York goes Gundam style this weekend! Er, what is Gundam again…?

Seem like friendly chaps… Gundam art by Photograph © Domenico on Flickr

York Racecourse

Sat @ 10am-6pm and Sun @ 10am-4:30pm

£12 per day or £18 for weekend

G-Con UK website

‘York Racecourse to host UK’s first ever G-Con!’

Me neither. York Racecourse to host UK’s first ever what?

G-Con stands for Gundam Convention. And if that leaves you little the wiser, don’t worry, we’ve been doing the research on your behalf.

Simply, Gundam is a cross between Transformers and Airfix. Like Transformers it involves anthropomorphic robots who punch and shoot each other.

Again like Transformers these robots, or “mecha”, are sold as models, called Gunpla.

Gunpla, though, need to be self-assembled similar to Airfix models. (Transformers models, by contrast, come fully built.)

Early days

Gundam began life in the late 70s as a Japanese anime TV series called Mobile Suit Gundam. The franchise now boasts several spin-off TV shows, games, long running manga comics and of course the gunpla industry.

The convention, taking place on the September 24 and 25, will include a casual Gunpla building area as well as a Gunpla building competition.

Other events include panels, cosplay, comic displays anime art, live music, a gunpla museum and something called a gashapon station.

Leading names

A gunpla model. Photo: © Commander Spencer on Flickr
A fully assembled gunpla model. Photo: © Commander Spencer on Flickr

Big names in the Gundam subculture including the comic artist Matt Clarke and the singer Nadeshiko will join anime artist Raiadonis to show off their work.

Don’t go expecting a Robot Wars smash up. Gunpla enthusiasts spend a great deal of time and money assembling their mecha and aren’t keen on seeing them destroyed in glorious combat.

There is also the practical difficulty presented by the fact that gunpla robots can’t actually move.

The event will be hosted by Japan:Cool, one of the few UK based gunpla kit companies. The organisers believe there is “great potential for the fandom of Gundam to increase” at G-con, the first convention in the UK “entirely devoted to the [Gundam] market.”

Gundam and its offspring hobby gunpla are slowly gaining popularity in the UK.

One of its main advantages as a line of self-assembly models is that original and interesting models are regularly released coinciding with new episodes of the TV series. This is in stark contrast to Airfix which desperately needs another world war to remain relevant.