Fan Made Friday: Jeff Retzer
A fan of Star Wars & GI Joe since childhood, Jeff spent many of his younger days playing with action figures. As an adult, he divides his time between career, family, & custom model building. Recalling a circumstance to which many of us can relate, Jeff explains his early initiation into model building, "I didn’t always have the money to buy what I wanted so I spent time building things from cardboard, paper, and tape. Whether it was vehicle I tried to create from other cars I had or building fortresses and camps for my action figures...I grew a little older I started building models of all varieties."
Working with 1/35 scale models & inspired by the practice of "kit bashing", a process that involves using various parts from many different model kits, Jeff found joy in making custom models centered around World War Two military equipment. He would eventually move on to other processes while still developing his building technique. " I eventually got into collecting 1/64 scale vehicles of all types. I was collecting to build an environment and dioramas of everyday life to a small scale. I spent time with those kit bashing again to create other vehicles they didn’t make...mostly revolving around Fire Fighting equipment that was never produced...converting pick-up trucks to brush trucks and rescue trucks."
While still having a passion for action figures, Jeff's creativity experienced a rebirth in the 1990s after Star Wars toys were released again. "I was excited when they started releasing new Star Wars figures in the middle 90s. I began collecting again. As the Star Wars universe expanded they made vehicles yet didn’t make a toy for it. So I started building what I wanted. The TIE Fighter was always one of my favorite toys, so I built a few different models of those. The TIE Defender was the first one I built. Recently I have started to build more of those and refurbishing the ones I built years ago."
Citing some of his challenges as a model builder, Jeff refers to developing his personal skill level & "being able come up with unique ideas to make the project work. Patience & practice...never give up, keep trying."
The ultimate dream project for Jeff? "A large Death Star Hanger", he says. "I have it made in my mind to be 4x8 (feet) and 360 degrees of diorama...a two walled hanger with the back sides being hallways and corridors. Star Wars has influenced my entire life...probably too much. Modeling Star Wars is a never ending excitement. So much can be created because it is such a large universe."
Star Wars being too much of an influence? I don't know if that's even possible for bright minded creators like Jeff. After all, the model builders for A New Hope were kit bashers too...and they've done pretty well for themselves.
Check out more of Jeff's awesome work and upcoming projects at https://www.facebook.com/sienarfleettoys