The Small, Small, Small World of Southern California Area Historical Miniature Society

Buena Park, California.  April 12, 2014

The SCAHMS show was in town this weekend at La Quinta Inn of Buena Park.   SCAHMS is part a world-wide group of people who create and show amazing miniatures of everything from people to military ordnance to the fantasy figures of popular science fiction and beyond.  This annual event takes model making to a whole new level.

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Top: “Wagons of Yesteryear”  miniatures by C. Reed West

Center and Right: “Mayan Warrior” flat miniature by Penny Meyer

Bottom:  Best of Show: “Huey In Maintenance” by Oliver Doering


Thirty-two years ago, artist Penny Meyer was hired by Testor Models to revamp model kit assembly pages to make them more appropriate for American model enthusiasts.  One day, she saw her boss sculpting a little Chinese Boxer from the early 1900s.  He told Meyer there were miniature model kits for every genre of human existence throughout time.  Once she learned there was an entire universe of tiny people to paint, Meyer was hooked!

When Meyer entered the world of historical miniatures, she was one of only three women involved in the hobby.   There was a period of adjustment for the guys, but women of all ages are now involved in this unique art form in all of its genres, especially in the creation of fantasy figures.  Models come as three-dimensional figurines, flat meta, bas-relief sculptures, and half-rounds.  Meyer paints flats, which compliment her talents as an illustrator.  Depending upon the complexity of a piece, it can take 40 to 80 hours for her to finish one piece, which would then sell for around $600.

Historical miniatures are extremely fragile pieces of art.  Artists “hover” over their work because even bumping a display table could mean disaster.  In the case of this year’s SCAHM Best of Show winner, Oliver Doering, any damage to his piece would represent the loss of five years of his life.

Doering’s “Huey in Maintenance,” a Huey helicopter torn apart for repair, is a hybrid of model kit pieces and hand-made pieces.  Doering is humbled by the fact that the Huey has won Best of Show twice in a row.  For him, building the models is more than a hobby, it’s a lifelong passion.   He would consider donating the Huey to a museum for people to enjoy, but would never sell it.  “I can’t sell it,” says Doering, “It’s a part of me.”


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