Okay. I rarely do rant posts with the exception of last year's infamous GBWC judging fiasco. I thought I would have to wait a while (or maybe until THIS YEAR's GBWC, if it even happens at all, that is LOL) to come up with my next rant, but as it turns out, we don't need to wait that long.
You see, I was selling toys with a friend at our rented stall at China Square Central today (that's how I make some money back from the obscene amount of toys I collect), and encountered utter stupidity face to face for the first time today. How many of you have had people ask you: Why are you still playing with toys? Or have your girlfriends give y'all that quizzical I-can't-tell-if-it's-nice-but-I-think-you're-expecting-me-to-say-it-is-so-I-will look when asked for an opinion of your latest masterpiece? We all have encountered such stuff. Which is why we aren't millionaires LOL. Because if the rest of the world understood gunpla or scale modelling, we wouldn't need our day jobs, would we? We'd be TRUE fulltime 'artists'.
Here's the thing. While most of us have probably learnt to accept that the moment we signed up for this hobby, we'd have people mocking us, or raising one eyebrow or two, you haven't really met true disdain till you meet it right in the eye, staring into that creative-less, artistic-free iris of the ignorant imbecile that lacks the social skills or EQ to NOT tell you what he/she thinks of your art.
Cue the brief but interesting incident that happened to me this afternoon. I'm at China Square Central's toy bazaar, manning a stall with a friend. I've been asked by many to put my Grimlock up for sale even though I never started with the intention of selling it. So I tagged it at $350, negotiable. For the mods and extra parts that went into this, not to mention the man-hours, it's already a bargain, IF you knew modelling. Well if you didn't, I don't expect you to buy it either. I'm aware that TF fans are more pre-occupied with whether their toy can 'transform', for what is a transformer if it cannot transform, right? Fair enough. My piece, because of the mods, can no longer transform, so I wasn't expecting any TF fan to pick it up either. I had totally no expectations about custom Grimlock selling, to be honest. I displayed him side by side as you see in the pic, with an OOB version just to let people see the difference. Especially for folks unfamiliar with modelling, I was thinking, perhaps they'd see the wonder in converting an ordinary toy into something life-like. It was just a feel-good thing, I admit, for my own ego, to have people appreciate the skill and work that went into it. After all, isn't this one aspect of gunla that we all enjoy? So displayed it I did. Well whaddaya know? I got a rude slap in the face instead LOL. Here's what happened. A smug customer with an ear-piece, looks like he's in his 30s, window shopping for toys, graces my humble stall with his presence. Let's just call him 'Numbskull', b'cos that's the most polite name I can think of to call him:
NUMBSKULL (rudely picks up displayed OOB Grimlock without asking for assistance, ripping it from it's blue-tac feet): "Are you selling this or not?"
ME (taking back OOB Grimlock and putting him back beside custom Grimlock, listed for $350): "Sorry I'm not selling this, it's just for comparison with the custom one."
NUMBSKULL: "No difference whad..."
ME: "Er no, there is a lot of difference..."
NUMBSKULL (casting a cursory glance at custom Grimlock, then walking off while muttering): "It's just painted."
I had to resist the urge to retort: "Why don't you try painting it?" But instead, I turned the other cheek to avoid complications.
"It's just painted". Sure. Nobody looks at the Mona Lisa and says "it's just painted". Nobody looks at a Chinese painting and goes "It's just painted". But ooooooh, when it comes to a mere toy, unless it friggin' starts TALKING to you, transforming or shooting f*ckin lasers, "it's just painted". Righto. LOL. That's how the cookie crumbles, folks. Perhaps I was asking for it, displaying my piece at a TOY bazaar, but this is a mini social experiment that I had also attempted a week before. I posted the before-after Grimlock pic above into a Whatsapp group chat. In that chat were ex colleagues, two guys and a girl. One of the guys had 'loaned' me his airbrush to use since he had given up the hobby, so I wanted to show him his airbrush was put to good use. I confess, I was also hoping to see the reactions of the two other lay persons. Only the girl messaged back, saying "Wow toys." And then changed the subject.
TOYS. You can't run away from that four-letter word whether you're into gunpla, TFs or both.