The Mirage Ship
With the year 2021 winding down, and finding myself surrounded by so many of my most recently constructed Meccano models, it was difficult to choose what to do next. Perhaps the coming New Year would bring lots of creative new challenges.
With five large fairground models and four sailing ships among my collection, I found myself thinking of all the ideas I had wanted to pursue but for one reason or other hadn’t followed, and one of these was to have created a more fantasy-shaped ship than the ones I had so far created. That meant dragging myself to the shipyard once more on a mission I had already exhausted, but it was either give it an effort now, or consign the idea to history.
It’s not that I needed another model ship to showcase, so much as to explore an idea that had long festered in my mind. Up until now I had ignored the impulse, and knowing that I wanted to move in a fresh direction, this was a last chance to see if I could realise a fictional model ship.
The hull was going to be deep and extend in a circular shape, and I planned to mount it on a stand to simulate the ship rocking at sea.
I had envisioned paddle wheels on both sides as part of the idea, and so I started with the building of the main deck attached to the first layer of the hull, all along the full length of the proposed ship.
I built both sides exactly the same, adding strips and flexible plates all along so that the ship would be able to stand firmly on any surface, and then I started adding the upper decks and other fittings.
As I went on I increased the size of the hull with a third layer of plates and silver strips, and suddenly found myself far removed from the idea as I had first imagined it.
I could either go back or go on, and as I felt part of my creative resolve departing I suddenly realised that it would remain as an unexplored fantasy of the mind rather than once again to dismantle. Instead I ended up with another familiar ship moored alongside my collection instead.
Of course, it felt like an underwhelming way to wrap up the year, and perhaps this last ship will always sit with me as the one that got away. Sometimes that is how it is with the freelance model-making journey.
The only option I had left was to at least make this ship look somewhat different to ones already in my dockyard at home.
The masts used were made of double angle girders bolted together with spacers, and the upper masts were long axles.
Rigging came next, and I decided to use cloth this time for the sails to set it apart from the red, cream or golden plastic material used in my other ships.
The ship was constructed in the first two weeks of December and was the last addition to my 2021 models.
What was long on my mind never materialised into something more physical and mechanical, but then that is the thing about things of fantasy — they are often best seen as things that live in the mind!
The Mirage — Sailing into the unseen is still something unknown!