From buses to soldiers, they’re creating uniquely Singapore toys for the big boys


They couldn’t find the Singapore collectibles they desired in the market, so the creators of Masterpiece Collectibles and Miniature Stories decided to make their own.

SINGAPORE: Nine years earlier, Dickson Ng frantically wished to get a Singapore traffic authorities bike scale model for his collection of toy automobiles. There was a catch: He couldn’t find one anywhere.
So the 46-year-old relief taxi driver took matters into his own hands and created one for himself.

It didn’t stop there. When Ng understood he wasn’t the only regional collector interested in such distinctively Singaporean toy lorries, he started producing not only more authorities bikes, however, likewise cops patrol cars, firetrucks, ambulances, and buses.


” Back then, nobody had done it in the past. It ignited a passion and I kept thinking of brand-new cars to make, which were all merely from Singapore,” stated Ng.

Today, his small business Masterpiece Collectibles has created 30 kinds of collectible lorries in addition to a handful of toy figurines of the country’s cops, firemen, prison force and more.

Ng isn’t the only one who’s been making Singapore-themed collectibles. In 2015, Caleb Lin and Terra Chua released their own miniature figurines of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers under their own business, Miniature Stories.

To this day, the married couple has created 18 special styles in different variations, which are offering well thanks to the ongoing NS50 events.
Like Ng, the couple decided to start producing their figurines merely because nobody was making these.

” I’ve been a long-time collector of miniature figurines however foreign companies would just produce those on a more global scale, like World War I and II, or the medieval, Roman empire or Samurai varieties. As a collector, I wanted to see our own SAF soldiers along with all the other military figurines readily available on the present market,” stated Lin.

Work of art Collectibles and Miniature Stories come from a handful of companies that target the ignored market of locally themed collectibles.

Amongst the previous’s offerings are minimal edition old and new emergency situation automobiles, in addition to old buses not found on the streets anymore, which is under its Yesteryear Series. It likewise has cute figurines of riot police and fire and rescue professionals under its Real Hero Series. These range from S$ 88 to S$ 295.

The latter’s 6cm metal figures come in a few series, such as the Standard Obstacle Course or Parade Series, and throughout the various generations extending back to the classic Temasek Green uniform used during the 1960s. The pieces vary from S$ 59 to S$ 75 apiece.

Both businesses sell their items online and select toy shops, as well as at the occasional pop-up occasion. One can also find them amid the booths and cosplayers selling more pop collectibles at the upcoming Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention in September.

Both business pride themselves with making intricately designed items, which they then send to factories in China to produce.

Mini Stories’ Parade Series figurines come in three various races– Chinese, Indian and Malay.

” You can picture how ridiculous the inventory is but it was a conscious thing to represent Singapore,” stated Lin, 35.

For Ng and his partners, production on Masterpiece Collectible pieces only starts when they are able to get 360-degree images of the vehicles. They also tap on specialist groups who would provide feedback, which held true when they did the Yesteryear Series of retro buses.

While both celebrations have used a brand-new market, it hasn’t been a bed of roses. They mentioned that it’s still a specific niche market.

Masterpiece Collectibles churns out primarily in minimal edition resin products, with amounts varying from 150 to 200. Developing a model expenses between S$ 4,000 and S$ 5,000, and Ng needs to factor in his routine trips to China to check on the production process.

” It’s not really profitable. When I sell, I get the fund, and after that, I toss it back in. That’s why I’m still driving a taxi!” quipped Ng, who likewise has had to deal with some recent issues regarding making use of the Singapore Police Force logo on a few of his cars.

For the couple behind Miniature Stories, it’s been a healthy learning curve. Lin and his better half, Chua, chose to start in Sept 2016 after a long sabbatical to choose their next profession move.
After a long hiking trip in the US, Chua went full-time into handling the new company while Lin returned to the banking sector.

Given that they began, most of the buyers have come from outside the local collectors’ circuit.

” Most of our clients do not gather collectible figurines– they buy it because of their memories of NS or female consumers who buy them as gifts for their partners, daddies or partners,” said Chua, who added that they’ve been gradually diversifying by presenting knickknacks like key chains, tank-shaped pouches, badges as well as an “ammo lunch box” to bring in a different demographic.

Individuals are slowly taking notice.
The National Cadet Corps and Singapore Prison Service have approached Masterpiece Collectibles to make figurines, the latter for its elite Singapore Prisons Emergency Action Response (SPEAR) Force. And in the pipeline for this year are a few more figurines– consisting of paramedics, as well as taxis and a retro police riot bus.
When it comes to Miniature Stories, they’re entering into cars– starting with the traditional AMX-13 SM1 tank, which will be presented this year.

They’re likewise believing beyond– by next year, they intend to produce cultural, non-military diorama pieces that take a look at Singapore’s history from 1965 onward.
” We want to chart Singapore’s post-Independence. It ‘d be kind of cool– it’s not just the clothing, but imagine, the vehicles, the old shophouses you don’t see any longer,” said Lin, who pointed out occasions such as the Konfrontasi, the racial riots and even political parties as some scenes they ‘d like to take on.

At the end of the day, both companies continue to be motivated by the reactions they get from individuals who buy their items.
” When they see the figurines, they see a part of themselves in it. When we opt for fairs or roadshows, we see that spark in their eyes that says ‘Hey, that’s me’,” said Chua.
Added Ng: “Sometimes, I would provide these to my consumers utilizing my taxi, and the moment I see the smile on their faces while they hold the car– I’m very pleased already. That implies I’ve done an excellent task.”

Amongst the previous’s offerings are limited edition old and brand-new emergency vehicles, as well as old buses not discovered on the streets any longer, which is under its Yesteryear Series. It also has charming figurines of riot police and fire and rescue specialists under its Real Hero Series. These vary from S$ 88 to S$ 295.

” It’s not actually rewarding. When I offer, I get the fund, and then I toss it back in.

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