Australian Gunpla Builders World Cup 2011 :
On the 16th of July 2011, the Australian Gunpla Builders World Cup (previously known as BAKUC and BMKWC) was held for the 2nd time as a part of the SMASH! Anime Convention at the Sydney Convention Center on Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia.
I drove to Sydney yet again, 11 hours this time which was a bit quicker than last years journey, as I don't trust baggage handlers to treat my stuff with respect. It was a nervous drive as every bump and shake had me in fear of some horrible damage being done to my builds but, thankfully, I arrived at my hotel with no damage at all - extra packing and foam does the trick!
After last years successful event, I was itching to get up to Sydney for this event and boy was it even more impressive than last year!
This year the bar was raised significantly over last year. I put this down to the fact that more people are becoming aware of Gunpla and the GBWC competition. There was a lot more advertising of the event this year in many of the 'official' outlets that you are able to buy Gunpla from in Australia and lots of coverage and discussion at Gundam Australia and Gundam Forum discussion boards. That coupled with a full 12 months of planning helped significantly increase the amounts of entries (last year only had a few months from announcement to the event which was really short and not many of us had time to build something).
Main sponsor of the GBWC was Hobbyco, a Sydney based model store / importers that are the official distributors of Bandai products in Australia. As with last year, Hobbyco ran 30 minute 'Gundam Workshops' during the day where Bandai had provided tools and a First Grade Blue Frame Astray kit (and apparently First Grade Gundam Virtues which went fast - there was meant to be Zakus for the workshop this year but they were held in customs a bit longer than usual which meant that they will be held on to for next year) and the only rule was that the kit must be built in 30 minutes. I didn't get a chance to go this year as they booked out VERY quickly.
The display also featured a huge SD diorama made by the Hobbyco staff which featured a large amount of Brave Battle Warriors SD kits set out on a huge diorama base which featured large trees, shrines, rivers, stone buildings plus lots more. The diorama took 3 months to make and most of the Hobbyco staff were involved at some point or another. It was a massive effort that really paid off. You can see pictures of the diorama in the photo gallery below.
Below are the 3 kits that I took to the GBWC :
I was hugely successful this year, winning with all three of my entires. My SD Baund Doc took out 2nd in the SD category, the Bl-Unicorn got 3rd in the 1/144 category and most importantly, the Hillside Hangar took out 2nd place in the Open category! (missed out again on the trip to the finals - next year, I tells ya, next year!!)
When the official list of winners comes available, I will be listing them here as well so stay tuned.
At the end of the SMASH! Convention, the prizes were handed out and all the GBWC prize winners had to get up on the main stage to accept their winnings. I had the chance to get up on stage 3 times and be cheered on by the Gundam Australia boys. Each prize consisted of a big package wrapped in brown paper, a certificate and a ribbon/medal. I didn't check out my winnings until I got back to my hotel and it ended up that I took home 13 models, 3 certificates, and 3 ribbons/medals.
See pictures below to see my winnings and what the medal and certificates are like :
Whilst I was there, I took some video of the event and models on show. Below is the video I have uploaded to YouTube :
I also took 200+ pictures of the event (there were more but this was all that was usable) and all can be found in the Gallery which can be accessed by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.
If anyone sees their model in the Gallery and would like the original photo, please drop me a line via the Contact page and I'll be more than happy to email them to you.
At this point I would like to thank the organisers of the event for continuing to support our hobby with such an excellent competition, and very special thanks go to Rhyan and the many staff from Hobbyco (Tom, Ed, Mithril and others) for really making it happen - without Rhyan's vision and drive, I doubt it would've have been as great as it was (and a special thanks for the 'Booth Girls too Rhyan!).
For more information and coverage on this event please visit the following pages :
- Hobbyco's Gundam Facebook page
- Mokana Man's YouTube Channel (AKA Alan from Melbourne Mecha Workshop)
- Gundam Australia Forums
- Gundam-Forum.com.au Forums
- SMASH! Anime Convention
This year has really lifted the bar of quality and skill. Each year it's going to get more competitive and better for the hobby in general. The return drive home from Sydney gave me plenty of time to think about what to build for next year and I reckon I've got it worked out so stay tuned for that one!