Most people have a hobby (albeit of late those hobbies seem to include a lot of staring at phones and TV sets). We’ve discussed stamp collecting (of all things) here before, but now I’d like to talk about a very different hobby… but not about the hobbying aspects of it.
A lot of people (especially male people) of a certain age built plastic models as a youth. Though it’s not as popular today as it was a few decades ago (too many video games to play), some still do.
But, like in every pastime, there are dabblers and there are artists, and perhaps the best-known builder of automotive miniatures in the world is Gerald A. Wingrove. A quick look at his webpage (linked here) will allow you to understand what I’m talking about. The man is an artist in every aspect of his work, from the selection of his subjects to the materials and techniques he uses to build them and, perhaps most importantly, to the results achieved. With the correct background, his models really can be mistaken for the real thing.
As a person who’s built a number of model cars and planes in their life, I am uniquely qualified to say that most scale models emphatically do not look like the real thing from the right angle (or from any other angle for that matter). Not even the ones in museums.
You can usually tell that some panels are too thick, or the paint isn’t quite right, or something is stuck on at an odd angle (and don’t get me started on what my own builds look like)… but not on Wingrove’s. He truly is a master.
And a generous one at that. I recently read his book The Complete Car Modeler 1. This book is both uplifting and depressing at once. Uplifting for many, many reasons, including the fact that Wingrove shares all his secrets and techniques in a display of generosity not often seen. Also encouraging is that the techniques don’t seem to be overly expensive.
Depressing? Well, anyone who’s tried to become a true craftsman in some discipline knows that that particular dream is often incompatible with the pressures of daily life, and requires the sacrifice of other pursuits. In my own case, there are other things I’d like to master first, so this one will likely remain a distant ideal unless things in my life change quite a bit.
But it’s nice to see that it’s possible, with just a little (all right a huge amount) of effort and dedication. If you’d like to build beautiful models indistinguishable from the real thing, I can’t recommend this highly enough.
And if you do so, send me pictures – I’ll post them here!