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Model Army exhibit connects soldiers, art

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POSTED: August 9, 2012 12:00 p.m.
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Modeling enthusiasts work on their table-top miniatures at Jungle Jake’s Hobbies & Games. Models of the type will be on display this month at the Hinesville Area Arts Council.

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The Art of War may have ancient Chinese roots, but a new Hinesville Area Arts Council exhibit shows that some today see war strategy and depictions as a craft.

The tabletop gaming exhibit features tabletop miniature pieces crafted by various artists at Jungle Jake’s Hobbies & Games, according to store owners Jason and Dakhine Lee.

“The exhibit is something totally different because they are 3-D sculptures …,” Dakhine Lee said. “There’s a lot of technique involved. There’s a lot of layering and dry-brushing and washes and glaze … but most of the paint is acrylic, and the technique is where the art form comes in.”

The HAAC will host a reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday to kick off the display, which is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday until Aug. 30.

The exhibit features two tables with miniatures, one with fantasy pieces and the other with science fiction pieces, and a display case with individual models, which are made of metal, plastic or resin.

Though it has ancient roots — Chinese warriors carried models to depict their armies, Dakhine Lee said — the art form has a different appeal from other recent exhibitions.

HAAC Chairwoman Leah Poole said the exhibit still is a display of talent that they hope draws a new audience to the arts.

“It takes them hours and an attention to detail that is phenomenal to craft these pieces. Some are valued at thousands of dollars,” Poole said.

“Our hope is definitely to involve more people in the arts, and if they have an interest in something other than what we currently offer, maybe this will open new doors,” she added.

The HAAC also will open the doors to a classroom facility behind the gallery soon, Poole said. That space will allow the organization to offer simultaneous classes and maintain the integrity of the exhibition space while still cultivating creative expression through visual art, dance and yoga.

Right before the exhibit reception, elected officials will paint the first strokes of the community mural that will debut September in downtown.

During the reception, modeler and Bradwell Institute teacher Kenny Wilkinson will do a painting demonstration to show how to bring the tiny models to life.

The exhibition also will show how the miniatures come to be, a process that Jason Lee said can provide a bonding experience.

“It’s an art form that a lot of fathers and sons and parents and children can get into together. It’s interactive and totally unplugged, and that’s a good thing,” Jason Lee said.

About 23 people participate in the shop’s hobby club, which meets weekly and provides a place to paint.

“A lot of them are soldiers, but we have city employees, teachers, children, all the way up to officers and retired military,” Dakhine Lee said. “It’s an entire hobby, so people when they get into it, they really get into it.”

Hobby enthusiasts put varying amounts of time into the 25-millimeter scaled miniatures that are then integrated into strategy games like Warhammer.

“Warhammer is a table-top miniatures strategy game where the players choose an army and build their army,” Dakhine Lee said. “It’s like playing chess, but the different pieces move with different abilities, and everything that your pieces can do is determined by the roll of the dice … Part of the strategy is determining what type of weapons you put on your men.”

 

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