Monday, February 24 2020

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Models act as reminders

Update: February, 15/2020 - 09:21

 

 

PAINSTAKING: Thành dedicates his replica planes to pilots who lost their lives protecting the nation, or for distinguished guests or heads of state on special occasions. VNS Photo Nguyễn Thành

 

By Nguyễn Thành

 

Former Air Force official Bùi Xuân Thành started making replicas of fighter planes in the 1970s.

Over 40 years, he has created thousands of replicas of fighters which have become souvenirs for many veterans, politicians, heads of state and collectors.

In his house located on Lê Trọng Tấn Street, Thanh Khê District in the central city of Đà Nẵng, the most important positions are dedicated to his most sophisticated beautiful replicas.

“I might be the only person in Việt Nam who makes replicas of fighters from aluminium,” Khánh says.

Born in the northern province of Phú Thọ, he used to work maintaining fighter jets, weapons and machines for the Air Force Division when his factory was still located in the north.

When the northern border war broke out in 1979, he moved to Đà Nẵng where his company was relocated.

As a skilled worker, he was assigned to verify product quality.

Thanks to his meticulousness and patience, he was assigned to making replicas of fighters for exhibitions or as souvenirs for the company.

At first he used mica, but then due to material shortages, he switched to aluminium that was both cheaper and more eye-catching.

Making a replica of a fighter is not a piece of cake. Thành still has photos and detailed designs of fighters of various kinds like the MIG15, MIG17 and Su 22M4 aircraft, which are collectables. 

Turning a design into a realistic replica takes time. To start, he creates moulds based on the designs of each fighter jet. Each mould is a masterpiece.

The moulds taken to the workshop have the body and wings pre-cast.

Other details like rockets attached to the wings are also cast in their own moulds, depending on the size.

Assembling the parts takes the most time. Thành has to sharpen each part thoroughly so they are smooth and shiny, which demands patience. It can take him months to complete an order.

Among the dozens of replicas that he has made, the replicas of Su 22M4 fighters with swing wings are the most sophisticated.

 

Meaningful gift

Thành is often seen in his small workshop wearing his glasses and absorbed in creating every small detail of the replicas.

He does not remember how many replicas he has made in the past 42 years.

“It is countless,” he says.

After finishing an order for 79 replicas from former comrades, he immediately received another.

The replicas are sometimes gifted to veterans or distinguished guests and heads of state.

Thành’s special customers are pilots who ask him to make replicas of the fighters they flew.

On the first page of the record of the 45th anniversary of Factory A32 is a photo of late

Party General Secretary Đỗ Mười pictured with managers of the factory during his visit in 1997.

It was the first time he had presented his work replica to a party leader, which left him with immense pride.

Thành was also asked by the factory to make nearly 300 replicas as gifts for the guests.

“It was the first time I'd created so many replicas,” he recalls.

“I’m so happy that many people still trust my skills. I will continue my work as long as I’m still healthy.” VNS

GLOSSARY

Former Air Force official Bùi Xuân Thành started making replicas of fighter planes in the 1970s.

A former Air Force official is a person who was once an Air Force official but is no longer one.

Replicas are copies.

Over 40 years, he has created thousands of replicas of fighters which have become souvenirs for many veterans, politicians, heads of state and collectors.

Souvenirs are things that usually go on display, to remind one of a place, a person or a time.

Veterans are people with lots of knowledge and experience in things.

In his house located on Lê Trọng Tấn Street, Thanh Khê District in the central city of Đà Nẵng, the most important positions are dedicated to his most sophisticated beautiful replicas.

Dedicated means “committed”.

Sophisticated means “smart”.

“I might be the only person in Việt Nam who makes replicas of fighters from aluminium,” Khánh says.

Aluminium is a type of metal.

Born in the northern province of Phú Thọ, he used to work maintaining fighter jets, weapons and machines for the Air Force Division when his factory was still located in the north.

Maintaining means keeping something in running order.

When the northern border war broke out in 1979, he moved to Đà Nẵng where his company was relocated.

If a company is relocated its base is moved from one place to another place.

As a skilled worker, he was assigned to verify product quality.

To be assigned to something means to be given a certain job.

To verify means to check, or confirm.

Product quality is a measure of how good a product is.

Thanks to his meticulousness and patience, he was assigned to making replicas of fighters for exhibitions or as souvenirs for the company.

Meticulousness means having the nature of paying lots of attention to detail.

Patience means having the ability to wait a long time for something.

Exhibitions are displays.

At first he used mica, but then due to material shortages, he switched to aluminium that was both cheaper and more eye-catching.

Mica is a type of mineral.

Making a replica of a fighter is not a piece of cake.

If something is “a piece of cake”, it is easy to do.

Turning a design into a realistic replica takes time.

Realistic means “looking real”.

To start, he creates moulds based on the designs of each fighter jet.

A mould is a hollow container used to give shape to molten or hot liquid material when it cools and hardens.

Among the dozens of replicas that he has made, the replicas of Su 22M4 fighters with swing wings are the most sophisticated.

Swing wings are aircraft wings that can move from a right-angled to a swept-back position

Thành is often seen in his small workshop wearing his glasses and absorbed in creating every small detail of the replicas.

Absorbed, in this case, means “focussed”.

The replicas are sometimes gifted to veterans or distinguished guests and heads of state.

Gifted means “given as gifts”.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

  1. Bùi Xuân Thành moved to Đà Nẵng in 1997.
  2. Bùi Xuân Thành is still in the Air Force.
  3. Bùi Xuân Thành has a huge workshop.
  4. Bùi Xuân Thành cannot count the number of replicas he has made because he has made so many.
  5. Bùi Xuân Thành once gave a replica to a party general-secretary.

ANSWERS: 1. False; 2. False; 3. False; 4. True; 5. True.

 

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