Small scale. Big skill!

A diorama by Mark Smith from North Queensland Scale Modellers
A diorama by Mark Smith from North Queensland Scale Modellers

North Queensland Scale Modellers Inc. (NQSM) is set to hold its 8th annual expo this weekend at the Jezzine Barracks Military Museum.

Expo co-organiser Greg Canning’s passion for building scale models began as a young boy when he spied an aircraft model kit on display in the shop window.  Greg saved up his pocket money to purchase the model, put it together and hung it from the ceiling.

Greg says NQSM aims to go give fellow modellers the opportunity to display their work to the public.

“If you make a model and stick it in the box, it is no good, you want to show it off,” he says.

Greg Canning from North Queensland Scale Modellers IMAGE: Supplied

Models to suit all tastes

Around 150 models will be on display at this weekend’s expo including aircraft, armoured military vehicles, and common crowd favourite, dioramas.

“One of our guys makes complex and intricate dioramas,” says Greg.

“We also have sci-fi, ships, a miscellaneous category, war-gaming, fictional and historical figures. There is quite a variety.”

This year also features a special category championing the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Don’t be fooled – these models are not toys!

Greg impresses that modelling is an artform requiring skill and technique to produce small-scale and highly detailed replicas.

“It is a thing that you will always be learning thanks to technology. It used to be that you would just stick pieces of plastic together, but the complexity of scale models has increased, and you can now get aftermarket add-ons to model kits that are made from photo etch or are 3D printed. Some people go to great detail to provide an accurate replica,” says Greg.

“In the scale modelling community, there are discussions about what is the thing to do: Do you add in detail for realism, or do you aim for expression that is not so realistic?

“There are lots of different ways of expressing yourself and some people spend hundreds of hours, if not thousands of hours on a single model.”

A diorama by Mark Smith from North Queensland Scale Modellers

A mindful way to switch off

Like many others, Greg finds scale model building a good way to decompress.

“It helps me focus my mind so I am not as likely to be dwelling on the problems of the world,” he says.

“I am recently retired, having worked as a GP doing skin cancer surgery. This has been a good outlet for me.”

Greg hopes that scale model building can be a positive and constructive outlet for others, too.

NQSM holds public scale model building workshops with the aim of engaging with and supporting the local community. North Queensland Scale Modellers Inc. are open to new members, from beginner to expert.


You can find further information about North Queensland Scale Modellers Inc via their blog.


This article was supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the Townsville City Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

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