Dana’s Railroad in Spring Hill recently held a modelers’ show, with a number of skilled modelers showing their intricate work. Each modeler approaches model-making differently. Many of the modelers have a professional background in building in some shape or form. Modeling is a way for them to stay active in construction after retirement.
Wayne Williams, who began building models in 2007, recently finished a series of buildings constructed out of scratch-built styrene. He used existing buildings in Johannesburg, South Africa and another one in Russia as inspiration as well as online models. The line of buildings will become part of Dana’s layout at the shop and they were constructed for the train to go through like a tunnel. The final touch will be placing the LED lighting inside the buildings. It took Williams one year to build. He used to build parts for trucks and buses, so he is familiar with mechanics and construction. He said modeling is natural for him because instead of building on a 1:1 scale, he now builds on a 1:100 scale.
John Caiati had several models dating back to the 1950s, including a horse-drawn carriage, horse and buggy and covered wagon. He also adds to any of the kits he builds.
He has been building models as long as he can remember and is most proud of a 10-foot model of the Titanic, which you can see on YouTube. He said the Titanic was too big to bring with him to the show!
John P. enjoys history and uses modeling as a tool to learn about history. He builds very detailed models of historic aircraft. He looks for an interesting story and attempts to match the plane using photos he finds in his research. For instance, on Saturday, he had on display a model of Louise Thaden’s stock Beechcraft (C17R)- the airplane she flew to win the highly coveted Bendix trophy in 1936. She won this race with her co-pilot, Blanche Noyes. The women flew from New York to California in 14 hours and 55 minutes. Their competitors in this race included Laura Ingalls, William Warner, George Pomeroy and Amelia Earhart. John P. recreated the Beechcraft C17R in model form, matching the plane’s assigned race number 62, painted on its wing and its tail number: 15835.
John Manolis brought his 1952 Ford Custom Line Club Coup- the real thing, not a model. The restoration of the car was a special project for him, as he and his father worked on it together. It was something he could do with his father in his final years. His parents had a car nearly identical to this when he was a kid. His goal is to make the car as close to the original as possible.
Currently, Manolis is trying to find material to finish the interior of the vehicle. He has gone to various furniture manufacturers to look at the material used for cushions. In the 1950s, most car interiors were made of wool, but he said that would be very expensive, so he’s trying to find an affordable alternative that would have a similar quality.
Interestingly, Manolis said that 1952 was the first year Ford cars had curved windshields and they repositioned the brake and clutch. He said it was a truly revolutionary automobile at the time. In 1953, Ford debuted power steering.
Manolis is retired from the Hernando County School system, where he worked as a high school automotive instructor for 22 years, starting in 1992. He recommends that students get a foundational knowledge of automotives in high school, and if they take a liking to the field, they could continue on to vocational school.
It was a lot of fun speaking with these avid modelers and learning about how they became involved in this pastime.
There are several upcoming Open House and Swap Meets at Dana’s Railroad from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.:
Dec. 2, National Lionel Train Day
Dec. 9, Christmas Trains & Sets
Jan. 13, Alaska Railroads
Feb. 10, Passenger Trains
If you are interested in showing some of your own models, table space is $10 per table and setup time is 8 a.m. Bring your own table, chair, and hat. For more information, call Dana’s Railroad at (352) 684-2484. Dana’s Railroad is located at 4042 Deltona Blvd in Spring Hill.