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Scale models bring past to the present

Museums, old newsreels and vintage photographs offer "full-size" glimpses of the past. Sometimes, however, a scaled-down version of history can provide a view that is equally accurate.

The 14th annual Scale Model Summit in Ogden's Union Station does just that until 1 p.m. Saturday, featuring 800-plus scale models."This is the second largest in the nation," Fritz Brockman of Ogden, who is president of the Utah Scale Model Association, said of the Friday-Saturday event.

He said only the national scale model competition is larger.

While there is judging and awards at the event, Brockman said competition has been de-emphasized here and that's why the event has grown steadily from the 50 models it attracted back in 1984.

"People come here to have a good time," he said.

It's common here to see grandfathers bring grandchildren to the display to show them what vehicle they traveled in during World War II.

For example, Brockman said a replica depicting the planes of the 82nd Airborne offers perhaps the best way to show someone how it traveled.

The show has models of various Star Wars fighters, antique cars and trucks, the Batmobile, several versions of the stealth bomber, dinosaurs and even models of the human skull.

"It's all history," Alleyn Kinney of Salt Lake City, said. "Pieces of history."

Kinney has two major displays entered in the Scale Model Summit. One is a display of 40 modern tanks from all over the world. The other is a time line of models showing the evolution of soldiers from 13 B.C. to the present.

Kinney said he spent 20 to 25 hours building each tank. He left eight other tanks at home.

"It's a great hobby. I like to educate people," he said.

Though he served in the military, his interest in tanks came later, and he's made many of them with movable parts to heighten the realism.

He hopes kids become interested in model building through his creations.

Although the Utah Scale Model Club has members ranging in age from 18 to 80, Brockman expects the models of much younger builders to eventually show up at the displays.

Brockman also said the variety of professions among the entrants ranges from dentists to students. Most are men, but there are a few women entered.

"We're a very diverse group," he said.

Admission is $2 for adults or $3 for a family pass.

The gathering also includes a vendor area where various model kits and related items are for sale.