Calm, Cool, and Collected
As I wrote back in July, I was invited to be a ‘Guest Judge’ for a build-off between three Gunpla builders/bloggers, Gundam Beginner, Goodguydan, and Appasionata. These three like-minded individuals had decided they would use the Real Grade Aile Strike and the Skygrasper Launcher/Sword pack with each of them building a different itineration of the suit. Gundam Beginner would build the Launcher Strike, Goodguydan would be tackling the Sword Strike leaving Appasionata to handle the Aile Strike. Well, all three of them have completed their projects and now it’s my turn to give my thoughts on their kits which I have dubbed Calm, Cool, and Collected.
But first I want to write a bit about myself and judging these works. Some people subscribe to the idea that you need to excel at that which you are evaluating. I don’t hold to this line of thinking. I don’t need to have directed a highly-regarded feature film to know that George Lucas isn’t a good director. What you need is exposure and experience. Staying with the film analogy, if you’ve watched enough films especially from those highly-acclaimed directors you will start to see what they have that others don’t and what sets them apart. Through exposure and experience you will come to realize how George Lucas’ directing in Episode IV is very clearly taken from Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress. The same holds true for Gundam models. I have had plenty of exposure to Gunpla as have most of you reading this. So maybe I can be a judge for this build-off. So let’s get started!
This is Appasionata’s Aile Strike. Gorgeous, isn’t it?
I call this guy Calm because I think that is how Appasionata must have approached this project. To me it looks like every last detail was considered and nothing overlooked and one needs a calm demeanor to see that kind of project through. When I first saw the shots I was struck by how clean this model is.
Appasionata’s Aile Strike reminds me of the work you see from Naoki Kimura who models for Hobby Japan magazine. Every time I see a Kimura kit I can identify it right away because of the clean look and the flat colors, which leads me to talk about the aspect of Appasionata’s kit I like the most, aside from the cleanliness, the colors.
I am going to say these are bold color choices not because of how they stand out or contrast, but rather the opposite. They work together so well despite being colors I would never associate with one another. The white and off-white (almost yellowish?) colors for the head, arms, and legs go together amazingly well with that green(ish) you see on the rifle and underside of the shield. That underside of the shield speaks to the level of detail he brought to this kit. The tones for the red and blue actually caused me to pause and ask myself, ‘what colors are those and how can I get them?’.
Please tell me!
The quality of this build and paint job speaks to the experience and confidence of the builder and the calm, calculated approach he takes to his projects.
Apparently, Appasionata doesn’t have a blog of his own but he did do a write up about this project which Goodguydan was nice enough to post on his blog so to read about the project and see all the pictures head on over there.
This is Goodguydan’ Sword Strike. For the sake of me writing and everyone reading I am just going to refer to Goodguydan as Dan from now on. I refer to Dan’s Sword Strike as Cool because of how he’s gone about doing the colors on the Pack. It just pops out at you grabbing your attention. The pastel color he’s chosen for the lighter blue stands out nicely from the other blue which is used on the remainder of the Pack and on the suit itself and makes you notice that this indeed isn’t an Aile Strike.
The coolest part of this kit for me is how the colors on the Pack are dominant yet don’t unbalance the suit as a whole. When viewing this kit compared to the Appasionata’s it seems the calm of Appasionata’s kit colors draws you in while Dan’s reach out at you. It’s interesting to see how two (three of course, but we’ll get to that in a bit) can approach the same kit so differently.
I’d like to see more pictures of close ups of this kit in order to be able to see some of the details he mentions in his write up as well as the panel lining and other details he has added so perhaps Dan will grace us with those but even without them I can confidently say this is one cool kit.
Just to add to this part, if you want to see more of Dan’s cool color choices check out the extra work he did that wasn’t necessary for this build off.
That is a cool green.
Be sure to check out Goodguydan’s blog for all his pictures and project review.
This is a bit of a play on words. It’s easy enough to call Appasionata’s work Calm, Goodguydan’s Cool and thanks to Gundam Beginner’s approach to this build, with his kit being weathered, I can call this Collected referring to the dust and dirt collected on the suit.
Weathering is something that if you want it to look authentic you have to do it correctly, and that involves a lot of know how and common sense. What sections of a kit will be dirtiest and receive the most wear and how do I accomplish the proper effect?
Gundam Beginner may still refer to himself as a novice but I’m sure you can see his growth with this project. The dust collected on the feet of the Strike seems like the perfect amount. This is a suit that has spent its share of time in a desert environment.
Suits that stand 18 meters tall or so will of course collect dirt mostly around the feet legs and you can see that effect on Gundam Beginner’s kits’ feet and lower leg, but that doesn’t mean the top is unaffected. The desert winds and environment won’t spare the upper portions of the suit and here again Gundam Beginner has done things perfectly.
You can see the sprinkling of dirt covering the different sections of the suit with the effect darker at the edges of the armor sections which would be the first to receive the brunt of nature’s touch. He has also done a great job using the same techniques on the Launcher.
This is my favorite version of the Strike so I’m glad to see it got the attention it deserves from Gundam Beginner. The weather effect looks great on the black armor color of the Launcher and you can clearly see that this is one kit that needs to be washed. To top off this accomplishment, if I am correct, this kit isn’t painted, only water-slide decals and weathering was applied. Please correct me if I’m wrong, GB.
I’m also happy to see that Gundam Beginner continues his tradition of fantastic poses for his pictures.
For more fantastic shots head on over to Gundam Beginner’s blog and you can see them all. I do have a request of GB, though. Can you put more information on how you did the weathering in your final review post?
I imagine some are thinking that because I am a judge I am supposed to pick one kit over the other two as the best, but I don’t think that’s something I can do. All three are great Plamo accomplishments for different reasons. In this Build-off we are witness to Appasionata’s amazing clean look (calm), Goodguydan’s popping colors (cool), and Gundam Beginner’s fantastic weathering (collected). I’ve found that the thing these builds have in common is that they are all the same kit, but if each of these guys had chosen a different model we wouldn’t even be comparing them. Each one is a worthy accomplishment and each builder should be proud of what he was able to do with his RG Strike.
Now I have a sudden urge to go and build another Aile Strike and the Launcher/Sword pack to go with it. That’s what good art does. It inspires.