Atle Ellefsen

Bærum, Norway

Occupation: Principal Consultant



In my country, building models as a serious hobby is a rare activity; Norwegians are chiefly preoccupied with the great outdoors. So why do I diverge from the alleged excitement of the black-and-white inflatable ball in favor of fiddling with minute replicas of transportation means? Well, I grew up in Yokohama from the age of 7 to 11. Japan, the ultimate paradise for model builders. I recall model stores in Tokyo the size of Maceys, with different themes on different floors. The 3rd floor was cars, the fourth musical instruments (yes, plastic kits) etc. My room was quickly overloaded with models (or "moderu" as they say in Japan) including all of the then popular TV series hardware (Seaview, Thunderbirds, Lost in Space, Captain Scarlett, etc.). Main interest has however always been ships; my ancestry of seafarers and adventurers influenced me as a kid. My great-grandfather was a merchant mariner, torpedoed and lost in WW1. My grandfather sailed the South Seas as chief engineer on a whaler; drafted into the British Royal Navy as a reserve officer during WW2. My father, a naval architect, carried me along to the ships and shipyards before I could walk. I grew fascinated with travel and in particular the (more or less) romance of life at sea. Career long since decided; I gained a masters degree in naval architecture and marine engineering in 1983 – now celebrating twenty years in the maritime industry. Photo is from the Radiance of the Seas; a ship I was fortunate enough to see built.

Slapping together models came to an end by high school, resurfacing for a short period of time in the early eighties during my student years. My hobby was since dormant until a few years ago when the advent of Internet sparked an old flame. I started buying and ordering kits by the dozen. I suddenly realized that there were a lot of other nuts out there like me - most of them even my age – that had revitalized a kid hobby and developed it into a combination of science and handicraft at an amazingly advanced level. The technique of photo etch has opened a new world and the inspiring photos of the awesome models out there created by fellows who seem to be magicians set a new standard. Personally I like best the mid-war era with the strict lines and the short funnels. WWII capital ships (and in particular British and Japanese naval vessels) I find equally intriguing. Other soft spots are commercial airliners from the fifties, and British / Italian sports coupes anno 1950 to 1975. I am planning to restore my beloved Alfa Romeo GTV6; which at this time seems insurmountable. We have a sailboat, which we enjoy during our very short summer. I play the trombone in the horn section of a pop band and I occasionally paint, mostly gouache. I enjoy traveling; having visited over 50 countries world wide so far.

I build models for fun; my time does not allow nitty-gritty researching on how a vessel was painted at that particular date and if there was a bench right there at the time. My wife and two kids come first; what’s left over of time has to be spread out on other activities. Its great fun and inspiration following the activities on the Internet model sites; the Debris Field is a great asset to the community.


AE ~ 01/04