Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Matchstick Fleet

While on holiday in Weymouth last month we visited the Nothe Fort - a great day out - and came across an exhibition being held in one of the lower rooms. It consists of the work of one man, Phil Warren, who started making models of warships to a scale of 1:300 in 1948. He uses only matchsticks, and the wood from matchboxes, as his raw materials, and the simplest of tools - a razor blade, steel rule, and a hat-pin!

He has made models of just about every British Navy warship since 1945, and of many of the US, French, and other nation's fleets too. The scale of the combined "fleet" is staggering!

That big carrier in the middle is a US Nimitz class, which does rather dwarf everything else, but even that is under 2 feet long. Most of the ships are around 6 to 10 inches long, the aircraft carriers about 18 inches. This is a small scale, but that doesn't mean the detail isn't there - in the foreground you can see some of the aircraft Phil has made to accompany the ships. Yes, each one is hand made from matchsticks, even down to the working propellers!
This close-up of HMS Ark Royal, surrounded by a number of other Royal Navy vessels, I think shows the level of detail attained. Remember each plane is around an inch long.

A few photos showing the tools, materials, and construction methods used.

As I leave you with HMS Victorious, I can only have huge respect for the skills of this guy, having had a go at some matchstick "kits" when I was a kid I just got them stuck to my fingers!
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