Friday, October 4, 2013

It's all in the displays...

Have you ever wondered about why you like going to a model shop even if you have nothing really to buy? Whether it's HAG, HAW or somewhere in JapanHongkongMalaysiaPhilippines, whatever. Whether you realise it or not, one big reason is probably the display. Think about it. It has always been about the display, from the day you fell in love with the hobby. 

And this is why I want to talk about a very important part of our hobby - DISPLAYS - without which, all we can do is ogle at online pictures which may or may not have been photoshopped, or crowd over competition entries when the annual GBWC comes to town. Nothing beats seeing the real deal, as and when you like, every single day if you wanna. Right? 

There has been so many things happening recently, with the GBWC and Group Builds, that I have almost forgotten that a shop display, particularly the one at HAG, was why I fell into this hobby in the first place, and still sustains me till now. 

I can still remembered standing in front of the showcase 10 years ago. Then I was still a noob who has just embarked my modeling journey. Most of the models on displayed belong to Leon Ku. I can stand there for hours admiring his works and wondering how I can ever reach his level. Lucky for me, the man himself gave me that chance to learn from him and to get to where I am today.

Well, for the initial years, I worked real hard and pushed myself to join numerous competitions. My aim was to make my way up to top 3 standards and then maintain at that level. My other wish was for my works to be displayed at HAG but even when I reached top 3, I felt that I am still not qualified enough to have my works displayed. So I kept at it. Because to me, having your kits displayed at HAG is the highest honor for any modeler here. It’s like a hall of fame for local modelers. And displaying there is a testament of your skills and recognition of your hard work. Nothing beats having your works displayed in the open when the public can view them. And I can tell you I work really hard for it.

Why did it take a while before my kits finally went up at HAG? I never asked because no one asked me, and I didn't know if I was qualified. What if I asked and out of politeness the shop owner dare not reject me? I never dared to impose, but more importantly, I don't want my kit there just because I asked for it. Call me old-fashioned or weird, but I think having your kit as a shop display is an EARNED right, and even then, you should be invited to, not self-initiated.

One day, when I was in the shop, the lady boss finally turned around and asked me whether I want my kits displayed there. I was stumped of course. And that's how it finally happened. I can tell you that even today, I only bring my kits in when asked to, which fortunately for me, happens a lot now since I know them better LOL.

I just want to put a thought out there for you guys. Do you think that the attitude towards displays today have changed? While it is still an honor to have your works displayed in shops, maybe the days of promoting the hobby is gone. Thanks to the Internet and FB, fame and glory is usually first on the list. How best to achieve it in hard flesh? Have your display at a shop. It's that simple. Put your kits on display and you also can get commissions. Quality and standards might not really matter. There are usually ulterior motives for wanting them there. 

So should there be a policing of what goes up in the glass? This might sound anal, but yes, I think so. Because space is limited, and would you keep coming back to a shop if its display is not up to standard? Because I know the guys well, I have been asked to 'curate' the shop displays. I don't even know if I am qualified for the job seriously, but all I can do now is to maintain the quality of displays at HAG. And make sure the displays are awe-inspiring for all those who come to see them. Just my two cents worth. 

I hope the next time you step into a shop anywhere, take a long hard look at the displays and whether you think they deserve to be there, and the blood sweat and tears of modellers behind them. It is after all, why we are in this hobby.


Nice read. I must admit that the primary reason I got into this hobby was because of the displays at HAG as well. That was even before I found out about you guys on the internet (or finding out you're a local modeler in Singapore and one of your kits is on display - Trinity). It certainly draws in crowds and as you've said, somehow challenges them into making something worth looking as well.

Well said! The hobby shops I frequent here in Manila are in dire need of good displays

hope we can have a hobby store in manila that would display great model work...that would surely spark new hobbyist

Personally I would love to have to be able to have a goal like that to work toward. Unfortunately, where I live there just isn't that kind of gunpla community or hobby shops even. But I'd totally agree, the internet just isn't quite the same. I mean soon after a while, your work is just lost in the endless stream of other builds.

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