What is "Gunpla"?
Gunpla [ガンプラ, Ganpura] (short for Gundam Plastic) is a term used to describe Bandai's line of Plamo [プラモ, Puramo] (short for Plastic Model) kits based on the "Mobile Suit Gundam" franchise. Building Gunpla has been a staple hobby in Japan since the 1980s, and has found its way into the hearts of builders all around the world! It's not uncommon to walk into a Japanese department store and find an entire floor devoted just to Gundam models. Anime fans in America have been building them for years, and more recently they've become more prevalent and easier to obtain.
One very compelling aspect of Gundam models is not only building them, but painting and even customizing them as well! These models can be simply admired by the builder or taken to model competitions to be compared with their peers. Bandai even holds an annual international contest, the Gunpla Builders World Cup, in at least 16 countries. One wouldn't have to look far to find all sorts of amazing customizations on Instagram, Pinterest, and even TikTok!
What is the "Gunpla Lounge"?
The Gunpla Lounge is a place to hang out and build Gundam models, but other sci-fi and anime models are welcome, as well! Beginners and experts alike are encouraged to stop by and talk shop about models, compare techniques, or just sit down and build while we chit-chat. We'll also be hosting build-&-take events for beginners, and a model showcase! We'll have tools you can use, award-winning Gunpla professionals you can consult for tips, and possibly some witty mecha banter, available all weekend. Bring a model from your backlog, or one you picked up from a vendor, and relax at our Gunpla Lounge!
Gundam and Plamo Open Build Area
Bring a model and build it in a chill atmosphere with fellow builders! There'll be open build space all weekend long, so come and go at your leisure. Plus, there'll be experienced builders hosting the room, as well, if you'd like tips, have any questions, or just want to chat about model building. (10am–10pm Friday and Saturday, 10am–4pm Sunday)
Gundam/Plastic Model Build-&-Take (For beginners!) $10
Come learn how to build plastic models (sometimes known as Plamo or Gunpla)! Tools and customization materials will be provided. Models are yours to keep! A selection of models (from anime such as Gundam and Pokémon!) will be provided, for $10 per person, or bring your own model and participate for free! Models are first-come, first-served, while supplies last, and are one per person! (Friday and Saturday: 6pm–8pm)
Gundam Model Showcase
Bring your best model(s) and compete for prizes, or come by and check out these masterpieces and vote for people's choice! Models will be graded for paint job, overall creativity, and technical mastery, each category being worth 10 points for a total of 30 possible points.There will be 2 categories: one for standard Gundam models (all scales and grades), and one for atypical Gundam models (SD, Petit, Figure-rise, mascots, etc). Models must be on tables by 3pm for judging. Prizes and ribbons awarded by 4pm. (Saturday 12:30pm–4pm)
Gunpla is an artform, and as such, shouldn't be bound too heavily by rules or expectations. After all, Gunpla is freedom! These giant anime robots already don't bend to the laws of physics or tactical logic, so why should your entry? Express yourself with your piece. Is yours a gritty, realistic machine for war? Maybe it's painted up like a shiny new car? Is yours wearing a cloak? While it isn't realistic, it's definitely expressive (if not a little edgy)! But all of that is ok! Break out the bedazzler if you want, as long as the model looks good, we don't care what look you're going for.
That said—there are some rules to adhere to:
- The model must be an official Bandai Gundam model. No knockoffs or other anime models here, folks! Kitbashing with multiple models is perfectly welcome and even encouraged, but overall it should be a Bandai Gundam model we're looking at. As long as your model is from the Gundam universe, and is an official Bandai model kit, you're good to go!
- Your entry cannot be offensive or inappropriate! Your model must conform with the code of conduct for the convention and can not contain the following:
- Any signage or clothing containing profanity, explicit or graphic language or imagery, slurs, insults, threats, solicitations, or room party advertisements
- Costumes, props, or items of clothing which are vulgar, obscene, graphic, or sexually themed
With the rules out of the way, we'll be grading models based on the following criteria:
- Paint Job (10 points)
Simply enough, we'll be judging the quality of the overall paint job. Is it consistent? Is it smooth? Do the colors clash or does it bring the whole piece together? Questions like these will be carefully considered. Visually appealing models with compelling, sensible color schemes are a beauty to behold!
- Technical Mastery (10 points)
Sure, the model is painted, but what else? What other techniques were employed, and most importantly, how well were they executed? This is the category for style points! The more techniques employed, the more risk/reward! Maybe your model is heavily weathered, battle damaged, or has been modified with extra parts or scribing? This category can make or break your overall point total.
- Creativity (10 points)
Lastly, creativity! Is your model nicely made, but uninspiring to look at? Consider how you pose your Gunpla; is it compelling? Action packed? Or is it standing still, arms hanging down limply? Consider what the overall theme might be for the color scheme, or how to employ your ideas in a way maybe nobody else has considered. What makes your model stand out from the others? Don't let this tricky category trip you up!
Judges will study your entries carefully, and grade them accordingly. Those which achieve a convincing balance of these 3 attributes will be the top picks for awards!
There will be 2 categories for judging, based partially on scale as well as content:
- 1/144th scale and smaller
This includes most High Grade (1/144 scale) models, as well as Real Grade (1/144 scale) models. Also includes Speed Grade (1/200 scale), Mobile Armors and Battleships in the Gundam Collection line (1/400 scale), HG Mechanics (1/550 scale), and EX models such as battleships (1/1600-1/1700 scale), as well as larger scale models such as Master Grade (1/100 scale) and Full Mechanics (1/100 scale), as well as RE/100 (1/100 scale), Perfect Grade (1/60 scale), Mega Size (1/48 scale), and UC HardGraph (1/35 scale), as well as older First Grade and High Grade models in the 1/100 scale.
- Super Deformed, Mascot, and Non-Mecha
A category all to themselves, here is the place for Haropla, SD (Super Deformed) Gundams of all flavors, Petit'gguys and their friends, as well as the humanoid Figure-Rise Standard models from the Gundam Universe such as Super Fumina, Diver Nami, and so on.
Exact placement for some of these will be up to judges' discretion. Models can be complicated!
Registration and model entry
We'll have registration forms in the Gunpla Lounge, you can come by and pick some up anytime Friday so you can fill them out before the showcase on Saturday, or just fill them out the day-of! These will just be asking the basics of your build, what model it is, what customization you did, which paints, and so on.
Models must be on tables by 3:00pm for judging. Models can be entered starting 12:30pm.