KANGAR: A deep interest in military assets prompted a retired soldier and an architect to start building their collection of Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) aircraft models as a way to encourage youths to appreciate the struggle of national heroes in safeguarding the country's security and sovereignty.
Major (Rtd) Wan Hashim Wan Ahmad, 60, said he started dabbling in the creative arts when he was still at school and that was one of the main reasons why he joined the Army in 1984.
'I remember when I was 12, I received pocket money for looking after my grandfather who was receiving treatment at Tuanku Fauziah Hospital, in Kangar.
"I used the money to buy a model kit of an aircraft costing RM5. I learned to assemble the model myself and tried to put the parts together by using different types of glue but the model just disintegrated.
"Undaunted, I continued my efforts and finally succeeded in completing the aircraft, from that success, I continued to put together several more models when I started serving the army in 1984," he said.
Wan Hashim said that thus far he has assembled 80 models of military assets, among which is the first fighter jet used by the RMAF, the CL-41G better known as the 'Tebuan', the A-4 Skyhawk and other military assets.
He said the kits that he bought were priced between RM200 and RM3,000 and took him between a week and five years to complete, as it involved a complicated process and required precision starting from the process of joining, painting and so on to make it look exactly like the fighter jets used by the RMAF.
"I hope the aircraft models will inspire young people to appreciate the struggle of national heroes who safeguard the country's sovereignty for future generations," he said.
He said the country's independence enjoyed today is priceless and was paid for with the sweat, tears and blood of national heroes.
Also sharing the same interest is an architect, Kim Wong, 63, who said that apart from looking at it as a hobby, he assembled a fighter aircraft model kit as one way of appreciating the sacrifice and struggle of air force heroes in protecting the country's sovereignty.
"Many people, especially young people, are fascinated when they see the model kit of a fighter jet. From there we can tell them how national heroes protect the security and sovereignty of the country's airspace from any threat," said Kim.
Kim said that thus far he has assembled 50 fighter aircraft model kits including the Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jet, the General Dynamics F-16 Falcon and more.He said his dream is to open his museum to display his aircraft model kits in Kangar one day.
"My idea is to open a museum to display my aircraft model kits, especially aircraft from 1930 to 2003, as a means, a way to enlighten the public about its history," he said. – Bernama