Edric re­veals his guilty plea­sure – model cars.

Torque (Singapore) - - FACES - EDRIC PAN

MMODEL cars have fas­ci­nated me since I was a kid. I’m told that as a tod­dler, I was never with­out a Match­box car or two in hand, even in bed or at meal­times. On a trip to Eng­land when I was five, my par­ents took me to visit Shake­speare’s house, and I promptly got us al­most ex­pelled from the premises when I whipped out my toy cars and pro­ceeded to run them over the Bard’s cen­turies-old din­ing ta­ble. Through my school days, I would save up my al­lowance to buy a new Tomica model ev­ery few weeks. This in­dul­gence, plus the weekly Beano comic and monthly car mag­a­zines, left me with al­most noth­ing for re­cess.

It’s a pity most of th­ese toys have been lost or ru­ined, be­cause mint-con­di­tion Tom­i­cas from the 1980s are now worth a bomb, and I would have re­couped my pocket money many times over.

In my 20s, ev­ery car that I fan­cied was way be­yond my mea­gre fi­nan­cial reach. So I did the next best thing – I re­sorted to buy­ing scale models of them.

I started off with the fully de­tailed 1:18 scale, but soon ran out of shelf space in my bed­room. Switch­ing to the smaller 1:43 scale solved the prob­lem – the models were nearly

as in­tri­cately de­tailed, but much hand­ier in size.

They weren’t nec­es­sar­ily cheaper, though. The lim­it­ededi­tion hand­built resin models from Ital­ian ar­ti­san brands like BBR and MR Col­lec­tion cost up­wards of $250 each.

Mostly I lim­ited my­self to the mass-pro­duced die-cast stuff from Minichamps and Vitesse, which were about $50-$70 a pop.

Af­ter some years, I’d built up a col­lec­tion of al­most 500 models, housed in a pur­pose-built twome­tre-long, full-height glass cab­i­net in my bed­room. You do the math to fig­ure out how much that hoard must have cost me – I’d rather not know. Into my 30s, and mar­riage and kids hap­pened, leav­ing me far less time (and money) to trawl the in­ter­net and lo­cal model stores for more cars. That, and the fact that the puny apart­ment my young fam­ily had moved into barely had space for clothes, cribs, walk­ers and all the para­pher­na­lia that came with young kids, let alone a whop­ping great dis­play cab­i­net that oc­cu­pied half a room. So my model car ob­ses­sion was put on ice, al­though I would still add the odd model here and there, mainly free­bies from car launches.

But I still can’t walk past a model car shop while on hol­i­day with­out “pop­ping in for a look”. My wife, rolling her eyes, knows what that means – I’ll be in there for an hour at least, be­fore emerg­ing with a bag­ful of new ac­qui­si­tions and a sheep­ish grin.

Col­lect­ing de­tailed scale models al­lowed the colum­nist to lay his hands on dream cars he de­sires.


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