Our next story takes us to a very special world, the miniature world of Carlos’ shop.
Originally from Viana do Castelo, in the beautiful Minho region, Carlos Guimaraes opens the doors of his shop, in the Casais de Mem Martins area, on the outskirts of Sintra.
Lovers of modeling, but not only, will certainly be amazed to see the world that hides in this shop.
Carlos’s passion for modeling has always been carried within him, a world capable of making young and old dream.
Carlos’s father had a toy shop, and he imported from different countries. At the time, Carlos, sixteen years old and already a great lover of modeling and new technologies, began to try to persuade him to introduce some modeling objects into his shop.
Their first shop will be in Lisbon, in Rossio Square, where the father’s children’s toys are combined with his son’s models.
The passion for this world will always accompany Carlos, who even continuing to work in other fields, makes this world “in miniature” an oasis of him.
“Here I have fun, I don’t work” he tells me. And this is immediately perceived, especially when, with the impatient air of a child, he leads us through the halls of his shop to discover this world that fascinates him so much.
A real guided life between models of all kinds, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, from those within everyone’s reach to those for true amateurs willing to invest a real fortune.
The first rooms he shows us are those of cars and motorcycles, complete with remote control. As soon as we enter, Carlos proudly shows us the box of a collector’s model of which he has received three copies. “It’s a limited edition” he explains to us. And only a few model shops in the world have received a few.
We pass between shelves of all kinds of spare parts, perfectly identical to the real ones only much smaller. And if there are spare parts, batteries and tools, there will also be the workshop … And there it is, the repair area, with also a space covered by a white cloth, a lamp and the reproduction of a mini photographic set, where Carlos photographs the new models acquired.
There are cars of every era and model, remote controlled, with suspensions, which reach truly remarkable speeds. Carlos explains that there are competitions and that some enthusiasts manage to create a real garage of immense value by collecting more models.
But leaving this room for the next one, we are struck by a plane, perfect in every detail, and Carlos explains to us that these are planes that can fly perfectly and that participate in the Aeromania event.
Carlos explains that in Sintra, near the air force, there is an air base where you can fly these miniature planes from the age of 17.
Carlos says that the proximity of the air base to the air force area is not accidental because many young people, passionate about flying, then pass from the experience of flying their plane to that of a real plane. Carlos in that base accompanied many boys, teaching them how to fly these “perfect miniatures”. And in this regard, he tells us a truly incredible story. On a trip, when he was ready to embark for Dubai, a young man in uniform approached him greeting him and calling him by name. Carlos was surprised, not recognizing him. Then he presented himself as “Franceschino”. Carlos at that point said he understood even less since that was a baby name and that man had told him that yes, it was a name for a child, because that was what Carlos called him when Francesco, a boy at the time, had learned to fly a “miniature” plane with him, thus giving birth to the passion that he then continued to cultivate as an adult.
Our journey continues among small real works of art such as those kept in a showcase and which were presented at the Lisbon tourism hobby kit which is held annually in October.
In the next room there are boats, modern but also real galleons and Carlos shows us one with bronze cannons and real wooden boards, in the same number as the ship he reproduces. It is a ship from the era of Portuguese maritime expansion. 370 pieces, 6 months of work to build it and a cost of 1800 €. These works, explains Carlos, pass from generation to generation. Even the sails were treated with water and salt to recreate an effect of crystals that shine like stars as was done with the ships of the time, Carlos tells us, to encourage the crew to continue traveling.
Of course, there is also room for Diecast, what we usually call modeling. In this case there is no building but to collect and each object has a small certificate with the number of. series to be jealously guarded. Among the objects that Valentino Rossi’s motorbikes and miniatures, which he cannot fail to show us, is also a truly unusual object: the reproduction of the trucks carrying the vaccine. low but that over time and demand can increase in value. After all, this is the law of the market that regulates the value of these collectibles.
Carlos’s “miniature” world is truly endless: it transports us between war reproductions, complete with characters and objects of everyday life, as well as those of military life, to recreate the environment in every aspect, what it’s called Diorama. Objects that come from Italy, Germany, the USA, Russia, Ukraine … and other countries. A real world tour in some room.
But what strikes me most in this guided tour that Carlos makes us of his shop is the passion with which he tells us things and the fact that for every single object, for every reproduction, Carlos is able to tell us the story of that event or of that object recreated them. It is like attending a history lesson, walking through this miniature world.
And there is something for everyone, from the Battle of Waterloo to the Reichstag.
Obviously there is no shortage of objects, miniatures of trees and flowers, and characters also used for architecture projects, and small recreations, with mini characters, of every moment of human life.
Carlos really took us into a different reality, made of history but also of a lot of fantasy. And what really strikes us is his great passion, the way his eyes sparkle as he describes his world to us, piece by piece.
His unmissable appointment is obviously the Nuremberg fair, where every year Carlos also participates as a press officer for his Hobby magazine. In 55 years he has only passed away twice; a fixed appointment for him.
But Carlos still has other hidden worlds and talents to tell. Turns out the magazine photos of him are of him. And that behind the passion he told us hides a past as a photographer.
Years ago, in Paris, he had taken a course in photography and cinema and ended up working for Playboy. He tells us that to find new models, he went downtown to the Cafe de la Paix, where the girls looking for work as models were attentive to the presence of a photographer. And then Carlos just had to put his camera on the table, and that’s it. They asked him to make a photo book and so he turned into a talent scout.
And Paris won’t be his only destination. Invited for a photographic event in Brazil, he returns a second time for a year and a half reportage work in the Amazon.
And if photography had brought him there, the video reportages had seen him as the protagonist of services also made for RTP. He tells us about one related to the overseas war that he ended up collecting rather shocking images that in the end could not be transmitted. And some time later those same images, in a competition in Spain, had earned him an important journalistic prize.
In short. Carlos never ceases to amaze us, a life that would be worthy of a book. But even in the face of so many adventures, he prefers to return to his little world, a bit like a male version of Alice, who “shrinks” to return to his wonderland, which for Carlos is a world made up of transport, landscapes and characters. , which you can often hold in the palm of your hand.