Friday, December 16, 2016

Meijin Modeler - Win Eiam Ong

For many of us, upgrading to an airbrush is the logical choice if we intend to get better at painting our models...But once in a while an artist comes along with enough talent to succeed using the most humble of tools - a good old fashioned paintbrush. He has conquered Thailand's GBWC twice in a row with his mind bending concepts and excellent craftsmanship, and went on to take home the title of GBWC grand champion for 2015. His entry this year is just as awesome if not even better, and he is off to Japan once again to compete with the rest of the world's plamo elite. Ladies and gentlemen, today we get to know more about the one they call The Paint Pusher...our featured Meijin Modeler, Mr. Win Eiam-Ong!

Click on the Read More link for the rest of this post...

Q. What is your full name, nickname, or online name?
A. Full name is Win Vichayuth Eiam-Ong on my birth certificate. But in Thai don't normally have  a middle so on  most official stuff like passport and all that- They just took the middle and last name. That's why for entry it will say "Vichauth" instead of "Win" because that's what is on my passport. But other than that Just Win :)  
On Facebook I'm known as the paint pusher, and if you see "Death-cow" when playing any online game with multi players... That's me :)

Q. How old are you, and how long have you been building kits? 
A. I'm 33 years old... erm... I mean 33 years young, and I've been building gundam kits since October 2013 (the only reason I remember that is because that's when Gundam built fighters came out :) ) but I started modeling in general when I was 13.

Q. Are you married? Do you have kids?
A. I been with my girlfriend for 12 years and have been living together for 11 years of those... So kind of life partner, kind of wife, kind of lodger (If you are reading this honey- Just kidding about the lodger thing-I love you- please don't leave...) 
On the kids front- we both hate... "Dislike passionately" kids- so we really don't want any. I do admire people who are or wants to be parents with all their infinite patience and love- but just not for us :)

Q. Where are you from and where do you currently live?
A. I was born in Ubon Rachathani a town up north of Thailand. I grew up in America and did all my university stuff in the UK. When I speak Thai I now have a really funny accent because of that :) 
I currently live and work in Bangkok Thailand.

Q. What other hobbies do you have aside from Gunpla / Model building?
A. I do freelance graphic designs on or direct contacts from business and/or game companies (logo design, layouts, promotional work, 2d and 3d character designs, texture mapping, and rigging, etc.).  I also built, own, and run a board game cafe called "Boarding Time".  I'm not too sure if you would classify these as a hobby because I get paid for it- but I personally see them as hobbies... It's just a different creative thing I can do that takes my mind off my normal work. 

Q. Where do you get your kits from?
A. I usually get my kits from a local shop called mewtoys. Though it is cheaper to get it off the internet- I prefer to go to a shop so that you can actually see and browse through real things. Also I really want to support local shops that supply gunpla locally- more expensive than getting it online at times, but it helps you and the community more in the long run. 

Q. What kind of music do you listen to while building models?
A. When I (do), mainly Rock and Metal in all it's form.  40's /50's, classic, punk, alternative, brit etc. For rock and for metal- Nu, death, Goth, glam, thrash, funk, extreme, black, doom, etc...... I don't dance I head bang :)  But most of the time when I do a building session I tend to listen to audio books. I find it is best to listen to good long audio books when doing a gunpla building session. Then when you finish that building session stop the audio book... So even when you don't really want to build or paint anything next time- you will want to know what is going to happen next in the story that you are listening to. This  will help you push that project you are doing to completion faster.   

Q. What is your current occupation?
A. I am a Psychologist and have a private practice. I also do lectures at universities (*guest lecturer.)... I hate grading papers. 

Q. How did you get into building gundam / mecha kits?

A. Before I got into gundam, I was into table top gaming (collect a group of 35mm models, put it on a table with buildings and other terrains, and then fight using dice and tactics). I was and am still into watching anime- so when gundam built fighters came out I was mesmerized... The thought of modellers building a model, then putting it onto a magical table that will bring said model to life, and then using to fight other modeller's models?!?! HELL YEAH!!!! (Bandai and sunrise are geniuses at selling their stuff- credit where credit is due...) This is my first gundam kit that I bought, put together and painted. After that- I got hooked mind, heart, and soul and haven't looked back since :) I still live in hope that bandai will eventually invent that table thing that will bring my model to life.... A man can dream.... 

Q. What kind of kits do you usually build? Is there any specific line you collect or just build anything you like?
A. I don't really have a certain series of kits that collect or build per se... I don't really buy a gunpla kit for the gundam itself either... I tend to see shapes or part that I like in a certain kit, and buy that kit just for that part(s). Then I will use those parts to create the idea that I have. 
The rest of kit will be put together without the part that I will be using and then put into the "spare parts for a future build" closet. I lovingly call it my metal junk yard, my girlfriend calls it a F*%KING mess... 

For example I had an idea to do a dieselpunk style build using the musha as a base and I needed a huge gatling gun (Who doesn't want a mech samurai with a huge gatling gun :) ), so I bought th MG heavy arms just for the gun. A few months later I decided I wanted to do my version of Megas XLR (one of my favorite cartoon series) so I used the heavy arms body from the junk yard as a base.

Q. How many kits have you built to date?
A. Really not too sure... There are some that I build as a set, a unit, or a diorama- so I don't know if I should count that as 1, 3, 10, or 17??? For example there are 18  custom MS kit in my diorama for the GBWC this year (2016) so would that technically be one? Or 18? Or 19 (including the girl)?  Or my road kill unit... 4 or 1? Or paint pusher collection. Will that just be one or 17 (comes in a set)? So I It's either between- 37 and 95 I guess (depending on how you look at it... Sorry...) All my stuff is in the paint pusher page- so just look thru the albums section and decide I for yourself guess :)

Q. What is your favorite kit? Why?
A. My favorite kit design wise is the MS-18E Kämpfer. EVERYTHING about that design screams out bad ass!!! Just love it.  But the best kit that I've ever built must be the sazabi ver ka.  Just the mechanics and design of it is genius! It's just beautiful how everything just comes together and moves.... very impressed.

Q. What is your least favorite kit? Why?
A. ...Y'all Are going to hate me for this- but most if not all PG especially the unicorn and the banshee.... The thing with me is I'm quite childish (or just an idiot (depending on how you look at it)) when it comes to this hobby. When I sit down to start a build- I tend to start with what MS I would want to pilot if I was in that universe or just what other MS type I want to see in that universe. An personal expansion/added side story to that existing universe or story if you will.  The kit helps me see my mobile suit that I am piloting or running away from when I pretend to be stuff or imagine it in my head (yes I also sometimes make random mechanical operation sounds when I'm playing and building as well)... 
My work process in doing that is quickly building up the kit so I can see what parts and shapes I have to work with, then Hacking it up, and rebuilding and modifying it to get as close as I can to what I have imagine (thus I prefer HG, RG, and at most MG and 1/100)... You can't do that with a PG... Well you can but it just takes forever to build up a single part like the body or the leg, and by the time I get to the point where I can hack it up- I just can't be bothered anymore... The reason I said "especially the unicorn and the banshee" is because it is very large and "thick blocky"... I don't really know what to do with that because if I add anything to the top it becomes even thicker... Bad raw material basically... Sorry....

Q. What is your dream kit?
A. A MG or 1/100 or ver ka of the JDG-00X Devil Gundam kit.... If they announce that- I will TOTALLY loose my sh#t... Just pure dark awesomeness.

Q. When you do paint your kits, what do you use?
A. I use spray can primers and clear lacquer (both flat and gloss), paint brushes and Vallejo paints. For the spray cans I use leyland auto spray just because they are cheap and is readily available locally here. Any brand of primer and clear coat I think. 
There is also a wet pallet to keep my paints from drying out when I am painting, and two cups of water (one for normal color and the other for metallic).

Q. Where do you get inspiration for your custom projects? 
A. From all over the place really. Like for example- I got the inspiration for my "Love Lost" diorama from the song "Billy don't be a hero" by Paper Lace and playing the game "Gundam Dynasty Warriors". The composition was heavily influenced by the works of Simon Lee (Spiderzero) with his gates of hell work, his Alien versus predator, and his 20 days of monster series. 
Some of the times I just like to ask "what if" questions like "What if I was competition in a gundam built fighter tournament- what kind of gunpla would I build with what ability?" or " What If I want to make an MS that specializes in long range shooting with a sniper - what would it look like?" 

Q. How many hours a week do you spend working on models?
A. It varies A LOT depending on my work schedule. But on average around 8-14(ish) a week. 

Q. How do you stay motivated to finish large projects? 
A. I tend not to have a problem with motivation when I get into the project. But saying that- I get times when I am doing something  complicated or reach that "I f#@king HATE this thing- Why did I ever start this?" phase of a build (you- dear readers- know what I'm talking about)- I know that if I don't finish it to the best of my abilities- It'll be even more annoying to me... Unfinished business. The threat of regret is a powerful motivator in both gunpla and life :)

Q. Do you work on multiple projects simultaneously or do you focus on one project at a time?
A. One at a time unless it is a set or a diorama. I find if, I do a bunch of project at the same time I tend to get overwhelmed with the amount of work that has to be done to be done and it gets daunting, so I end up not doing anything at all... Break everything down even in a single build into small bite-size chunks- makes life a lot easier.

Q. What techniques do you use when building your kits?
A. Trial and error I guess... Basically I glue stuff on or cut stuff out to see if it looks good or not. If it does-it stays- if it doesn't- That's the time I really wish there was a real life "Edit, Undo" button in real life. I tend not to do a detailed sketch or design at the beginning because I find it stressful to try to make it look like what I have on paper and it might lessen the creativity.  Just have a vague idea, and make it up as I go along. When building I tend to use a lot of epoxy putty for sculpting new parts or to fix mistakes (of which I make a lot of).

Q. Can you share any building tips? 
A. Quick and easy Damage metal (bullet holes, torn metals etc.). When a metal surface gets damaged by something- It does not just create a hole- but the metal around it tends to warp or bend. The easiest way to do this is by using putty epoxy.

Step 1- First you use a drill to drill a hole in the piece

Step 2- Using a clipper- place the tip in the hole that was drilled and rotate it to expand it more.

Step 3- Mix some epoxy putty up and fill in the hole.

Step 4- With a sculpting tool sculpt the damage shape you want, with dents, or thinned down metal layer that you want.

once it has cured and you have painted, decaled, weather, and top coat it- It will come out something like this-

many shapes and damage types can be done this way you. Use real world images from either Google (search for "damage tanks" or "damage metal"), or books. 

Q. What techniques do you use when building your kits?
A.  Just Primer the plastic in white and paint it with a brush really.  The main reason that I use a brush as to an airbrush is simply because I don't have or actually know how to use an air brush... I tried a couple of times but it just hates me with a passion... Last time I attempted to use one at my friend's shop, could have sworn it hissed "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUK OFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF" at me... So I left it alone and tend to stick to the humble brush. 
"You can do everything an air brush can with a brush- it's just two different skill sets. "
As a side note- there are no such thing as "ADVANCE" , "NEWBIE", "RIGHT", or "WRONG" techniques. They are all just tools and knowledge that a modeler can call upon when a certain situation comes up. The more you learn and experiment with the more fun you will have in bringing you imagination to life.

Q. Can you share any painting tips?
A.  A very simple but effective trick that I use for all my gunpla build is to create a realistic metal look. Not show car shiny and not matte- but that eggshell/ cast iron metal look. First you finish everything- modify, paint, decals, weathering- EVERYTHING. For this effect you need 2 spray cans- clear gloss lacquer and clear flat(or matte) lacquer.  First you spray and cover the whole thing with gloss lacquer. Once that layer dries- lightly spray a thin layer of flat (matte) lacquer over everything. And that's it :)

Q. What kit/s are you currently working on?
A. I'm currently working on building a Dragon using gunpla parts for the Myth and metal build off I'm doing with a very good friend of mine= Kevin Zhang (Mr. Dash).  Basically at the end of it there will be 4 dragons (2 each)  each representing an element. I got fire and earth, and he got air and water. BTW- yall should really like and follow his page "Mr.Dash" He does mindblowingly awesome builds.

Q. What advice can you give to people who are just starting in the hobby?
A. FAIL FASTER! I say this all the time- but I can't advise it enough! It is probably the most valuable
advice I can give to anybody. What you see on my page is just 2% of what I do. The 98% of what you
don't see are all the failure or experiments that has gone VERY wrong. Most of the tutorials we see out
there are done by professionals- master at what they do in one way or another. That's why they make it
look so easy when they do it for that tutorial. What those tutorial don't show however, are the amount
of time they failed and practice before they got to that level. NO ONE is born with that kind of skills
nor can we do it the first time around! So fail faster! Gunplas are essentially "hard plastic". Buy some
cheap plastic toys with some details on it (toy cars, trains, soldiers,.Etc-Daiso, Dollar store.
poundland kind of cheap). Try out the techniques that interests you most on them. When you are
comfortable enough with doing it- go for the gunpla! Until then- Primer those toys up and experiment!
If you fail- either re-primer and try it again, or throw it away... You will get the skills you want faster
thru a lot of trials and error. Fail faster!

Q. What advice can you give to people who have been in the hobby for a long time?
A. FULLY FINISH AT LEAST ONE KIT BEFORE YOU BUY ANOTHER...  Not just snap build- Fully modified (if you are doing a custom), painted,decals, etc. -FULLY and HONESTLY completed for you.... YES! I see all those un-open gunpla kits that you have either on the shelf or hidden away somewhere... You are probably looking at a couple right now. IT'S EASIER TO BUY THAN TO BUILD- I know this all too well.... WE ALL know this all to well.... So truly speaking from experience- good luck with this one friends... I too am trying my hardest to follow this advice.... "TRYING"

Q. Would you like to share an experience that might help the mecha modeling community in general?
A. Just recently on my "Love Lost" diorama actually... I keep getting comments and messages asking why I didn't use the RX-78 or I should have used the RX-78 instead of the exia for the top guy fighting against the zakus. At first I was really confused because I have no idea why the RX-78 especially out of all the existing gundam designs. Then when I asked why- they told me that Char zaku vs. Amuro Rx-78 is the most logical scene.- Using an exia that came from a different timeline is wrong and is a "flaw" in that diorama. I would argue back stating that no Mobile suite in that scene really exist in the gundam series. They are all customs. No zaku variants look like that nor does any of the celestial being suits look like that. The only reason I choose the exia as a base is simply because I like the shape and it look weak and more fragile in comparison to the Zakus- thus emphasizing the desperation.  Most customs works anyone does really exist in a gundam universe... After thinking about it for a while I realized that we tend to forget this fact: 

"When you buy a gunpla kit, it is yours- not Sunrise, not Bandai's, not anyone else's -yours. It is going up on your shelf-and only you have to be happy with it."
If your intention is to make a gunpla like it is in those stories- that's AWESOME! There is nothing wrong with that. But just keep in mind that you can do what you want to those kit you've bought. You can paint an mg sinanju purple, stick EFSF Decals on it, and glue two hg legs on it's head as huge horns if you like.... That might look pretty cool actually.... Like an Aries/goat-man mobile suite kind of thing.... Any ways the point is-  It doesn't have to make sense or logic  (design mechanical wise, or story line wise)- It's there to make you happy. Just as long as you like it at the end and you have fun with the process- all good- Nothing else matters :) 
"We are all artists who've chosen modeling as our art-form and gunpla our canvas."

Q. Do you have a website or blog?
A. I basically only have The Paint Pusher Facebook  page. But I am on and recommend y'all joining my friend's forum:  It's a relatively new but fast growing community that has a lot of good, fun, and very helpful people on there.  

And there you have it! The next time someone tells you your hand-painting isn't going to get you anywhere, give that sonovaGyan a good Bright Slap and remind him about the Paint Pusher and the marvelous work that he does. Big thanks to Win Eiam-Ong for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do the interview!

That's all for now, stay tuned for the next episode of Meijin Modeler!
(*All images and links used with permission from the artist)

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