Friday, January 20, 2017

Mecha Musume - Evon Tan

What's up my fellow plamo nerds? I'll tell you what's up...our visit count that's what! The blog is nearing the 300k mark - and although that number is just loose change compared to the traffic on blogs that cover mainstream subject matter like fashion and food, I consider it a major milestone for a home-based, plamo-oriented one. I'd like to thank you all for supporting Otaku On A Budget. What started as a personal journal on my adventures as a mecha modeler has blossomed into something much larger - and I owe it all to you guys and gals! 

Speaking of gals, where mah gurls at?! I know you're out there...lurking in the forums and facebook groups, maybe too shy to speak up or show off your talents in the male-dominated mecha community. 
I only say dominated because guys in this hobby probably outnumber girls 5:1, maybe even 10:1 - But that's not to say they are out-skilled. No sir-ee they are most definitely not! And for that reason it's about time the ladies had the spotlight. Today we kick off a new series entitled Mecha Musume!

Now now boys, let me make this perfectly clear. Our version of Mecha Musume refers to female mecha modelers. If you're expecting armor-clad girls in bikinis, leave now. And for heaven's sake, can we be mature about all this? Seriously, if anyone so much as leaves an inappropriate comment, the perpetrator WILL be fed to the social media wolves. It's those creep advances that discourage girls from taking up the hobby in the first place, so please, take your excess testosterone elsewhere.

In this series we have a casual chat with a female modeler, and find out how and why she got into what many believe is a male-oriented hobby. I'm hoping these interviews will help break that very cliche, and inspire more females to get into plamo. I sent out the invites a few days ago, and what a pleasant surprise it was to find that almost every single modeler I contacted responded positively.

The first to heed the call for this noble cause has already been sharing her work online for some time. She's an illustrator and model by profession who likes to spend her spare time applying her many talents to mecha modeling. Ladies and gents, let's all welcome Evon Tan!

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

Q. What is your full name, nickname, or online name?
A. My name is Evon Tan, also known as Evon T. or Evt in social media.

Q. How old are you, and how long have you been building kits?
A. I’m 30 years old and I have been building kits for the third year running now.

Q. Where are you from and where do you currently live?
A. I am born and raised in the heart of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and I am still making a living here. 

Q. Where do you get your kits from?
A. Mostly from local hobby store, like ATT Gundam, or sometimes I would buy kits from Taobao as well.

Q. What other hobbies do you have aside from Gunpla / Model building?
A. I enjoy painting, journaling and tarot reading during my spare time.

Q. What is your current occupation, or are you still in school?
A. I am working as a model, and I am a freelance illustrator who make paintings for social media advertorial. 

Q. Are you married? In a relationship? Do you have children?
A. I am married for more than a year now, and not yet having children.

Q. What was the first kit you ever built and how was the experience?
A. My first kit was Sazabi, not the Katoki version, but the good old one. It was definitely a pleasant experience though i didn’t even know how to clean nub mark correctly. The process of building one is therapeutic I must say.

Q. How did you get into building gundam / mecha kits?
A. It happened when my boyfriend ( He is my husband now) took me to a Hobby Shop and casually telling me that he had always wanted a Gundam when he was a kid but never get a chance to own one. We both were not into model building at all at that time, but I thought it would be sweet to fulfill his childhood dream so I bought one for him later of that day as a surprise gift. He was so happy and I think I will never able to forget the expression on his face that time.

It started to make me wonder what is the magic behind Gundam that make people so in love with it. Then I did my research by watching anime series, youtube reviews, plenty of articles and I found that Gundam was slowly growing on me too. Sazabi was the first that caught my eyes, and that is why my husband bought me one in return. Sazabi will always remain my most sentimental one as this is how everything got started.

Q. What kind of kits do you usually build? Is there any specific line you collect or just build anything you like?
A. I find myself tend to fall for big, fat, hunky looking kits, like Sazabi, The O, Gusion, Zeong, etc. Occasionally I would pick up some slimmer looking kits but the love for them is not as much. 

Q. How many kits have you built to date?
A. Countless, and I choose not to count :D

Q. What is your favorite kit? Why?
A. Sazabi, and you shall know the reason by now!

Q. What is your least favorite kit? Why?
A. Aile Strike, I try to like it but I failed.

Q. What is your dream kit?
A. Not exactly a dream kit, but I have always wanted to work on Gundam Fazz, make a version of my own!

Q. What is your favorite tool in your toolbox, and why?
A. Sandpapers, cheap yet irreplaceable.

Q. Do you paint your kits? If so, what do you use?
A. Definitely! I use airbrush to paint my kits. Paint wise, I mostly use Modo and occasionally go for Mr.Color and Gaia. 


Q. Do you do custom builds or do you always build according to manual?
A. Both, building according to manual could be fun too, less thinking and less stress.

Q. If you do custom work, where do you get inspiration for your custom projects?
A. Usually got the inspirations from the movies or books that I recently hooked onto. For example, My Gundam Graze was inspired by the comic Terra Formars which I really love!

Q. How do you stay motivated to finish large projects?
A. Rotating between builds to keep myself a fresh mind and fresh eyes all time. Sometimes blind spots would be building up when I work on a same kit for long period, and it is never a good thing when boredom kicks in, whenever I feel like I am stuck in this situation I will move on to another builds and come back to it later.

Q. Do you work on multiple projects simultaneously or do you focus on one project at a time?
A. I usually work on two to three builds at a time, and nothing more than three.

Q. Can you share any building tips?
A. Becky Customizer once taught me the importance of sanding and it was the best tip ever! Sanding could be so time consuming but never skip this step as it will make a big difference to your builds.

Q. Can you share any painting tips?
A. I am in no position to share any tips as I still consider myself as a beginner, but I have learnt the hard way to keep every layers thin and make patience to wait for each layers completely dry before applying a new one.

Q. What kit/s are you currently working on?
A. I’m currently working on GP02A and FSS Batsh.

Q. Why do you like Gunpla?
" It is more than just plastics. It allows you to express, it keeps your spirit high (well most of the time), and most importantly, it connects people! "

Q. What advice can you give to people who are just starting in the hobby?
A. Have fun, always open up yourself for new input and try something new in each of your builds! Make mistakes and learn from mistakes, it is always the best way to learn.

Q. Can you share some inspiring words for females who might be apprehensive of getting into the mecha modeling hobby?
A. This is not a hobby that only meant for guys, in fact, all hobbies are for all genders. Females has advantages in this hobby actually as we have more delicate hands and also more sensitive towards colors. So girls just jump right in, it’s gonna be fun!

Q. Would you like to share an experience that might help the mecha modeling community in general?
A. The story of how my husband and I share the same hobby and how it connects both of us so much more could be helpful to some of you guys. I understand that your partners might not understand this hobby of yours, but just take time to influence them or get them involved, they might end up not liking it at all but at least they do not resist the idea of you indulging yourself in this hobby. Then again, having the balance of spending time on your hobby and people around you is very important. It’s all about connecting with people, whether you are in or out of a hobby.

Q. Do you have a website or blog? Please share the link here.
A. Do check out my blog at

 Many thanks to Evon for taking time out of her busy schedule to do the interview, and for sharing some really inspiring words. A female's perspective on the hobby is simply refreshing, and it is so uplifting to know how Plamo/Gunpla can grow and strengthen a relationship when shared with a significant other.

Tune in again next time for another edition of Mecha Musume. Keep building plamo!

(photos used with permission from the modeler)

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