"Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle dusters.
If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you...try."
-Lee Kuan Yew, 1997
On the eve of Singapore's 50th National Day as I sit here in my study and jubilee celebration fireworks explode in the city, I've decided to finally do a full fledged photo-shoot of a project I completed months earlier - The Lee Kuan Yew Knuckle-Duster!!!
Well...it's more than a knuckle...it's an entire Hulkbuster suit repainted!! LOL. Why though? I've had this question thrown at me by perplexed friends when I show them my work. Well...for context, Singapore's founding father LKY passed earlier this year. While he was no doubt a great man credited with building a tiny nation from scratch into a first world country, he had to take some tough measures to get there, and his iron-fisted no-nonsense rule was often criticised by Western society and what few local detractors who dare speak up.
While I'm not gonna go into a political debate about the ethics behind LKY's reign, let's just acknowledge that in the annals of history, he will stand as an iconic and effective leader who brought his country out of the woods. And thus, deserves to be admired for his strengths and a leader and founder of a nation.
So I wanted to commemorate his passing with this tribute. The Hulkbuster suit is one uhh...hulking piece of iron and who else is the Iron Man of Singapore than LKY rite? The power, his steel resolve, his iron fist...I thought it was a fitting suit for the Old Man lol. Some may see this as a parody or satire of our Almight Ah Kong...I'll let you interpret it any way you want. ;)
This piece is particular sentimental to me also because of two people it will always remind me of - a special girl that I met, to whom I first mooted this project...and also my younger brother, whom I've been strangers with for a good part of my adult life, and am still unfamiliar with, but because of LKY's passing, we went out together for the first time to attend the state funeral, much to my parent's delight (at our their sons' bonding...not the funeral, of course!)
And so, enough talk, let's get down to the HOBBY!
You must be wondering where the face sculpt came from? This is a 1/6 scale sculpt courtesy of a friend of mine - Kevin Wong, a digital artist who generously designed and printed it. I then painted him and popped his head onto a cheap Hasbro Hulkbuster toy from Toys R Us.
I ordered a special plaque with these words as it's in the theme of this quote from LKY that inspired the piece. Everyone knows he's a badass. But this is his MOST badass quote ever.
I fashioned the base from clay and corkwood, with model bricks and tiles thrown in. It was the first time fiddling with such materials as I've always been intrigued with how to do cracks.
Flag and Sg50 decals are designed and printed by ChocoFalcon.
For a kid's toy, the Hulkbuster actually came with some cool details. Of course they were all not painted, so everything had to be painstakingly hand-painted. Because it's a simple toy figurine, it can't be unassembled so some crazy masking was done! I wouldn't advise painting this figure though because there is a weird coating Hasbro used on the plastic, which makes the paint hard to catch. Meaning any little scrape and it comes off, even with primer!
All in all, a fun build, even though the weird plastic coating gave me nightmares! It's my first intense build since I stopped the hobby for a year. I'm a bit rusty but luckily I haven't lost my skills! :P To all my fellow Singaporeans, Happy National Day!