While on a family vacation in Stresa, Italy, the last thing we were expecting to see among the gracefully aging Italian & British tourists was a serious sprinkling of metal & goth types. Stresa is a magical place, built hundreds of years ago, barely changed, on the side of Lake Maggiore, whose waters I think also touch the Swiss Alps on the other side of the lake. We also noticed that there were many groups of men. Also strange, the age of these male packs ranged from their twenties to their seventies. I finally stopped one and asked why they were here, and he pointed to a sign that said "World Model Design Expo 2014."

Hidden behind one of the hundred year old, over-the-top, opulent lakefront hotels was a modern convention center with thousands of men, all showing their prowess and undeniable skill at creating all manner of models. The main difference between this and a Comic-Con type of convention was the lack of technology, or for that matter any screens at all.

The majority of the models focused on characters or scenes from famous wars, hence the men in their seventies. I’m guessing the younger creators & collectors were bringing the fantasy to the culture. I normally make every effort to credit all creators of work but in this case these were not marked or credited at all, except with a coded number. So here are just few images of the bizarre model makers' world. Some of the dioramas were so much like a work by Jake & Dinos Chapman called "Hell", it was unintentionally comical. I wondered If the Chapman's used any of these guys to create it.