Gundam Guy Special Feature - Don Suratos [DC23 mecharts]
Written by Gundam Guy
Back in 2010, when I had decided to fully devote this blog to be an outlet for Gundam news, I recalled my endeavor was met with many challenges. From improving my poor language skills to posting new contents on a daily basis, I have to honestly say it has not always been easy. But one of the main challenge back then was finding an audience. As any blogger would tell you, running a blog from the ground up is not easy. But over the course of the past several years, we were blessed with many friends and supporter of this blog, who encouraged and helped us in various ways.
This month we have surpassed 100,000 LIKES on our Gundam Guy Facebook Page, and surpassed 42,000,000 pageviews on this Gundam Guy Blog. This is all thanks to every one of you, and we are humble by your support.
And so, we would like to devote a series of special posts featuring some of Gundam Guy's long time friends & supporters. In the coming months, we also plan to release other special feature posts to introduce various Gundam related websites, forums, gunpla builders, etc. It is our hope that these special feature posts would bring the Gundam community closer.
So without further ado, we would like to introduce to you one of Gundam Guy's initial friend and supporter, Don Suratos from the Philippines. Gunpla modelers knows him by the name DC23 which are initials of his first name and birthdate. He is creator of DC23 mecharts blog, a blog featuring his Gundam collection, WIPS, artworks, a few of his toys, M.A.C. forum updates, featured Mechas / model kits by modeler friends. His blog is now the no.1 Gundam modeling site in the Philippines today (since 2010). In addition, he is the first Filipino modeler to have won as World Champion since the Philippines started participating in Bandai Model Kit Asian Cup ( BAKAC - international competition, now Gunpla Builders World Cup - GBWC) since 2003, and also won as the grand champion winner of BAKUC World in Hong Kong in 2008.
Don has been a fan of Gundam since he first seen a Gundam TV series in the Philippines back in the late 90s. When asked which Gundam series was his favorite, he shared, "I saw the Gundam Wing series back then. I honestly do not watch much Gundam, but felt I needed to after 2008. So I watch a few episodes of all the UC series Gundams just to get the feel of how they are in the Anime, as I started to really like doing Gunpla back then..." Don loves the mobile suit designs from the UC era, but enjoys watching the animation of the newer series. He concluded saying he would much rather scribe custom panel lines on any Gunpla than watch a series during weekends.
A Hero Forged From Humble Beginnings
Don took up Fine Arts back in his college days and have been painting / drawing on paper since birth, so modeling almost came natural to him in a way. He used to paint his Lord of the Rings toy collection back in 2001 until 2006 and even created a Helm’s Deep diorama that is 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. In that project, He also sculpted 3 extra Ents to accompany my 14 inch Treebeard action figure back in 2005.
Then Don got started building Gunpla in 1998 after seeing the Gundam Wing Series. He had around 20 1/144 model kits and all of them were unpainted. All of which were from the Gundam Wing series except for a 1/144 Kapool and a 1/144 Gerbera Tetra. But took a haitus from collecting and building after 2001.
He was later re-introduced back into gunpla building by a co-worker in 2008. He bought his first HG 1/100 Force Impulse Gundam and MG 1/100 Freedom Gundam. That same year, He created his first modified gunpla build, a 1/60 Gundam Exia. And made his first Gunpla diorama build with the MG 1/100 Kampfer hovering over a battle damaged MG 1/100 Zeong.
Don has not stopped building ever since, and has became an inspiration for many builders around the globe.
Fat Zeon... Curves... O My...
What Gundam fan does not have his / her favorite mobile suit? Don is no different, but he like to categorize his favorite mobile suits into two categories. Anime wise, his favorite is the Turn A Gundam. He states, "The organic curves of that MS (Turn A Gundam) looks very natural and realistic for me." Modeling wise, his favorite mobile suit is the The-O. He states, "I just love working with fat Zeon kits as they look good in steam punk treatments."
So is quite obvious, with all the customized builds under Don's belt, his favorite build would be his MG 1/100 The-O II versionDC23. Regarding this build, he humbly shares, "It was a bit rushed as I wanted to finish it before the year ended (2011), but it has the most scratch built parts I have done so far. I am not comfortable with my scratch building skills, so any build that pushed me to do so is special."
Building a custom gunpla kit like those seen on Don's websites can be very daunting. It can take months from planning to execution to produce a quality build. So here is a word of wisdom from Don, "Just enjoy every bit of the process. I did not and got burned out. I am so pressured in always winning gold in local Gunpla competitions back in 2008 to 2011, I ended up being so stressed with the hobby. So the best advice is to just enjoy every bit of the process. You cannot learn all the skills in this hobby in 2 or 3 years anyways. This is a hobby that is so fun as you learn in every build. This is a lifelong learning experience."
GBWC 2014... Any Chances?
Since 2010, Don is not allow to compete in the Open Category of GBWC. This is due to a rule in the Philippines, that in a Bandai sponsored contest, if a participant won 3 times he/she would never be eligible to join the Open Category again.
To this, Don states, "I really hope I can enter the GBWC this year and compete with the new breed of younger very talented modelers."
If Don is allow to compete this year, which according to him is quite a longshot, he would work on a mega scale project bigger than any of his old competition projects. And like for his previous contest entries, he will work on a Zeon gunpla kit.
Don, Best of luck to you. We hope you will continue to inspire us with your awesome modeling work!
And we end this feature post with DC23's new signature logo.