When Butch Dow was a youngster in Lewiston in the early 1970s, his mother enrolled him in a model club through the mail to keep him out of trouble.

“I was quiet and my mom knew where I was, so it worked out for both of us,” says Dow, who would work on his new hobby for hours.

When he became a teenager, soccer and other distractions began to take up his time and he lost interest in his models.

Then, a serious knee injury brought him back.

“I had a choice of sitting around and watching soap operas or doing something else, so I started building models again.”

He has not stopped since.

“My wife just about kills me when she sees me coming through the door with another kit,” he says. His work has filled the basement of his home in Sabattus with unopened kits and finished models of all varieties, displayed on shelves, bureaus and custom-built cases.

Some of the older ones remain unassembled in their original packaging and are collectibles that he finds on eBay, where he buys some of his kits. But he has yet to part with any of his favorites.

“Its all about the details, the small nuances that make them stand out,” says Dow, pointing out shadows painted on the sleeve of a uniform or a bullet hole made with a drill. He uses a large magnifying glass for tiny details and reading glasses as his eyes are not what they used to be.

He has a special interest in World War II-era models.

“I love history and have many books and magazines I use to research and learn about what I am building,” he says. “Best of all, the work is extremely relaxing because I can focus all my concentration on the tiny objects I am handling and escape the distractions of life.”

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