You might think the owner of a construction company would pick a hobby other than building model…buildings. But if Chuck Rainey is the construction professional you're thinking of, you’d be wrong.
Professional Builder and Major League Modeler
Construction is actually Rainey’s second career. His first was in professional baseball. A right-handed pitcher, Rainey was drafted at age 19 and played for the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, and the Oakland Athletics. After he retired, he went to work in construction. He owns his own company and specializes in residential remodeling.
“I love my job,” says Rainey. “I hope I can always do it, as long as I live. Remodeling is an adventure, it’s an experience, and there’s a lot of fun in it.”
So after work, quite often, you can find Rainey…remodeling architectural scale models.
While Rainey is quick to point out that building models is vastly different from real construction work (“It’s not like I’m picking up a beam and trying to set it in place,” he says), it’s clear that he brings his professional design and construction experience to the table – the hobby table.
“I take a lot of pride in my work, just like I do my models,” he says.
Customization Enhances Experience, Building “Adventure”
Selecting the just-right shade of paint. Carefully applying sand on the roof. Installing interior lights in a 1:500 scale model. Maybe he's obsessed; maybe he's a professional builder. One thing's for sure, he’s not willing to just follow directions and be done with it.
Rainey likes to “doctor up” the models he builds.
We're not giving away all of his secrets right now, but stay tuned for more soon.*
Rainey likes to “get creative with the finishes.” Check out the roof gravel!
Creative Fun and Adventure
“Half the fun of these models is experimenting and re-building them,” says Rainey, who has built Little Building Co.'s (LBC) Sydney Opera House three times.
“Each time is a whole new adventure,” he says.
“Building LBC's Guggenheim Museum for a second time gave me a chance to get creative with the finishes. I am really looking forward to LBC's new Unity Temple model and (upcoming) Johnson Wax models.” And after learning some of the “backstory” of the Farnsworth House, he says, he’s starting to get excited about that model, too.
Hooked on Model Building
When Rainey was a young boy, he built a lot of cars, rockets, and sailing ships. His mom was Australian, and when the family visited the country a few years ago, Rainey found a Little Building Co. Queenslander model in a gift shop.
“It took six or eight hours,” he said, as he took his time with it, working on it during their visit. “When I was done, I gave it to a relative who was building a (real) house in Tasmania. That got me hooked on these models," he said.
Since then, Rainey has enjoyed sharing the hobby with others, sending a Guggenheim Museum model to his brother “who used to be a big model builder,” and who shared it with his son, Rainey’s nephew. Later, he sent them LBC's Tate Modern.
*Coming soon! We’ll be sharing more tips and tricks from Chuck Rainey on how he customizes and enhances his architectural models, plus more details and suggestions from other experienced model builders.
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When he’s not building models (or remodeling a client’s kitchen), Rainey enjoys reading and playing golf.