Model nuts bring war to shore

01:43, Jan 31 2009
RADIO CONTROL: Neville Smith is passionate about radio control tanks.

Some people collect stamps, Neville Smith collects tanks.

The 11 tanks he has collected range from the famous German Tiger 1 to the speedy American Sherman.

Each 1/16 scale model costs between $1000 and $2000 and takes weeks to assemble.

"I've been a model nut all my life, but I guess the fact you can shoot one another and play games with the tanks won me over.

"They come in thousands of bits, so there's lots of hours of fun that goes into making one," he says.

When he isn't assembling tanks Mr Smith spends hours fashioning toy soldiers, model houses and artificial trees to use on the battlefield.

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Those come in handy at gatherings of radio-control tank lovers.

The group was formed by Mr Smith in 2001 and has 20 members throughout New Zealand.

Auckland enthusiasts meet regularly at Motat 2 to discuss their hobby and battle their tanks in a series of wargames.

"I bought a couple of tanks and had no one to play with so I decided to form a club," he says.

"We have team games like United States versus Germany and King of the Hill.

"I don't like King of the Hill because they always target me in that one. I'm usually first to die."

The aim of a tank wargame is usually to destroy the opposing team's tanks.

Each tank is fitted with infrared sensors that pick up hits from opposing tanks.

Heavy tanks can take more hits, but have slower movement and rate of fire, and vice versa for medium and light tanks.

A tank's speed is reduced as it gets more damaged.

"It does get the adrenaline pumping," says Mr Smith. "You've got to keep your wits about you out there."

He is planning to push his hobby on the North Shore at a hobbies expo at Northcote YMCA tomorrow.

At the moment only three or four Shore members have joined his club and he wants to recruit more.

"It's a respectable hobby."

The Dr Who Fan Club, Thomas the Tank Engine fans, the Hot-Wheels Collectors Club, JOHNA Whale Rescue and Conservation Society and the Finch Bird Breeders Club are among the other exhibitors at the expo.

Model railways with running trains, working Meccano models and model trucks will be on display.

North Shore Times