Santa's Elves at Work


| January 2005



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Gilson Riecke with one of his current works, a Caterpillar D6 tractor.

Farm toy scratch-builders make miniature masterpieces

Scratch-built farm toys often begin as labors of love, created in a rush of playful fun, according to Gilson Riecke, Ev Weber and Terry Rouch.

Gilson, of Ruthven, Iowa, says, 'That's why I build tractors. So I can have fun.'

Ev, of Lima, Ohio, says he was looking for something fun to do when he retired from his U.S. Department of Defense job in 1977.

And Terry, of Royal Center, Ind., says, 'It's fun to do, an ego trip. And it isn't really business, so how could I go wrong?'

According to collectors who covet toy models produced by these three scratch-builders, they can't go wrong either. They get realistic farm toys exhibiting great detail, pieces that continue to rise in value, and toys that only a limited number of collectors have.

Gilson Riecke

Each scratch-builder began creating for different reasons, uses different materials and works differently to make his little masterpieces. Gilson Riecke became interested after he had made six patterns for tractors for the late Lyle Dingman, one of the farm toy hobby's earliest scratch-builders.