The wheels on the bus

The wheels on the bus

For some people, the bus is just a part of their commute. For others it's a passion that inspires creativity.

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Lee Chun-hei and Chung Tsz-woo going for a spin with their favourite RC buses.
Lee Chun-hei and Chung Tsz-woo going for a spin with their favourite RC buses.

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Bus models are exhibited in the City Gallery, Central
Bus models are exhibited in the City Gallery, Central
Photo: SCMP

For true Hongkongers, the Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) has been their companion to school, work or play since it started in 1933.

Earlier this month, KMB hosted the exhibition "From Point to Point". The show featured a variety of bus memorabilia and more prominently, a series of remote-control buses modelled after the famous double-deckers.

The remote-control buses were an extremely popular part of the exhibition, and included the Leyland Olympian model, the Volvo Olympian and the Dennis Dragon. Young Post spoke to two remote-control bus collectors about this unconventional hobby.

Gordon Lee Chun-hei, 17, is studying for a High Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering at IVE. He's been interested in remote-control toys since a young age, but has only been building models for two years.

"I feel a connection to KMB because it reminds me of travelling around the city with my family during my summer holidays" he says. "It feels only natural for me to commemorate these memories in my first model."

His first bus, a 1:13 Leyland Olympia, took him almost two years to build, and includes LED lights, seats made out of aluminium and paper, and a changeable destination sign.

Creating and modifying these buses were no easy feat for collector and bus mechanic, Roy Chung, who owns a fleet of five remote-control model buses. His passion for buses led him to create a Facebook group for fellow remote-control bus fanatics. He uses it to arrange outings in parks where members can bring share and play with their models.

His passion for buses is rooted in his childhood; he can "remember queueing up for the bus to get to school when the Harbour Tunnel was first built." He keeps these memories alive through his vast collection of buses which began when he saw a window display featuring a KMB bus in a shopping mall.

"I managed to convince the shop owner to sell me the bus. I'd work on them outdoors during the evenings, adding different features and using spray paint," he explains.

Some interesting additions that he has made to his models include a remote-controlled emergency door, windows that can open and close, and LED brake lights.

Both Gordon and Chung have been creative when it comes to modifying and improving their bus models; the miniatures need touching up after each gathering due to wear and tear. However,

they have come up with alternatives to expensive equipment such as sanders or saws. Instead of breaking the bank, they use common physics and a lot of research to solve design problems.

"To get a really clean edge on an acrylic sheet [the material he uses for the windows of the bus], I like to score my design onto the sheet then snap it off a table" Yeung explains. "This is much more cost effective and delivers the same result".

Words which could be also used after all these years to describe KMB itself.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
The wheels on the bus

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