Model Making & Model Engineering

David has always had the urge to make models; starting with an Airfix “Cutty Sark” at age 8 (two shilling kit, sixpence for the tube of glue) he has made many models over the years.

The era of ever larger plastic kits plagued his mother during schooldays. In more recent times he has graduated on to wooden-hulled period models of sailing ships built to exhibition standard. One or two have been built as customer commissions.

David is currently working on two new projects:

Current Projects

The Lowestoft fishing smack “Master Hand”



In 2020 I was contacted by Simon Adams of Southampton, who was in possession of a part-built scale model of the barque “Penang”. The model had been started by his father in about 1935, but had never been completed.

Simon asked me if I would be interested in completing the model for him. I agreed, and arrangements were put in hand to meet up in Suffolk to hand the model over.

The barque “Penang” was built in 1905 by Rickmers in Bremerhaven to their own account. Her original name was “Albert Rickmers”. She was steel-hulled, 2,039 tons gross, 3,250 dwt, and 266 ft length. She was representative of the final generation of ocean-going sailing cargo carrier.

The model as received was a very substantial hull of bread-and-butter construction, about 33″ in length. No deck fitment or rigging was in place, although many of the spars and other fittings were collected in a box…

Model of the barque "Penang"

Dandy Score Shipyard

Having built many scale model ships over the years, a new project beckoned. Last year I completed the Norwegian Jekt “Gjøa” in a slipway setting and this spurred me on to something more challenging.

I decided upon a shipyard diorama at 1:72 scale. A reasonably compact model would result, about 2 feet square, (excuse the imperial measurements, a meter is something you put a shilling in when the light goes out!) Two slipways would accommodate a small coastal schooner under construction, in frame, and a fishing smack stemmed for repairs. Period would be around 1900.

Dandy Score Shipyard 01
Dandy Score Shipyard 01


“Gjøa” was built in 1872 in Rosendahl, Norway. She is of a type known as a “Hardanger Jekt”, a general purpose vessel plying in the area of the Hardangerfjord.

In 1901 she was bought by the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, who intended to use her for Arctic exploration. After a voyage to the Barendtsz sea he fitted her with an oil engine, and prepared her for a voyage in which he would attempt to transit the North West Passage.

For detailed information on the “Gjøa” build, please click here.


Model of the 'Gjøa'


Aged eight, I went with my parents to visit the National Maritime Museum. That visit to “Cutty Sark” was very influential. I developed an interest in veteran sailing vessels that has remained to this day.

Now retired I have more time for model building and I decided to build this ship, the Torrens, by modifying a Sergal kit for the “Cutty Sark”.

For detailed information on the “Torrens” build, please click here.

Model of the 'Torrens'
Model of the 'Torrens'


Prior to that, David made his first foray into radio-control, building a 1/48 scale model of a salvage tug, World War 2 vintage. This was built from a kit.

Since it was blowing a full storm force 10 on the day the kit was acquired, the finished vessel is called “Storm”. Propelled by electric motor, “Storm” has run sea-trials in next-door’s goldfish pond.

radio-controlled model of a salvage tug
completed in 2005, this is a radio-controlled model of an ocean-going salvage tug

'HMS Victory' Launch

In 2016, construction was resumed on a model of HMS “Victory”’s launch. This project was started about 15 years ago but put aside for various reasons. An open boat with lots of internal detail,this craft was a joy to construct and was completed in May 2016.

Model of HMS “Victory” launch
Model of HMS “Victory” launch

HMS Mars

In 2005/07, David built a 1/64 scale model of the 18th century naval brig HMS “Mars”. Built from a kit, this proved to be something of a challenge to his modelling skills. 

HMS Mars model
A model of an 18th century privateer brig, “Mars”

Model Engineering

David also has an interest in Model Engineering. He has a well equipped workshop with Myford Super 7 lathe, bench grinder, drill press, and the most recent acquisition, a milling machine. He has built a number of steam engines from castings, and has one or two projects in the pipeline.

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