.contact us |.about us
News > Lifestyle News ...
Built from scratch Model makers
( 2003-10-16 08:54) (eastday.com)

Qiao Jian and Wang Wei'er discuss the finer points of creating impressive replicas of the cars and trucks cruising the streets of the world, writes Gao Yiyang.

Qiao jian has an enviable collection of jeeps, pick-ups and monster trucks. But the 31-year-old is neither rich nor an employee of an international auto giant. His collection of vehicles are handmade radio-controlled models.

Based on photos, it's hard to believe the vehicles aren't real, all the details are identical to items fresh off the assembly line.

``Model making is more brain work than physical labor,'' says the house leasing manager at the Shanghai Center. ``Though all the models I make are available in shops, mine are unique since I add something individual to each one.''

Qiao has invested time and money -- a total of 50,000 yuan (US$6,024) -- in his hobby. He has nine completed models -- each built on a ratio of 1:10 -- including a Ford F-350 pick-up, a Pajero ECI-MULTI V6, a Wrangler jeep and a Ford Aeromax with trailer. The most expensive is the Ford Aeromax with trailer.

The 1.4-meter-long, 10-kilogram vehicle cost Qiao more than 12,000 yuan and took nearly nine days to finish. This large model truck is capable of more than just operating by radio control. Its light and sound systems are activated by remote control, its electric support legs beneath the trailer open automatically whenever the trailer is to detach from the tractor. It's easy work for Qiao, or at least it appears that way.

While putting together a Wrangler jeep his talent shined, revealing ingenious solutions to get the desired affect. First he cut a small piece of a CD to cover the side-mirror surfaces instead of applying stickers; then sliced Coke cans to make the bars of windshield wipers, finally using the rubber chain inside a Walkman to cover the wipers. Think that's impressive? Check this out.

Qiao's masterpiece is the winch set, fully created from junk, above the front bumper. Qiao cut two short pieces of ball-point pen tubes for two barrels of the hook box. To make the handlebar, he used a small screw and filed it into the proper shape with sandpaper. Copper wires were also adopted as cables. The final result is amazing -- the unmatched winch set makes the model exclusive to Qiao.

``It's pitiful that I couldn't make the set functional,'' says Qiao, who began model making while in primary school. ``The process of thinking out a method and making it work is great fun. Most of the time I'm just considering how to improve my works, even when I'm with my girlfriend. I might be crazy.''

Qiao is not alone, however.

Wang wei'er, who sets up his own Yihua Trade Development Co Ltd that specializing in model cars, ships and planes, also sees strong benefits in the hobby.

``The benefits from the activity is far more than just assembly techniques,'' he says. ``The biggest benefit we have got is to set up a decent way of thinking. Because the hobby deals greatly with applied mathematics and science, you need to figure out creative or innovative methods to solve different problems. Gradually your brain is trained to work better and faster.''

Although experienced, Qiao represents a younger generation of model makers while Wang, 44, is regarded as an elite master in the city. Another difference between the two is that Qiao does it for the love of the hobby. Sure there's little doubt that Wang is also passionate about making models, but he has also turned it into a career. Wang's first brush with the hobby dates back to the early 1970s while in Grade Three of primary school. Wang joined the model making team of the Children's Palace and started assembling radio controlled ships. According to Wang, model making was difficult in those days. No ready-made or imported models were available in the country.

Therefore, everything was made from scratch. For ship building, Wang and his teammates tried all means to finish the tough task. First they checked pictures of the ship. All sizes are measured and reduced to the same ratio. After completing the design they needed to hand shape all parts from chunks of wood for the keel, support poles, frame and cabins.

Wang once used material from inside a semiconductor radio set to make the blades of a propeller. The result was ``surprisingly good.''

``Though pretty hard, it also gave us ultra-strict training,'' says Wang. ``Each member of the team established a very steady basis for the capability involved in the hobby -- hand work, physics, mathematics and electronics.''

Nowadays things have changed. Wang reveals that there are currently only several hundred people making models regularly. It's a small number compared with Shanghai's population of more than 16 million. Model parts, most imported, are readily available. More and more ready-made products, that only require simple assembly, are now popular since fewer people are willing to devote time and energy to the activity. However, Wang sees problems with this shift.

``That's not good,'' he says.

``The real fun comes from the process of making everything yourself. But now most people live a fast-paced life and have little patience for the hobby. Also Shanghai has no professional shop specializing in models, so it's extremely hard to popularize it among younger generations. Even with a lot of models finished, there's no fixed venue in the city for fans to play or exchange experiences. All these are obstacles for model making to develop.''

Recognizing the need, Wang, without specifying where or when, reveals he wants to establish a professional club for hobby enthusiasts in the near future. If his dream becomes reality, it is destined to be a popular haven for all local model making buffs.

  Today's Top News   Top Lifestyle News
+Astronaut returns safely, manned space mission 'complete success'
( 2003-10-15)
+Beijing to be more open for SARS information
( 2003-10-16)
+Foreign trade becoming balanced
( 2003-10-16)
+Foreign investment slows, but prospects bright
( 2003-10-16)
+Ten killed in New York ferry crash
( 2003-10-16)
+Built from scratch Model makers
( 2003-10-16)
+Growing diamonds in the rough
( 2003-10-16)
+Developing together for the benefit of all
( 2003-10-16)
+Leash loosened on Beijing dog owners
( 2003-10-16)
+Chinese food for Chinese astronauts
( 2003-10-15)
  Go to Another Section  
  Article Tools  
        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved