100 Mile high school student turns cardboard into model tanks

Jacob Stadnyk has spent most of his childhood making tanks, ships and planes from cardboard

When most people see a pile of cardboard they see trash. When Jacob Stadnyk looks at it he sees a tank.

The Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School graduate has spent most of the last several months painstakingly building a scale model of a Panzerkampfwagen III L variant, or Panzer 3L, a German tank used during the Second World War, all out of cardboard. Stadnyk said he has a love for art and history he combines whenever he creates a model of a vehicle or ship.

“I love making things realistic,” Stadnyk, 17, said. “(When I make art) I can just turn off my mind and it doesn’t require much thinking. I just enjoy it.”

Originally from Saskatchewan Stadnyk said he is a lifelong artist and has been drawing since he was six years old. Back then he primarily drew trains, recalling how he used to draw big maps of train tracks, and semi-trucks. As he developed an interest in history he began to draw the vehicles used during the First and Second World Wars.

Stadnyk said he and his little brother first started experimenting with 3D art as children. Using cardboard the two of them made model ships and the two started building fleets of warships and cruise liners to play with.

Stadnyk said he was drawn to the idea of building tanks and began to make as many as he could. At his peak, he remarked his collection was well over 40.

“I would just make them out of cardboard, some paper and a straw for the barrel,” Stadnyk recalled. “I used to use any cardboard I could get my hands on. I remember saying I wanted cardboard for Christmas, just to have it so I could build. We would go through so much of it.”

Over the years Stadnyk said he’s discovered that different types of cardboard work best for different tasks. Thin no-corrugated cardboard makes great siding for his tanks, while thick corrugated cardboard is ideal for building the structure of the models.

“Cardboard is what I could get my hands on easily and I could cut it with scissors.”

One of the brothers’ standout creations was a pair of eight-foot-long scale models of the RMS Titanic and her sister ship the RMS Olympic with removable layers. Even back then Stadnyk said he did his best to make his models as realistic as possible, noting his skills have grown in recent years to match his ambitions.

“I get photos where I can but 3D models online are incredibly useful. You can look around them and look inside the actual structure and it really helps,” Stadnyk explained. “As a kid, I would just look at a photo of it from the side and the front and just base it off that.”

For Stadnyk his interest in history is primarily focused on the vehicles used in wartime. While he enjoys learning about the battles themselves, he finds learning about the tanks, jeeps, ships and planes to be fascinating, especially how they evolved over time.

As a young teenager, Stadnyk said he lost interest in modelling for a few years and that many of his older tanks were left behind in Saskatchewan. However, when he moved to wwjarchitecture three years ago, his interest in them was rekindled and he started building tanks again.

Since January he’s spent an hour a day in PSO’s art room working on his Panzer 3 using a protractor to get the angles right and an airbrush to paint on the camo. He put the finishing touches on it at the beginning of this month and said that it’s his best piece yet.

“I thoroughly enjoy building them and it’s really rewarding,” Stadnyk said. “Building is the most fun part because you learn quite a bit as you go, not just about the take itself but how you can improve your skills.”

Stadnyk has already moved on to his next project, a scale model of the Japanese warship IJN Hyūga. He’s currently building the ship’s deck guns and plans to challenge himself by building the keel below the waterline as well as the superstructure, something he’s avoided in past builds.

“I’m going to add the propellers and all that, so it’s going to be difficult. I’m definitely not going to finish it before the end of the school year,” Stadnyk said.

“I think (cardboard modelling is) always going to be a hobby for me and that’s what makes it so special. I can do it when I want and do what I want. It allows me to express myself and enjoy building it.”

Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in wwjarchitecture.
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