Mecha Modeling Workshop (Otakon 2004)

Otakon was the convention I'd been planning for when I was doing the initial planning for the workshop: Otakon was my first anime convention and as I start attending more cons, Otakon remains the "main event" of the year for a number of reasons. Among other things, Otakon's location and large size make it a good focal point for other modelers on the east coast. In particular, a lot of people who I know online from Child of Mecha go there. So I felt confident that I would have a lot of experienced and highly skilled modelers helping this time around, and that the online community I rely upon so much these days would be very strongly represented. I liked the idea of COM being a part of the workshop, not only because of all the help I've gotten through COM but because I feel like joining it is one of the best things a new mecha modeler could do. There's a lot to learn when you're starting out. I didn't have anyone to teach me when I first started building models, and that's too bad, because it's so easy to pass on a lot of that knowledge, and so hard to learn it independently.

Anyway, this time around we were scheduled for Sunday morning. I was a bit concerned that everyone would be too tired from all the Saturday night activities to be up bright and early on Sunday, but it worked out pretty well.

There were a few snags early on: the alarm clock didn't go off, so it was just a stroke of luck that we woke up when we did. We got to the con center at 9 - not good, since there's setup to be done. And when we got there, there were no dropcloths on the floor, and no projector in the room. But these were minor setbacks. I killed some time and then kicked things off. Gradually things got up and running - the projector appeared and we got Powerpoint going (first time having slides in the workshop, thanks to Foo), and from there it was pretty smooth sailing. I was very lucky to have Laura and Chris helping me, they did all kinds of work throughout the entire workshop, from the time we woke up until the event ended. Menchi was great, too, he was constantly finding ways to be helpful. All of this allowed me to concentrate on the presentation, and I think that went really well. It was great having the others from COM there, too.

An extra piece of luck was when we found out that Fred Perry, who was going to run a workshop right after our 4-hour period, had cancelled due to illness. It's too bad, and I hope he's feeling better, but it meant that we had an extra hour in the workshop, so for that I'm grateful.

Supplies were a bit of a problem this time around: I hadn't taken stock of everything early enough, and I didn't stock up quite enough on a few items. This led to some problems, as solvent putties wound up being deposited in styrene cups (which then melted). Paint was also in short supply, and some colors ran out. It also resulted in the attendance being capped at 30. Given the size of the room and the abundant staff I would have liked to go higher - but as it turned out we wound up getting around 25 people anyway, so having enough supplies for more people would have been wasteful.

Also, in retrospect I wish I'd gotten the model contest winners to bring their winning entries for display... Maybe it would have been too much to ask, moving models around can be a pain... but even if, say, the Freedom SST isn't typical of the work a beginner can do with handbrushing, something like that could be great for getting people's attention and making them think about what their kits can become...

All in all, it was a great success, and absolutely the best way to wrap up Otakon. Sometimes it's a real downer when Otakon ends - all the preparation that goes into it for me, and all the anticipation, and then, boom, it's done. Go home. Go back to work. But this time, Otakon ended with a major victory, one that I was happy to share with everybody at COM.


Getting Started

Our Class

Test fit. GM Command and Z'Gok

I probably should have told him not to glue that.


Gluing Duel, Victory, Tallgeese

Limited Model, limited focus

Fun little plastic confetti

A red mobile suit?

More assembly

I nitpick people's work...

"You see that? There's still a tiny seam! It must be smooth like glass!"

"I want to see a perfect reflection in this part. Now drop and give me 20!"

More Mercurius

Mail GEC