Fantastic Friday - Patient and Nimble-Fingered

That’s Liam. He certainly hasn’t inherited his mother’s ‘two left hands’ clumsiness.

One of the anime themes he enjoys is the ‘Gundam’ series, which is a science fiction franchise featuring giant robots, or ‘mecha’, called ‘mobile suits’, and these are named ‘Gundam’. It reminds me of something I used to watch back in the day, which I remember really enjoying. The one he's watched is the 12th instalment, ‘Mobile Suit Gundam AGE’, which is basically a war story that spans three generations, and covers nearly 100 years. I watched a few episodes here and there, and even though I wasn’t quite sure what was going on at the time, still found it easy to get drawn in.

Basically, the story involves the mobile suits and their pilots fighting in a war. I won’t go into the ins-and-outs of it – that’s a whole post in itself – but will say that, for an animated series, it does get quite deep. The characters are well-developed, with no one faction clearly labelled ‘hero’ or ‘villain’. Each side has its own set of heroes and villains, with their own reasons for fighting and wanting to win. These reasons stand up well to debate, making it difficult for the viewer to pick a side. It goes into philosophical and political debates and beliefs on the meaning of war and pacifism.

At last year’s Hyper Japan, Liam decided to get a couple of model kits. They were so affordable, between £10-£20, so we thought they’d be fairly basic and simple to put together. How wrong we were. Although the putting-together is more straightforward than it looks, the number of pieces and the detail is nothing short of stunning! Especially when you consider the size of these things. And there are stickers! The teeniest stickers I’ve ever seen. The instructions are in Japanese, but it doesn’t matter as the diagrams are detailed and easy to understand. Again, considering the price and the size, most of these models can be transformed into flight mode. Most of them also come with display stands, and the models themselves are so posable.

The first model Liam built, which he bought at Hyper Japan 2016

Liam’s never done any model-building of any kind before but, once he got over the surprise of the size and quantity of the pieces, was eager to get started. Each piece has to be cut off of the frame, and he uses the craft knife to scrape off the extra bits of plastic so he’s left with a smooth surface. As to how he gets those stickers on… if I wore a hat, I’d take it off to him.


The ones on the left and right are the first ones Liam bought last year; the one in the middle is one he built in the last month

Two of the models from the previous picture transformed into flight mode

He enjoys these models so much, he’s now collecting them; so far, he has nine. And there’s loads more to go! He’ll be wanting another display cabinet soon, methinks.