Thirteen-year-old Kevin Boris Buenaluz Ladines won his 3rd national championship title in the Junior Category during the Gundam Model Kit Contest (GMKC) 2015 held at SM Megamall from May 18-25 of this year. The contest was organized by the Bandai Company and Ban Kee Trading in cooperation with Toy Kingdom. The winning entry is a Master Grade Gundam Epyon in custom colors.
It was in 2014 when Boris gained his first championship award in the same annual event. The second one was when he won the Gunpla Builders World Cup Junior that same year when he represented the country to compete in the international Gunpla competition in Tokyo, Japan in December 2014.
Boris started building gundam model kits in 2009 at the age of 7; but only started joining competitions in 2011. “This winning streak did not come instantly,” he stated. To date, he won 3 out of 12 gunpla contests he has participated in. These were the three consecutive wins since 2014. He continuously competes with the aim of improving his modeling skills.
This child from Cainta, Rizal is an embodiment of continuous training, determination, and hard work. He makes his contest entries from start to finish. Adults in the family are hands-off during the whole process. “My brother and I are guided by our mentor, but we are the only ones who can handle and touch our kits during the building and painting process. If we make mistakes, we have to redo and repair our own kits,” he adds. The funds for their entries and paints come from saved up allowances and proceeds of gifts. They are taught to spend within their means.
In a country where parents normally do their kids’ school projects, their family gravely defies this norm. “They are homeschooled; and one of the precepts of homeschooling is to train children to be independent learners. We allow them to make mistakes because that’s how they learn and solve problems at hand. It takes years of training, but that is how children develop and improve. We cannot rush it and we can’t do that for them,” says Minette, the mother of Boris.
“Gunpla is a weekly activity for us. Sometimes, it’s a daily activity,” Boris stated in one of his facebook posts. Homeschooling allows them to focus on practicing their building and painting skills after the schoolwork, piano studies, and in between house chores. He and his brother Raizen, who bagged 1st runner up in the Youth Category, are both trained by Eric Capucion of the Plastic Model Kit Workshop.