Reliving history through scale modeling with John Kharphuli

Reliving history through scale modeling with John Kharphuli

SHILLONG: Shillong is undergoing a new trend in transforming one’s ideologies about art with a hope to add a new feather to the concept of art that everyone is hooked to in the state, an approach which may be considered as a renaissance of modern day art—Scale Modeling.

A unique art form called scale-modeling gained its popularity with the efforts of one scale modeler, John S Kharphuli, a resident of Shillong who felt that scale modeling is something which will fit just fine in today’s renaissance of the art world.

To John, scale modeling means displaying and recreating historical events especially war-time scenarios through miniature models which involves building exact replica of tanks, fighter planes, soldiers depicting the detailed Second World War scenario.


“This is something that I usually do when my hands are free. All I think about is how to fit the tiny soldiers into the tank, how to adjust their positions and many other minute details. It is a tedious job but the result is indeed worth it,” John said.

Many documentations and movies of the war has been done and included in the curriculum of schools and colleges with an intention to pass on the history of un-forgetful past and perhaps avert further wars by taking a cue from the mass destruction of life and property it holds.

With an intention to pass on the same message to new generations, John and his friend Barry Lyngdoh is on a war path of peace with their innovative and unique art form. Although new yet scale modeling is giving new dimensions to the art scenario in the state.


It is indeed interesting to see an array of small sized men in uniforms, with guns and tanks, jets and comma flag jeeps. John is also fond of re-creating a scene from history usually called ‘Diorama’, which involves arranging the models in such a way to reflect the era when the world was undergoing pain and suffering, loss of lives and property during the Second World War.

“It is in fact very difficult to re-create a scene from history because that would mean ‘no mistake’. We cannot afford to make mistakes as the depiction then, would be all wrong. When I started to re-create events from the Second World War, I had to do a lot of reading and research,” the scale modeler said.

Expressing his excitement over the concept of portraying the events which happened in the world during 1939-1945, John finds it fascinating to pick an incident from history and narrate it again in the form of scale modeling.


“We have grown up watching war-like movies which really captivated our thoughts to the extent that we decided to recreate history in the form of art,” John said adding that through this initiative, “We hope that the youth would pick up the same interest and portray these kinds of art forms gaining not only for recognition but also for self contentment and satisfaction in doing something you love,” he stated.

(TNT News)



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