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.
Fully Functional R/C Crane Model – Scale 1:12
The client for this model, a provider of specialist training for signalmen and crane operators, needed a fully functioning crane model to use during his training sessions but the right type of crane just wasn’t available on the market. His solution was to ask us to convert an off-the-shelf toy into a purpose-built machine. This involved scrapping about 70% of the original model, adapting the radio controlled motors to perform new functions, adding a completely new winch, new main boom, new pulleys, new ‘A’ frame, new hook, new base (it previously had caterpillar tracks), and a new power supply plus a few other cosmetic alterations. In fact, about the only thing we haven’t changed is the driver’s cabin. The model is now fixed to a desk in their training rooms and used on a weekly basis for tests and as a teaching aid. It’s definitely not a toy (although we did have a lot of fun “testing” it before it left our workshops).
Fantasy Ice Cream Machine
The client’s brief for this project came in the form of the very rough sketch you see in the inset photo along with a verbal description of what he wanted - a working fantasy ice cream machine to go into his brand new, ice-white themed, children’s party room. On a very tight budget we came up with this design featuring lots of buttons to press, revolving poles, moving lights, sound effects, voice-over instructions and incorporating a working freezer in the middle as well as hoppers for dispensing various toppings on the right hand side. We would have loved to have done something much more organic and Willy-Wonka-esque but there just wasn’t the budget so we had to keep the cabinet shapes simple and boxy to save money for the interactive element. The idea of the machine is that children can “make their own ice cream” and add whatever toppings they want. I just hope that the children have as much fun using it as we had making it.
Wrap-around Waste Bin prototype model – Scale 1:1
The purpose of this model was to demonstrate how this new design wrap-around waste bin (for cigarette butts) could be retro fitted to any street furniture or signs. The client needed a working mock-up he could take to meetings to demonstrate how the unit would look and how it could be easily locked together around different sized poles/posts. The design required the model to be made in four sections that fitted perfectly together. (Read the client’s positive comments on the “Testimonials” link, above left).
Replica of Vintage Aircraft – Scale 1:1 (actual size)
The message on my desk said “Model of a Walrus??” One of my colleagues had taken the telephone enquiry when I was out of the office and I rang the client back straightaway. It took a minute or so of confused conversation before I realised that what was needed was a life-size replica of a WW2 Walrus Seaplane rather than a model of a toothsome mammal. And then it got even more interesting. The “Walrus” was actually going to be a sunken plane-wreck in the huge seawater tank at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. It was a daunting job to say the least but also an irresistible challenge and we were glad to take it on. With a 14 metre wing span and 12 metre long fuselage this is the largest fibreglass model we’ve ever undertaken and we’re only half way through it. This wing is actually just a first stage installation to generate some publicity for the whole project which is due for completion at the end of next month. By the way, it’s meant to look dirty and damaged because it is, after all, supposed to be a wreck. The wing was built in 4 main sections so we could get it in the building and to keep it manageable for the divers. One of the images shows the divers assembling it at the bottom of the tank (with an inquisitive shark for company). The other shows how the assembled wing looks from one of the main viewing windows. We should be posting images of the completed project in early June – watch this space.