I’m currently room-bound as of this week due to the unfortunate luck of catching covid. Between watching reruns of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and Godzilla movies, I’m working on dioramas along with snapping kits.
Like always it got me thinking.
Thinking about why I got into the hobbies I have now. I briefly discussed this in a Cerulean Project post, but I want to dig into it.
In the beginning…
I didn’t even know what Gundam was before I got into Gunpla. I wasn’t even aware of it as an anime let alone an entire line of scale models.
In early 2018 I was in a difficult place for someone my age to have been in. My older brother passed away in the late summer of 2017 and the first year of college left me gutted. Isolated. Lonely. I didn’t have a sense of belonging or purpose in my life. Any of the hobbies I had before were abandoned and meaningless.
Most of my time was spent trying to hopelessly recover my biology grades and sitting around watching whatever was on the TV. My mom had tried to find something to do, to help cope, but I had little interest. Even the comics that I used to devour in droves were unappetizing.
That was the case or at least it was. I remember one day I was on my couch scrolling through when I landed on a movie by Guillermo Del Toro.
The title is “Pacific Rim”.
I was skeptical but stayed around. Dull interest quickly evolved into full attention as I watched what was unveiled on the screen. Giant piloted Mech’s rage against giant alien Kaiju. The plot and cast were phenomenal. I adored Ron Perlman’s black-market Hannibal Chau and Idris Elba’s rigid but caring role as Stacker Pentecost.
It wasn’t just that. It was the designs of the Kaiju and Mecha. Something about the robust beauty of the Jaeger brought back beloved childhood feelings that I got from Transformers. The way they moved. How they fought. It hooked me and it hooked me badly.
Suddenly I found myself interested in something. I wanted more of it. My mom was a trooper listening to the nonstop ramblings about this. So she took me to the comic book store one day.
It was my local friendly game and comic shop the only one in our city (our second one got closed down for selling alcohol out of it)
There I spent quite a bit of time looking for anything Pacific Rim with very little luck. The owner, John, pointed to a stack of boxes saying if I liked Jaegers then I may like those. They looked like robots and all of them were really neat designs. I grabbed one to bring home. It was from a series called Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. It looked like it would make a good figurine.
Got home and you can imagine my surprise when I opened the box to find… runners? An instruction manual?
After a quick google search, I discovered what Gunpla was and thought “what the hell, I’ll build it”.
I got this little nub-filled clumsy kit.
It was fun to build. Relaxing. I didn’t think of anything else while building it. The only important thing was the kit in front of me. I shortly found myself wanting to build another. Then another. Then some more until it became a full-on hobby.
I may paint a build by hand. I may spray-paint. Sometimes I even glue random things to kits. It’s okay. It’s okay because that’s what I love to do.
Building Gunpla has allowed me to express myself in ways that I didn’t think could be possible. I have over seventy haros and over thirty built kits. All of them are uniquely painted and extensions of me. I can shut out the world, focus on the piece of art in front of me, and remember how I painted each one. Every single build has a story.
Not to mention the number of amazing people I’ve met since building. If you asked a nineteen-year-old me if I’d be friends with people across the world, I would’ve laughed at you. I have had such great luck with making friends with people in this community. I love that I can hop on discord or Instagram and be able to connect with them! People from so many walks of life who like to hang out with me are obsessed with these plastic kits.
I’m so grateful for what these models have done for me. I don’t know where I’d be without them.
I really enjoy how this is turning out! It’s been a great process so far.
Hope you all enjoyed this post! Thank you for reading it! If you have any questions, drop them below.
2 thoughts on “Why I Got Into Gunpla”
I love this post. I am pretty old so a lot of the “finding out about Gunpla” stories I’ve heard are from people my age walking into Toys R Us in the ’00s or something (yes really). It’s fantastic to hear a fresh take on how younger fans like you are discovering Gunpla and doing such cool, creative things with the medium.
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Thanks Lauren! I owe a lot of John for being insightful into what I would like! (Also for putting up with my haro antics lol.)