This summer, I have spent some time in China (and no, I haven't visited Beijing; I've been mainly in Hong Kong and the provinces of Guangdong -Guangzhou and Zhaoqing-, Guangxi -Guilin, Wuzhou and Nanning- and Yunnan -Kunming and Dali Gucheng, the ancient city of Dali), and there I encountered a very surprising brand of toys: SLUBAN, and its LAND FORCES series (I'm not the first to write about this, and it is no real "military" secret, I was just kidding: just google SLUBAN and you will see many of the existing toy sets of this brand, and even visit the english version of the official homepage).
So, be welcome to China's best guarded "military secret"! Comrade Sluban and his antitank gun!
About this creation
01. Here is our dear Comrade Sluban, getting ready for the revolution and building his antitank cannon.
02. Again, our happy Comrade, before building his powerful cannon. Behind is my portable computer, the one to which I owe the extreme pleasure of having lost all (more than 3,600) the photographs I took in China, due to some problems in the Hard Drive (its clusters were physically damaged, so the photographs are inaccessible- or else I can choose pay a bit more than 900 € or 1,100 USD to try and recover some of them, which is what I will probably do). Oh well, China was cool anyway, even though it was notably militarised and full of policemen (no wonder it is the most prosperous harsh dictatorship in the planet).
03. Let me introduce you to Comrade Sluban, the proletarian version of the bourgeois-fascist, decadent Western LEGOs; it is quite funny, China looks "normal" but they raise their children with terrific, totalitarian-looking SLUBAN full of military and police vehicles as well as minifigs (well, of course it's not compulsory, but that's easier and surely cheaper than looking for Western LEGOs, of which I found none, save in the Night street-market of Temple Street north of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong), and they DO have Internet censorship: I tried browsing through Google and Youtube results for Tibet, and I was able to do so only ONCE, and after that any search containing those keywords continually gave an Internet error.
04. Comrade Sluban sleeping a while. But...
05. ... Oh no, our dear Comrade has fallen asleep over an enemy mine!
06. Comrade Sluban and all the pieces that make up his antitank gun (as with all that is Chinese in China, SLUBAN toys are notably cheap: this SLUBAN set has some 30 pieces and cost me 2,5 yuan, that is to say, around 0,27 € or 0,31 USD; and there was a bigger setbox which contained pieces to build a police-military office with a tank and a jeep -some 700 or 800 pieces, I think- for 83 yuan, so around 8,77€ or 10,27 USD).
07. The full assembly of Comrade Sluban's antitank cannon.
08. Comrade Sluban, ready to crush some fascists to the ground! Down with Western and American Imperialism!
09. Oh my! Comrade Sluban has found a decadent-Imperialist Western symbol on the sacred soil of Mother China! What will happen? Will he send for reinforcements, or will he face this threat alone?
10. Front view of Comrade Sluban on his antitank cannon next to the decadent, Western AT-ST symbol.
11. Side view of Comrade Sluban on his antitank cannon next to the decadent, Western AT-ST symbol.
LITTLE COMIC STRIP: THE ADVENTURES OF COMRADE SLUBAN.
12. By Mao Zedong! Our dear Comrade, while out on patrol, has found a mischievous Western agent! Spies! Spies everywhere, violating our sacred national soil!
13. But Comrade Sluban is far more cunning, and springs up, getting down from his antitank cannon, in order to punish the "wailai" (in Chinese, "that or those who come from outside") Spy.
15. Crash! Our Comrade, with the full force of the People's Republic and its honorable ex-Chairman, and guide of the Chinese people, Mao Zedong, strikes hard on the unlawful Spy, whom he has caught completely off-hand... Or has he?
16. Bang! So strong was the initial crash, so forceful the attack of our Comrade, that both enemies have sprung back in order to prepare for another brutal clash...
17. ...And here it comes...
18. ...Crash again! Our dear Comrade has struck so hard on the Spy, that the latter has had to step back!
19. Ho! What is that? The unlawful Spy has somehow resisted our Comrade's invincible attack!! By the Revolution, that can't be!
20. How dare he?!? The Imperialist Spy is pushing our Comrade back! Impossible!
21. Hey! Where is our dear Comrade?!? And what are an arm and a leg of his doing there?!?!
22. Oh my Chairman! How come?!?! Our Comrade the unlawful Spy has pushed down the hill!
23. Oh no! A more general view reveals the catastrophe of the people, our Comrade is lying half-dead!!
24. And our reconnaissance helicopters have given us a far more general, top view of our tragedy!
25. Our Comrade, half-dead after his incredible efforts against the enemy, lies triumphant!! He has served with great loyalty!!
26. Even in Death, a real Comrade and Soldier of the People neither fears nor doubts, for his Chairman is beside him!
27. But the events of this red day turned to gray still remain a tragedy ... and in the battlefield, a brave soldier, maimed by Imperialism, lies dying peacefully beside his loyal antitank cannon.
28. Here is the brutal, evil Imperialist Spy from the decadent Western World!
29. Happy he is, but the Revolution, however maimed today by our tragic loss, will one day sweep his rotten, stinking kind off the face of this planet!
30. The Spy and our one-legged, one-armed Comrade side by side. SLUBAN, being cheaper, is... mmmm, how could I put it? Low quality? And so, the legs and arms come off the minifig quite easily, a noteworthy flaw which gave me the idea for this absurd "COMICSTRIP"
PS: This is just an absurd parody of the impressions China caused in me -policemen and the military patrolling the streets every now and then, children and teenagers dressed in camo military-looking uniforms and boots strolling in Boyscout-like groups under the supervision of an older guy dressed in the same camo suit and boots, and fascist/ police state toys.
Also, it is intended to be a parody on the relationship East-West, which is to my mind quite cynical: if they wanted the Olympics to boost civil rights and liberty, why did they give them to China? Did they really believe that this event would, by itself, help promote liberty and freedom of speech in China? And this is not a matter of personal belief, for Amnesty International has already emitted a balance proving little has changed in China in matters of human and civil rights. All those Western democracies must surely have known that China is a tight-fisted dictatorship, quite ruthless with inner dissidence and some ethnic groups. But then again, China is one of the fastest-growing economies of the planet, if not the fastest, so how could Western countries block China? It would tear down the whole global economy... Anyway, that is my opinion, I mean neither to offend nor to insult anyone. Nothing short of a revolution -be it peaceful or violent- can promote civil rights and liberties, and, despite the misery I found walking the streets of that "Communist haven", I didn't see the Chinese ready or willing to undertake any change to their government.
To all of you that may be offended by this parody, my only aim was making a "comic strip" with LEGO, with a Cold War-like, Maoist ambient; and I am no sympathiser of maoism in any of its past or present ways (mainly because of its totalitarian projection on society), but when I was in China the few people who spoke to me about Mao did so with a mixture of pride, nationalism and awe, which was indeed surprising for a Westerner well-acquainted with marxism and its train of thought, as well as ideologically close to the late 1930s Spanish Anarchism or Libertarian Communism-Trotskyism. Anyway, I've already introduced too much politics around here, this is only meant to be LEGO, so enjoy. And don't judge the MOC by my ideology, or by any other reason not strictly linked to LEGO.
Left wing terrorists are the worst here. Bill Ayers is a man that bombed many police stations
and one day his girlfriend was making bombs in her apartment with three other lefties and they did one thing wrong and they were all killed! Pshh. Serves em right. GO CHRISTIANS AND THE RIGHT WING! THE ELECTION IS OVER THE REVOLUTION HAS JUST BEGUN! Definition of right wing: bitter people that cling to their GUNS and their RELIGEON.