If a tank, a plane, or other military technique scare us somewhat, seeing them in actual size, then the toy ones are the greatest pleasure for a child and an adult.
Now imagine building them yourself based on the available models. I don’t know what you think, but I know at least two soldiers who have been living such moments of happiness since childhood. Each military equipment construction kit received as a gift or purchased makes that day a celebration. I’m sure that some of you have guessed that I mean two colonels: one active – Leonid Cazacov, head of J1 Personnel and Mobilization Department, and the second in reserve – Igor Zavalski, lecturer at the Military Academy of the Armed Forces (MAAF). Both started from a military plane: one Soviet-style and one German. Both maintained their passion over time, focusing on the process and less on the final product. They communicate periodically, exchange information and even as yet unassembled sets.
The differentiated stories of each collector are as curious as their galleries. First, I listened to the teacher’s story, who collected about 60 models of military equipment (airplanes, tanks, military ships, etc.) until the 10th grade. Then he donated them to the school museum: „When I had to go to military high school, my mother told me there was no space in the house for my collection. I gave the objects to the neighbors and other children in the village, but mostly to the school museum. The exhibition has been preserved for about 10 years, but I am not convinced that it still exists. „
After a few years break, in one of the boring evenings, the student officer in Bucharest remembered his childhood passion. He didn’t enter into controversy with alternative thoughts and quickly changed the boredom on the ecstasy of mounting the technique. The current collection started in 2004 is a much larger one: over 100 armored vehicles and cars, about 80 military planes, about ten ships and submarines, and a few artillery and air defenses specimens – his favorites field. Additionally, he gathered over 70 figurines sets, each with at least four soldiers, Mr. Zavalski added: „Through this activity, I find peace of mind. It’s a complicated thing, it requires concentration, and that’s how I manage to detach myself from routine and stress. My wife, who used to argue with me that they are a source of dust, understands me much better only now when she also started the handmade activity. We drive away fatigue through creation together.„
Although the teacher’s passion is a perennial one, when it comes to money, he becomes calculated: „I can’t afford to keep my family without money, that’s why I look for cheaper models, at discounts or I receive them as a gift. Even my children, who live in Poland, no longer worry about what gift to offer me. When the little one comes to visit, he first goes to the specialty store, and he makes me happy with a new construction set.”
No matter how great the joy of such a gift, it happens that some kits wait their turn 4-5 years until the finish. And it’s not about their complexity, but because another model insists on the priority: „I don’t realize what attracts me one model or another, I feel something inside. Of course, I am more tempted by the anti-aircraft theme and the figurines related to the ancient and medieval period. Therefore, once a plane, a car or an armored car, sometimes I can do it in 2-3 hours, other times in years, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t come back to complete it. In recent years I have found the cardboard version, the final product being in 3D. At the moment, I have a ship for the Vikings. „
Most objects are 72 times smaller than the actual transport size. The largest is at a ratio of 1:35, so 20-30 cm long, respectively, the collection requires space. In its absence, the items are separated in various places: „Initially I kept them in the office, after retirement – through boxes. When I came to MAAF I stored them in a glass cabinet. I keep a big part of them in my apartment in Balti. I received a proposal to donate them to the museum in the local Army House. I’m analyzing this option too.”
Instead, the officer has a commotion or a desire – to improvise a battle, a kind of battle diorama.
His colleague of interest, Colonel Leonid Cazacov, doesn’t” have this desideratum. He does not collect the finished objects – he gives them all as a gift: „Once in 2-3 months I buy a model (we have a specialized store in the capital) and I get another one after I finish the first one. I work for 30 minutes, enough to relax and take my energy dose. I don’t aim to get it ready quickly, I enjoy the proce. I cutting, mounting and painting.”
So far, about 20 people have been happy with such a gift from the officer. So, if you see an armored vehicle, a ship, a tank, a plane or Soviet and German soldiers on someone’s desk, you should know that it could belong to our colonel. Moreover, in one of the meeting rooms of the Military Academy, there was a battlefield simulation, which contains helicopters, tanks, planes, and others. The military made them when he was a teacher. Don’t look for the autograph on any of them; he doesn’t sign them.
The only item he kept at home was a KV-2 tank, a Soviet prototype used by the Germans in World War II – the period that particularly interests the creator. Beyond assembly, the military is looking for information about each technique purchased: „The car is sold with its history and characteristics, details can be present about the situations in which it was used. For example, the story about how the famous German tanker Michael Wittmann destroyed an American tank company alone – First he shot the first and last tank, then the others like shooting and surprised the Americans. He handled the armor with great skill and is known for his surprise attack tactics in World War II.”
The delight with which the two soldiers told about their shared passion contaminates you with the desire to try or maintain a pleasure already tested. When some pieces of plastic start to take shape in a defining form, and after coloring they come to life and challenge you to action is a natural state of bliss, say our protagonists.
These miniature objects have an impact not only individually. Whether they are admired or used as teaching materials, such as for emerging commanders, they are an attractive source of promotion for the profession and military events.
In Romanian: https://dragostinavicol.org/2021/06/08/armata-in-miniatura/