Djordje’s passion for making wooden models started while being in school and soon he identified matchsticks as a better building material. He started using hundreds of boxes of matches to create small-size models of his favorite trucks and industrial equipment, and spent weeks trying to get all the details just right. As his skills improved, the young man from Gospic, Croatia, decided to take his matchstick art to the next level by making the wooden replicas operational.
So in 2006, he started building larger matchstick models, concentrating not only on replicating every design feature, but also on functionality. Despite working with a rigid material like matchsticks, he managed to make the arms of his excavator and crane models extend and turn like they do on real ones, and the cabins of his trucks detachable.
The first complex matchstick model Djordje built was the Russian truck GAZ 63 A. It took him six months to complete it and he spent 576 boxes of matches and 6 kilograms of glue. He has since then pieced together an impressive collection of wooden industrial vehicles, but he is most proud of his Liebherr LTM 11200 – the world’s largest crane. His replica is made from 175,518 matchsticks, 20 kg of glue and 8 kg of varnish. It’s also fully functional. Balac told reporters he worked on it every day for three months straight, from eight in the morning until midnight.
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