3 октября 2006 года
Tanks for the memory.
Model collector Alexander Shcherbakov didn't expect his home to be invaded by Soviet and Nazi tank divisions but now he's aiming to collect up to 1,000 vehicles.
By Yelena Andreyeva
SPECIAL TO THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
Three years ago when Aleiander Shcherbakov's wife Regina gave him a model tank as a gift, he didn't think he'd start collecting them. But now Shcherbakov owns a collection of model tanks numbering more than 300 items representing Russian, German, English, French, Japanese, Israeli, Finnish, American, Australian, Brazilian, Swedish, Polish, and Czech vehicles. The major part of the collection is located at his apartment, but 10 models are exhibited in the souvenir store at the St. Petersburg Artillery Museum.
"It is my first collection" he says. "When I was a child I used to collect stamps, coins, and other things children usually collect, but, of course, it wasn't anything like what I have now."
After that first gift Shcherbakov developed a thirst for knowledge about model tanks and everything connected with them.
"First I wanted to know why all models look different, have various camouflages, why they are painted in different colours. Then I started learning their history," he says. "The first model I assembled was grey. I didn't even know then that originally all German tanks were yellow."
Shcherbakov says there are different types of model tank. Some vehicles, usually one-sixteenth scale models, can move and have revolving gears, tracks, barrels, and other details. Presented in his collection are tanks that are both painted and unpainted, clean and splashed with mud, intact and smashed, and even whole dioramas of the battles with vehicles, model soldiers, buildings, and landscapes.
All the models are assembled either from special ready-made sets with details for a certain model provided or created especially to order according to a collector's order with all details handmade. It takes anywhere from one to three months for a designer to create a model.
"When I started my collection, I assembled forty models by myself but now they all are made by designers. They are usually enthusiasts who consider model assembling not as their profession but as a hobby" Shcherbakov says. "Assembling a vehicle is a tedious process, and it is almost impossible to make a perfect model, but it's such an inexpressible feeling when you create a beautiful thing just from nothing."
Shcherbakov considers designers who make models as real artists that put their hearts into their work and create masterpieces. Shcherbakov thinks that a person who wants to earn money by assembling models can never make high quality vehicles in a production line. He says that besides the signatures put on the models, all designers have their own unique style that can distinguish their creations from many others.
Although there are collectors who create new model tanks that have never existed in reality, Shcherbakov thinks each model should replicate a real vehicle. There are often heated debates among designers concerning how to make a model look like the original vehicle and what side number it should receive. For example, the T34 Soviet tank had more than forty modified editions, and Shcherbakov wants to enrich his collection with all of them.
"Now there are thirteen models of T34 in my collection, but if there are forty of them I can organize a special exhibition devoted to this tank model that will certainly stir up a dispute about it" he says. "Nobody has ever seen forty T34 modifications gathered in one place."
Along with the enthusiasts who assemble and collect vehicles, there are people whose hobby is making or collecting toy soldiers. Some even take photos of the soldiers, vehicles, and dioramas of battles to make them look like authentic scenes of war. A few photos obtained by Scherbakov look very impressive and one sould think that they were really taken during World War II more than 60 years ago.
The exhibits in Shcherbakov's collection would be good visuals for history lessons. Displayed on the shelves of his study are a variety of models from English vehicles that participated in World War I to Russian, German, Czech or other tanks used during World War II and modern models released in 2004. All models are supplied with tables displaying names and production dates as guides. Having read a lot about the World Wars, and history in general, Shcherbakov is the perfect guide to his collection. He can talk endlessly about model tanks, making references to their construction history, the battles they took part in, different historical facts of that period, and other interesting stories.
Having participated in St. Petersburg exhibitions such as "Collector 2003" and "Collector 2004" and searched for people who share his interests, Shcherbakov has connections with other collectors in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Penza, as well as Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, and Poland. Although he has been invited to make an exhibition of his model tanks in Germany, he doesn't think that it is possible.
"The major problem is that all the items are very fragile" he says. "It's not easy even to dust them and transporting them to another country just seems dangerous."
Now Alexander Scherbakov is the owner of the largest collection of model tanks in St. Petersburg. Among his priorities is solving the space problem for his collection because there is no room left on the shelves of his study for the exhibits. Soon he is going to put information about his tanchiki, as he affectionately calls his models, on his own website, which will be available in Russian and English versions.
At this point he does not want to start another collection but only to enlarge the present one. "I don't want to collect anything else," he says. "Collecting is an endless process. Every year new model tanks of amazingly high quality are released. Most of them copy such tiny details of the original vehicle as the rivets. When I started my collection I thought that when I got to 300 items there would be no new interesting models available to collect. Now I know that I was wrong and plan to enlarge it up to 500 or 1,000 items. There are always many options left to develop my collection, and if I start doing something I always make it a reality."
Автор: Yelena Andreyeva
Источник: SPECIAL TO THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES