Two for Tuesday: Angka Utama

tuesday

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?

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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.

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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.

 

12 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Angka Utama

  1. Indeed. Mr. Utmas work speaks volumes to those who say “My collection is not big enough to build well”.

    Aside from the pure neatness, his defining trait may be the “economy” he displays in his builds. Every single part seems to “earn it’s place” in his builds. Not one plate is extra, and not one plate is missing. He builds cars that rock, that make me want to play with them, and yet in the end… we see that he has conjured these viable little toys from a tiny handful of parts. Better than the Star Wars minis!

    Good god, what could you build if you did a Highwayy 44 style dio with THESE cars?

    Menyerang!

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    1. As I said in the article, any further exploration of these vehicles for me might lead to an escalating diorama situation. I can’t say enough good things about these cars. It’s a shame more people have not commented but maybe the article didn’t have enough spicey anecdotes to draw them out. Angka is the man, I hope he keeps doing the VOAT thing.

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  2. Mike summed it up perfectly. Economy. Angka’s work has always fascinated me with what he can accomplish with so few pieces. In fact there are several four-wide builders out there that have a real knack for expressing distinctive cars with only a hand full of parts. Starscream Soundwave is another. It really shows a wealth of talent in the language of LEGO to know which part can show/compromise on this scale.

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    1. Soundwave is pretty good, I looked at his stuff when writing this piece but I think Angka is on another level. There are so many vehicles out there in this scale and I tend to look past the vast majority. I selfishly wish he’d expand his horizons with a little diorama building…so I don’t have to. I’ll just add it to the ever expanding list of models to build “one of these days.”

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  3. Very fun stuff. Reminds me a lot of those near/nigh future die cast vehicles from 80s out of Japan, frolicking with modular esprit and reminding us that blocked primary colours will always be in vogue.

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    1. Cheers Gil, I think you’re right, well blocked primary colors will never go out of style. I remember those Japanese future-vehicles, Angka should take a shot at those, I think the results would be amazing.

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  4. I would love have time to leave a longer comment, but I will say, again, thanks for highlighting a builder I was unaware of…that truck with the modules is fantastic!

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  5. I’ve always had a soft spot for Angka’s cars as well. I think a lot of builders from that part of the world have to hone their skills at small scales due to population density and not having the space for larger collections. It results in a lot of tightly designed gems.

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    1. That’s an interesting observation, Christopher, I hadn’t thought about his physical space constraints necessitating a smaller scale of building. I remember there was a guy who built a 12 foot battleship once in a tiny apartment and he was never able to see the whole thing together until he took it to a convention, there are a few stories like that out there and I’ve kind of trained myself to think that people have no limits, but of course they do, we all do.

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      1. The most enjoyable part of that observation is when those builders MUST speak very highly of their spouse in order to accommodate said twelve foot long monstrosities usually taking up valuable real estate like a living room or a dining table. Gotta kiss proper ass.

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  6. Kudos to everyone for bringing so much kindness into one place, and to Keith for being such a good host.I can never thank you enough for what you have done for me.

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