Looking for something to spend your spare time this year? Then getting in the mech might just be the thing for you.
Young and old alike, every one of us has that little interest that we spend our spare moments (and cash) with. Stuff that helps us ease the tension of our lives, to give color to the mundane daily routine, and, for some, to help keep us sane in this wild, wild world. Some people collect stuff, some people play with their toys, whether they’re for young people or for adults, while others build and tinker with whatever they can lay their hands on and many more ranging from the seemingly fun and lighthearted to the rather quirky and highly interesting. One such hobby, or fandom, which is both as specific and as diverse as it could get is of course Mecha, one of the longest mainstays of Popular Culture whose roots can be traced back to 1940 (maybe even farther!) with the first depictions of humanoid-like giant robots made its way to comics and tv shows.
Ever since its first landed into the realm of pop culture, the thought of riding or controlling robots has always fascinated and filled the hopes and dreams of young boys and girls as it let our imagination run wild with thoughts of maybe saving or even dominating the world with a huge, powerful piece of machinery. Now, of course, this resulted in a boom in the toy section as franchises such as Gundam, Transformers, Macross, and even Super Sentai (to some extent) shoot into popularity both in the East and the West resulting in a demand for playable version of those giant robots that fight monsters and other evil robots that are seen in TVs and Movies.
But aside from just being fascinated by how these imaginary beings of chrome and machinery work, how does one actually get into the mecha fandom and kickstart their own mecha-related hobby?
It’s actually not that hard!
In the realm of Pop Culture, Mecha is one of the most easily identifiable as, regardless of any franchise, they share one trait, they are robots and robots are, well, very easy to identify and the so-called barrier for entry isn’t that high nor initially expensive as one would think, depending on what specific sub-fandom you’re into of course.
There’s just so many! How do I choose?
While the Mecha fandom is specific to robots, the number of options in the fandom is as diverse as it could get but can still be classified, or at least with how we classify it, into the following main categories; the stuff that you get to play out of the box and the stuff that you have to build first. Depending on your tastes, both main options never run out of its fun moments with the out of of the box stuff, which commonly includes Transformers toys and a majority of Super Robot Models each come with their various gimmicks and add-ons, from additional parts to additional weapons.
Cost-wise, playable out of the box stuff such as Transformers can go as affordable as PHP 300 (even lower during the sale season) with different sub-variants to choose from based on its numerous iterations in comics, TV shows, and movies. Of course, you really don’t have to watch the show themselves just to appreciate the beauty of the franchise but taking the deep dive and really knowing the lore behind each robot could also easily boost the fascination factor to 11.
If you’re the type that enjoys building though then the PlaMo (Plastic Model) kits might just be for you with one of the main names being the Gundam franchise whose plastic kits, commonly known as GunPla, have soared throughout the years featuring different variants from its numerous iterations.
Just like its playable out of the box cousins, the buildable ones also come with its own brand of add-ons and gimmicks, and, if you’re really willing to pour time and money into it, taking the deep dive will bring you to the world of customizing your kit with your own choice of parts, paint, and other add-ons to truly make it “yours”. Sound expensive? If you’re really into it then it could be but Gunpla kits, LEGIT ones, start at around PHP 250 in terms of pricing, mostly depending on scale or size.
You’re gonna need space
Hobbyists and collectors, regardless of what they’re collecting, share a universal problem; there’s just not enough space to display and keep stuff and with that, we would really advise to prepare and perhaps invest in proper storage and display areas for your mechs. One thing with mechs, whether model kits or out of the box stuff, is that they can be big and bulky and cover a lot of surface area especially when you go about posing them or even putting them in their accompanying stands. But that doesn’t totally mean that you have to blow your budget for shelf space as streamlining your collection could also help in easily squeezing in your new mecha additions. Remember, you don’t have to have everything, just the ones that bring joy, or stuff like that.
Enjoy the ride
Just like any other hobby, collecting and enjoying mecha toys, figures or other paraphernalia is meant to be enjoyed. Of course, there will be frustrating moments when you can’t just find that one model, or add-on that you’re looking for, the buyer’s remorse when a “better” variation of what you already have arrives, but at the end of the day, just seeing the extra fruits of your labor and letting your imagination run wild with the history behind your collectible should be able to put that gleaming smile on your face.