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MCM Expo Winter 2010 & Loot

Everytime the MCM expo comes around I tell myself that it’s not worth going to, and everytime (for the past few events) something drags my ass to the expo anyway.
This time, I offered to speak to a Vinyl maker who was at the event on behalf of tomopop. That eventually changed to a brief overview of the event in general. You can read the whole thing here. It’s somewhat PC because I didn’t want to tread on any toes. I don’t know if I’ll be asked to do coverage again but it’s best not to burn the bridges too quickly. But this is my personal blog so expect the showing of knives as I talk about the event for this post.

Or maybe not, because for the first time I’ve been to the Expo, I don’t feel that it sucked!!! And there’s a few reasons for that! Firstly, I was quite satisfied with my loot! Then again, I spent the majority of my funds at one stall. Bet you can’t guess which one from the loot pic below!

Yes, that is one big ass panel of Noel I got! I’ll go into that one a little later but I was quite happy with the stuff I bought from the expo. There wasn’t really much of a presence from the figure side of things this time around so that probably helped relieve some of the bad air I get from the expo.
Other things which helped make my time a little more enjoyable was the company I was in for the day and the fact that I went on a Sunday. The crowd wasn’t too big and I was able to move freely around the venue. I’m not sure if I’d enjoy it as much if I went on Saturday even though many of my friends seemed to decide to go then. Then again, I’m not sure if I’d like to go everytime on a Sunday. I like my free time!

I have to admit that the MCM expo does seem to be getting better, though it’s still a ways away from being “good”.

This is the Chap who was the reason why I went to the expo. His name is Jats Gill and he’s part of the Bitbots team who produce the vinyl figures you see in front of him. I took some shots and asked him some questions for Tomopop. My interview skills need some serious work…

I don’t really understand the lure of Vinyls but Jats did a good job of explaining some of the potential hooks for various age groups to get into the scene so I have a bit more of an understanding as to why some people may start collecting them. I won’t tho.

And there was plenty of weirdness as well. I just had to take a picture of this stall, just for the WTF factor. Sadly, I wasn’t quite feeling the rocky horror show thing in me so I didn’t go to look too closely.

Plenty of nostalgia toys as well. Look at all those thundercats toys!!!

I wonder how many of the expo visitors even know of L-Gaim?

The video games were pretty well represented this time as well. Before, there was only the disappointing Transformers: War for cybertron to play as the other games available were already released. This time, there was Fist of the North Star: Kens rage (more than what the demo had), Marvel Vs Capcom 3, Blazblue: Continuum Shift and Deathsmiles for the Xbox 360!! Can’t wait for that game! I also took some timeout to meet up with some of the Figure.fm members who went on Sunday, though I understand that the big group went on Sat. No photos this time round however. And I stopped myself from taking photos of cosplayers. I felt at peace!

But the highlight of the weekend was a chance meeting with a random guy at his stall. And I nearly missed it completely!

The guy you see in the picture above goes by the name of Momiji and he’s a garage kit maker from Japan. Nope, I’m not kidding!!! He was at the expo to show off some of his works and those of some of his comrades. It seemed that he was interested in seeing what us western people thought of his stuff and the general mood for garage kits over here. That got us talking for a little while. I would have loved to have just sat down and chatted to him more though.

These 2 beauties are his own works. I noticed them back when he posted them in their incomplete state on the FG board but eventually, I chose not to get one because I’m not a fan of busts. Had he put legs on the kit, it would have been a definite buy! He laughed when I told him this! I asked him if he was working on anything else at the moment but he said no. I did ask him to let me know when he does another kit though, so I can help promote it over this side of the world.

The mecha was a kit from one of his colleagues who goes by the name of Kenohe. I haven’t seen it around in the coverage from events in Japan but it’s a pretty cool variable pose kit. The colour effects on this and the green version were particularly well done. But it was arguably the next 2 kits which got my attention.

The 2 kits were made by a sculptor named Oz and he’s gained some fame for his kits over the last year or so. This one is called Kogarasu but it wasn’t the one which made his name known. Instead, it was this one.

This kit is Kogithune, and it was one of the entries for the Wonder Showcase in February!! Had it not been for this kit, I would have probably walked straight past the stand. The stand was really unassuming but this kit caught my eye and I thought it looked familiar. That was when Momiji came out to greet me and we started our chat.

The pics are a little blurry because I was shaking a little with excitement (seriously!!)! Afterall, these were genuine garage kits from the makers themselves! Normally, you’d have to go to an event like Wonder Festival in Japan to see these up close!!

And I have to say that photos really don’t do these kits justice. Kogithune, especially, was simply stunning. Though it also served to show the gulf in skills between the makers and myself…
Sadly, the kits were purely for display only. the completed kits weren’t for sale and there weren’t any unpainted kits available either, otherwise, I would have bought a couple. It didn’t seem to stop people from asking either. Momiji said that quite a few people asked him if the kits were on sale and he had to say no. I bet they would have backed off if he gave them a ballpark price anyway. He told me that Kogithune was worth around £500 which I would say is a fair estimate. I doubt others would agree though, esp if they’re used to PVC collecting.

As for the future plans of Momiji and his comrades, your guess is as good as mine. It’s possible that they may be considering setting up a way for western GK builders to get a hold of their kits more easily. Since they aren’t based on anime or game characters, licensing shouldn’t be an issue. but this is all speculation at the moment. Momiji told me that he’s on holiday for another week but we exchanged emails and he asked me to contact him once he’s back in Japan so I’ll see what I can find out. I have an acquaintance in the Japanese figure making community now so I’d be an idiot to just let something like that go! I don’t know what I can do to help them, but it’s worth trying anyway, right? At the very least, I can try to give more exposure to their works to people outside Japan via this blog and the communities I’m a part of!. Whatever happens, I hope for only the best for him and his comrades!

Anyways, on with the loot stuff!! Time to break it down a little.

Viz Manga had a stall selling various manga titles but Nausicaa caught my eye. A while back, I remember a conversation I had with some regulars and staff members of Orbital Comics about Studio Gibli and I distinctly remember one of the regulars telling me “Don’t ever watch Nausicaa. Read it, but don’t watch it.”
Given that the manga is pretty hard to find, that proved to be difficult, but the Viz stall had 6 of the 7 volumes on sale so I snapped them up for £25 as part of their sale offer. I’m still missing volume 3 though. The Blazblue poster was meant to be for sale with other items at the zen united stall, but by the end of the day they were giving them out for free!! Woohoo!!

I also purchased a PS3 Blazblue arcade stick for £100. This was a limited version of the Hori arcade stick pro 3, so it’s in the same league as the Streetfighter 4 Tournament edition fight stick from Mad Catz. Normally, I hate arcade sticks and I can’t use them for fighting games. My skill level halves when I play in the arcades because I can’t use them! But many people I know have been nagging me by saying that the sticks are better than pads (total BS i think) and there are many great shmups on the 360 (shmups play so much better on an arcade stick!) so I decided to take the plunge and get one. I intend to try and mod the stick so it works on the PS3 and 360. Why not get a 360 stick instead if I’m going to be using it mostly for shmups? Because the 360 stick on sale was cheap and naff! The PS3 stick also works on the PC! Touhou games beware!!!

The stick also came with some stickers of the characters in both their normal forms and their SD forms you see in the “Teach me Ms Litchi” segments. What do you mean you don’t watch them? They’re pretty good! The artbook on the bottom right is the same as the one I got with my limited edition calamity trigger but they threw that in for free as well. The deathsmiles poster was a freebie from Rising star games.

Momiji also had some photo cards of the kits on display. Had to nab a few of those!

And then there’s this. This is one of the art panels used to decorate the Zen united stall at the expo. They were selling them at the end of the day and I thought they looked cool so I got one. In the end, I settled for the Noel one, though I nearly got the Mu-12 one…

In the end, I got Noel for £80, which was supposedly around half the price of what they paid for the panels new. Not a bad deal I guess, but I probably could have bartered for a lower price. And yes, she’s really big! The panel itself is a little too big for my room so I may cut a little bit off the bottom to make it fit! Getting it back home was also “a lot of fun”…

And to finish off, I thought I’d show my purchases from HLJ which just came in.

The V-dash gundam and Kamen Rider Double kits were picked up on one of the HLJ sales a while back but they weren’t shipped until recently because I had to wait for the magazines to be released. The Figure Maniacs issue was the one which you could use to order the space Haruhi kit on the front cover. Replicant EX is a magazine with lots of useful and interesting painting tutorials for garage kits.

There was one more item in my purchases which was the Deformate Saber. I’ve been meaning to get it for a while but it wasn’t until I recently received something else that I actually went out and got her.

Here’s Saber standing next to the Deformate Rider. Rider was a gift from the guys over at Tomopop and she was the “something else” which finally got me to buy Saber. I prefer Rider though!

And that’s it! Pretty long post by the end of it! But I never thought I would actually enjoy the expo as much as I did. Most of it was down to meeting Momiji though. The games were a lot of fun too! Who knows what will happen at the next expo, though I suspect something random will happen and I will find myself in attendance… Momiji also said that he may return in the future. That would actually make me want to go!!

  • http://panther.clanbluepanthers.org/ Panther

    Sticks being better than the D-pad is not BS. Imagine the number of stuff you can do with your wrist that your thumb gives up way faster on.

    Then again if you have been more used to the D-pad, the stick would be useless compared to what you can do on the pad. I started out on the arcades so a stick is always way better for me on fighting games.

    And I have a HRAP2, I did think about getting the HRAP3 Blazblue one, blue and all…but the price tag. :\

  • http://www.zetzio.com Nemphtis

    Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the MCM Expo this time due to a massive work load, however even from the photos it looks the same as always with the only new and interesting thing being those cool custom figures. My friends told me I missed a Super Street Fighter IV tournament but I can live with that. It’s the first MCM Expo I’ve missed in quite a few years and after seeing how similar they always are I’m not as bothered as I thought I would be.

  • http://lookingglass.kokidokom.net gundamjehutykai

    That’s where we differ. I was pretty much born and bred on pads when it comes to fighters, back from Streetfighter II on the SNES. I do think that sticks do some things better than pads (I can pull off charge supers more easily for example) but I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s inherently better than pads. I can do rotations quicker on pads for instance and pretty much indefinitely since my thumb doesn’t move much.
    Sticks seem to feel like more motion is required for moves at the moment too. And the timings are completely different

    And I think that most places are trying to get rid of their stock of the calamity trigger sticks because they have the continuum shift ones now so you can find them discounted quite easily. The CS stick has the same base but different (and inferior) artwork.

  • http://lookingglass.kokidokom.net gundamjehutykai

    In terms of an overview, it was very similar to what has been seen before previously but it was just the little things which made it more enjoyable, I think. Stuff like more video games (and they didn’t all suck) and a generally less manic atmosphere all contributed to a pleasant day out!
    That and the fact that I didn’t have to pay for my ticket and got in early!

  • http://www.tentaclearmada.com Tier

    That’s awesome that a sculptor came all the way to England to show off his stuff. It seems very rare (unfortunately) for people in Japan to take notice of anime fans overseas, much less actively try to engage them. I really like the style on figures by Oz, especially Kogarasu; it reminds me a bit of an old Sega Saturn game called Astal that I liked. Or a doujinshi circle by the name of Galaxist, but that stuff’s sorta more explicit.

    I like the cheekiness of that Mu-12 panel. I need to get a joystick or a new gamepad for fighting games; I never got Super SSF4 mainly because I really don’t like playing fighting games using the normal 360 controller.

  • http://lookingglass.kokidokom.net gundamjehutykai

    It was pretty damn awesome to meet Momiji but I can kinda understand why these guys would choose to ignore the overseas fans, especially considering that this hobby is incredibly niche and many people outside japan are happy to purchase recasts instead of originals. Most kit makers don’t even engage with the japanese makers!

    And I know that “The back is what’s important” when it comes to Mu but I just preferred good ol’ noel! And I outright refuse to play a fighting game with a normal 360 pad. I recently got King of Fighters 2002 from XBLA but I won’t play it until I get my arcade stick back from being modded! PS3 pads are OK tho.