Last weekend was Chara Hobby 2014 held, once again, at Makuhari Messe in Chiba. It seems I spend quite a bit of time there. Like last year I got up early in order to hop on the train, and once in Chiba, stand in line (along with ASM) with a few other interested people.
It seems to be much quieter these days when it comes to news from Bandai. I still don’t know what the new Real Grade kit will be nor when we should expect it. For MG, other than the MG Hi Nu Gundam Ver. Ka that arrives in four days I don’t know what is on the way. I hoped to get some clarification and answers at Chara Hobby, or at least little hints that will get me excited.
Like last year the Bandai exhibit is the biggest of the bunch, though it seemed smaller than last year.
And what did I see there, at the Bandai booth?
Well, no new Real Grade kit or even an announcement of one.
There was a new MG shown at the show.
Astray Blue Frame D, or something like that. I was kind of surprised because, if I read the card right, it said this would be released in November. Usually kits shown four months ahead of time are still prototypes but this one looks like Bandai’s already got it done and ready to go (not surprising considering it’s basically the Blue Astray with some different parts to go with it).
So no Master Grades for September and October?
I guess there is if you count the Bandai exclusive, which just happens to be…
Another Zaku II! This one actually looked really good.
Next to the Bandai exhibit they had an event for children to build Gunpla.
This was a really good idea. When I as in the lineup waiting to get in the venue I noticed quite a few youngsters there with their parents. I am glad there was something they could do after waiting so long. On the other side of the hall they had a section with tables set up so you could sit and build any Gunpla you just happened to have and there, behind the table, was Kawaguchi Sensei. When I strolled by the section there were only two people building. I guess the rest of the Gunplars were in the lineup trying to get the gentei kits.
The american army was there again this year, with a bigger band than last.
They played music from Mary Poppins…
Most everyone loved it.
The best part of the event for me was all the custom Gunpla that were on display. I’ll include pictures of those in a gallery so people can see the masterpieces, among other things. I saw a few pieces of Naoki Kimura’s work and knew who made it almost instantly.
It looks like this year Bandai will be selling limited edition kits at the All Japan Model and Hobby Show, the 54th such event, which takes place at the end of September.
I was there for the last few years and will be there this year but during the ‘Business Day’ so maybe I won’t see some of the kits that will be sold. Looks like they are these.
The coolest one of the four is the Titanium Wing HG kit.
I expect some good stuff at the Model and Hobby show and am hoping for the long-awaited next RG announcement but if there’s nothing announced at that show it will surely be shown at the Gunpla Expo. Speaking of which, I now know the official date.
Just above the Gunpla Expo promotional poster, which was sideways for some reason, was a video screen playing a really generic video showing lots of Gunpla. The video looked quite old and had the words like ‘HG’ flash on the screen and then some close up pans of HG kits, then the same for MG and also for PG. There will be a PG at the Gunpla Expo?! or is this just a really old video they threw up there last minute?
Despite being somewhat underwhelmed by the Bandai booth this year I did come away with something quite cool. This was part of a collaboration between Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby magazines. What they did was sell the…
Wait for it…
(Takes big breath)
HG GAT-X105 Strike Gundam + Build Booster + Weapons & JointParts (phew).
This was a bit of a surprise as I didn’t know what it was beforehand but when I realised what it was or, more correctly, what could be done with it I got excited. Quite often, event or limited kits have clear armour with the frame being the normal colour underneath. This is the opposite. The frame is molded clear.
All the armour, meanwhile, is molded in colour.
This silver is similar to the colour found in the older MG Hi Nu Gundam kit.
The kit came with a special mini-magazine from Hobby Japan and Dengeki. The Hobby Japan side of the mag:
The Dengeki Hobby side:
They show you what you get in the set.
I almost ignored this because it was an HG kit, but after I saw the images I got thinking about what is possible with a clear framed kit and what kind of custom work you can do. For example, the modeller for Hobby Japan turned it into this!
Flame colour! The frame is painted clear red and then red added to many other areas.
Dengeki Hobby, on the other hand, has a Michelangelo working for them and he created this masterpiece.
(wipes drool from face.)
I’m already scheming about what I can do with that clear frame and if I can find the right tool (I need a very, very, very small pin vise) I may be able to do something special.
That’s the end of my mini-report. Enjoy the larger images of the cool and funky stuff I saw at the show (including a gundam themed room?!?!)