By Fred Hendricks Note: This feature is in the May TT&C 2015 issue.
The Silvestru family of Romania are the owners of Dan Models. Dan is in the middle with his wife, Gabriela, and their son, Octavian.
This 1/50 scale, resin Mack truck is a short chassis version.
Shown is a portion of Dan Silvestru’s extensive truck collection. The entire cache is comprised of trucks from each of the Dan Models production runs.
Dan Silvestru holds a 1/50 scale resin Mack truck kit completely assembled and painted.
The entrepreneurial spirit thrives throughout the world. However, that spirit was stifled in Romania during the communist reign of Nicolae Ceausescu. But Dan Silvestru of Ploiesti, Romania, had a grand vision. “It was impossible to have your own business when communism ruled. Small clubs gathered to create handmade scratch models. Plastic kits were extremely rare. A few trickled in from the Czech Republic and former East Germany. During this time, my vision for making models never left me. After Ceausescu was overthrown and communism was eliminated, it was easy to start your own business,” Dan reflected. While other entrepreneurs had their priorities, Dan was the first to launch a model business in Romania. And now, others have followed as they learned from his successes. “I consider myself a really passionate and nonconformist model craftsman. My profession is designing. I started young; scratch building model military vehicles using unconventional materials. Kits to build models were unavailable in Romania before the revolution when Ceausescu was taken out of power in December of 1989. A few years after the revolution, I started building conversions for a hobbyist from France. Through this experience, I discovered new materials, tools, paints and documentation that elevated my work to a higher quality,” Dan elaborated. With this experience, Dan’s vision for building models began to formulate. He shared that progression, “In 1995, I convinced a businessman to provide the financial needs to launch my vision. This monetary assistance set my dream of building resin models into action. After several months of research and trial runs, I managed to start the production process.” During 1996, he discovered many talented people and created affiliations with model builders with a like mind. It was also in 1996 that he attended the Nuremberg, Germany, Toy Fair for the first time, which helped him create more contacts. “That original financial backer had unrealistic demands for sales. In addition, I lacked the business experience needed to run a business. Consequently, I was forced to stop the business and regroup,” Dan shared. While these setbacks were discouraging at the time, Dan readily admitted, “They were valuable learning experiences.”
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