Model-maker creates impressive scene to mark Gallipoli

17:00, Aug 04 2014
Bob Hartsuiker
TAKING SHAPE: Invercargill model-maker Bob Hartsuiker makes sandbags for an impressive diorama he is creating for the Southland Museum and Art Gallery for its 2015 Gallipoli commemorations. 

By April there will be 30 tiny men in Bob Hartsuiker's garage.

The Netherlands-born model-maker has been commissioned by the Southland Museum and Art Gallery to provide models and a diorama for an upcoming exhibition to commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli campaign.

Hartsuiker usually makes World War II replica models, making everything other than the figurines themselves, and their boots, by hand - from their berets to their tiny kit bags and their even tinier buttons.

A self-taught sewer, he learned how to make everything himself so that he was able to get exactly what he wanted.

"For me, it is the challenge of making it yourself."

He can sit in his workshop for hours working on his models - it's the ultimate in relaxation.

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Now he has turned his considerable talents to making models of World War I.

He has been doing plenty of research to make sure he gets the details just right, including watching the movie Gallipoli, starring Mel Gibson, and conferring with historian Dr Aaron Fox of the University of Otago.

"It's a huge honour to be asked," Hartsuiker said.

At present he is hard at work making sandbags, meticulously filling each with just the right amount of rice.

These will be paired with the intricate hand-made barbed wire.

"There's a lot of blood in making that," he said.

But the odd scratch from wire is hardly enough to stop him.

Hartsuiker echoes what his father, who also made models, used to say: "Put your mind to it and you can make anything you want."

The Southland Times