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Ang Thong, located an hour’s drive away in Thailand, is popular for its rich history and culture. It’s home to 200 temples, known for its handicraft work including royal doll sculptures, drum-making and more. That’s not all, as it also plays host to life-size sculptures made of scrap metal inspired by Hollywood characters and Marvel superheroes.

Ban Hun Lek has become a popular weekend spot for Instagram selfies and family getaways against a backdrop of Hollywood’s much-loved film franchises.

Befittingly dubbed House of Steel Robots, scrap metal and old car parts are transformed into dazzling sculptures inspired by blockbusters. A perfect example of how to make best out of waste!

 

Phairote Thanomwong opened his welding workshop around 2 decades ago and eventually converted the front section into a gallery for tourists. One of the most popular centrepieces in their collection is the formidable Hulk statue, standing tall at 2.6m. Phairote has also created art for European and Saudi royalty, along with re-creating movie characters from films such as Alien, Predator, and the Star Wars franchise.

“It was just a hobby at first,” Phairote told AFP. “When I was a child, I liked mechanics a lot… so I made what I liked into my work.”

 

A one-metre-high sculpture sells for up to 30,000 baht ($950), but due to the coronavirus pandemic, Phairote’s art exports have been on hold.

Nonetheless, the towering metal brontosaurus at Ban Hun Lek, which can be spotted from the main freeway, draws dozens of visitors each weekend.

In 2019, Vietnam played host to Transformers characters made out of spare motorbike parts who also spoke Vietnamese.

Temple guards

In 2017, the Wat Ta Kien temple, located just outside Bangkok, was the abode of three towering Transformers robots, standing tall at 8 m (26 feet). The idea was born out of an idea to pique the interest of children so they would visit the temple in Nonthaburi.

The temple monks who had commissioned the statues said the bots had “no spiritual purpose.”

“It’s for children so they won’t get bored when they come to the temple with their parents,” monk Pra Vichien told AFP.

Following this brilliant idea, at least four more Buddhist temples across Thailand bought superhero statues, all created by Phairote Thanomwong.

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