Ross Stamatiades has a room and a closet full of models. It's a hobby he started four decades ago when he was 7 years old, and he's not ready to give it up any time soon.
Stamatiades, 47, has a collection of about 120 model cars, locomotives, airplanes, tractors and a few Star Trek Enterprise models. Whenever a visitor stops by, he shows them the pieces and provides a brief history about some of his favorite ones.
Stamatiades started creating models when his father bought a 1967 Mustang when he was a boy. After his father saw him get excited about the car, he bought him his own Mustang model kit.
He started reading about cars and soon found time to immerse himself in history books about World War I and the Civil War. After reading about the wars, Stamatiades learned more about military planes and historic aircraft. He decided to build and collect the pieces he read about.
But Stamatiades isn't done learning. He has a closet filled with boxes of model kits that are waiting to be assembled. He can spend nearly four hours putting together a kit with hundreds of pieces.
Glendale News-Press news assistant Ani Amirkhanian sat down with Stamatiades and asked him a few questions.
Do you remember the first model you ever built?
My father got a '67 Mustang. That's the first model I built. The doors opened, the hood opened, and so did the trunk. I built the model by myself. When I was 7 years old, I also built a '57 Thunderbird. I got the Batmobile. It's been my hobby since then.
What got you interested in model building?
I'm good at building them. I've got all kinds. I got 20 tractors, B1 Bombers from 1939. I have nine shelves of models. My convoy tractor is my favorite. 'B.J. and the Bear' is a tractor trailer model I have that was from the movie about a trucker who traveled with his pet chimpanzee.
How much time do you spend building a model?
Each tractor, for example, is over 200 pieces. 'B.J. and the Bear' took me about three to four hours. There is a glue called lemon glue that holds pieces together in 10 seconds.
What is the most interesting fact that you know about historic military planes?
Howard Hughes got married in a bomber. I couldn't believe it when I heard that.
I have a model of a B25 Mitchell. That's the kind that Hughes got married in.
What is the latest model you've been working on?
Right now, I just finished the 'Speed Racer' car. That took an hour. When I get a house, I'd like to finish building the rest of them that are in my closet. It's my hobby, and it's simple. I do it when I'm watching television.