When he is not meeting clients or chasing sales targets, T. Charlie, 35, a medical representative, is busy at his home in Villupuram making miniature models of buses of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC). Over the past few months, he has built up a collection of miniature TNSTC and multi-axle omni buses.
For Charlie, his love for buses started when he was as young as 11 years. The passion persisted and during the COVID-19 lockdown, he got in touch with Miniature Crafters, a Kerala-based WhatsApp/Facebook page who make miniatures.
A regular bus commuter, he collected details about the dimensions and other mechanical aspects of TNSTC buses, and started making exact replicas of the originals.
From the erstwhile Pallavan Transport Corporation (PTC in Chennai) buses to the latest low-floor, deluxe, AC and CNG vehicles operated by the State Transport Corporations, Charlie’s collection reflects minute details, including LED display boards, different colour formats used by the Corporations, all made using eco-friendly materials.
Charlie uses acrylic paint on the buses, and pastes stickers on them. The buses are equipped with all features a real bus has – seats, LED lights, LED display boards, doors, steering column, odometer, and gearbox.
He has also been releasing videos of his bus models on social media handles and the response has been encouraging, Mr. Charlie says.
“I use cardboard and materials available locally for making the miniatures, which closely resemble the original. It takes three to four days to complete one bus model. All miniature bus models stick to the measurements: 52 cm length, 10.5 cm width and 11 cm height. In the case of multi-axle and hybrid models, the bus is lengthier by 5 cm. Though the themes, scales, and materials used may vary from other miniature buses made by collectors, it is the passion that has been driving me,” he says.