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