I know this post is a bit lame but since after I joined some forums, it really change my mind about gunpla customization. I used to think that straight build will be the best and forget about the word customization. As long as I clear all nub marks and all paint went smooth on the surface, it should be perfect. I think I start to paint my gunpla about 2 to 3 years ago and started to realize customization is something fun to do but there is always one problem that I face (or some amateur modeler) is from where the customization start, what are the steps and how to get those steps done (considering on skill, tools and material as well). What I experience is whenever I try to do start it without a plan, I will always end up with lot of mistakes and the worse part will be the result turns out negatively. I always think of creating my own concept for every gunpla kit that I’m going to build but this isn’t easy for me to get there (especially when I restricted from my wallet, space and time). I always think that if I can get those tools and material, I can be as perfect as other but the fact is I can’t even master the tools and material yet, how can I get there? So, my solution for myself now will be take more time to understand and learn what I got before I can get to another level. The reason I wrote this post is simple, the trend of customizing kit is growing no matter in OC or PC. It is great to see lot of masterpiece out there so the amateur (like me) can study more and expose to different concept.
The first step for customization will be the concept before anything start, maybe I should explain what is OC and PC base on my own definition in gunpla. Customizing gunpla base on the gundam original concept (OC) is basically improving the gunpla model kit in terms of detail up, improving joint or proportion, adding more panel line, pla-plate, re-paint, casting new part (such as adding armor or weapon) and adding customize decal that related back to the original gundam concept but the overall customization done on the kit will still remain the original concept of the gunpla (gundam).One of the most important thing to remain the gunpla customization in OC should be the color scheme. Whenever the gunpla re-paint, majority of the color selections should be similar to original color scheme. Converting gunpla kit to another gunpla such using MG Freedom inner frame and transform it in to Justice to make a Justice MG Format can also be categorize in OC in my definition. As long as the end result is what we can find in gundam series, it should categorize in OC. It might feel boring on building and customizing a gunpla kit base on the gundam original concept but sometime, OC can be better than PC and it can be harder to get it done especially when improving some old MG to match up the latest MG.
Scratch build or using conversion part should also consider in OC as long the end result is what we can find in gundam series.
So, what is personal gunpla modification concept (PC) mean? The answer is anything. You can customize the gunpla base on any reference which we can’t find it in gundam series (I prefer any concept that related back to gundam series or military rather than having concept like 7-eleven color scheme or adding a guitar to a gunpla). Things can go wild here and sometime some customization will just backfire or ridiculous even though the basic are done properly and the end result look good. For example, massive armor trimming in either OC or PC will bring up the question why most of the armor trimmed and isn’t this is a military weapon that should come with sufficient armor for certain purpose. Other includes over heavy armor or weapon which bring another question, “is this a flying brick?” Balance in concept generation is important for PC, not too over on certain customization and every combination of the customization should match or work well with other.
Back to what I want to share in this post which is the trend. I remember few years back, there already lots of the masterpiece out there. What I found are most of the older masterpiece are using the OC. There is not much supply made for modeler and I most of them are using various material especially from stationary shop, art shop or hardware shop. I think I read this from www.ebasenet.com website before. We are actually quite fortunate that lot of accessory and extra part from third party special made for gunpla now. Although most of it are made from China or Taiwan and the quality might not as good as Japan made but one thing for sure is the cost is very low which enable most of the amateur modeler can use lesser money and try something out. While the amateur trying to improve, what I saw are some professional modelers begin to another level of crazy thing (such as building resin kit, painting tiny figure and etc..etc..etc..).
At the same time, there are lot of PC customization gunpla kit created too and this might affected from those third parties made accessory. While the old trend focusing on OC style customization, the new generation is more focus on PC style customization from the recent work I found from certain forum. Although majority of them are still trying to portraying out the original concept in their PC style customization by adding related decal or creating story of their customized model kit back to some gundam series (such as HYAKU SHIKI REVISED from Waylander). It might sound that what I said here is a bit negative toward personal customization style but in fact, I do impress by some of the work out there. I remember someone build an gunpla kit that look like saber (from Fate Stay Night) (I lost the link and some of it are still in concept stage)(and now Knight gundam gt his girlfriend). I also remember that some people creating another new series of gunpla kit in with their own concept and some might not related back to any gundam series.
While discussing about the concept on OC and PC, the next thing that I found out recently was kitbashing kit is still popular. Although I feel it’s a waste to sacrifice few gunpla kit for a project but if the end result is good, who cares and I remember waylander said that those sacrificed kit can have their part into another project. The sad thing is there are still not many people able to do it properly. Just my opinion, I still can’t see much amateur level modeler did well on kitbashing (maybe there is some which I overlook).
On the ending of this post, what I want to share is I feel that the OC style customizations are falling back compare to PC style customization. Some people might think that PC style customization is something that free of “judge” since there are no reference on it and they are the one who creating the new one but judging criteria will always be there. Some of you might think who care, gunpla is for fun but is that what you really think when you enter competition? I’m not saying that bad modeler should quit or something bad but sometime I do have eyesore when I look at my older project (which it can only be treated as an experiment project rather that a complete one).