Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Rant (or Something Like It)...

This is a looong and convoluted post.

I posted "This Space is Reserved for a VERY SCORCHING RANT" a month ago that was supposed to discuss certain issues that had been affecting me either directly or indirectly, here, and in the forums I am in, as well as in MAC Forums to which I have helped create along with DC23 a year ago and currently administrate with him and recently, the addition of Kriz.  I only posted that to deflame myself, and so far, it had remained a reserved space, mainly because my flame lost steam aside from the fact that I did feel lazy at the time to even write anything.  Also, working on the X-Walker was a huge take off from the usual Gunpla, and it indeed became a challenge for me to do something out of the ordinary, or in my case especially, something more .

The Walker was mine testing ground for the project I am currently working on, which is the MG Turn X conversion, and the 1/60 SB Masurao/Susanowo Hybrid.  I haven't posted a WIP for the Turn X as of yet, since I wanted to show at least as good enough concise progress instead of a tidbit.

Suffice it to say, these projects I'm getting myself into test the limits of mine skills, some of which I never really knew I had (or did have, but have not fully explored or exploited until recently) until I bled with my first modeling-related, bone-deep knife cut.

I digress.  I'm supposed to rant.  First, MAC Forums was borne last year from the Chaos DC23 and I seem to find ourselves in, either by our own designs or otherwise.  Unknown to many, the original skeleton of the Forum was created much earlier than that, and if you happen to be a MAC Forums member and check mine registration date.  I created that Forum (which was originally named "The Gundam Spot") partially because of my varied unsavory experiences from other modelers and other forums, as some are already aware of.  The Gundam Spot, as it is now, is now the Top Section of MAC Forums.

There are two Philippine based forums I was registered to, both of which I was banned from not long after.  The first one was really nothing because of their penchant to crush newbies or anyone who speak out against them.  The second one, which was formed because of the first, was more of something I thought of as the one that could probably match up with the first one, but, later on started becoming like them.  I don't blame any of the two for acting as they haveI can understand why they did what they did.

But it was the second one that banned me simply because, well, because there was no actual reason to.  Ironically, I created The Gundam Spot Forum before I was banned from the 2nd forum.  I had foreseen mine demise.  It was then I renamed it "The Pinoy Xtreme Gundam" forum, or PXG, mainly to annoy the 2nd forum for banning me for no reason, to which I've already designed a logo for (it was a perfect ambigram at that).  I have a knack for creating ambigrams, and, as most of you know by now, prefer to use the letter "X" in mine creations.  It was all but ready to take off.

The PXG Ambigram.  Nice, ain't it?

It didn't.  Like my previous attempt at Rant post, I lost steam and instead kept working on Gunpla the only way I know how.  It was during that time that I was working on the Ronin that my friendship with DC23 really took off.  He and I were part of "the banned few."  Usually, being banned meant we were bad and misbehaving, but, the lot of you know the case wasn't so.  Since we found a common ground, DC and I started chatting and sharing tips.  I started a Gunpla blog long before he did, but, the man seem/is unstoppable.  He created a blog, which later prompted me to work on my blog as well.  After Ngee Khiong quit, I get most of my traffic from him.

At that point, things started happening again (you can read it in DC's blog) that led him to create the MAC Facebook group, and then after co-create the MAC Forums with me.  DC23, being the Energizer Bunny (a monicker I gave him because of his speed in completing one project after another) could muster a lot of people from the group as well as MAC's brother group, GMAC, into the Forum.  I gladly dropped the Forum's former name in lieu of MAC Forum, because I know a good thing when I see one.  Besides, PXG was a name made from vengeance.  That's how I think in most cases.

Hence, the MAC Forum was born.  My sacrifice, in turn, gave me vindication in the end.

Forum Issues.

We had none, until much recently when certain members came out of the woodwork that made the Moderating Team wake up from its drunken stupor.  I simply assigned it as "growing pains," and we took that as an opportunity to rearrange the layout to maximize and refocus what MAC is all about.  MAC Forums is a place where modelers make works of art, not just Gunpla.  As such, the reformat did just that.  We've moved The Launch Pad section up one notch right after the Gundam Spot.  We highlight member blogs and YouTube Channels.  We show what MAC Forums Members can do with plastic and paint.

We don't have a rant section.  We will NEVER have a rant section.  We instead Focus our energies into building and conceptualizing.  Sure, people need to blow off some steam.  They can always do it elsewhere. Like, getting therapy, getting some anger management sessions, going to the gym, writing in a blog (regardless of how terrible one's writing or grammar is, blogging is free for everyone to do) or doing some macrame.  I simply do not see a reason to add a section that becomes a venue for venting personal grudges.  We don't want people to sign up or stay as a member just because we have a rant thread.  We also discourage people from signing up because they plan to troll someone in the Forums. 

We at MAC, prefer to vent that energy into a positive steam engine that drive our creative locomotives.  Maybe that's the reason why people always comment how "out-of-this-world" my mods are, or, that I'm from Mars, because I always use that steam and convert it into something useful.  That's why when the opportunity came to build something different, most everyone grabbed the chance to take a hack at it.  The MAC Concept Mecha Group Build took off quite fast, with more than 20 active WIPS, and have actually tested and proved what one can do with anything one can find in one's stash, whether it be common household items or scrap parts from kits.  Credit goes to Rzero1 for inspiring the Group Build who has in fact literally made masterpieces out of trash and whathaveyous, and to Kriz for initiating the project.

MAC Forums, as we have observed, has been rather active ever since it started.  We don't have a lot of members, but those we do have are pretty much keeping themselves on their toes.

The New and Final MAC Logo.

MAC Forums have undergone a few changes over the months.  First, migrating from InvisionFree to ZetaBoards which gave MAC its signature Black-Orange/Blue Orange theme.  Then we've continuously added and removed sections depending on user movement.  MAC Forums is also identified by its signature banner that features finished models by, eh-hurm, top modelers, and we do believe we're setting new standards.  That statement is nothing to sneeze at after all.

The MAC log itself has undergone a few changes as well.  Since we focus on the artistic side of Gunpla modeling, the "A" is highlighted on the logotype.  Don did a great job rending the final incorporating my input.

The New and FINAL Look of the MAC Logo


A few months ago I posted my position regarding bootlegs after Bandai sued TT Hongli (aka TTH, or TT to most enthusiasts), quite unsuccessfully.  TTH is back in business doing its business giving people substandard products that were ripped off from Bandai products.  Although I agree with some people that Bandai, most of the time, sucks, because of its recent market releases, we really can't fault them for thinking of the bottom line and milking a series for all its worth.  So I guess a 100th version of an RX-78-2 is okay.


Personally, I don't support bootlegs, hence, MAC Forums does not support bootlegs.  I could probably make a bootleg look as good as an original (I got flak from a few, er, "master modelers" for making that statement), but I still wouldn't do it.

But, we're a liberal Forum, as such we allow a bootleg discussion thread, and we do not tell people not to buy bootlegs.  We do not, however, allow bootlegs to be posted, unless it was part of a collection, or a simple show of skill.  The matter is pretty much a gray area, and it's really at the discretion of the Forum administrators how to handle it.

Speaking of recent and upcoming Bandai releases, the PG Strike Freedom and MG 00Q suck, and I hope the MG Epyon won't.  The Epyon is one of my faves, not really in the top 10, but close.


Everyone has Rules.  Every forum has Rules.  We have Board/Forum Rules mainly as guidelines on how to maximize the benefits the Forum has to offer, exploit its features and work around its limitations.  We have actually just one STANDING rule;  Have Fun, Be Nice, and Enjoy the Hobby.   The Rules were placed on top for a reason; TO BE READ FIRST!  If you haven't read the Rules and later got reprimanded for it, guess whose fault that is?  We have had a relative run since we started, but I guess change is the only constant in the Universe.

That's why it's ON TOP, buster!

Critiques over Criticisms.

They basically mean the same thing.

Actually, not necessarily (if you ask me, I'd say NO, they're not the same).  Though the two came from the root word, critical, a straightforward criticism, like, saying someone or someone's work is ugly, is negative.  "Constructive criticism" is used by most people as an excuse to criticize.  A critique, however, is more of an advise.  Unknown to a lot of people, a criticism, regardless of the intent of the person giving it, is OFTEN ALWAYS viewed by the one getting criticized as a negative on his part.  When someone says "I can take criticisms," it's most likely that they can't.  When someone asks for another's opinion, one can be sure that person is actually asking for praise (at least in my experience with some people in songwriting at least).  In any criticism, There is no positive reinforcement in the part of the one being criticized.

I get this a lot from songwriters who ask for my critique, then later on bash me for giving them one.  It was then I said "never ask for a critique when you're actually expecting a compliment."

Personally, like I posted in the Forums, I'd rather do what I call a "Selective Critique."  I'd comment on what the modeler has done right, or not at all.  That positively reinforces the skill that was mentioned, and if the modeler gets it, will improve on other skills automatically.  Part of one's growth as a modeler is knowing one's limitation.  I, for one, have still not been able to make a weathered kit, not that I can't, but simply because I haven't.  Like modifications, I wouldn't know if it's a weakness till I tried.

As such, I have stopped "what do you think?" because people will still tell you what they think anyways, and take that with a grain of salt.

"Enjoying the Hobby" is NOT an excuse to make mistakes.  It is the motto of MAC Forum, it is part of the standing rule, as a matter of fact.  One must enjoy something in order to have the desire to learn, and no one can learn without making a few mistakes.  I find it hypocritical for someone (who was a friend in fact) to criticize the motto itself, just because more and more people are using it.  Perfection is subjective, and is actually relative to the observer.  Some people will comment on the littlest of things just so they said something even if the comment they made was already out of context.  Some even try to be smartarses, as Kamm would say, and reword the things I've said, just so they can say they said something.

Some, yet still, either completely missed the point, or was such in a hurry to reply, they didn't actually read a post in ITS ENTIRETY.  I'm a very descriptive person.  I am sometimes poetic when I write.  If you missed my meaning, it means you need to READ more.

Like DC23 said, modelers should simply stop being critics all the time.  Most often than not, heavy critics are those with heavy skill limitations who hide their limitations through photo editing.  I have had several instances of people telling me what to do on something they can't even do, on model kits they don't even have themselves, and some who even drop a "better tool" on me just because they lack the skill to use my preferred tool.

One, er, "modeler," even had the gall to tell me on my WIP thread somewhere, and I quote verbatim "Alright the point here is not to lecture you on the lore of UC (this is a modeling forum after all). The point here is that, we like to see a properly mod 666 coming from the hand of a professional modeler who does his homework".

DAGNABBIT, it's MY FRAKKING KIT.  TO HELL with the lore and his stomach.  I would do with it as I like.  I'd shove it up his bee-hind if I could, and let him see how a pro modeler does it.  I draw the line between getting tips and suggestions and a blatant blind UC elitism. The Gundam Universe is larger than that after all. 

As most of you know, I prefer cans over AB, for convenience sake.  Someone, a friend at ZeroG in fact, pointed out that I could have spent money on a good AB set with the cans I've already bought.  I agree with him, but, that AB will only stand unused in a corner for most of its life since my focus in modeling is modifications and scratch building.  Not unless Gunpla becomes a way of living, I won't be getting an AB anytime soon (well, maybe when I finally do get my first commission).  I spend the lot of my Gunpla time just looking at the parts and how to modify them.  I specifically like functional modifications.  That's MY Gunpla Style.   

Regardless, that doesn't mean I don't consider painting as important.  I prefer cans for their convenience.  Forget the limited color selection.  Forget that a can's spray nozzle is inadjustable.  (in fact, that in itself, being able to control the burst of a tool meant for large scale painting so it can be used to detail something in small scale), is a skill one can develop). I prefer RED anyways and would paint all my stuff red if I can, but, those limitations led me to develop the Spray Can Multitone Technique which showed that one can use cans to do more than just flat colors that one can easily achieve with an AB.  The Multitone was actually a MISTAKE on my part when I accidentally relayered Flat Black over my Gold Buffer instead of going ahead with Yamaha/Honda Red.  In fact, even my favorite Muted Metallics was a mistake on my part while working on The Big Red/Hi-Nu.  I was reaching for a gloss clear and accidentally used flat clear.  My "squiggly-lines" pattern on the Sinanju/Angelus/Impaler shields was also a mistake, made long ago when I was just a budding artist in high school.  These "mistakes" I now use heavily when I paint and I haven't looked back ever since.

 Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
These were all mistakes that became techniques, not excuses.

Tutorials, Techniques and WIPs.

Like I mentioned, I am VERY descriptive when I write, often repeating a few things and referring to others especially when I write tutorials.  If often indicate the materials and tools I use each time I use them, and would often describe what I already have in pictures.

Being an instructor, I always extend my patience as far as I can as far as repetitive queries go.  Recently, I posted an update, the last of the X-Walker as a matter of fact, and linked it at MAC FB.  Not so long after, I get a chat window at FB asking me what material I used with the Walker, plaplates in particular.  So, being me, I said "Tamiya and HIPS.  Didn't you read my blog entry?"

As far as my patience went, I was at the tip of it when the guy said "not yet."

That, led me to post this at FB:
People, inasmuch as I or any modeler here would like to entertain questions, please do take time to READ the actual blog posts or relative posts or do a search first before asking. In most cases, the answers are already there. 

Basic things like plapates, cement and parts are often indicated on the WIP entries themselves. Personally, I take the time to be VERY descriptive in my postings with pictures included. You can learn more and innovate by experimenting. The techniques presented in the tutorials and WIPs are there for your reference, but I always urge people to innovate instead of simply copying or replicating them.

I am helpful to a fault.  But I also DO NOT promote laziness.  READ and understand.  Do a search.  Google isn't a merely a search engine.  Maximize its benefits.  Learn how to use keyword searching.


Still not a Real Rant.

I haven't ranted yet.  I am merely blurting narratives.  I'm working on the Turn X, which, I hope turns out well, because it's the next step to my evolution as a modeler.  I've hit bumps along the way.  And I'm still fuming about other things, but whatever steam I've built up seem to manage to vent off elsewhere.  Since I don't use Koto vent parts heavily like DC23 does, it might be venting off to my designs and project.  I do hope I can wow at least myself with this project, since I can scrap and stop midway into one when I lose steam.  We all have our little devils.  Hypocrite is he who claims to not know evil within.  The difference with me though is, I have embraced my inner devil into submission and have agreed to let it out every now and then so it can crush other demons in the mix.

I've been bugging Julius Lim to a Master/Padawan face off as suggested by Don (basically because he and TM will be facing off soon), but Juju's too busy right now to commit.  Instead, as flattering as it can get, I was challenged to a The O Build Off.

But that's another Story...

Addendum: I have edited this and will continue to do so until my next post, which should be huge considering it's the Turn X WIP, I hope.

Thanks to Kamm for that lulz "in the rules" pic.

Addendum II:  I have more views/reads on this blog post and "I'll blog about it" as compared to my Gunpla-related posts.  Maybe I should post more narratives like these in the future.

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    1. Very cleverly written. I enjoyed reading it right up to the end.

    2. You did not rant here bro.. I believe you are getting softer. lol

    3. @ Kamm: I edited my post and included one of your nice lulz pics.

      @ Sonar: Thanks man!

      @ DC: Although I agree I that I have not ranted, I'm not getting softer. Less meaner, probably.

    4. Could use some Cerveza Negra power somewhere in between for some stinging remarks but I like the tone overall. Nice read bro!

    5. I haven't had a beer in weeks. Maybe I'll have more sting in my rant if I have had one as I was writing it. At any rate, I wouldn't really write anything that wouldn't apply to me either (hence, DC's "softer" remark), so, much of what is written here serve as a self-reminder as well.

    6. I love it,although I was hoping more for JETFUEL
      than lighter

      Regardless, Its very eliquent in form.

    7. @ Kriz: The jetfuel, as of yet, is encased in a well-designed tank and distribution system. You'll know when I've hit an override or sprung a leak.

      Lighter fluid just don't cut it anymore. It can start a fire, but not an explosion.

      @ G-Zop: Thanks man!

    8. I almost become one of "the banned few" not until I met them in person and had a talk, LOL!

      "penchant to crush newbies" <- We share the opinion here

      We are both spray can user, man, so rare to see people who prefer spray cans over ABs. Yes, I agree that they are convenient. I don't belong to the group who's patient enough to mix and match paints and thinners to get the exact shade and texture.

      I was actually shocked when that "bootleg" issue happened. I never thought I will see it in MAC, of all the places why does it have to be at MAC. Anyway, that happens, though rare, that thing just clarified MAC's stand against bootlegs.

    9. Oh, it's better now... a little less soft compared to the previous post! LOL

    10. yeah....finally a good breather....hope that settles all...nice choices of words MatX...

      GMAC supports you all the way..:)

    11. DAGNAMMIT! (lol)... gawd... I miss your rants man (tho this aint classified as one)! hehehehehe


    And These Came in the Mail

    Rather, I had these sent to my school since I was on an off-site training.  Bosny Philippines has once again graciously sent me free...