Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Student takes first prize at robot model building competition

By Chang Yi-chen and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Junior-high school student Chiu Hsien-chun adjusts his prize-winning model in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of Chiu Hsien-chun

A junior-high school student won first prize in the youth division of the Gunpla Builders World Cup in Japan in December last year.

The Japanese phrase Gunpla is a portmanteau of Gundam — robots featured in a Japanese anime franchise of the same name — and “plastic model.”

The competition was hosted by Bandai, a Japanese toy maker that produces Gundam model kits.

Chiu Hsien-chun (邱顯鈞), the youth division winner, on Sunday said that he has been building robot models since a friend showed him a book of illustrated plastic models in elementary school three years ago.

After learning that serious hobbyists modify commercially available kits to make unique creations, he was inspired to participate in workshops and invest in modeling tools, he said.

He made his prize-winning work, named Over War, by combining a commercial kit with materials that he scavenged, Chiu said, adding that he sprayed the model with a specially selected paint and adorned it with rotten wood, chosen to create an aged battlefield debris look.

“I was surprised when I won. I participated the previous year, but was not selected,” Chiu said. “Last year I had the opportunity to compete and thought it would be fun to go to Japan. I did not think I would win first prize.”

He said that because he does not get good grades in school, he was grateful for his parents’ support of his hobby, which is a source of pride and achievement for him.

Lin Tzu-chiao (林子喬), a teacher who helped Chiu assemble his model, said that modeling is a complicated hobby, adding that Chiu put a lot of thought into selecting the appropriate colors to bring his concept to life.

Chiu spent six months planning the composition of Over War and practicing his skills, and began building the model two months before the competition, Lin said, adding that Chiu showed passion and determination.

“I often remind him that the point of building models is to have fun, not win prizes,” Chiu’s father said, adding that his son graduated from the experimental Forest School, where his creativity was encouraged, and that as a parent he supports his children’s pursuit of creative enjoyment.

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