It's November and that means Gunpla Expo is back! Held at the same venue as the year before, IPC Shopping Centre was again crowded with Gundam fans that were anticipated to see the latest from Bandai and also to find out who was crowned as the champion for the prestigious Gunpla Builders World Cup this year in Malaysia.
The 6-day event began on the 10th November and since the opening day was a public holiday, the Gunpla area was quickly filled up with visitors.
To commemorate 35th anniversary of Gunpla, the organisers brought in 33 unique Mega Size Gundams alongside with a 5 feet human sized one for display on the main stage.
Dear Gundam fans, how many could you identify from the different colourways painted on the RX78-2? :D
Another reason why everyone was up early for the event is the opportunity to score themselves the very limited expo-only Gunplas, and they sold out pretty fast.
Like this MG vGundam Ver.KA Mechanical Clear version which I had my eyes on, was gone within minutes after the event's kickoff. Lucky for those who managed to get it because limited unit Gunplas would only induce price appreciation.
The release of new Gundams and new anime series (Iron-Blooded Orphans) showed that Gunpla culture is never-ending and Bandai is committed to serve its huge fan base worldwide by creating cool Gundams one after another.
Not new, but the latest PG grade RX-0 Unicorn Gundam and Banshee (black) were on display to poison your mind to grab one and place it in your room. I know what you trying to do, Bandai. :D
No dark room, no cool 3D mapping or holographic projection this year, but I find the infographic area very informative and engaging as it explained Gunpla's history, its evolution over years and some little-known fun facts.
The very first product, the 1/144 RX78-2 Gundam is the best-selling model kit of all time. It has sold almost 1.8 billion pieces around the world since its first release in year 1980. It has weird proportions and articulations but it's definitely an important piece of history that drives what Bandai is today.
The largest Gunpla which stands at 86cm tall is the HGUC Neo Zeong, while the smallest Gunpla which measures only 1cm is the little Gundam in 1/1700 White Base model kit.
GBWC is an official Bandai Gunpla tournament and it has became the main arena for modellers of each region to showcase their exceptional talents in Gunpla building and compete for the best award and a chance to Japan for the world title. The competition is split into four categories - Junior A (<10), Junior B (11-14), Open A (15-20) and Open B (>21).
Submission was on the first day itself and my good friend Kelvin (who did the 1/32 AE86 model previously) tried his first attempt in this competition under Open Category B. His entry was a custom MG FAZZ Gundam. :)
There were many new entries this year which made up to about an incredible 140 entries. It took some time to go through each of them and you could really see the effort and the desire to win in their awesome artwork.
Out of those custom builds, we all had our top choice, but mine was particularly this two very neat Sazabi builds. They were flawlessly painted and customised with meticulous details, but were they enough to win in GBWC?
It all depends to the eyes of veteran GBWC judge and Gunpla Master, Mr Kawaguchi Katsumi who came to Malaysia again for the second time to thoroughly evaluate the participants' entries based on criteria like painting skill, modification and creativity.
2014's local champion Mr Andy Wong and his infamous 'Spider-O' made Malaysia name proud by bringing home the 1st place ahead of Japan and Taiwan in the final round of GBWC 2014 in Japan.
Kawaguchi-san arrived on Friday for the evaluation process and the GBWC 2015 winners for Malaysia were announced on the following day.
Junior Category A Winners:
Champion: On Xin Jing (4x Petit-Beargguy)
1st Runner up: Abigail Lim Xin Yi
2nd Runner up: Muhd Hazmi Shah bin Zulkarain
Junior Category B Winners:
Champion: Jeremy Pun Kheng Ming (The War before Peace SD)
1st Runner up: James Lim Yuan Soon
2nd Runner up: Kok Yi Cheng
Open Category A Winners:
Champion: Shahira Balkis Binti Abdullah (Pink Denial Gundam)
1st Runner up: Ong Tun Shen
2nd Runner up: Mohd Hazim Shah bin Zulkarnain
Open Category B Winners:
Champion: Jeff Ho Yick Yin (Girl in Wing Zero)
1st Runner up: Mohd Nuzul Amin
2nd Runner up: Jacquelyn Wong
Congratulations to all the winners and please give huge support to Mr Jeff Ho (Open) and Mr Jeremy Pun (Junior) who will be representing Malaysia in the final round of GBWC 2015 at Tokyo Japan next month!
With the increment of GBWC entries this year, Gunpla Expo is indeed gaining exposure and popularity in this country till a point where the venue is no longer able to fit the huge crowd turnout. I hope future Gunpla events would expand and adapt a bigger exhibition hall to cater more entries and unique Bandai showcases, like the one I visited in Singapore.
I will look forward to the next year's event and I hope you've enjoyed my coverage on Gunpla Expo 2015 Malaysia. :D