Monday, February 27, 2017

Gunpla Expo Philippines 2017

Good day plamo nerds! It's been an action packed month on the blog indeed, and with a new post coming out every week you'd think this was a full time job. Should I take a break then? Nope. Otaku on a budget has no chill! Besides, there's this thing called the Gunpla Expo, and it's in town for the first time ever. What self-respecting plamo blogger would sit this one out?!  I happily dragged my wife and son against their will to Mall of Asia on Day 1. Jump in if you'd like to know my impression of the event, and for some poorly taken photos of the stuff on display...

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We arrived at around 3 in the afternoon, because I didn't want to deal with the ribbon cutting crowd - but lo and behold as we walked to the main atrium, the place was packed beyond capacity! I bet the organizers were pretty pleased with the turn out!

My initial thoughts were "Are there really this many Gundam enthusiasts in my country?!".  Perhaps. But I'm willing to bet my left ass cheek that not everyone there even knew what Gunpla was. Which is a good thing really, because it means one of the goals of the event has been achieved - which was to let people know what Gunpla was.  And I have to say, the organizers definitely outdid themselves in the set up.

At the entrance I was greeted by an enormous RX78, which everyone and their grandma (literally) was happy to take a selfie with.  I caved to my inner nerd and took one myself. I would have posed him a little differently though, as it appears Amuro has his MS checking for after-battle body odor. The nice displays on the perimeter walls were appetizers for what was within.


 On display were the latest from the IBO and Build Fighters series, and quite a few Universal Century kits. I particularly liked the Thunderbolt display, even though the bazookas were left in a pile at the bottom of the case.


People enjoyed the "Pinoy" style Bearguy diorama of Luneta depicting iconic Filipino stuff in robotic bear fashion. 

While the workmanship was really good, personally I found the concept, well, to put it bluntly - corny. Call me jaded, but this scene flashed in my head while looking at the display:
(pre-expo meeting)
Event Boss: So what do we do for the Philippine themed display?
Genius:  I have a Bearguy..I have Philippines...Ugh!


I mean come on.
How about a diorama of the AFP equipped with Mobile Suits? The Philippine coast guard on patrol in Z'Goks? Anything but Bearguys dressing up. But hey, the "madlang people" seemed to love it, so it's a win? 

Luckily there was a wall dedicated to custom builds depicting true Filipino creativity. The real meat and potatoes of the event, at least for experienced builders, was the collection of customized kits from notable modelers in the country. If these were the only things on display I would have attended the event anyway.

As for merchandise, it's pretty much Toy Kingdom prices and stocks all the way. There may have been some expo exclusives that went out of stock as soon as they hit the shelves, but I didn't bother to look as I'm not really into collecting those.


I don't know if it's the same everywhere, but around here, people tend to assume that when there's stuff on display in the middle of a mall, loud music and an announcer making an inaudible spiel about a raffle of some sort - then there must be some great discounts being offered. It's an EXPO not a SALE, so don't expect to find a bargain, and don't complain that there aren't any.

People ransacked the shelves anyway, and they all seemed happy to stand in line for hours to pay for their finds. The event is a success in this aspect again, with objective #2 being met: sell a ton of kits. I didn't buy anything myself, and was just happy to look and observe.

After seeing everything the expo had to offer, I walked out with nothing in tow. The temptation was there to commemorate the event by buying something - anything - but practicality kicked in. I went to National bookstore to buy a large cutting mat for my workstation, picked up a kit I ordered, and went home a happy nerd.

The Expo will be at the Mall of Asia main atrium until March 5th, so if you've got the time, drop by and show some love for the event. Admission is free, you don't have to buy anything, but more people showing up just might make this an annual event, which is a good thing for the hobby in general.

Congrats to the organizers and everyone who helped make this event happen, and I'm looking forward to an even better one next year. To the organizers, I know that there's this scheme where Toy Kingdom and Toys R Us take turns at sponsoring the events (GMKC for Toy Kingdom purchases, GBWC for Toys R Us) but maybe next time it can be about the modelers and the hobby community and not just about sales? Maybe Gunpla Expo purchased kits should be allowed as entries for either competition? Just my two centavos...

maybe less bearguys and more customs next time?

Until next time, keep building plamo!

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