Models of patience

Models of patience

Unique Hobbies

Models of patience

Ashish A Velankar belongs to a rare breed of people who collects models of aircraft.

Ashish buys mini-aircraft kits and assembles them piece by piece. His fleet has everything from European and American jet fighters to Russian-origin fighter aircraft and World War II fighter aircraft. It takes him a good one month to assemble an aircraft. And although it is a time-consuming process, Ashish confesses that the joy and satisfaction he gets after he completes assembling an aircraft is unparalleled. 

Metrolife caught up with the enthusiast to understand his passion for aircraft and how he keeps it alive. Ashish’s fascination for aircraft, especially fighter planes, began in high school after he was gifted an aircraft kit. He would take time to understand the history and purpose of the aircraft before venturing out to make it. 

Now, 10 years later, he says that his hobby has further enriched his knowledge about aircraft. All the models are 1:48 and 1:72 scale, which is 48 times smaller than the real one. “Each model kit consists of 150 to 200 parts connected to plastic spruces. All the parts need to be carefully cut, filed and then glued with a special cement. After part assembling is complete, the model is painted with special matt colours as per the airforce markings. These colours are not bright and are made to appear dull,” explains Ashish. 

However, he confides that he seriously started pursuing his hobby only after he began earning.

“Each kit costs nothing less than Rs 3,000. I also pick up kits when I travel. There’s immense pleasure and excitement in spending hours together putting together an aircraft,” adds Ashish. 

He points out that the bigger aircraft have complicated detailing that requires a lot of time compared to the smaller ones. 

“This whole process is a good stress-buster for me. I spend two hours a day assembling the aircraft and it’s only at the end of a month or two that an aircraft is complete,” observes Ashish.

 Among his favourites are the MIG-21, that’s still used by the Indian Air Force. “These are typical interceptor aircraft  which performs air-to-air combats,” explains Ashish. He points to a ‘F-18 - Blue Angels Hornet’ of the US Navy. “They use this plane to perform aerobatics in mid-air and during shows in their country,” he says.   

Among Ashish’s collection is the ‘F-5 Freedom Fighter’, used by the Royal Iranian Air Force; ‘F-14 - Tomcat’, ‘F-15 - Eagle’ of the US Air Force, ‘F-22 - Raptor’, ‘F-111 - Aardvark’ — all American-origin jet fighters. The European origin jet fighters include ‘Euro Fighter Typhoon’, ‘Mirage F1’, ‘Mirage 3c’ and ‘Harrier GR3’ to mention a few. World War II fighters include the ‘Supermarine Spitfire’ and ‘Hawker Typhoon.’

Ashish’s wife Janhavi is very supportive of his hobby, “I found it very interesting when I heard about his hobby before our marriage. In fact, I had gifted him one such aircraft set before our marriage. This calls for a lot of patience and skill and I admire his determination and commitment,” Janhavi pitches in.

Ashish also has an enviable collection of books on Indian aviation. Ask him about any of the aircraft that he has made and he instantly reels out details about it. Impressive for someone who works 12 hours a day and still finds time to pursue his passion. Ashish works as the head of Telecom Solutioning in Tech Mahindra. 

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