Local chapter of the International Plastic Modelers Society host show; 3 enthusiasts discuss their hobby – The Daily Gazette


If you’re looking for something to do or a new hobby and you’re good with your hands, consider modeling. Not the trendy kind of thing, but make a model car, spaceship, airplane or even create a scenic diorama down to the smallest detail.

To give free rein to your creativity, consult the [email protected] Friday and Saturday April 29 and 30 at the Holiday Inn in Latham.

You’ll find hundreds of models, a model contest, vendors, and modeling seminars, all presented as part of the northeast New York chapter of the International Plastic Modelers Society, USA, a group that has been around for 1972. It is one of 220 active chapters organized by 13 geographically determined regions in this country, including Canada and the Philippines of the national society, which was founded in 1964. The local group is part of Region 1 .

“It will be very happy to have the Noreast back,” said Matt McKeeby, an English teacher at Averill Park High School, whose models are more often story-based and frequently used for show and tell in the classroom.

Over the past few years, other Region 1 chapters have hosted the annual show, but the Northeast Chapter was the first host of the first show.

Tim Burke, longtime chapter member and executive director of Albany’s Upper Hudson Library System, is excited about the show’s contest and pays special tribute to a fallen veteran.

“We’re going to honor him,” Burke said. “He loved the M113 armored personnel carriers. It is a kind of body whose chassis is used for other vehicles and has been

a pre-Vietnam War vehicle. His stash had plenty, so we’re going to build one for show.

Prefer military stuff

Like many other model makers, Burke said he made it as a child with his father and brother and mostly made military stuff, especially WWII vehicles, because his father was a veteran of this war and the Korean conflict. Over the next many years, this interest waned until in 1991, while working at Siena College as a librarian, he had to coordinate an exhibit of Pearl Harbor ships.

“I thought it was cool to have three-dimensional stuff,” he said.

A few years before, he had met a model maker from the local chapter and purchased his stuff, then “got the bug again.”

“I cleared a space in my basement and then joined the chapter in 1991,” Burke said.

Kits can be found at local hobby stores, online, and at trade shows, so Burke focused on World War I and interwar aircraft. Everything is plastic, so for a beginner, all he had to do was get good Xacto knives, plastic cement, masking tape, rubber bands, tweezers, paint brushes, hobby paint and lots of patience.

He discovered over time that he liked to explore the historical aspect of the models, to be artistic and simply to set up the project.

“It’s good to splash around,” he laughs. “And I love the process.”

His collection is now “all over the house and in a display case in the dining room,” he said. “It becomes a challenge to know where to put it.”

New to modeling

New to the hobby is Kyle Yanson, a firefighter at Naval Station Ballston Spa and a volunteer with the Rotterdam Fire Department.

“I became interested in February 2021,” he said. “I have three young children and they are always up to something. I’m still working – even during the pandemic, so I Googled hobbies for men and modeling kept coming up. So, because you can fix so many things around the house, I went to a hardware store and bought a kit. It was a semi-trailer truck. I bought the kit, sat down at my table and enjoyed the build creating something out of nothing.

Now, almost a year later, he’s built tanks, a snowplow truck, a VW Beetle, an airplane, a 1914 Model T Ford, a fire truck, and now he’s working on an old model of Russian fire truck that was used in the Chernobyl disaster.

He also liked being able to make an M4 Sherman tank to give to his grandmother, whose husband was a WWII veteran, and a model of the USS Saratoga to give to his father.

He discovered that knowing what the original object looked like is important to getting the right details on his model, having the right tools and a ton of patience.

“That was the biggest challenge,” he said. “That and taking to let things develop without rushing. It became an opportunity for me to slow down and that’s great.

Focus on people

McKeeby’s models, however, are totally different. These are almost all dioramas of historical themes or individuals that he creates with a combination of various kit pieces, putty, paper mache, paint, 3D printing, or found objects like a twig (makes a large tree trunk) , cotton batting colored with mustard (for mustard gas clouds), LED lights, yarn, or anything else that will work.

“I like to create stories. People are what give it life,” he said.

It helps that for years he taught acting at Averill Park and loved stage design and always painted portraits or landscapes. While these are two-dimensional, his models are three-dimensional, allowing him to bring the scenes to an almost graphic life.

He laughs when he says that when he brings displays to his classes, the kids will tell him he finds some really good stuff to buy.

“Kids don’t do a lot of crafts these days, so they’re amazed at my stuff when I tell them I made it,” McKeeby said.

Like other modellers, he started as a child around 8 or 9, he said, then dropped out until he taught a segment of the novel “All Quiet on the Western Front.” The focus is on a German assault soldier. He found a kit, dialed it up, and his interest returned.

“I looked around for a chapter and found these friendly, welcoming guys and joined them,” McKeeby said.

For the show, he “paints like a maniac, to the wire, works like a fiend”. He is working on a 3.5 x 4 foot diorama of 30 figures with a medical theme to pay homage to his grandfather, who was a doctor during World War II.

“I love the opportunity to create my own world, but also to honor these people who have had these experiences,” he said. “It’s meditative, but I have to focus, breathe.”

As part of the show, part of the proceeds will go to Ukraine, as some of the best modeling companies are based there. What was once given as a Christmas present years ago is now attracting huge interest in Eastern Europe and Japan, he said.

WHEN: Friday April 29 (12 p.m.-7 p.m.) and Saturday April 30 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
WHERE: Holiday Inn, Latham
HOW MUCH: $25 for the convention/contest; $5/day ($10/day family) for convention

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Categories: Art, Life and Arts


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