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Thursday, 25 April 2019 04:05 pm

Weta Workshop artists’ models on sale at old-school hobby shop

Rick Barrett with three favourite model kits he wants to make

A Kilbirnie model shop is drawing customers from all over with the help of a little star power.

Rick Barrett opened Hobby Stop five months ago and sells all manner of war era and fantasy stock, including hand-crafted models by Weta Workshop artists Gary Hunt and Daniel Cockersell and film-maker Sir Peter Jackson’s model WWI planes.

Mr Hunt’s miniatures are for the true model-maker, says Mr Barrett. Pewter metal kits are supplied unpainted, though inked versions are available.

Mr Cockersell’s hand-carved faces for radio control race cars are for sale. “The detail in these faces is amazing,” says Mr Barrett. “The teeth, skin tone, eyes, and expressions on the faces are priceless.”

Hand-carved plaster models by Daniel Cockersell of Weta Studio.

Hobby Stop is a treasure trove for modellers and hobbyists of all ages and, though sales of bus, train and plane models have become more internet-based,  Mr Barrett says “that’s fine, we are in a different market place than 20 or 40 years ago”.

“Nowadays most modellers are looking into table-top warfare, like Star Wars X-Wing or Games Workshop, which have been very popular.

“Highly detailed mechanical models such as a WWII Spitfire, which are essentially a shrunk-down version of the original, are still very popular.

“Prices have certainly increased as you would expect, but we have many modellers who collect and build these kits — mostly people, though, who can afford to buy now what they could only dream of buying as kids.”

Mr Barrett is happy to share his modelling expertise and holds workshops for children on model building techniques. “We will introduce more advanced classes as time goes on.” he says.

The Hobby Stop has a school holiday programme where the kids are encouraged to let their imagination free.  “If someone wants to have a pink Spitfire with polka dots, that’s their creativity to explore.”

He says his shop attracts people from all sorts of backgrounds. “They come in, have a chat, get some advice … it’s been a really good feeling having such a sense of community.”

Repeat customer Nick is a fan. “I drive in from the Hutt to see Rick and get my supplies … it’s better to come here, talk to a mate, and get the expertise.”

Among Mr Hunt’s miniatures is one depicting Kiwi hero Air Vice-Marshal Sir Keith Park, who led the Royal Air Force squadrons that saved London during World War II.

Mr Hunt worked with Les Johnson from the Weta Workshop team on the Sir Keith Park memorial statue that was erected in London’s Trafalgar Square in 2010.

The statue inspired Mr Hunt to sculpt two figures of Sir Keith Park for his historical miniatures.

Cast in metal, they complement Sir Peter Jackson’s Wingnut 1/32 scale models series of WWI attack aircraft, in kit form.

Sir Keith Park miniature cast by Gary Hunt from Weta Workshop with Wingnut model in background

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is Born in Wellington, exported to the Te Nehenehenui by my Nanni. Now working as a Native for the betterment of society.
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  1. Absolutely great report Kawe. How exciting that we can all have a piece of our Weta Workshop in our own homes. You were inspired to find out all of this to share with us out here in the world. Great work.

  2. Nice little article. I shop regularly in kilbirnie and have not seen a model shop.
    Maybe I should keep my eyes open more.

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