Iowa Man Builds Amazing Models out of Matchsticks

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TAMA COUNTY, Iowa  --  A man in Gladbrook has built a museum of art using a unique tool: a matchstick.

Patrick Acton has glued millions of ordinary wooden matchsticks into life-like sculptures, and  his latest piece could be described at the "fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy."

KWWL's Amanda Gilbert reported on Acton's unique creations.

It all started as a way to save money, and now people come from all over to see his impressive displays.

"I tell people it's a hobby gone mad because now 40 years later I'm still making models," said Acton. "I loved wood working, yet didn't have much for tools or money to buy tools and wood at that time. I decided I'd try playing with matchsticks. Most wood workers are mind boggled when they look at how many sticks are in each model; on the other hand, I haven't met a brick layer I've impressed yet," he laughed.

Acton has created structures like the U.S. Capitol and the Notre Dame Cathedral (which took about two years and approximately 2,000 hours), as well as the USS Challenger space shuttle and the USS Iowa battleship. The latter were made to honor the people who devoted their time--and lives--to their work.

His latest creation that will be on display soon is Star Wars' legendary Millennium Falcon starship. The ship will feature a landing gear, pods that move up and down, and a loading ramp.

Acton calls his creations the ultimate jigsaw puzzles. He also signed a contract with Ripley's Believe It or Not and creates a new matchstick model for the franchise each year.