Musketeers? Noooooooo. Privatateers? Noooooooo. Volunteers? Well kinda yeah but we're really the Gauntleteers, those of us that survived the trials! Of the nearly 20 people that entered only 7 survived to the end.
Here are the survivors.
First, the Captain and leader of this charge. Lupes.
He started his kit right away and by the time the Gauntlet had officially started he was well ahead of the rest of us. He put in a lot of work and he finished way ahead of schedule. He was already deep into his next mission when I barely squeezed in 2 minutes before the deadline and even that was an effort. Lupes has a pretty disciplined build approach and isn't afraid to put the time or money into a project to make it right. He often repaints, tweaking things that don't seem quite right. I've worked with him on every Gauntlet so far (Sinaju ver.ka, PG Strike Freedom, Nu Gundam ver.ka) and he puts out quality work every time and has been getting better over time. and bolder. Which is a good progression. Just never know what that guy is going to do next. Very unpredictable and consistently puts out good stuff.
Next is Syd, who has also participated in all Gauntlets and some other group builds that I sat out (MG Unicorn and ReZel I think). Syd can occasionally do some pretty radical things to his Gundams but for me one of his trade marks is his ridiculous decal work. A very solid effort and you can tell that he spent a lot of time to make his work solid and consistent with a lot of attention paid to small details. I personally really like the black and silver theme. It's very classy and really helps to draw attention the trademark red ver.ka decals.
Next we have a veteran of the GAF forums, Falldog who has never failed to impress me with his work. With his Nu he went for a more muted theme using flat blues and greys which I think looks excellent. I love the contrast and he used the right colours in the right areas. I also like how he used the Sazabi cockpit in some of his pics. Very cool stuff and very clean, solid work. I liked his lining work... but what will did it for me was the flat finish. It works superbly with the colours he chose.
Wolfman X decided to go with a darker scheme that most people would think is Titan's style but I think he was going more for a Delta Plus inspired scheme with blacks, greys and silvers as opposed to the black and navy Titans scheme. I really liked the finish he got on his paint job and his decal work. I think it all really worked here and is a good example of how versatile this kit can be when it comes to colour options.
Shaid did a version of the Nu that was very close to my heart personally for a few reasons. 1) He used the Zeta Plus A1 scheme. 2) He somehow attached ReZel wings to the back of it WITH funnels. 3)That metallic paint job! Oh man. When I saw his frame I was shocked. Chromed out and if there's one thing I love it's a chromed out Gundam! Damn dude. Frame's so good that he had to leave some of the armour off. Which is fine I did the same too. But just fyi I wasn't copying him. I thought of doing that on my own before I saw his suit. One very fine piece of work and a fantastic finish all around. Great outdoor photos.
Khai's work is very unique. When I saw his initial WIP I was pretty stunned. Custom weapons right across the board. Special beam rifle, special rail gun arm, special shield, shoulder mounted bazooka plus all the funnels... his mech is probably the FA unit of lot. Khai's paint scheme is closer to the Titans look than Wolfman X's is. He used the navy, black, red and yellow in Titan's areas and proportions and I think we can all agree that almost any suit looks good in Titan's colours, this one being no exception. My fondness for that scheme goes back to my first days with Gundam because my first MG was a Mark 2 ver.1 Titan's and I loved it because it was the only black Gundam I'd ever seen. Even now it is known as "The Black Gundam" because of the title of the first Zeta Gundam episode where it made it's debut. Which I always felt was a bit of misnomer because it's actually a lot more navy then black... but I guess "The Navy Gundam" just doesn't have the same gravitas.
And last is me... But there will be plenty of time to talk about what I did. I largely decided on going for something that could bookend my Sinanju so... I went dark as well.
Looking at these guys I know that my work doesn't compare to theirs but I learned a lot and was inspired by them in many ways and for me that's what a group build is really about. While I did finish the Gauntlet this still more work that I want to do on this kit but I don't think I'm doing it justice like this. I will finish it properly... up to my own standards... and in my own time. Which as a lot of you know can be a while... hehe
Thanks to everyone who participated, GAF for hosting for all the readers who followed our journey!
For me it was:
2009 - Sinanju
2011 - Strike Freedom
2013 - Nu Gundam
2015 - ?????