Sunday, December 26, 2010

G-Shot! Photo Contest

Hi everyone, fellow blogger and recent store owner GundamGuy is throwing up a photo contest divided into 5 categories for a chance to win some very cool gundam model related prizes!

- Best Gunpla Photo - This award will go to the winning image that would 'WOW' the judges. It doesn't matter whether the photo is from a diorama, customized kit or a straight build.
(Award Prize: MG 1/100 00 Qan[T] model kit w/ 2 LED units)

- Best Diorama - An image of a diorama that tells a story. A gundam standing on a piece of rock with its beam cannon only a gundam standing on a piece of rock with it's beam cannon raised...obviously this wouldn't strike us as an art that tells a story. =)
(Award Prize: HG 1/144 00 Qan[T] & Hobby Japan (Feb. Issue) w/ GN Sword IV Full Saber)

- Best Customized Gunpla - An image of a gunpla kit that is suped-up...meaning a kit that shows us the mastery of your modelling skills, by rightfully implementing aftermarket/option parts, custom decals, pla-platings, panel lines, etc. Basically we are looking for 'The Works' that looks the best.
(Award Prize: Winner of this category will get to choose between a RG 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam or a RG 1/144 MS-06S Char's Zaku II)

- Best Paint Job - Obviously we are looking for more than just the stock color. Creativity & skill are what count here.
(Award Prize: Gundam Ace (Jan. Issue) w/ 1/48 Sinanju Head Display Base)

- Best Straight Built Photo - If you are a novice at building gunpla, we encourage you to send in a photo that shows the power of your straight build.
(Award Prize: PSP Gundam Vs. Gundam Next Plus video game)

Go check out the details in the link below and good luck!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

PG Strike Freedom Early U.S. Launch

Hi everyone, the PG Strike Freedom is now available to U.S. retailers as of Dec 9. This makes it a whole 2 days before Japan release date, which is unprecedented on Bandai's part.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Container time yay!

One of the more interesting aspects of working as a distributor is seeing a giant shipment of stuff arrive at your warehouse.  Our product is Gundam mainly and when it arrives, it's quite a site to see.  How it works is that a container with a large assortment of items leaves Japan once a month to head for the U.S.

Now it takes about 2 weeks or so for ocean freight, which means we typically get items almost half a month behind release date in Japan. especially if it leaves at the beginning of every month.  There are items that are made to have earlier than Japan release date however to leave, and those get special treatment (PG Strike Freedom will be released in America a few days earlier than Japan at our urging.  In fact it's already left Japan as I type this.  Lucky California retailers will be able to sell it on Dec 11 with it physically in the U.S. already.) Other times an item will ship slightly earlier than usual for the U.S. or other countries so that it arrives at the same time it's officially released in Japan (e.g. HG00 Quanta, Zabanya, Harute).

As for the contents themselves, to be the most economical, we have to pack it until the container is as full as possible.  This truck before we emptied it was literally full of boxes from end to end.  The total after my superb count verification was 433 boxes.

Now for those who aren't familiar with how products are shipped they come in X quantity, not singles.  For Gundam models they range anywhere between 4-60 models in a box, otherwise known as a master case.  PG 00 and PG Strike Freedom come in a case of 4.  While some like the EW HG 1/144 kits come in 42.  Most retailers usually don't get master case quantity because it would take up a lot of inventory.  However for a hot item, they will make an exception and take an entire case.  Of course there's a case discount as an incentive :)

As you can see from the pictures, there's a LOT of Endless Waltz models that we ordered. We're just meeting the American market demand for these things so we have to get this much. One of the funny things I've discovered about American influence on Japanese production is that we have the power to ask Bandai to bump their production schedule up a notch on select items because they realize how high in demand models from series like Gundam Wing are. We stopped the plague of $120 HG Epyon models on ebay D: And now, Bandai is making an unprecedented move by having a large quantity of PG Strike Freedom as physical retail locations throughout the U.S. They've never done this before for the American market and I'm pretty happy to be part of that effort to spread GunPla in the U.S.

Friday, October 29, 2010

iHobby 2010

iHobby 2010

This is my first time attending an actual hobby trade show and not just an anime or comic convention. I spent oh about a week here, starting last monday.

One of the first things I noticed after landing in Chicago was that it's fairly chilly. Not Windy like the nick name, but just a feeling of cold. Thankfully I had packed a jacket so I was okay for the most part.
I snapped a few pictures at the airport, including this one where I'm on the outside and the bird is on the inside.

I stayed at the Embassy Suites in Rosemont, which is just directly across from the convention center. It's like 10 minutes away from the airport, very close. Because of how close this is, there is literally nothing by the convention center except hotels and expensive restaurants. Lots of steak houses. The cheapest meal I found in these places was $21. Thankfully some of the other restaurants were more reasonable, but still pricey. Initially after checking in I had wanted to grab some McDonalds since that was the only fast food place around here. Unfortunately, "close" was 1 mile, which at the time I didn't mind because I wanted to stretch my legs from the airplane trip. When I arrived however I discovered that the sitting area was under remodeling, and so the only place I could sit down to eat was outside, which was very very cold. Sooo....I gave up on that and turned right back and walked a mile back. I ended up eating some chickent tenders at Bogarts which is a restaurant inside the Muvico Theatre. Unfortunately it came out to $11 after tax =/  and I gave a larger tip than normal because I was the only customer and it seemed like he and the other staff just wanted to close before I showed up.

Next day I was scheduled to meet a trucker to pick out some samples for display from the display cases in New York. At the time in New York it was a brilliant idea, the display cases would be carried by a truck, and so putting our model samples inside the bottom drawers would give them a free ride where we wouldn't worry about UPS damaging them in transit. Of course we forgot the time frame for the truck to make it back to California and so we realized we would have to meet the trucker halfway in Illinois if we were to have anything in our display cases. So yeah, I met up with the trucker, an elderly gentleman by the name of Stan. He claims he's 70 years old.  I have to tip my hat off to him since his energy makes him seem a lot younger than that. It took some time to get the samples out of the drawers since they were secured fairly well, but I did manage to get out our shuttle samples as well as other model kits. Stan seems to be even more of a morning person than I am, so I was a little irked that I had to wake up so early to meet him. Of course he had a driving schedule to keep so I did my best to accommodate the limited time available.

I did some set up that day, which consisted mostly of getting our pop-up black backgound as well as setting up the space vehicles. They're actually a little more complicated than they appear especially if you don't have directions. The Apollo 11's modules are all extremely accurate in terms of proportions and molding. It's truly a site to see and I'm sad my camera cannot quite capture that glorious detail. Same applies to the Endeavor. Extremely well crafted and accurate. I wish I had directions to set them up though I so I wouldn't waste time figuring out which connectors go where.

For Dinner that night I met up with some guys from the Gundam Eclipse forum, Mark and John for some food. We ate at a pretty cool pan-asian restaurant. This is the first time I've seen a menu actually include pictures of EVERY item. There were pictures that gave you an item number and you would look up the item number for the name of the dish and the price. Pretty neat.

It was a 45 min train ride to Chinatown however, and I do think I fell asleep. Mark's voice is similar to mine, but there are differences if you meet in person. Talked a lot about Gundam stuff as usual per our nerdiness.

Oh and uh here's a car that was in the shopping center. Kewl.

Wednesday I finished setting up the majority of our booth. In the morning I took a cab ride to a Target to pick up some chairs and misc things. It was a little cumbersome since my transportation was restricted to the cab, but I guess it worked out. The chairs I got were pretty good for that matter. I ended up eating at SubWay while I was over there because I didn't really want to pay for another above $15 meal per the eating places around the convention center. I also didn't want to chance the McDonalds not being open due to the renovation. Of course, I had to find a screw driver to borrow back at our booth to put a chair together, but thankfully I was surrounded by people who were carrying various hardware tools. It actually takes a long time to set up model kit samples mostly because they're all partially disassembled for easy storage. I got to play around with a few things like the HGUC Sinanju; pretty neat kit if you want a more affordable Sinanju.

For those of you who have the Super Robot Chogokin Great Mazinger, how do you avoid getting stabbed? There are a large number of sharp points on him from the red crest across his chest, to the fins on his arms and legs, to his helmet and even his accessories are spikey.  The Jet Pilder and Hover Pilder are REALLY loose.  I wonder how many people have lost it on their home carpets?  Thankfully I forsaw that coming and decided to not dock the pilders inside the head.

Oh I forgot to mention that the Embassy suites has a happy hour starting from 5:30pm at night. Yay for free drinks to get smashed!  Though I was disappointed they were restricted on the drinks they could mix.  I wanted a Daiquiri or Mint Julep, but they didn't have the the materials to make them or would not make them at all.

The actual show was mind numbingly boring. Though I suppose this is because this is an actual Industry/Business event as opposed to a public offering. It's a place for businesses to attract new retail customers or find distributors to carry their products. We were situated at the far end unfortunately, but we had some nice company with the folks at Hebco, who make the Tenax R7 plastic cement. It's a great alternative to the tamiya thin cement, though I wish their bottles come with the applicator. I guess I would need to save the brush from my Tamiya bottle. This hobby show gives a rather interesting state on hobbies in the U.S. Gundam is virtually unknown within the community. The biggest hobby in the U.S. is currently the RC industry, which is evident based on the sheer number of different RC related companies at the show. I'm fairly certain we were among the few plastic model companies out there. Also Gundam unless you know what it is, is completely foreign to most people. Most of the looks we got were from the assumption that they were seeing "Voltron" "Robotech" or "Transformers." I also never thought I'd see so many variations on how to pronounce "GunPla." We had several good meetings so the entire experience wasn't exactly a waste, which is good.

I did get to see a large number of things including giant RC tanks. Yes, giant RC tanks. I'm sure if you youtube ihobby you'll find someone who took some clips of them moving around. Excuse the poor video offerings from me.  On a positive note Gundam seems to be slowly moving mainstream within the hobby industry.  Hobby stores are seeing more and more Gundam product selling and less and less of traditional military craft.  Though the implications of that trend might be problematic in the future.

In any case, you can view the rest of my photos here

Also some youtube vids

More videos here

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

In New York

All righty! I'm in New York.

My flight got in around 5pm EST, and I waited for about 20 mins for the super shuttle to pick me up. Wow I had forgotten how bad rush hour is, it took about 2 hours to get from Newark airport to the Javitts convention center in New York. Christ I have to get up at 4 am when I leave next week. Anywhoo, the first thing I did was help the others get as much set up done as possible. Still have to set up electric grid and the glas shelves, and oh god....the samples. oh's going to take most of the day to set those up, especially the bandai collectors stuff. Kamen Riders, Kamen Riders EVERYWHERE. Some pictures under the fullpost =D

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Prelude to New York

So for anyone that still browses this blog I think the personal cheese part seems to be more prominent lately.  Oh well.  In any case, New York Comic-Con/New York Anime Festival is days away!  What's happening?   Well, for Gundam related stuff:

This baby will be on display at the Bluefin/Bandai booth!  Well, the rapid prototype anyway that was featured in hobby magazines this month.  Now for those of you who are curious, the basic frame of these rapid prototype models is ready to be mass produced.  Now there might be some small changes here and there, but for the most part what you see is final.  Oh yes the Gundam 00 movie will be shown with Eng subtitles on Sunday.  Hope I can get a break shift for that!  Other models we will have on display include the HGUC Sinanju, RG Char's Zaku, a whole stew of MG, PG, and HG kits, as well as some other kewl surprises.

Also, the last BAKUC 2010 preliminary comp for the U.S. will be held during this time.  Anyone out there who wants to try their hand in a model kit competition come on down!  Bring your model to booth 1536 by 3:30pm Saturday!  Everyone who enters gets a goody bag!  Here's some pictures of 1st place prizes.  As always there will be model kit prizes for winners!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New EW comic

Scanned by Zeonic-Corps, my god it's been ages since the last time I edited something for Deacon.  I wonder who edits now?

 I think this is the perfect way to market this new MG design that only people who like mecha related images have known about. Average joe will recognize it's not any Deathscythe they remember from nostalgia, but this way they'll know for certain. 

In b4 I'm advertising Bandai product because that's my job...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Deathscythe Completed Photos

Soooo originally I made this for the BAKUC 2010 Los Angeles event, but haven't had time to take proper pictures.  My posing sucks to be honest, and I got docked points for it at Anime Expo.  Oh well, live and learn.