The Mini Series: A model life in war and pieces

Six Scales specialises in building scale models of military machines such as aircraft, tanks and naval ships. All the work is done by two men who started out building models as a hobby.

SINGAPORE  - When World War II history buff Louise Khoo, 38, started building scale models as a child, he never thought he would one day make them for actual war veterans.

He gets orders from the United States to build customised replicas of aircraft, tanks and naval ships. The orders are usually commissioned by the grandchildren of war veterans who fought in these machines.

"I find doing these models very meaningful because they mean a lot more to them than just something you buy in a shop." 

His hobby took flight when he met like-minded enthusiast Edmund Teo more than a decade ago.

To fund their interest, they starting selling rare scale modelling kits as well as completed ones on the Internet.

Mr Khoo, who has no training in painting and air-brushing, soon had numerous orders.

 
 

In 2008, he decided to quit his job in the banking industry to pursue kit building full-time. 

With Mr Teo, 44, who worked in sales, they opened their workshop, Six Scales.

Mr Khoo said: "We are actually living in the golden age of modelling, because we see a lot of manufacturers producing new models every month. You didn't see that 10 years ago."

What sets them apart from other scale-modellers is their attention to detail. A rusty bolt, muddy boots or a frown on a soldier's face - all these are painstakingly rendered to make the models look as close as possible to the real thing.

Building and painting of the models start from $150.

However, Mr Khoo does not consider himself an artist.

"At most I see myself as a craftsman. Some seek perfection, some just want to sit down and build a kit. Not over-think it or elevate it, or put it on a high pedestal like an art form, because that would make it unreachable to a lot of people."

The doors of their workshop, which is in a Toa Payoh industrial estate, are always wide open while they work on their models.

"We want to reach out to the masses, so that everyone can enjoy this hobby."