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Annual Gibraltar Model Soldier Society exhibition to open this evening

Pics by Johnny Bugeja

Final preparations were being made ahead of the annual Gibraltar Model Soldier Society’s exhibition which is set to be officially opened by the Minister for Culture, Dr John Cortes, this evening.

Some exhibits are on the world wars, others are more modern.

The exhibitors range from people who build details, such as the uniforms of the figures, from scratch; others purchase them; some paint the bodies and their accessories, and some people are collectors who like to display their collection.

“We are a society that has been around for 41 years, which is not an easy task, but I think it comes down to the passion of the members who get together and enjoy very much what it is, which is a hobby,” said the society’s chairman Jason Fa.

“Once a year, annually, we do an exhibition.”

“The actual exhibition gives the opportunity to other people who have the same likes as us, and hobbies, to come and join and see it.”

It may also help people be introduced to the hobby.

Not all members are exhibiting, some have not done something new or purchased something new to display this year. There are four guest members, whose hobbies are similar, who they have invited to form part of the exhibition.

There is lot of work that goes into hosting the event, but Mr Fa believes it is worth it as you get to see how passionate people are about their hobby.

“It gives that individual that sense in of joy, and in life we should always look for the joy of what ticks your boxes.”

They do not exhibit outside of Gibraltar.

The society has 41 members. They used to have 60, but Mr Fa believes it is a hobby that is not followed as much by youngsters, who are more into Warhammer and similar war games, but last year they had only 35 members so membership is increasing.

“We get together at least once a month. Obviously, that has always been our fight to have some sort of a centralised clubhouse so we can do things, get together more often, do workshops and have some of our exhibits more permanently on display.”

“Because it is a lot of work for a one-week exhibition.”

One person exhibiting is James Martinez, “I collect a lot of fantasy miniatures, my Dad got me into the hobby because he collects military history stuff.”

“This is what I spend my life doing, I am 30 and I have done it since I was seven or eight.”

While he was introduced to the hobby by someone who loves history, he has always found fantasy more interesting.

He is exhibiting figures from the Lord of the Rings movies.

He buys the pieces; some are plastic, some are metal which come in a dark grey colour.

“I undercoat them and paint them all from scratch,” he said.

One piece he is displaying is the Balrog from when Gandalf fights him in the first movie.

“It is a plastic balrog and I have to paint it all. It comes in grey but I have painted it to make it look like it is on fire.”

“If I were to work and dedicate myself nonstop, I could do this in a week or two.”

“But it took me a few weeks because I work in a school, so I don’t have as much time as I like.”

“The fire effects took a while because you have to paint the white and then do the black on top and then the yellow, orange and red together,” he added.

The exhibition, located at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery, will be open to the public from tomorrow Friday until February 24, from 10am to 6pm weekdays (except Bank Holiday Monday), and from 10am to 2pm on Saturday.

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