Monday, April 13, 2009

Lady Transformer

New Paper
12 April 2009

S'porean transforms the Transformers

INSTEAD of looking for a job, Ms Sabrina Ng has decided to play with toys.

And why not, considering that the fresh graduate's fascination with Transformers toys is helping her make a steady income at a time when her peers are finding it tough to get a job.

The business graduate is currently making waves in the local and international toy scene by creating customised versions of Transformers toys.

Each day, Ms Ng, 24, devotes close to 12 hours to give the toys a 'complete make over'.

Other than giving the models a paint job, other aspects she fiddles with are the aesthetic appearance of the hands, as well as adding accessories like shields.


Only recently becoming a fan of the series after the release of the Transformers movie in 2007, she has been customising for a year, with help from her boyfriend, Mr Syed Muzaffar, 26, who is in the fitness line.

'At first, we started customising because of our love for Transformers, and not so much about the money. We never expected all of this to happen,' she said.

With the help of the Internet, and support from noted US toy customisers like Mr Michael Morgan of Action Figure Customs, and Mr Michael Accardi (also known as Frenzy Rumble), Ms Ng has built a name for herself in the international custom Transformers scene.

To date, the highest paid for piece - a 10-inch movie version of Optimus Prime, with accessories - was auctioned off online for about US $1,000 ($1,520).

The six-inch models she works on a regular basis cost about $20 from retailers.

But after going through her precision customisation, the toys usually fetch US$360 after a seven-day period of bidding.

Despite the lucrative returns, Transformers customisation - which she describes as an 'excellent hobby'- is not what she intends to do on a permanent basis.

'I do want to find a job in human resources, making use of my degree, but the job market isn't too good right now, so I'll be doing this for the time being,' she said.

One returning customer, and creator of, a local website for Transformer enthusiasts, Mr Justin Chua, 27, alerted The New Paper to Ms Ng's work.

He owns one of Ms Ng's work - Hearts of Steel Optimus Prime - and another two are on the way.

'I bought something I really liked, and even though I paid a certain sum for the work, it's really worth it,' he explained.

'They are not something I can get from the manufacturer.'

Ms Ng is currently collaborating with Mr Accardi, an established combiner - the art of combining parts of various Transformers - from the US.

ROBOTS IN HER DISGUISE: (Top) Ms Sabrina Ng, with some of the Transformers models she and her boyfriend have customised. (Above) Painstakingly done by hand, Ms Ng patiently dry-brushes a section of a Transformer. --TNP PICTURES: KELVIN CHNG

When asked about why he chose to work with Ms Ng, he said: 'She has a great eye for detail and her painting skills are top notch.

'I wouldn't trust my custom projects with anyone else.'

The collaboration piece will coincide with the launch of the second installation of the Transformers movie series due out in June 2009.

So it comes as no surprise that her one wish is 'to appear on Transformers 3 in 2011!'

Those who want to find out more about the custom Transformers, can visit Ms Ng's website,

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