Farm model mania the ‘perfect’ distraction in troubled times

A specialist in making farm models and buildings is fielding lots of new enquiries at present as model mania is seen as the ‘perfect’ distraction during these troubled times.

Ciarán Dunne of Perfect-32 said he has the same amount of orders as usual and is not finding any issues with payment as yet.

“I have a big order of brass that was due from the UK next week, held up with the Covid-19 lockdown, so that will see some orders and new models I had hoped to release put back a few months now,” said Ciarán. “But I do have a major amount of one-off builds and tractor conversions to keep me busy,” he said.

The troubled world backdrop is seeing some people with more time on their hands and model making is on the radar of some.

“I started moulding and casting wheels for trailers, tanks and loaders last year so I did see a lot more of those go to people who are making their own models at home lately,” said Ciarán, whose father, John, and brother, Jack, run the family dairy, beef and tillage farm near Thurles.

“The workshop has had some big changes in the last two years with the moulding and casting all done in-house now and we are almost ready to take my first order of a 3D printer,” said Ciarán.

This August will be my 10th year making farm models so we updated some of the most popular models at the start of the year. The McConnel hedge-cutters now have even more details and strength along with left and right-hand cut options and the new and old colour schemes, but parts are delayed.

“The OCE forks have also been updated with more parts laser cut from brass with more details, new style sides and ‘greedy’ extension bars on top. Now I have added the 12ft fork to the list, along with the 14ft fork.

“We also have the new brackets to fit the new Volvo L60H loaders. The model is now twice as heavy and very strong,” Ciarán said.

“Last week I finished off putting my own wheels and tyres onto the Volvo loaders. These are very popular at the moment, especially with the silage forks. Unfortunately, we are waiting for the parts to make more forks,” he said.

“We are expanding the range of tyres all the time, mostly to suit the Irish and UK markets to match the tyres on real machines. As are no shows taking place in this troubled era, we will put them on our website.

“Last week, I finished Smyth bale trailers, specially made for a customer to match his real-size, custom-built trailers.

“This week, I’ve started Massey Ferguson 590 conversions, turning them from 4WD to 2WD and building MF 80 loaders for some of them,” said Ciarán.

‘If something wasn’t available, I would make it’

Perfect-32 has a lot of collectors among its clients but the people who buy are mainly machinery enthusiasts seeking to replicate key pieces of kit, according to Ciarán.

Popular items include: bale handlers; sheer grabs; and O’Connor Engineering silage forks. In cases where measurements aren’t available, he can work on his own interpretation, but that will increase the price, he said.

His interest in model making started when he was a child. “I always made my own models and farms as a child. If something wasn’t available to buy in the shops, I would make it.”

That love of model making continued at post-primary school. He then did a Post-Leaving Cert course in Thurles that incorporated work experience with Crowley Modelmakers in Bray.

This was followed by a three-year model making course at the Arts University, Bournemouth, in the UK. For his final year brief, he opted to study design and make a hedge-cutter and a silage tractor.

His passion for machinery sees him drive for silage contractors during busy periods.

“During the summer, it’s very hard to stay inside and watch all the machinery going by.”

Meanwhile, the world of model farm machinery provides a welcome focus for many against a troubled and uncertain global backdrop.

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