A 27-year-old Woodstock-area man who builds intricate models of military vehicles will get to present one to a colonel at Base Gagetown later this week.

For Aaron Bouma, who is autistic, model building is more than a hobby.

He is a passionate about all things military and is on a mission to prove how wrong it can be to equate autism with being "incapable."

It's easy to spot the Bouma house in Jacksontown. It features a decommissioned anti-aircraft gun on the front lawn.

Next to it, is Bouma's small shop, where he builds his wooden weaponry. 

"These are 5 of the 8 LAVs I'm building," said Bouma, indicating a row of wooden light armoured vehicles.

"These are all built from scratch out of 2x4s, PVC pipe and Masonite."


Two of the eight light armoured vehicle models that Aaron Bouma is making to present to a commander at Base Gagetown Thursday. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Bouma rattles of military jargon when describing the range of models he has made.

They include a M1919 Browning machine gun, a Second World War-era German Lugar pistol with a pop-out magazine, and a 1942 Maschinengewehr, or German machine gun.

His craft brings focus

Bouma says he believes one trait associated with autism helps him in his craft; to be able to envision the end product just by looking at the picture.

"I look at it, and I start carving it out, a simple piece first, the main body, one after the other I cut out piece by piece, what I want, and I just look at the picture," he said

He does admit his obsessive compulsive behaviour means ritualistic demands that can interrupt his flow.

"It's a pain in the rear sometimes, when you want to work and you feel like you have to do this or that, you know?"

Bouma says he's been able to shoot down many assumptions people have about autism, in part, because of the belief friends and family have in him.


The decommissioned anti-aircraft gun on the front lawn of the Bouma residence near Woodstock. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

His former teacher, Richard Blaquiere says Bouma is vice-president of the Autism Family Friendship group, a weightlifter and an "amazing guy."

His father Peter Bouma, would rather his son be passionate about gardening instead of guns, but appreciates the focus the hobby gives his son.

"He's so focused on his world of the military and the shop. But then he'll make a pretty interesting comment about other things in life. So he's not a one-sided person."

Bouma will present Col. Dan MacIsaac with one of his light armoured vehicle models on Thursday.