Northland Exhibition: ModelEx Whangārei Show Report


Mark Peacock delves into the modelling scene in New Zealand with a report from the country's ModelEx Whangārei event.

ModelEx Whangarei Model Show Event

Above: Craniums toyshop acted as a host for the Whangārei ModelEx; here, club members congregate outside.

New Zealand has had a strong association with the modelling hobby over the years, with brands such as Falcon, Ventura and Wingnut Wings plus Kotare Models, which is due to arrive soon with a new range of 1/32 kits.

The local club scene is just as active with strong IPMS groups in major cities and good hobby shops, so is a country that often punches way above its weight in relation to the hobby.

ModelEx Whangārei has been held over the past seven years, hosted by Craniums, the town’s main toyshop. Located in the Town Basin, it is ideally placed as an attraction for the public being close to marina-side cafés and the famous Claphams Clock Museum. Traditionally, the show is held on Anzac Day weekend in April but, owing to COVID restrictions, it was delayed to the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. Sadly, a planned Airfix ‘Make & Take’ event had to be held over, too.

The show is organised by Whangārei Modellers Club, which has been established for more than 30 years. Members meet on the third Tuesday evening of every month to share skills and knowledge as well as show their latest creations. As well as native Kiwis, at least one American and three ex-pat Brits, one of them a former model maker at Weta Workshop, form part of the membership. ModelEx differs from the usual fare in that it covers a wide range of model disciplines: plastic kits, wargaming, Warhammer, figure painting, dolls houses, fantasy, wooden models, Lego and radio control.

Centrepiece of the show was an impressive velociraptor skeleton, created entirely from scratch as a school project. Apparently, its component parts had been buried and exhumed as part of a palaeontology project for schoolchildren. Among the styrene subjects on show was an impressive collection of rocketry including a sizeable Buran space shuttle, Brian Taylor’s skilfully painted Wild West figure collection and Shawn Carrigan’s modern 1/35 scale armour collection, which would not look out of place on an IPMS competition table.

A live Airfix gift set demo build was also running over the three days. The Valiant Wings range of books was also on view for the first time in New Zealand.

With strong positive feedback from visitors, plans are already in place for 2023’s show and with wider publicity coupled with an excellent location and a return to its normal date, ModelEx can only go from strength to strength. So, if you are in the Northland New Zealand area around Anzac Day next year it might be worth paying a visit.

Mark Peacock

ModelEx Whangarei Model Show Event

Above: A stunning ‘skeleton-style’ Deperdussin Monocoque by Ronald Johnson drew plenty of attention, thanks to a superb polished finish.

ModelEx Whangarei Model Show Event

Above: Neil Lambess built A-Model’s 1/72 Soviet Energia launcher and Buran space shuttle; one of several high-quality exhibits on a dedicated rocketry stand.

ModelEx Whangarei Model Show Event

Above: This life-size velociraptor skeleton was completely scratch-built and formed the centrepiece of the show.

ModelEx Whangarei Model Show Event

Above: This wargaming display by Adam Goddard was one of several exhibited at the show.

ModelEx Whangarei Model Show Event

Above: Another beautifully turned out Wild West bust by Brian Taylor.

ModelEx Whangarei Model Show Event

Above: Bonnie Misan turned out these superb market scenes – all being created from scratch, using plaster.