Ray Wong Hates Jar Jar Binks
Ahead of the opening of “The Force Awakens” in December, Times Square is hosting an exhibition of all things Star Wars—including the superfan's models.
How did you get into Star Wars? I have always been fascinated by the characters of Star Wars. When I was 13, I watched the 1997 special edition of the remastered Star Wars films and fell in love. I started reading about them and did tons of research—that’s when I thought of making Star Wars characters into models.
Who’s your biggest Star Wars influence? My brother was a big influence on my Star Wars obsession. He is a die-hard Star Wars fan, too. It inspired him to be a director, while I was inspired to make models.
If you could be in Star Wars, who would you be? I would like to be a scout trooper: They are my favorite characters in Star Wars. I dressed up as one in a recent Disneyland Parade in July. Even though they are not featured much in the films, scout troopers are an important part of the Star Wars story.
Have you ever made a scout trooper model? Yes. I made my first scout trooper model when I entered the Hong Kong Model Competition in 1999.
Which of your creations are you most proud of? It has to be Clone Commander Bacara. It is special to me because it was the first Star Wars model I ever made. I was inspired to make my first set of clone troopers after watching the first Star Wars trilogy in 1997, and it took me a year and a half to make all 16 of them. Just like all my other models, I handmade every single one of the clone troopers.
Have you made models of any other characters? I make toy samples for 7-Eleven. In the past, I made Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon characters for them. A couple of years ago, I created a board game inspired by the famous Chinese legend, Journey to the West. The game, “Journey: Wrath of Demons” broke Hong Kong’s Kickstarter record when I developed it. I am also inspired to make models of people I admire. I made a model of Mother Teresa—I have great respect for the woman. It’s one of my best works.
How do people react to what you do? It’s really hard to explain what I do to people, especially to people of the older generations, because they don’t believe you can make money out of making models.
Do girls dig it? Or do they think you’re a total nerd? I made a piano model once for my ex-girlfriend. I’m not sure what she thought about it.
Where do you get your inspiration from? I really look up to [special effects master] Stan Winston—he’s one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to model-making. I have great respect for the Star Wars props team. I understand how hard they work so I always stay until the end of the credits when I go to cinemas.
Which Star Wars character isn’t worth the effort? Jar Jar Binks. I’m sure a lot of Star Wars fans will agree.
How would you re-write Star Wars, if you could? I would make the prequel trilogy less computer graphic-heavy and incorporate more realism.
What’s your favorite Star Wars line? I love the quote by Yoda, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” It has become my life motto because it encourages me to take on chances that I am unsure of. There’s no “take two” in life, and nobody can ever guarantee you a second chance, so go for your opportunities and hold on to them.
What’s up next for you? I want to further promote my board game in Hong Kong. It’s a lot more popular overseas—it is quite difficult to grab Hong Kong people’s attention, and trends fade quickly here as there are way too many new things coming out each day. I also want to add other famous characters and stories into the game. I create these games to promote Chinese history and culture, but I’m still waiting for investors.