An award-winning hobby

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Invercargill model enthusiast Bruce Clay with his "Big John" Mazmanian's 1941 Willys Coupe "Gasser", which won gold at the national championships in Dunedin in 2015.

INVERCARGILL man Bruce Clay has rediscovered his childhood passion – building models.

The model enthusiast started building model cars as a pre-teen.

“I have always had a fascination with cars, aircraft, anything with an engine on it,” he said.

“I also have a fascination with making things.”

The hobby of his childhood fell away as life got busier, he said, and he became heavily involved in drag racing.

However, in 2005 after his first child was born Mr Clay said he began looking for a hobby which did not involve being out in his garage.

It was when buying dinner at his local takeaway shop one day he noticed a model shop had opened up next door and he got speaking to the owner, who was a member of International Plastic Modellers Society (IPMS) Southland.

One of the husbands from the baby group he and his wife were involved in was also a member of the club.

On joining IPMS Southland, he went from simply building models to building models with historical accuracy, striving more for realism, accuracy and detail, he said.

“That is what kept me interested. It has become a passion.”

Mr Clay is now the secretary of IPMS Southland.

His collection boasts about 50 models of cars, military-themed vehicles and aircraft.

He has won numerous awards for his creations, including several gold awards at South Island and national championships, where model entries were judged on construction, painting and finishing, attention to detail and realism.

Mr Clay said he was not highly competitive, but rather entered the competitions so he could determine where his skill level was at.

IPMS Southland hosted an expo last weekend at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club, attended by hundreds of spectators.

The biennial two-day event featured displays of several hundred plastic models, including World War 1 vehicles and aircraft, as well as a Central Otago rail layout, Lego display and several retail stalls.

Mr Clay said the expo was held not so much as a fundraiser for the club, but rather as a promotion for the club to encourage others to join.

For more information about IPMS Southland, phone (03) 217 9128.

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