Adventures With Gunpla: To the Promised Land of Greenhills

Warning: LJ-ish post ahead

I decided to take the leap of faith into model-building again.

When I was a kid, and when Gundam Wing was immensely popular, I had a total of 4 kits: a 1/144 Wing Gundam Zero, a 1/144 Gundam Virsago, a 1/144 Gundam Spiegel, and a 1/144 HG Zeta Gundam (the old one which had a really crummy transformation). And I built them like a kid who had no idea how srsbzns gunpla building was. I tore the parts out of the sprue with bare hands, or used terribly inappropriate scissors. I used a nail cutter to to remove the excess nibs, messed up the stickers, etc. But I did enjoy the finished products, as long as I didn’t try making them transform (they’d fall apart if I tried). I’m still apprehensive on considering transforming kits to this day.

I stopped buying gunpla because I was convinced that:

  1. It would simply be a waste of time–I don’t even know the proper way how to build them.
  2. Where would I put them? All my old kits are sleeping soundly inside their boxes, which I’ve stored in some dusty portion of my closet. My room is dust-prone and it’ll be sacrilege to let my kits be covered in them. Glass cases are too unwieldy and expensive.
  3. My parents would say that I’ve outgrown silly robot toys already. I don’t know how many Transformers toys I’ve played with and broken for the life of me.

But all of that was to change when suddenly, I got employed and therefore got access to a pool of money earned by me, for me and only me. A sinister thought crept in my mind. No longer would I be just fawning over gunpla pics in /m/!

And so I planned and planned. I researched the tricks of the trade, asked my knowledgeable friends to aid me in my quest to transcend my unharnessed Gundam fan potential (I believe there are three things a Gundam fan must be able to do in order to be a holistic one: know the strengths and weaknesses of every Gundam show and be ready to troll/defend them anytime, anywhere; possess an exhaustive mental database on the mechs and spacecraft of the franchise, independent of series; be able to build and enjoy a gunpla kit). I took down notes, made shopping lists, weighed in my mind what kind of kits should I buy.

Now, the office I work on has a “pimp your workstation” kind of attitude. If you happened to stumble in ours, you’d see Transformers toys, various cartoon characters, Marvel figurines, and the occasional anime figurine. There are gunpla, of course, but the diversity is certainly lacking: I’ve seen two Destinies, an Akatsuki, Freedom and Justice standing side by side, a sexy MG Launcher/Sword Strike, a 1/100 Exia, a Wing Ver. Ka, an awesome painted Deathscythe Hell Custom, SD Strike Noir, SD Gunner ZAKU, and what seemed to be a SD Stargazer. And the newest addition to our office’s model line was an amazing Alt Eisen Riese in a “pierce the heavens with your potato masher Revolving Bunker” pose. The proliferation of SEED and Wing kits encouraged me to fight the power, and I decided to get more 00/UC kits in the office.

I concocted a plan: I’d come to work on Saturday (yes we have Saturday work, isn’t it sad), log out, eat lunch, and hurry off to the Promised Land of Greenhills.

I was Solid Snake, and my friend Leonard (who was supposed to go with me but withdrew at the last minute) was Otacon. Withdrawing 2000 php (approx 40 dollars) from my payroll account, I made a beeline to Megamall, the nearest mall from work. I submerged into the basement level and found a hobby store that sold plastic nippers (got the Tamiya one that set me back 500 php, ouch), which would immensely save me the trouble of removing the parts from the sprue. I also bought sandpaper (600 and 1000 grit, because I already have 400 and 1200), which would be for removing the plastic sheen and smoothening the parts in general.

I checked out the stores in the mall that sold gunpla, but none had anything really interesting to offer. I saw a decent-looking HGUC Hazel TR-1, but thought it was too expensive at 1.1k php. And an MG is out of the question–I simply don’t have the skills to make one yet. So I went to another neighboring mall, Robinsons Galleria. Their Toys ‘R Us had tons of MGs but little HGs, and the 00 ones were the same old stuff: Tieren, Flag, Enact, GN-X. Seems like everyone ran off with the Gundams already. They won’t do, at any rate, because I’m looking for S2 kits. I saw an MG RX-78-2 v1.5 for 1.5k php, but resisted the urge. Must not buy, must not buy… after all, if I wanted a MG RX-78, I’d pick the TV-faithful v2.0.

I updated Leonard on this, and told him I’d be going to Greenhills after all as a last resort. He had kindly given me directions the day before and I had all but forgotten them, so I played it by ear. I looked for jeeps that would surely be passing through the Land of Games and Gunpla, and boarded one while it was moored along the road. It was packed. I started to perspire. The ride took longer than expected, because there was some ungodly traffic caused by vehicles spewing out of the nearby La Salle Greenhills campus.

When I got off, I rushed to the one shop I remembered had up-to-date kits: Best Toys in Virra Mall. The walk was long, and I took the roundabout route to avoid being lost inside the shopping compound. My legs were tired by the time I entered Virra Mall. I took a short detour to their Toys ‘R Us branch, but again the selection was shit. I had no choice. I prayed to Okawara, Ebitaka, and Yanase for luck as I stepped into Best Toys.

My eyes widened.

There it was. Or rather, there they were. Two HG00 S2 kits, a Cherudim and an Ahead. I checked my wallet. I could buy both AND still get back home. I thought about it. Slick Cherudim or sexy Ahead? Why not both?  I could think of cool poses for both! But I chose to buy only the Cherudim since I’d rather own a Bushido Ahead for the samurai motif. (Incidentally, the next person who made a mecha-related purchase bought Alto VF-25F and Ozma VF-25S, which is like 5k+ php down the drain. GOOD GRIEF.)

Satisfied, I retraced my steps and took the pedestrian overpass to the other side. Rode a jeep that didn’t set out until we were, for all intents and purposes, sardined inside. Being your average lovable fucktarded jeepney driver, he let us get out on the Ortigas crossroads in the middle of the road, and not to the side. Talk about being safe.

The rest is anticlimactic. I rode a bus back to home (finally!), played Nyan Tama again and again until my ears bled and I switched to my Do As Infinity playlst, then it was smooth sailing anyway. Was I tired? Yeah. Was I satisfied and happy? HELL YEAH.

PS: As for building the kit itself, no, I haven’t started yet. Need to buy more sandpaper, for a total progression of 400-600-1000-1200-1500-2000 grit. Shit, that’ll be an awful lot of sanding. But it’ll look great! (it has to be, or I’ll sand my face clean instead) That, and I should’ve bought the X-Acto Knife when I had the chance back in Megamall. But now I’m all pumped up! Can’t wait to try experiment with the Shield Bits!

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11 Responses to Adventures With Gunpla: To the Promised Land of Greenhills

  1. ghostlightning says:

    PICS! DAMN YOU! PICS!

  2. schneider says:

    I didn’t bring any cam with me, because lol Philippines. Pics will come when I’m building the kit already. 😛

  3. Jacques says:

    A land of opportunities awaits when you finally earn your own keep and be able to buy gunpla without having to get the money for your parents. 😉

    As for the sandpapers, there’s no need to get all grades for them.

    just get the high, mid & low will do 🙂 .

  4. andrew says:

    cool. same here. just recently decided to satisfy my childhood craving. ive already bought two kits (1/100 legend, 1/100 saviour) but am still in the process of gathering tools.

    did you buy the plastic nippers at lil’s hobby shop?

    and where were you able to find a x-acto knife? i’m currently looking for one.

  5. schneider says:

    @ andrew

    Yeah that was the shop’s name, I believe.

    I think Lil’s had the knife, I kinda glossed them over and forgot to buy them while I was buying the nippers. So I bought a modeling knife in a shop nearer to my area (not X-Acto though).

  6. SRWfreak says:

    im 18 and i have several 1/144 gunplas. my fave’s the turn a. its larger than everything else its grade! for just 245 bucks!! i’m also currently painting an x-divider(fakey) and the results are meh. and for my birthday, i bought an Aura Battler Dunbine hg. 1/72, though still smaller than turn a. though i suck at modeling hg’s, think that bandai model kits are overpriced, and money’s the factor for the college student, building model kits(and playing with them)(childish, huh?) pays off in the end, plus things you look forward to makes it better! OG model kits, Virtual On Model kits, GaoGaiGar Model kits, such things i plan to save on for next christmas, makes my frustration go away…

    back to the topic, why did you go to lils for gunplas? try specialty toy store.

    oh btw, case you didnt know, search for superrobotwar.wordpress.com. there you can see the latest on model kits, fresh… or i dont know, maybe you have a better source?!

    btw, merry christmas, minna!! sorry for talking too much, again.

  7. schneider says:

    I know SRW WP well enough, thank you.

    And where’s Specialty Toy Store?

  8. SRWfreak says:

    one in greenhills, one in alimall… they sell nice model kits there, some rares too… thats where i found some ogs. yknow, ive never been to wasabi toys before, thts in ghills ryt? i saw their site though… lots of good stuff… ei, do ya knw where i can get chogokin toys? tenx much!

  9. glennzki says:

    we had the same story……………….

    and my gunpla is like 20+ and still growing…………………….

    and i started collecting them when i was like 12 y.o………..

    check me out on friendster @ :

    jayson.decastro@yahoo.com

    vengeance2185@yahoo.com

  10. Siklab says:

    Hi!

    I’m also from the Philippines and I am starting to collect gunpla. Can you give me a site where can I have instructions on how to properly build one.

    I bought HG 01SR2 last week and build it using only a nail cutter.

    • schneider says:

      You can look at this page, it also includes stuff like painting.

      But you don’t really need to paint. I choose not to paint because I live in a place that’s not conducive for painting. Sprue cutters will go a long way, though, so better stop using that nail cutter–it ain’t pretty.

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