Robert is 83 years old and says, “My parents told me I started model-building before starting school, so I guess it's been a while. I was born in New Bedford, MA, entered the US Air Force in 1953, last duty station was in PA and I have lived here ever since. I’m married with two grown sons and many grand kids and great grand kids. While working as a Computer Systems Programmer/Analyst I maintained a sideline business at home called Santos Miniatures and sold figures and supplies. At one time I was the largest Historex figure kit and spares parts dealers in the country. On Oct 1, 1983 I was awarded the title of Master Figure Artist by the National Capitol Military Collectors, Washington, DC. I started building models on commission to a few museums, several industries, and private collectors. I retired from my day job 30 years ago and expanded my commission model building business. I closed both businesses down about 5 years ago and most of my modeling is now done on my large scale model railroad.
Aircraft Assembly Line
First let me say that this diorama look just fine to the eye but it is closed up and a BEAR to photograph. It represents a Douglas SBD dive bomber assembly line during WW II. Both sides of the box are first surface mirrors so that when you look from an angle on either side the mirrors make it look like you are looking down the line. Even though there is only one model airplane you can easily count 13 or them. The aircraft was a plastic kit, I think Monogram, modified by removing some panels to match some photographs. The framework on which the aircraft is mounted I scratch built using the same photographs. All the hangar walls and details are scratch built. One problem I had was that one of the main photos I had was of aircraft with the insignia on only the port (left) wing. That would have resulted in every other aircraft in the mirrors to be backward with insignia on the wrong wing. I did find some photos of a slightly earlier line when aircraft had insignia on both wing so that worked out OK.
A Christmas Carol
This is a street scene based on Dickens’ novel "A Christmas Carol.” The figures are all producers, heavily into Pheonix Ltd. I also used many figures that I altered in pose and most altered in dress using epoxy putty. The vehicles are all Phoenix Ltd metal kits and all are altered is come way. For example, the coach had the lights drilled out and grain-of-wheat bulbs installed. Most of the windows show activity inside the structures. All structures were scratch built.
Home for Christmas
This diorama shows an American Naval Captain returning home at Christmas time, 1813, being welcomed by his family and servants. All structures are scratch built. The coach and horses are an altered Historex plastic kit. The dogs are Historex. the family figures are Phoenix Ltd,. The sailor is a converted Sanderson and I do't remember who produced the two servants. Like the Christmas Carol, the cobblestone street is made by pressing down countless little balls of epoxy putty. The Naval Captain was constructed from Historex spare parts and putty.