Review: A Year in Gunpla, 2014

Before the year was over I must have attempted to write one of these at least three times. I was on the fence about writing one now or writing one during the Gundariumsmith anniversary. Whatever my thoughts were, I decided to write one now and here it is,

Here lies no pretty pictures of model kits nor screenshots from the latest episodes. Just a wall of text you may or may not be interested in. Is my writing even halfway decent?

2014: Overview
It has been a crazy year for fans of Gundam. As we celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of Mobile Suit Gundam and the franchise as a whole, Sunrise presented us with a variety of media to look forward to in the coming months and years (followed by Bandai's money-raking Gunpla-making machine).
We started off 2014 with the latter half of Gundam Build Fighters and the finale of the four year long series, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. While waiting for said conclusion, Sunrise announced two exciting pieces of news: The first to be a new series written by Yoshiyuki Tomino (the original writer for the Gundam series) titled Gundam G no Reconguista, and the second to be an OVA series directed by Yoshikazu Tasuhiko (the character designer of the original Gundam series and the director of the previous OVA, Unicorn) titled Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin I, an anime based on the manga retelling of Mobile Suit: Gundam. On top of this amazing news, with the positive response of Gundam Build Fighters from fans, the announcement for a sequel came soon after. It is quickly revealed that the title of this sequel was Gundam Build Fighters Try.
Going through 2014, as we see these announcements eventually come to fruition, with G no Reconguista and Build Fighters Try airing at the same time, we also see boat loads of Gunpla releases month by month. Some of the most notable kits this year are from the ever-so-popular Gundam Unicorn with the ridiculously massive High Grade Universal Century Neo Zeong, the ridiculously flashy and expensive Master Grade Unicorn Phenex, and the long awaited Perfect Grade Unicorn. Other notable releases are Master Grade Gundam X, the first Master Grade from its series after nearly two decades, Master Grade Turn X, the second kit from its corresponding series as we see the Blu-Ray Disc release of Turn A Gundam release this year, and Reborn-One Hundred Nightingale, the first in a new line of 1/100 scale Gunpla.
In this beautiful franchise explosion of media and merchandise, this blog, Gundariumsmith started, first on Wordpress back in February, and transferred to Blogger in April. Though I have been watching Gundam and building Gunpla for much longer, this year brought many steps towards advancing my skill in the scale model hobby - through the community on Reddit, through friends, and especially through my brother, Morgenroete Munitions. Thank you for sticking around (even if you're just lurking)! Here's to hoping Bandai continue this ambitious Gunpla release cycle in the coming years!
Now that the relatively bias-free overview is over, I can start writing more on my experience in Gunpla!

Personal Highlights
What a year! When I started the blog earlier in the year, I was not sure how far I could or wanted to take it. I had an inkling feeling that I would lose interest in the hobby if I started trying too hard. Turns out, I do not mind a little writing. Hopefully this eventually leads to better writing (and hopefully I stop using the word 'hopefully' all the time). So without further ado, I present the personal highlights of 2014!

Favorite Anime in 2014?
In the Gundam franchise, I think I would be murdered by fire if I did not say Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn Episode 7: Over the Rainbow. Aside from the Gundam franchise, I would have to put my vote towards Kill La Kill. Most of my opinion coincides with Digibro's review of this anime, though I would be ranking it number 1 rather than 3.

Favorite Gunpla Release?
This one is hard. In the earlier months, one of my favorite releases was the MG Sengoku Astray, though I still have not made the move to purchasing the kit. Another one of my favorites for 2014 was HGBF Beargguy III which I eventually received as a gift. But my favorite release of 2014 has got to be the Kshatriya Repaired.
The quad wing was already a badass in its own right. Give the suit a peg leg and a hook Hyper Beam Javelin and we have a menacing machine. Though I wish Bandai gave us the Kshatriya Besserung, a quick conversion from Repaired will do the trick.

Most Unexpected Release?
Another hard question I pose on myself, since I do not think anyone predicted another brand new line of Gunpla this year. In addition, with the two anime series airing, who knows what to expect? I would say of all kits announced in 2014, the most unexpected for me was the ZII. I think it was released because it shows up in Unicorn manga, but it is hard to assume especially because I have not read it.

If you want to know more about the HGUC ZII, I'll turn you over to the Transforming Gundam expert over at Gunpla Works.

Favorite Build?
I would be lying to you if I told you my favorite build was the Strike Senketsu. I would continue to lie if I told you my favorite build of 2014 was anything from Space Mercenary: Specter GM.
I think I had the most fun with the commission job I received from Gunpla Works: the SD Loto of the SD BB Senshi Kshatriya. Because there were less pieces and more details, there was a little creativity involved with the color separation. Though not technically a build, it was definitely the most fun I had with Gunpla in 2014.

Greatest Achievement?
Everything Strike Senketsu.
The two contests I participated in this year have helped me push my boundaries, attempt something I would normally be scared to do, and learn something by doing so. The 2014 Refurb Build Contest helped me attempt panel scribing, airbrushing (candy colors), and, most of all, getting creative with the build. I probably felt like Sei Iroi in episode 9 after the Girls-Only Gunpla Battle,

"When I saw your Beargguy-san, I realized you can build your Gunpla with your own inspiration. I was caught up in Gundam's setting and world view. Now I realize that."

I look forward to more contests in the future (if I can participate in any of them). If I can figure out the logistics, maybe I'll host my own contest in 2015!

Looking Forward to Anything in 2015?
From the Gunpla that has been announced, nothing has truly captured my attention. Maybe the G-Self Assault Pack or the Guntank Early Type. For some reason, all the kits Bandai has announced just does not inspire me all too much.
There are a few things I hope Bandai will release in 2015.
  • MG Geara Zulu: Any version would do. I just want a suit with the ornate design of the Sleeves without actually having having to display a Sinanju on my shelf (the hipster in me does not like the overly popular on my shelf).
  • MG Tallgeese Flugel: I am a big fan of the original Tallgeese - II and III are a little off-putting to me and, for a handful of reasons, I despise the feathered abomination that is Wing Zero Custom. That said, for some reason, I want the Flugel (anything from a full kit, P-Bandai or regular, to a third party conversion kit).
  • MG AGE-3 Orbital: THIS FAT BALLERINA. NOW. Even though I meet Kio bitterness and gnashing of teeth, I really like the suit design and I would love a Master Grade version of it. If Bandai prolongs this any further, I might have to settle for the HG.
  • HGRC Recten/Recksnow: From episode 1, I enjoyed the design of this mobile suit. I'll be sure to display my Recksnow (Rex-No?) with a blue bandana!
Any Resolutions for the New Year?
How will the turn of a year effect my resolve? I refuse to make resolutions based on a sun-based time counting system. If I had any resolutions, I would have made them based on personal events! On that note, I bid you all a happy 2015! Thank you for reading any of this. What did you like about 2014 in the realm of Gundam or anime in general? What do you look forward to in 2015? Leave it in the comments!
May your cuts be clean and sandpaper rough. This is Gundariumsmith, putting an end to this wall of text.

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