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Sterling Heights

Hobbyists display carvings, models at senior center

February 19, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Dwain Laisk, of Roseville, holds up a wooden version of Gen. George Armstrong Custer at a Feb. 11 Sterling Heights Model Builders and Wood Carvers Show at the Sterling Heights Senior Center.

Dozens of metro Detroit’s senior citizens introduced some of their craftiest work to the public Feb. 11 during a Sterling Heights Model Builders and Wood Carvers Show at the Sterling Heights Senior Center.

The event put local seniors’ handiwork on display, including model vehicles, wood sculptures and more.

Event spokesman Paul Smith said this is the first year he has helped put on the show. While public turnout was not that big, he said the event still turned out fine due to enthusiasm among the participants.

“Some of us had extra models to show so that, in the event of a low turnout, we had enough to fill in,” he said. “Some of the guys brought five or six tables of stuff to show.”

Robert Morse, 69, from Troy, said he brought two model airplanes. He said he has been putting together models since he was 9 years old, but added that the models’ technology has changed dramatically since the 1950s and 1960s.

“It’s actually a computer,” he said. “They’ve got retractable landing gear. They’ve got landing flaps. It’s just unbelievable.”

Although the Sterling Heights Senior Center has a club for model builders, Morse said he doesn’t attend the meetings. He said he learned about the exhibit from Smith.

“I fly model airplanes with him,” Morse said. “He said, ‘Come on over, bring an airplane,’ and I said, ‘Sure, I’d be glad to.’”

Robert Radnick, 70, from Grosse Pointe Woods, brought a steam engine and a model boat to the event. He said he has long enjoyed putting models together, remembering a time around 40 years ago when he worked on a model car kit of a 1930s-era Deusenberg while he was in the Navy.

Radnick said he painted it so carefully that, if he noticed the slightest blemish, he’d start over. “It was the first model that I made to completion that I was proud of,” he said.

Today, Radnick is a member of the Sterling Heights Senior Center model building club. He said he heard about the group while attending a hobby shop around five years ago, and it encourages him to keep his skills sharp.

“It kind of gets the juices flowing when you see other people doing work, and you want to … do something on your own,” he said. “Sometimes we’d do work in the meetings. Mostly, it’s just camaraderie. They’re very nice fellows, and I enjoy being with them.”

Learn more about the Sterling Heights Senior Center at or at (586) 446-2750.

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