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He Won The National Farm Toy Display Contest
The 45th annual National Farm Toy Display Contest took place in November 2022. Scale model enthusiast Seth Eberhardt left the event with first place in the large-scale division for his silage harvesting scene.
Making models of agricultural scenes has long been a hobby for Eberhardt. “I’ve collected and played with farm toys for as long as I can remember,” he says. “Whenever we’d go to the National Farm Toy Show in Dyersville, my favorite part was always the display contest.” Twenty years ago, he decided to build a 1/16th-scale barn. That was the beginning of a hobby that has since led him to create numerous farm buildings and displays in the decades since. Recently, he’s been devoting more of his time to scratch-building machinery.
Eberhardt finds inspiration for his scale models in many places. “I mainly like to build something unique, different from what most people do,” he says. “Several of my building projects are modeled off of real buildings, and others are ones I just designed on my own. With the machinery, some are based on machinery that I operate, and other pieces are ones that I think are unique to build.”
To date, Eberhardt has fulfilled a commission for a man who wanted a model of the grain elevator in his hometown and has sold numerous pieces of scale model farm equipment. “Every time I build a new piece for myself, I usually build a few extra to sell, because there’s so much demand for them among collectors,” he explains. “I could probably sell a couple of dozen of each piece, but I’ve found that building items repetitively takes the enjoyment out of it.”
Don’t let the size of the final product convince you that making models is a cheap hobby. Says Eberhardt, “For many of the pieces I build, whether it’s a wood building or a metal machine, the cost of materials can easily be hundreds of dollars, and even more for some of the bigger projects.”
But even so, he’s enthusiastic about others discovering a love for making scale models. “With any hobby, the biggest thing is to have the passion and desire to do it,” he explains. “I started with a bit of construction knowledge, but mostly just learned as I went along and continued to improve. The internet is a huge resource, whether for finding and buying materials, meeting and keeping in touch with other hobbyists who’ll share their knowledge, or just for getting ideas. I always tell people that nothing I do is a secret, and I’ll always be happy to share anything to help someone get into or expand with the hobby.”
You can connect with him through his Facebook page and at competitions such as the National Farm Toy Show in Dyersville, the Gateway Toy Show in St Louis, and the Iowa State Fair.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Seth Eberhardt (Facebook: Seth Eberhardt Scale Models).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #4