KAPA‘A — An exhibition of model cars will be held all day this Saturday at Beachrail hobby shop in Nawiliwili.
It is the work of Eddie Michael Lindsay, a Kapa‘a resident who is organizing the event in the hope of attracting like-minded enthusiasts to start a modeling club on Kaua‘i.
“I am getting the word out there to people,” said Lindsay. “Modeling doesn’t know any ages.”
Digs and Sandy, owners of Beachrail, said modeling is more of a freelance activity when compared to the more regimented world of model trains. They said it is good when hobbyists get together to show their work.
“We’re willing to support that,” Digs said. “I have always wanted to do a model club.”
Digs said the essential ingredients to successful model building are patience, dexterity and an ability to follow instructions. Common tools include leatherman pliers, an X-Acto knife set, spray and brush paints.
There are many levels to modeling. The beginners will have simple snap together kits. Then they progress into light glue and decals, through the advanced levels with more parts, painting and detailing required.
Advanced hobbyists sometimes deviate from the instructions to make custom work such as hotrods out of basic cars by using parts from unrelated models and using style and innovation. A skilled hobbyist can also give tips about how to create a rusty or dirty look to models using household products.
When it comes to improvising there is no wrong way, Lindsay said. It’s all up to the imagination.
He said modeling was important early on in learning how things worked, including a working 3D engine model that turned with a crank. He recalls his first model was a gift from his adoptive parents and was the monster pickup truck “Bigfoot.”
“I get pleasure out of doing it,” Lindsay said. “I know there are people out there that think it’s childish and think it’s a toy. It’s not. You don’t play with models.”
Lindsay said model exhibitions are a fascinating addition to gatherings. The diorama scenery alone can create a setting to provide a visual story of a time or place and add something special to block parties and school events.
Teaching kids concentration
“I would really like to be able to present at those eventually and show everything,” Lindsay said. “When I got here I thought about it because I saw how interested all the kids were. They were watching me like a hawk building the cars and trucks and that was what gave me the idea.”
Now at 30, Lindsay works as a laborer with a knack for all things mechanical. On island now for just over six years, he was born and raised near Auburn, Ala.
His adoptive father was into model trains and he learned to build layouts and scenery by the time he was in second grade. Model building channeled his emotions into something constructive.
As he got older Lindsay said modeling continued to help his concentration from reading directions and figuring out complex steps of planning. The coordination, ingenuity and patience required to complete something made him proud of the results.
“I like to be challenged,” he said.
In high school Lindsay recalled modeling was a real asset. He would go the extra mile in group projects, creating transparent plaster seas for historic ships and building accurate battle scenes down to the colors and emblems.
One partner who shared an A in a project remained eligible for football and he didn’t forget it, Lindsay added.
Building a model for someone is a meaningful gift when it represents something important to them. Lindsay once built a model of a WWII U.S. Navy fighter aircraft for a co-worker who’s father flew the plane during the war. He got a big hug and a lot of stories from the Vietnam War veteran.
More recently Lindsay built two models for a local retiree. The first was a 1967 model flatbed truck that the man had driven cross country for many years. The second was a 1948 truck — his very first job hauling hay for his grandmother.
“I couldn’t believe that a $10 model could do that much to make someone so appreciative,” he said. “He didn’t know it would open the door of memories to share with me.”
In the future Lindsay plans to build a panorama of Pearl Harbor as it appeared on the eve of the Imperial Japanese attack in 1941. He has already ordered the entire battleship row.
“It would be kind of like a memorial but with a big diorama of ships at port,” he said.
Lindsay was married and had a daughter by the time his adoptive parents passed away. He learned that his biological mother was remarried and living on Kaua‘i and moved here in 2006.
• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or by emailing tlaventure@ thegardenisland.com.