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Gunpla Model Competition

Update: Due to the postponement of Kumoricon 2020 to 2021, this contest, with all existing and new entries, will now take place at DigiKumo 2020.

What is "Gunpla"?

Gunpla [ガンプラ, Ganpura] (short for Gundam Plastic) is a term used to describe Bandai's line of 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!

This year for DigiKumo we'll be holding a virtual Gunpla Model Competition for fans to participate in—either as competitors, or as judges to help decide the winner of the people's choice award! We're welcoming builders of all skill levels, whether you're a novice or a Newtype!

Rules

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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
    If you are unsure if your item would violate this policy, please ask.
  3. Don't modify the photos or video submitted for your entry. We know it's tempting to photoshop over your mistakes, but don't! In the grand scheme of the scoring system, it wouldn't help much, anyway! No need to risk disqualification over something trivial. That said, if you want to edit some photos to look cool, you can include them with the originals. We can include the cool edits online when we post your model, but they won't be used for judging.
  4. Your entry must include multiple photos and a short video showcasing your model. We need to actually be able to see your model in order to judge it! Several photos from multiple angles will be necessary, as well as a short video of your model, showcasing as much of the model as possible. Even if it's something as simple as putting your model on a plate and gently rotating it so we can see all sides of it, we just need some video! Again, it's perfectly fine and even encouraged to submit some cool edited photos, or even video, of your model! Have a cool TikTok idea for your model? It's fine to show off; we just need the original unedited content with your submission.
  5. Only one entry per category. There'll be 3 categories for models, and all models will be judged by the criteria below, regardless of category. You can submit a model for each category if you want, but only one per category.

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!

Categories

There will be 3 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).
  • 1/100th scale and larger
    This will primarily include 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

Entry into this competition will be simple! Using the form at the bottom of this page, fill out your name and contact information, as well as information about the model you are entering. Try to be as detailed as possible! What model is it? Did you use any parts from other models? What paint did you use? Which techniques did you employ? Are there any details you'd like to make sure we don't overlook? What was the overall goal for this model?

Let us know what we're looking at and what to look for! Additionally, you'll submit photos of your model, as well as a short video, so we can get a good look at your entry! Remember, the better the photos, the better we'll see how you did! If you're entering multiple categories, please enter a new submission for each one.

Deadline

The deadline for entry is 11:59pm, October 30! Judges will need some time to look over all of the entries and decide winners, as well as time for DigiKumo fans to vote for which model takes home the people's choice award! Remember after finishing your piece to give yourself time to get some high quality, well-lit photos of your entry, as well as a quick video recording. Don't wait until the last minute!

Questions? Please email gunpla@kumoricon.org.