One day, the workers at a scrapyard in China recently decided to get creative with all the metal junk lying around by building a giant Transformer statue. And when the life-size replica of the popular Autobot started attracting the attention of visitors and passers-by, they decided to keep going. The team built over 40 Transformers in four months, which have now become tourist attractions in their own right.
The scrapyard where the Transformers are on display is located on a remote farmhouse on top of a hill, in Jinan City, Eastern China’s Shangdong Province. As you travel closer to the hill, the sight of these giant action figures in the middle of nowhere is arresting. And once you get there, it’s quite amusing to see the pigs at the farm live happily among the inanimate Transformers.
21-year-old Li Hung, a part-time worker at the yard, built the very first Transformer. The PR and marketing student said he wanted to make something ‘eye-catching’ using discarded parts. “I thought if people could see something spectacular made from junk, it would highlight what we do here and we could get more customers,” he said. Li was right. The robot became immensely popular, winning a lot of praise from locals.
Inspired by the response, Li decided to make a second robot, and this time his colleagues pitched in as well. And they haven’t stopped since. I think it’s amazing that even though the workers are just simple farmers, they’ve done a fabulous job with these giants. They start off by downloading an animated image from the internet. “Before starting the robot manufacturing, we do not delineate our drawings,” said Guojun Long, one of the craftsmen. A large amount of what we do depends on our imagination, because each robot looks different and the same parts cannot be used.”
The robots, including Optiums Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron, are now on display in a large courtyard within the scrapyard. The largest of the Transformers is 60 meters tall and weighs around 5 tonnes. All the robots are made from scrap material that the workers have access to, like parts from old cars and motorcycles. They aren’t stationary – the limbs can actually swing back and forth. And they are for sale, each one priced at about 100,000 yuan ($16,000).