WITH a flair for art, accuracy, military research and a steady hand, Redbank Plains mechanic Steve Kelb has turned what started as a childhood hobby into an artform.

A scale model enthusiast, he specialises in military figures and has well over a thousand items from antique military figures from England and France dating back to the early 1900s to sci-fi figures from Star Wars, Star Trek and Planet of the Apes.

Some of the collection is from his childhood where his passion for the hobby all started - a sought-after original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang model car, an early diecast Batmobile and original model cars from James Bond and Kojak to the Monkeemobile.

He even recently reacquired one of his treasures from his childhood that broke, a Boot Hill Express hot rod model car. He had been searching the internet and markets for 30 years for one.

But his most sought-after items are created by his own hand, the hand-painted military figures.

A 90mm model of Chinese military hero General Guan Yu won him a gold medal in the figures section at last year's Queensland Model Hobbies Expo.

Exhibitor in the Model Hobbies Expo, Steve Kelb. Photo Inga Williams / The Queensland Times
Exhibitor in the Model Hobbies Expo, Steve Kelb. Photo Inga Williams / The Queensland Times Inga Williams

 

"It's a form of art more than just making models because everybody paints them differently, you put your own personality into them," Mr Kelb said.

He is one of a group of 15 military figures experts that form the Brisbane Figure Society and will again have a stand showcasing his work at this year's expo.

Ipswich will host the Queensland Model Hobbies Expo this month for the first time after the annual event outgrew its home of 19 years in Brisbane's Windsor.

The expo attracts a crowd of 3200 with retailers from interstate and New Zealand. Organisers hope to increase attendance to 5000.

The Queensland Model Hobbies Expo will be held at Just Sports and Fitness Hall in Redbank on the weekend of August 22 and 23.

Exhibitor in the Model Hobbies Expo, Steve Kelb. Photo Inga Williams / The Queensland Times
Exhibitor in the Model Hobbies Expo, Steve Kelb. Photo Inga Williams / The Queensland Times Inga Williams