Model hobbyist brings wartime machines to life

Reg Phillips hopes to add a second model to the Wellsford RSA collection later this year.

Under the cover of darkness in the early hours of May 19, 1941, the most formidable battleship to have ever been built slipped into the Baltic Sea on its maiden voyage. An ocean-bound castle, the thickly armoured Bismarck was the first full-scale battleship constructed by the German navy since World War I.

Wellsford retiree Reg Phillips is a man on a mission.

Having completed a scale model of the German battleship the Bismarck, which is now on permanent loan to the Wellsford RSA, he is hard at work completing a scale model of one of the most successful

British heavy bombers of World War II, the Avro Lancaster.

Building the Bismarck involved carefully piecing together thousands of intricate pieces, often working with tweezers.

“The longest time I could spend working on it was about three to four hours,” Reg says. “Altogether, it took three years to complete. It felt very good to put the last piece in place!”

The model is 1.2m long and about 125mm high, and is built entirely to scale.

Reg says he is probably a year off finishing the Lancaster.

When completed, it will also be on permanent loan to the Wellsford RSA. The parts for both models were sourced from England.

“My Dad served with the Royal Navy for 25 years and I saw service with the NZ Army on the Malay

Peninsula and Borneo, but I think it was that song about the sinking of the Bismarck that really triggered my interest in making the first model.”

As well as being a member of the RSA, Reg is also a life member of the Wellsford Volunteer Fire Brigade.


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