• Tuesday, May 21, 2024


This Indian-origin Dubai-based airplane connoisseur has a mesmerising collection

Kalpesh Mehta has collected his more than 3,000 die-cast metal models of airplanes for a period of more than four decades.

Representational Image (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

By: Twinkle Roy

THE nifty miniature airplane model collection of Dubai-based Indian-origin businessman Kalpesh Mehta provides a glimpse into the astounding history as well as the fast-evolving nature of the aviation industry.

Showcased in Mehta’s astonishing collection are more than 3,000 die-cast metal models of airplanes that are not just full of intricate and accurate details, but also geometrically wondrous as all of these designs maintain a perfect scale, relative to the original size of the aircraft, according to a Gulf News report. 

The models in Mehta’s collection both at home and office include replicas of Boeing (747, 737, 757, 767, 787), Airbus (300, 310, 380, 340, 330, 350), and McDonnell Douglas MD-11, besides others.

He has collected his models over four decades and while prices of some are $40, they go all the way up to $1,000, the report added.

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The sizes of the models come in proportions of 1:200, 1:250, 1:400, 1:500 and 1:1000, the report added.

Speaking to Gulf News, Mehta said he had to stop buying the planes at a point of time so that he could accommodate what he already had. Yet, he proudly owns every single piece of the limited number of replicas that have been made globally.

Gulf News took a look at Mehta’s prized collection and some of the models were indeed impressive. Like for example, a four-foot 1:50 scale model of a Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-800.

Mehta ensured that his models look attractive by painting the planes with characters from Pokemon, Disney and Lord of Rings, the Gulf News report added.

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His collection includes models of airplanes that are popular and common, uncommon but with unique designs, and some that are not operational anymore. While there are model planes from the 1950s and ’60s, old liveries in the form of Air India B707, American Airlines B707, Air Tanzania B707, Malaysian-Singapore B707 bring a touch of nostalgia to his assets.

And he has not kept it restricted to passenger planes either. Cargo aircraft, war jets, including Junkers that the Germans had used in the Second World War, make Mehta’s collection diverse.

He is particularly fond of the old livery of the British Airways, when it was functional as BOAC, that he has. “All Nippon Airway Mohican B747 and L1011 with blue and white livery is really unique to have,” he told the news outlet.

In a world packed with artistic perfection, the most remarkable is the mini 1:50 detailed representation of an airport diorama, with little three-dimensional terminals, vehicles, control towers, and even tiny passengers hustling and bustling in the premises of an airport, which took four months to reach completion.

By the time Mehta moved to Dubai in 1992, he had a decade-old practice of collecting the models after his father had given him an inflight magazine. It had marked his take-off.

“The magazine had put out an advert on model planes for sale. Those days they made plastic 1:250 scale models. They were not as detailed as they are today. I ordered my first five scale models and there has been no looking back,” Mehta was quoted as saying by Gulf News.

Mehta concedes that he has an expensive hobby but it gives him something to look forward to. While the models enliven his memories of travel and remind him about the evolution of aircraft with the progress of technology, they also allow him to live his dream and lift his mood.

His family also understands his emotions tied with his hobby today. Mehta and wife used to take good care of the planes when their children were small so that they did not break them accidentally. But as they grew older, they learned to appreciate their father’s passion and understood the significance of preserving the models that he has collected with decades of effort.

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