. Just remember to keep the conversations polite and positive. And don’t be afraid to show them your work. You might get negative comments, but those are exactly what you need in order to improve.
Look around and get inspired
You are practically at a convention where Gunpla builders showcase their best works. Don’t just fixate on your entry. You practically have a smorgasbord of eye candy Gunpla all arounfd you. Enjoy the exhibition of masterpieces. Look around twice, or even three times. Soak all the creative vibes around you and use that energy to imagine your next build. The priority here is to learn but don’t forget to have fun. That’s what Gunpla is all about, right?