The Phantom Ship

The latter half of 2016 has been as busier period for Meccano commitments than I can remember for a long time, and with so many meetings and exhibitions that I have just not been able to find the time to build as many new models as I would have liked too. With that recent mind-set I have opted to re-imagine a lot of my existing models with new identities.

My Awful Tower was redesigned so it become Colossus, my Jekyll & Ride morphed into the Spiralizer, and my Stratosphere model grew even bigger becoming what I now call my ‘Stratospherris’. Along with these evolutions, I also built The Mincer and Propulsion models, but I guess it was the relaunching of my Wrath of Tides ship model as the much upgraded The Slayer of Seas that helped set the mood for another boat based model. It was a welcome boost to once again set about creating something from new.

Somewhere on 1st of November 2016 I started throwing bits together to see if I could make something happen, firstly by bolting strip plates together to build the hull of a new ship. I had seen a fantasy-based sculpture in a London arcade of a fictional ship with the bow of the head of a dragon, and with the hull shaped of half crescent moon with paddle wheels on each side and the unusual design stayed captivated in my mind, wondering if I could try something unusually similar but in my own way, and it wasn’t too long before I found I was advancing and having now built two hulls the same, I bolted them together at the right width and distance and then added all the extra necessary plates until the hull’s full length was created.

I had to give up my intention of the half moon shaped hull as it was obviously going to prove difficult to achieve within the pressing time available, if I wanted to present a new model at the next meeting, and I wasn’t really that keen on bending many parts which later prove even harder to restore to their original shapes.

Anyway, I starting adding floors and the decking which started making it look much more like a modern ship or liner which was not my real intention but I was still kind of happy with how the model was looking and the feeling got even better when I added the masts. I was anticipating adding sails but later decided not to at this stage but focussed instead on all the necessary trimmings to make the ship look as realistic as possible, including a rudder, two propellers and shafts and a lot of rigging. I then reinforced the inside of the structure making it very solid and added interior transformer lights, and though I was caught in two minds, I also added guns and cannons, changing the imaginary concept ship into a morph of ‘The Warrior’ type design and a would-be war ship vessel.

The sail of imagination to construction was finally in just eleven short days, perhaps lacking a true purpose or even identity, but while I played with the choice of names to launch it with, it suddenly struck me.

Either on this sea or that sea or even in one of just fantasy, voyages to the edge of the world remain all but mystery, but not on ‘The Phantom’!

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