Master Modeller Builds Unique Matchstick Armada

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We’ve seen some pretty amazing things built entirely with matchsticks, but Phillip Warren’s matchstick fleet is in a class of its own.

79-year-old Phillip Waren has spent the last 62 years of his life creating incredible ship models out of old mtachsticks and the wooden boxes they used to be packed in. He started building his amazing matchstick models when he was just 17, using the things around him, and since matchsticks were much more common back then, finding large supplies was a very easy task.

The master modeller, from Brandford, Dorset, has created every ship built in the Royal Navy since 1945, as well as 60 other ships from the US navy and other impressive floating fortresses from 18 other nations. One of the largest ships in his collection is the famous USS Nimitz, the largest aircraft carrier in the world.

Throghout his career as a ship model builder, Phillip Waren created over 400 individual ships, as well as 1,200 airplane models that make his aircraft carriers look more real. The average ship in his collection is made using around 1,500 matchsticks and takes about a month to complete, but for his larger creations he used over 5,000 matchsticks and 200 wooden boxes. These took him about a year to complete. All in all, Phillip Waren used around 650,000 matchsticks, to create his entire fleet.

Although many museum curators told him his matchstick creations are worth serious money, Phillip Waren considers them invaluable, and has never once considered selling them. He decided not to ensure them either because he feels “the purpose of insurance is to replace things when you lose them. These can never be replaced”.

Sadly, his collection isn’t going to grow much bigger than it already is, not because Phillip Waren is getting to old, but because the wooden boxes used as packaging for the matches have been replace by cardboard ones, and his stockpile is running low.

Take a look at Mr. Waren’s detailed collection and prepare to have your mind blown:

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Epic Gundam Statue Made from Left-Over Plastic Runners

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If you thought those plastic grids that come attached to most plastic model parts were just a bunch of useless junk, prepare to be amazed. A group of Gundam fans used a whole lot of these frames (usually called runners) to build an awesome RX-78 replica.

As if you needed any more proof that nothing even remotely related to Gundam is junk, a group of Gundam fans managed to build a 10-foot tall statue of the RX-78 model almost completely out of left-over model runners. It took over 250 man-hours to complete, over the course of 95 days.

The photos below offer a pretty good view of the RG (recycle grade) Gundam model, but if you’re in Tokyo these days, you can check it out first at hand, at the Dengeki Hobby booth, at the Chara Hobby Show.

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Kori no Suizokukan – Japan’s Frozen Aquarium

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As a way of battling the summer heatwave that hit Japan this year, authorities have inaugurated a frozen aquarium that will keep visitors cool and entertained.

Kori no Suizokukan is located in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture and features around 450 specimens of around 80 species of marine wildlife, all captured at a nearby sea port. Visitors can enjoy a brief break from the scorching sun and admire all sorts of fish, crabs or octopuses, as well as unusual objects like action figures, bottles of sake, or flowers, all embedded in huge blocks of ice.

The Frozen Aquarium was inaugurated, in Kesennuma’s fish market, in 2002, and uses flash-freezing technology to conserve fresh specimens and keep them looking so good.

While the Frozen Aquarium is a welcome tourist attraction, visitors can only spend a few minutes inside. Because temperatures inside the aquarium reach -20 degrees Celsius, a special suit is needed to keep people from becoming freezing exhibits themselves. Without these special suits, visitors would start feeling severe pains in just five minutes time.


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The Frog Jumping Festival of Valley City

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Ever since 1962, the small town of Valley City, Ohio has hosted one of the weirdest, most fun events in the world – the Frog Jumping Festival.

Over 2,000 fun-loving people take part in the Frog Jumping Festival of Ohio, every year, eager to watch the annual Frog Jump Contest, participate in a series of games, or simply spend some quality time with family and friends. Attending the festival is free, but those who want to enter the Frog Jump Contest have to pay a $3 fee.

The most important event in the Frog Jumping Festival is the Frog Jump Contest, where around 600 competitors, from toddlers to the elderly, try to get their frogs to jump as far as possible. No touching is permitted, though, the frog jockeys are only allowed to tap the ground behind their frogs, scream at them, or blow at them to make them jump. That doesn’t always work though, some frogs just don’t feel like jumping.

Competitors are allowed to bring their own frogs, or they can rent one for $5. Winners get trophies and bragging rights for the whole year. The 2010 Frog Jump Contest, held on August 15, was won by one year old Lindsey Jackson, who got her frog to jump a total distance of 14 feet.

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Skull Artist Creates Skull Out of Human Brain Slices

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Noah Scanlin, the skull artist of Skull-A-Day.com was allowed to play with around 400 human brain slices, at the ever-creepy Mutter Museum, in Philadelphia.

Last month, Noah Scanlin visited the Mutter Museum, and was asked if he could create one of his famous skull artworks, right there, in the museum. Honored by the request, Noah accepted, but was worried he was going t work with fragile mediums, like glass jars. Luckily, the Mutter Museum had just acquired a few hundred slices of human brain encased in acrylic.

The skull artist was allowed to set up the sturdy pieces of acrylic in a room of the Mutter, on a couple of big library tables. Over the course of two days, he arranged the brain slices, constantly going up and down a ladder, making sure he arranged every piece right.

In the end he used 375 brain slices and a few pieces of fabric, for his brain-made skull. Impressive job!

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Zhou Mingdi – The Ultimate Calligraphy Artist

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Writing just as pretty with both hands is rarely possible, but 63-year-old Zhou Mingdi, from China’s Hunan province can write just as good with different part of his body. The old calligraphy master is able to right just as beautifully whether he’s holding his brushes in his hands, feet, mouth, nose, or even strapped on his back.

What’s even more fascinating about Zhou Mingdi is that he’s able to write with up to eight calligraphy brushes at the same time, and still get better results than the average man.here are some photos of him showcasing his art in front of a public audience, back in 2005.

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The Pearl Carpet of Baroda – An Embroided Masterpiece

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The most incredible carpet ever created by human hand, the famous Pearl Carpet of Baroda is a diamond-and-pearl-encrusted treasure.

“The most wonderful piece of embroidery ever known,” as Sir George Birdwood, a connoisseur of Indian jewelry, called this incredible carpet, gets its name from Maratha Princely State of Baroda, one of the four Princely States of the Maratha Confederacy, that was ruled by the Gaekwar dynasty since 1740. It was commissioned by Gaekwar Khande Rao, and took around five years to complete.

Gaekwar Khande Rao, was Hindu ruler, but he was fascinated by Islam and its teachings, and ordered the carpet in order to fulfill a vow. He wished to cover the tomb of the Holy Prophet of Islam with this amazing carpet covered with pearls and diamonds, and thus show his respect to Islam, and his Muslim subjects. But Gaekwar Khande Rao died before the pearl carpet could be delivered and was kept as a state treasure.

The Pearl Carpet of Baroda is 2.64 meters long, 1.73 meters wide, and is made from a mixture of silk and deer hide. Its design was inspired by the Indian Mughal period and the Safavid period of Iran, but its motifs could easily be ignored, if it weren’t from the millions of precious stones covering it.

Most of the Pearl Carpet of Baroda is covered with colored glass beads, and an estimated 1.5 to 2 million natural seed pearls harvested from the coasts of Qatar and Bahrain. In the middle of the carpet there are three large rosettes made of 2,520 table-cut and rose cut diamonds, placed in silver-topped and blackened gold. Over 1,000 cabochon rubies and 600 Colombian emeralds can be found on the carpet.

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Ecentric Artist Paints with Her Breasts

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Talk about the wrong way to use your best assets, right? American artist Kira Ayn Varszegi uses her 38DD breasts as brushes, to create original paintings.

Kira Ayn’s technique may be original but it’s also rather simple – she just applies oil paint directly on her breasts and presses them again the canvas. The process is repeated several times, using various color combinations and transfer techniques, until she is satisfied with her work. Kira claims the secret to her success lies in the way she mixes colors in order to get a well-balanced composition, but I’m thinking it might also have something to do with her boobs.

The main purposes of her art are to provoke emotion, make living spaces beautiful, and most importantly, put a smile on people’s faces. To reach these goals she has taught herself to use different mediums, from common brushes, to toys, vegetables and various body parts.

You might think painting with her breasts is just silly, but Kira Ayn Varszegi is an established artist who sells most of her works on eBay, for a few hundred dollars, each. She claims she has sold paintings all around the world, and that there’s at least one of her artworks on a wall in each US state.

I’ve already bought some of her works. Let’s face it,for some of us geeks, this is as close as we’re going to get to 38DD breasts.

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Awesome Coffee Table Made of Computer Parts

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With tech garbage on the rise, it’s important we always come up with new ways of disposing of it in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment, and the computer-part coffee table made by Dmaloney serves as a great example.

This unique piece of furniture is actually made of two separate coffee tables, one that holds all the circuit boards, and another that acts as the glass surface. The components you see inside the coffee table are old circuit boards and dives from the late eighties and nineties, many of which actually come from his very first computer. He managed to fit them all together, on a coffee table, like puzzle.

Another cool feature of the computer-part coffee table is the set of LED lights programmed to come on when it gets dark.

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The Creepiest Pillow Ever

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As I see it, pillows are designed to help you sleep better. They’re soft, they smell nice, and they make nice hugging material, if you’re by yourself. But that isn’t always the case.

Take for example this pillow created by Sandy Mastroni, a true master of folk art I discovered the other day. Now is this the kind of pillow you’d want to rest your head on, or wake up next to, in the morning? And that photo,with it peaking from the drawer, too creepy for me. That cat doesn’t seem too bothered, though…

Unfortunately for all you bizarre lovers out there, the pillow has already been sold, but I’m sure Sandy can whip up new ones for you, if you ask her nicely.

 

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The Paintings of a Congenitally Blind Man

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Esref Armagan was born blind, in a poor family, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a successful artist, with a unique painting style.

As a child and young adult, Esref didn’t receive any kind of education, but he somehow managed to teach himself how to read and paint. For the last thirty-five years he has developed a unique painting technique and is always perfecting it. The Turkish artist needs absolute quiet when he paints, in order to be “inside” his artworks. First he uses a Braille stylus to etch out the outline of his paintings. When he is satisfied with the drawings, be begins applying the colors, using his fingers.

In the beginning, he was forced to apply one color every two or three days, in order to allow them to dry and prevent smearing, but he later discovered acrylic paints, which dry much faster and allow him to paint directly on canvas. Believe it or not, his style of painting is unique in the art world, and allows him to complete his paintings without any help whatsoever.

For his portrait paintings, he asks a sighted person to draw around a photograph. Then, using his fingers, he draws what he feels onto a sheet of paper and later applies colors. He has painted portraits of his country’s president and other high-ranking Turkish officials. Esref Armagan works have been exhibited in galleries across Europe, and he was featured on popular TV channels like the BBC and ZDF.

After seeing his artworks, few are those who believe Esref paints all by himself, or doubt he was actually born blind. Scientists who examined the eccentric Turkish artist have confirmed he is congenitally blind, and were baffled by the ease with which he represents space.

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The Paper House Is All Wrapped in Newspapers

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Built by Elis Stemnan, the mechanical engineer who invented the machine that makes paper clips, the Paper House of Rockport is one of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Massachusetts.

The Paper House was built in 1922, with a common wooden structure. But like all amateur inventors, Mr. Stemnan was curious, so he decided to use his new house to find out if paper offered good enough insulation. He covered an entire wall with layers upon layers of rolled newspapers, held together by his very own glue, made from water, flour and apple peals. One thing led to another, and Elis Steman ended up wrapping the whole house in rolled newspapers. The interior of the house is also completely made of paper, including the furniture, window curtains and decorations. The piano alone is real and wrapped entirely in newspapers.

With the help of neighbors who supported him in his efforts, and always brought him their newspapers, Elis Stemnan managed to cover his house in around 100,000 rolled newspapers. He coated it all in varnish to protect it from weathering away. On the outside, where the varnish wore off, visitors can spend hours reading headlines and snippets from articles almost a century old.

One question no one has ever been able to answer is why Elis Stemnan went through all the trouble to create the paper House. Most people say he did it to be thrifty, and because newspapers were abundant and cheap, back then.

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The Wooden Sculptures of Randall Rosenthal

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The things you’re about to see might look like just a bunch of uninteresting everyday items that don’t deserve any attention, but every one of them has been hand carved from a single piece of wood.

Carving a piece of wood into a bunch of newspapers, or books is hard enough, but using trompe l’oeil painting techniques, Randall Rosenthal manages to make his works look just like the real thing. Trying to keep his audience guessing, he normally just allows just one of his sculptures to be touched, while leaving them to discover if the rest are also made of wood.

His “Lunch Money” sculpture, representing stacks of hundred dollar bills in a corrugated cardboard box took six weeks to carve and another six to finish painting. To get their hands on that kind of wooden cash, art lovers had to pay $25,000, the real kind.

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The Brown Tape Paintings of Mark Khaisman

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By applying layer upon layer of brown packaging tape on plexiglass light boxes, Mark Khaisam creates amazing paintings.

Philadelphia-based Mark Khaisam used to work on stained-glass windows, before discovering the packaging tape, and though the two art forms seem unrelated, the artist says they are just different ways of painting with light. As he uses up to ten layers of tape for the darkest spots on his paintings, Mr. Khaisam needs around three 100-meter packaging tape rolls per week, to complete his artworks.

The artist doesn’t sketch out the images first, as you might imagine, he simply works with stills from his favorite films, increases them to actual size, then starts adding pieces of packaging tape directly on the light boxes. Using different number of layers to create darker areas and shadows, and thinner pieces of tape to achieve brush strokes, Mark Khaisman manages to create detailed paintings that look amazingly loose.

The packaging tape paintings of Mark Khaisman sell for as much as $10,000.

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Meet the Thermometer Man

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Richard T. Porter has earned the nickname “The Thermometer Man” by putting together a collection of around 5,000 thermometer of various shapes and sizes.

The small village of Onset, in Wareham, Massachusetts, may not be among the world’s top travel destination, but Richard T. Porter has been working long and hard to put this settlement on the tourist map. He spent decades putting together his thermometer collection and opened the Porter Thermometer Museum. The founder, curator and educator of this unusual museum has been featured by Ripley’s Believe Ir or Not, and is in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s largest collection of thermometers.

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