Replica of Vintage Aircraft
This is actually the final stage of a project we started in March . It’s a fibreglass replica of a crashed World War 2 seaplane, a “Vickers Supermarine Walrus” and what’s especially unusual about this model is that it is actually underwater. When the National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth decided they wanted an unusual display to put in their huge sea water tank, they avoided the obvious route of a sunken ship and went instead for this wrecked seaplane. They chose the Walrus because it had strong historical links with the area. If you visit the aquarium’s web site you can read the full story (link below). At 12 metres long and with a 14 metre wing span it was one of the biggest projects we had ever undertaken and one of the most technically demanding. Our starting point was a small set of paper plans, a photograph of a model, and some photos of the real thing at the Royal Fleet Air Arm Museum. When working out how to make it, the design process was complicated by several factors. It had to be transportable from Cardiff to Plymouth. It had to go into the aquarium through a small door three stories up the building. It had to be reassembled in a small space on top of the 9 metre deep tank. It had to sink (obviously). Divers had to be able to do the final assembly under water. And it had to be structurally sound and be able to withstand being under water for many years. Furthermore we had to design the damaged areas in a way that wouldn’t injure or trap the fish. It was a difficult project to photograph due to restricted viewing lines into the tank, but hopefully the images we’ve shown give a good indication of how the finished display looked. If you scroll down through the images below you can also get a flavour of the installation process. It was certainly a challenging but enjoyable day for us and the aquarium’s team of divers. The sharks and other fish seemed to find it pretty entertaining too.