Got a rec room, bonus room, or den that is missing that key display piece to show of your roller coaster fandom? One of John Hunt’s roller coaster models may be just what you need.While John Hunt’s intricate and accurate roller coaster representations aren’t working models they do approach works of art. His work has been featured in books, on television, and perhaps most importantly at the amusement parks that are home to some of the roller coasters he’s modeled. Hunt has created wooden coasters, steel coasters, and also other types of amusement rides. Recently, I had a chance to ask him a few questions about his unique hobby.
Joel: How did you start building roller coaster models? Aside, from your obvious love of roller coasters, did something inspire you to start building them? John: I’ve loved amusement parks since I was about three years old. I had the toy Fisher-Price ferris wheel and toy roller coasters. I decided one day, I would like to try to build models of roller coasters that would look more like the real ones and not look like toys. I started building models at the age of twelve. They were then made of paper and cardboard. Today I use bulsa/bass wood and other art supply/model materials. I also build other amusement attractions, but I mostly make roller coasters.
Joel: Was it really tough at the beginning? How much better are your latest models compared to your first models? John: Although I have been building models for many years, it can still be tough at times. The models built today are much better than in the beginning though there is always room for improvement. That is the art of it.
Blue Streak at Cedar Point & Great White at Morey’s Piers
Knoebels Roller Coasters & the Texas Giant
Led Zeppelin Roller Coaster
Scrambler & Buzz Saw Falls at Silver Dollar City
Joel: Which roller coasters models are you most proud of and why? John: The Coney Island Cyclone is one due to the fact that a model of the Cyclone is frequently asked for by clients. I tend to build the Cyclone at least a couple of times a year. Others that I am proud of are old classic coasters that I never got to see in person like the Cyclone Racer at the Pike in Long Beach California, the Crystal Beach Cyclone and the Riverview Bobs. There are others.
Joel: There’s a great amount of detail in your work. Are there any models that have proved to be particularly challenging or tough to finish? John: Yes, the Cedar Point Mean Streak. It’s a model that was put aside for some time, but I am now back working on it. Also, the original Texas Giant and Six Flags Great Adventure’s El Toro. I am sure the New Texas Giant will be one in which I will be starting on soon.
Joel: Your site says that you build mostly wooden roller coasters, but also some steel as well. You’ve also mentioned that you can build other types of amusement park rides. What are some examples of those non-coaster rides that you’ve built (or could build)? John: I’ve built most flat rides like the scrambler, trabant, different types of Ferris Wheels and more.
Joel: Theme park geeks like myself would love to see your work featured in a reality show the same way shows like Ace of Cakes or Miami Ink feature businesses that work on projects for clients. It’d be fun to watch the whole process from beginning to end. If you were approached by a TV network to do something like that, would you be interested? John: Definitely. Several years ago, I was featured on Modern Marvels.
Joel: Imagine you won a $1 billion dollar lottery and wanted to build your vision for the ideal amusement park. What would your dream park look like? What types of rides would it have? John: I would like a seaside amusement park. I’d like the classic style rides, different types of roller coasters, picnic grounds where you can bring your own food and BBQ, free parking with free admission to everyone with the option to buy ride passes of some type.