by Dennis Vella
1/192 HMS Ark Royal 1977 (Scratchbuilt)
My model of HMS Ark Royal is finally finished and what a hate/love affair this built has been. The problems with this model started the moment I received the plans from the Maritime museum and to my annoyance found that what I had purchased were a pre 1966 side plan and body lines a post 1970 deck plan. Since MM could not provide matching plans and these do not seem to be available anywhere, I was faced with one of two choices, either to throw the whole lot in the bin and kiss goodbye to my considerable monetary outlay or undertake the necessary research myself. Being “stupid or hard headed depending on your point of view” I opted for the second choice. I spend hours researching information from numerous books, scale plans, internet and from over 240 photos.
When I thought I had gathered enough information I commenced building 2 models the first to serve as an experimental one to work out my hull calculations. These were then used to construct the actual model.
The 1/192 model of HMS Ark Royal is over 54 ins long and is made out of soft wood (Balsa and plywood) of various thickness, with small items (railings, bollards, mast legs etc) cut from brass rods. The radars I scaled designed and cut from pressed printing paper dipped in dope and compressed for maximum strength.
Aircraft are included to give a representation of her air groups. The Phantoms were relative easy to cut and sand while the Buccaneers and gannets were more difficult.
The model took approximate 846 hours spread over 2 years to build plus an estimated 258 hours of research. The amount spent on scale plans / wood / photo copies / paints /glues was over euro 450. And since I do not have glass enclosed shelving to fit this model I now spent another euro 250.00 for a glass case. This model has certainly not been cheap!!
My conclusion is that while I am happy with the result I feel that had I skipped this project at the beginning I would probably had made at least two or three models. Still I hope you enjoy the result.