Tell us the story of Paracel Miniatures (PM). Who are you, when it was founded, and where are you based?
I am Jang, founder and main sculptor of Paracel Miniatures. In 2009, I graduated from Fine Arts University to be an artist, but since university years I have developed a strong passion for modeling. PM started in 2014 and has been a dream of mine for a long time. Paracel is a name of an island in the east of Vietnam.
How many members the PM family has?
There are two members, me and my wife, Lucy.
When did you decide to start your own business?
In 2011, I started a small brand called J-Miniatures to focus on local market but it was not successful. In 2014, I decided to give it another try with PM. This time focused on oversea market.
What is the motivation behind PM?
It is a passion for military, history and a dream to bring a Vietnamese modeling brand to modeling world.
It appears that PM has at two clear product lines, Vietnam War and post-apocalyptic figures, what is the motivation behind these two different topics?
I have developed many product lines and worked on them aspiring to become an artist. My first products are zombies and apocalypse which was inspired by Hollywood movies. Now I am more focused on Vietnamese topics, especially on NVA and VC. Topics where I feel I have more room to play. And of course it is more interesting for Vietnamese people to tell Vietnamese stories.
What kind of modeler PM serves?
PM is meant to be for all modelers, especially the ones interested on military topic. I always try my best to serve all demands of customers and listen to their expectations about my products.
For us in Latin America (and also true for Europeans), Vietnam sounds like a far and mysterious place. How could you describe the scale models scene in Vietnam? Are there many adepts and established clubs?
Modeling in Vietnam is still young because of economical conditions and there are not many imported products available in the market. However, there are many modeling clubs with the talent to create their own materials to equip their workshops under limited conditions. Nowadays, it is easier and easier with many big shops providing imported products to customer with affordable prices.
Most of our knowledge about Vietnam, at least for military models, comes from the war. What do you think is the impact of history in Vietnamese modelers?
Our country has been through many wars, similar to many other countries. It is a common topic for all modelers, including Vietnamese, to work on military topics because of their impression and experiences.
In most cases, military modelers are silent witnesses of conflicts and just focus on their models. Do you think we should do more?
Yes, we are always silent witnesses of conflicts throughout the times. However, our role is not only to witness but also to educate the next generation via our own means. Our stories are not only about conflict but also about the beauty of life and human being under difficult situations.
After all this long I am sure you have been a privileged witness of how the scale models scene has evolve in Southeast Asia. What do you think have changed the most during the existence of PM?
It is a pleasure to be a part of Southeast Asia modeling community. I am so glad that PM is welcomed among our community. It is a big motivation and encouragement to me. The chance to interact with other modeling groups among Southeast Asia has widened my point of view about modeling in Vietnam, being able to compare draw parallels to our region and the world.
Which products are among the most popular?
NVA and products related to Vietnam.
Do you have a close relationship with scale modelers? Do you receive suggestions? As many brands today, do you have or recruit ‘master modelers’?
I have many masters and also friends in modeling scene such as Mr. Norio Takemura, Mr. Doi Mashahiro, Mr. Khoi Tran, Mr. Bao Anh, etc but I have never had any official master like other brands. I have personally done PM’s catalogue from A to Z.
As brand, how many exhibitions and contests are you visiting this year? And sponsoring?
We are a new brand (only 2 years old) so we just attend a few events such as Malaysia Scale Hobby Show 2016 in Penang and sponsoring a modeling magazine in Japan (sorry, I have to keep the name in confidentiality) and sponsoring a few small contest on Facebook groups.
Any plans to distribute your products in Latin America?
Yes, of course. We are looking for any chance to widen our distribution to many parts of the world. If any distributor is interested in our products, please do not hesitate to contact us.
How would you define the role of PM in the local and international scale models scene?
Actually, PM is the only Vietnamese modeling manufacturer at the moment but our community is very small and has not enough people to create local brands. PM is gaining more and more attention in international scale models scene and I hope that reputation will help us to have stronger Vietnamese modeling brands.
Could you talk about plans for future releases?
I am working on a North Korean series, modern war, Vietcong and more civilians are coming.
If you wish you can write a few words for the readers
Thank you for giving me a chance to introduce myself as well as my brand, Paracel Miniatures (Facebook page here). We are a young and developing brand from Vietnam and focused on Vietnamese topics. We hope our existence will make the modeling garden more colorful, offering more alternatives to tell stories through our different figures.