World Expo Show Report

Here is an article regarding this past weekend's
World Expo, in Boston. The article even quotes a few friends
of ours.
__________________________________________________________
(From The Boston Globe)
World expo marshals miniature soldiers
Hobbyists gather at Park Plaza
By Russell Nichols, Globe Correspondent | July 3, 2005
American troops in green fatigues haul a wounded comrade through clumps of
snow in Germany. A Native American squints, clutching a red-haired doll.
Templar Knights on horseback extend their swords in attack. A Union soldier
barges through a brick barricade in a Civil War scene.
They are fearsome. They are well armed. And they are about 2 inches tall.
These are scenes from the sixth World Model Soldier Exposition, which ends
today. The exposition has brought about 350 exhibitors to Boston from all
over the world to showcase their miniature models of fighting men. With
exhibitors and vendors from about 40 states, eight Canadian provinces,
Mexico, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Russia, the exposition has converted the
Park Plaza Hotel into a melting pot of history buffs and international
hobbyists, said Barry King, chairman of the show.
''They put the world in World Expo," King said, adding that approximately
2,400 people had attended the event in its first two days.
The figurines depict ancient Greek foot soldiers, Napoleonic grenadiers,
Revolutionary War redcoats and colonists, and World War II GIs.
''The further back in history, the more romantic it becomes," said Dennis
Levy, one of the show's organizers.
In the exhibits, the toy soldiers are arranged in historical settings,
posing in various styles and stances.
In one exhibit, titled ''Defenders of the Reich," two German soldiers -- one
gripping a rusted bazooka -- crouch in a mound of snow between broken brick
walls. A third climbs the wall behind them beneath a staggered metal
support.
The creator of the exhibit, Chris Mrosko, 44, from St. Louis, said he has
been making models since he was 4 years old. He said it takes about 200
hours to complete an exhibit.
To make the figurines, most exhibitors start with a wire frame. They cover
that with a rubber mold or epoxy putty -- the same material plumbers use to
seal pipes -- and begin carving the figure. Once it dries, they use oil and
acrylic paints for the glaze.
The details -- from the wrinkles in the uniforms to empty green bottles
lodged in the snow, made from fine glass beads -- are what catch the
collectors' eyes.
Chris Durham, of Holden, is in his 70s. He said he is the oldest collector
at the show (he said he does not like to tell people his age). He has been
collecting since 1942, when he said he used to take money he earned
delivering newspapers to buy figurines.
Durham meandered through the exposition yesterday with a wide smile,
stopping every so often.
''See how these colors don't jump out at you," he said, pointing to a gray
and brown figurine of a medieval warrior on an armored mount -- his choice
for the best exhibit.
The exhibits, Levy said, usually sell for $300 to $2,500, depending on the
artist and the number of figures in the scene. The most expensive exhibit
-- a medieval battle scene with 80 figurines -- was worth $125,000, he
said.
Durham said he has between 300 and 400 figurines stashed in his living-room
cabinet and attic. With each new purchase, he said, he sells an old one.
But it is not so much about the collecting.
''Half of it's the hunt, the chase," he said. ''Once you get it, it's kind
of a letdown."
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Greg Heilers
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