Hi random people – today I will be sharing with you my thoughts about how GunPla(Gundam Plastic Models), or PlaMo(Plastic Models) in general helped me bond with my family and how it also helps bring a certain sense of accomplishment as a parent and as a husband.
Being a father of 2 energetic little boys with a knack for leaving their play area a mess can be quite…challenging, to say the least, especially of you are working at home – because basically, their play pen… is the whole house.
During the pandemic, I had the opportunity to work at home. I honestly never knew how it was at home because I worked in an office space for almost a decade. Now that I spent more time at home, I saw how my wife would juggle between her work-from-home tasks and keeping the kids at bay … it was not an easy thing to do (shout out to all the moms out there, YA’LL ARE SUPERWOMEN!). As a husband, I felt like I had to do something to help, and so – GUNPLA!
I didn’t start with “hey look I have a toy for you!” ~ Nope, I had them watch some Gundam first so they would get the feel and get interested with what I did (I build in our living room). They all liked the Gundam Build Fighters and Gundam Build Divers series - the kids even took roles fighting over who Reiji was… made me remember my younger years fighting over who the Red Ranger was☺. I would also allow them to watch me build my kits and they’d ask questions about what the name of the gunpla was and who piloted them in the series (I was building the GunPla kits from the series they were watching to increase their curiosity) – of course there was the occasional “what’s that for daddy?”, pointing to tools and other crafting materials I had. This made me feel that they were ready to make their own.
About a week into this routine of watching and building, I asked them if they wanted to build their own kits. They had that excited glow in their eyes and said with all their childish glee “YES!” – Even my wife wanted to give it a try. So, off to the online shopping app I go to have them choose what they wanted as their first kits. During this time, I talked to them about the different Kit Grades and explained how hard it was to build each kind. After about an hour and a half of scrolling through the app, we ended up with 2 SD kits, 1 HaroPla, an extra set of tools… and 2 HG kits – for me of course☺.
We got them 5 days later and as expected, our eldest son got his SD Sengoku Astray, our youngest got the SD Lightning Gundam, and my wife got her Haropla.
As with any beginner, they all needed guidance on how to properly nip and snap their parts from the runners. It wasn’t easy for the kids to control their excitement because they wanted to see their GunPla completed as fast as they could. This was where we taught them about certain values…
- For kids, they usually think “I want it now!” – But this is different when we are building something. We taught them that it would take time to complete things like this, that there is a certain set of instructions to follow and a process that has to be completed before we see results
- This was a hard one, kids usually have an attention span of 15-20 minutes at most, and building kits take more than that (for a child). We taught them that if they will lose interest, they wouldn’t be able to see the result of their hard work.
- For my wife, this was her de-stressing activity; it helped keep her mind focused on something else besides work. Basically like a refresh button so that when she goes back to her tasks, her mind is fresh and ready for another battle … this goes the same for me too ☺
- The most important value of them all! We taught them to remember that no matter what mishaps would happen during the process of building, the important part is we spent time together and that we should always keep our eyes on the prize ☺
As anyone would expect, the kits they built weren’t perfect (even with my help) but they were happy. They had fun building them and they really appreciated their handiwork – and of course, they played with it, imitating fight scenes from their new favorite TV show. The kits didn’t last that long without parts flying off because of their “GunPla battle” but the good part is, they knew how to put it back together. They would soon ask for more kits to build and over the course of 10 months, they now have a total of 8 SD kits, 4 HGs, and 3 Haros.
I’m looking forward to challenging them with customized kits in the future. They’ve already seen me paint on some of my kits and of course, they want to get in on that too. One of the best places that I know that one could get hobby paint is from StudioG. They have a variety of colors to choose from and they are pre-thinned to make it easier for newbies (like me) to use!
Seeing that they are very much interested in this hobby warms my heart. It’s not easy to find a common ground with kids these days, especially with all the tech that they now have access to. I value the time that we spend when we build kits as it gives me an opportunity to bond with them and instill more values as they grow. I’m glad that I was able to share this experience with you and I hope that somehow, this random blog would help you in your journey as a gunpla builder!
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Stay awesome everyone! And remember, life is RNDM - let's make it fun!