The 16th incarnation of World Hobby Festival in its Ariake location occurred yesterday, May 5th 2007. HD was there to take in the event for the first time, and came away quite satisfied by what turned out to be essentially a miniaturized version of Wonder Festival. Despite occupying only one of the Big Sight‘s voluminous West halls the event still had a lot to offer garage kit and figure enthusiasts – more than enough to break one man’s wallet and fill his camera’s memory with tasty photos. Read on for the low-down on WHF, and more pictures than you can shake a reasonably large stick at. Warning: while this post isn’t tagged as ero, it does contain some adult content.
What is WHF?
As mentioned in the excerpt, WHF is essentially a miniaturized version of Wonder Festival. Like its more prominent counterpart, the event’s primary purpose is as a space for amateur garage kit makers to display and sell their wares. PVC figure manufacturers also have a presence at the event, showcasing some of their new products (though nothing like the spread at Wonder Festival), and roughly a third of the event space is occupied by retail figure, hobby and toy dealers trying to get rid of their dead stock. This particular iteration of WHF also featured a special Soft Vinyl Matsuri section, showcasing the true superstars of Japan’s sci-fi B-movie history; I didn’t make it to that side of the hall yesterday, alas, so it won’t be covered here.
My trek down to the Big Sight mirrored that of a few days ago, only this time I had a friend with me to ease the tedium of the three-plus hour train ride. The time passed swiftly and we were in line at the Big Sight shortly before eleven, funneled into a queue that had formed in the area typically reserved for outdoor cosplaying. We were told as we lined up that they’d run out of catalogs for the event, which was worrying until we entered and realized they’d just run out of the stock they were selling to people in the line outside.
the WHF Ariake 16 event catalog
By the time we got into the venue long lines had formed for the more popular circles such as Keumaya, T’s system and Cerberus Project. I had done virtually no preparation for the event beyond a cursory scanning of the circle list and thus was content to spend the first half-hour or so scoping out the venue and getting a feel for what was where.
The event hall layout. This report covers items in the highlighted section (garage kit dealers); the rest of the hall was full of hobby retailers and the aforementioned Soft Vinyl Matsuri.
While I didn’t go with the intent of buying anything in particular, sure enough a few things grabbed my attention. Toria of circle Cherry Blossom was selling alternate chest parts for his two original kits I’d picked up at previous events, making me glad I hadn’t painted them yet. I also noticed this buruma / megane / gym uniform kit online earlier in the week; she hadn’t sold out by the time I got to circle ８３℃‘s booth, so…
Next it was down to the SERIOUS BUSINESS of the day: photography. To take pictures at WHF you first have to register your camera with the powers that be, a simple process in which you write your name and phone number on a piece of paper and they give you a sticker with a number on it. I stuck it in the back of the event catalog after I left, forever preserved for posterity:
Photography pass secured, it was off into the frenzy of painted resin for a hard day’s photo shoot! The following galleries are arranged by source, with ero figures mixed in rather liberally; the miscellaneous figures are separated into ero and non-ero groupings, with industry representation, group shots, and the official World Hobby Contest bringing up the rear. Enjoy!
Goodsmile / Max Factory / Alter were there, with much the same lineup they had at Dream Party except for the notable addition of an ero-ero Shingyouji Mao figure from Frontwing’s Boy Meets Girl, produced in cooperation with Sofmap and slated for release in July.
Orchid Seed, Griffon, and Yamato were there as well (as was Daiki Kougyou, but I blew the photo op). Of particular note was another color version of Orchid Seed’s gosurori Kanu Unchou PVC, and an unphotographable (and hence mosaiced to hell) display copy of Yamato’s upcoming Cobra-Kai sculpted Kanu Unchou PVC.
Circles submitted and event attendees voted on their favorite kits of the event. Entry #16 is missing because there was nothing there when I went to photograph it; perhaps it was an avant garde existentialist piece. The vote tally wasn’t completed by the time I left the event.
a view of the event hall just before I left