Learning history through figurines of local heroes

21 Aug 2022 01:56pm
Mohamad Afiq Faiz Mohamad Amin, a superhero action figurines maker and psychologist - BERNAMA Photo
Mohamad Afiq Faiz Mohamad Amin, a superhero action figurines maker and psychologist - BERNAMA Photo
KUALA LUMPUR - It is quite common to see people collecting superhero action figurines but for Mohamad Afiq Faiz Mohamad Amin, he prefers figurines of personnel of uniformed services such as the police and armed forces.

Not only that, the-33-year-old psychology officer from Gombak, Selangor, has the ability to make 1:6 scale (about 30-cm tall) figurines, a rare skill that requires creativity, precision and patience.

The Works Ministry staff said he started learning how to make figurines 15 years ago after finding it quite difficult to get figurines of local heroes in the market.

"Usually, local collectors are obsessed with collecting figurines of characters from foreign films such as Hottoys from Hong Kong that produces Marvel and DC Comic figurines such as Spiderman, Ironman and Hulk.

"But, it is hard to find individuals who are good at making figurines related to a country’s important events and history. It is probably because it requires the person to do some research to produce perfect figurines,” he told Bernama.

To date, Mohamad Afiq Faiz has a collection of 24 local heroes in full dress uniforms and more than 120 from abroad.

Among them are figurines of a female police officer during the Communist insurgency period, Home Guard personnel (1948-1960), a Malay Regiment officer during the battle against Japanese soldiers in Bukit Chandu (1942), a police officer during the battle of Bukit Kepong (1950).

Also, figurines of a member of the Special Action Unit (UTK), naval special forces (PASKAL) officer, and the Malaysian Battalion (MALBATT) peacekeeping force officer.

Other figurines were flight attendants of Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia which are symbols of national pride as well as frontliners wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in the fight against COVID-19.
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All the figurines are now on display in the Works Ministry office, here to lift the spirit of patriotism and enliven this year’s National Month and Malaysia Day celebrations.

Interestingly, Mohamad Afiq Faiz said each of his silicone-made figurines was also infused with elements of storytelling.

"My mother was an officer at the National Archives and since young, I was exposed to the country’s history through old books and documents. From there, I started thinking of doing something that could raise the people’s interest in history by making figurines of local heroes in their full uniform,” he said.

On the challenges he faced in making the figurines, the father of one said it involved arduous work, namely conducting research in museums, ordering materials and accessories online or using recyclable materials such as paper and aluminium to make the figurine’s costume.

"Another challenging part is painting the figurines. I have to use film colourisation technology to turn old black and white photographs of uniformed personnel into colour.

"There are also materials that are only available overseas due to lack of expertise to produce them. For example, I had to order the ‘weapon’ used by our policemen during the battle of Bukit Kepong, namely Sten gun from France,” he said.

Asked whether he has any intention to sell his figurines, Mohamad Afiq Faiz said so far, he had no plans to do so despite having spent thousands of ringgit from his own savings on his collection.

"However, if there is any individual who wants to hold a history exhibition, I am ready to take part in such events to attract visitors and provide an interactive learning experience,” he said. - BERNAMA

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