Good evening constant reader, its happy hour and our bartender Lloyd is setting them up neat, just the way you like it. Tonight’s V.I.P. in the Manifesto lounge is Indonesian builder Angka Utama, whose stable of fine automobiles have been burning up the streets of Micropolis since 2010. I think I appreciate Angka’s work so much because as a kid we were too poor to do the LEGO thing so my go-to toy was cheap-ass Hot Wheels, purchased from the local grocery store…and if I’m being honest, sometimes shoplifted from the local grocery store (I was a terrible kid). So every time I see one of Mr. Utama’s models it brings me back to those pumpkin-orange track segments that also made for great weapons to duel away the afternoon with my jackassy friends. The sound of a well places slap on the thigh or upper arm was a thing of beauty. See…I can be nostalgic too.
Enough of the old “slap & tickle”, you’re not here to read about my stupid childhood habits, so let’s get on with the sweet Lego action. First up is Angka’s brilliant Rally Kit, which is a sort of generic truck platform that can be customized with any number of modules. Although the racing variant is shown here I can imagine it roving the moon with scientific equipment, carrying troops to the battlefield or transporting sensitive cargo in the urban core. I’ve built one myself and it is a delight to roll around the table. I don’t often replicate another person’s build unless it is for a specific project, but since the time and resource investment was so low, I couldn’t resist. It is going to be very difficult to restrain myself for building more trucks and an environment for said truck to roll around in, but that’s a dark road of ever-escalating ambition that can end up taking months instead of days. It is about the highest praise I can give a builder though and it’s not limited to this model, many of his cars have me reaching for the bin full of fenders. I’m not sure what special ju-ju Anga wields, but there is an ocean of these little 4 wide and 6 wide cars out there and typically they don’t move the needle for me in the slightest. Just like nnenn with his Vic Vipers or Jon Hall with his warbirds, the V.O.A.T. thing just never gets old with Angka’s models. Maybe it is the accessibility of both designs, they seem very attainable to even casual builders. Unlike The Chairman with his uber-rare and expensive parts, or Tyler Clites with his complexity, most people with a modest collection and skill level can play ball.
Unlike most people I feature in this series, I have not had the good fortune to meet Angka. As much as I’d love to explore Republik Indonesia (especially the Prambanan Temple) it ain’t gonna happen and there is nothing in Angka’s photostream that would indicate a trip to Vegas is on his list of things to do. I can share an anecdote though, the year was 2010 and I was perusing The models for sale on Chairman’s Zhang’s laudable holiday tradition, Creations for Charity. I was a little cash-strapped as people tend to get during the holiday season, so I couldn’t throw down on a big model or even a small model by a high-vis builder. You can imagine my excitement when I came across the very reasonably priced Mitsubishi HSR, that had been generously donated by Mr. Utama. It remains one of my favorite models to this day that I’ve ever been fortunate enough to acquire from my fellow Lego-nerds. I was so impressed by the car that I was immediately inspired to construct a suitable background for the sports-car, that like many of Angka’s builds, looks very futuristic. I even saved the box, because how cool is it to get mail from Indonesia?
After scouring the usual sources for a photo of Angka, this is the Bookface avatar was the best image I was able to come up with. If you know of a better one, constant reader, please don’t hesitate to mention it in the always lusty comment section.
Frankly, I can’t tell much here, he might be a cyborg of some kind? Please recall that a precedent has been set in this ongoing series that we will be reviewing the fashion choices of each builder. In this case Angka is sporting a T-shirt of indeterminate color, possibly gray and I can’t tell if he’s wearing pants of any kind. In the absence of further evidence, I cannot ask Rupaul for a verdict on this one so we’ll let it slide. Until next time, anda mengontrol tindakan.