Remarkable matchstick model of Titanic's sister ship HMHS Britannic

Dave Reynolds with his matchstick model of HMHS Britannic pictured next to his model of Titanic.

Dave Reynolds with his matchstick model of HMHS Britannic pictured next to his model of Titanic.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

SHE carried hundreds of wounded soldiers home during the First World War.

HMHS Britannic, a sister ship of Titanic, sank in November 1916 with the loss of 30 of its 1,066 passengers.

Now a Southampton man has made his very own working version of the ship.

It took David Reynolds 50,000 matchsticks, a litre and a half of PVA glue, a litre of varnish and 700 hours to build his 5ft matchstick model.

The 55-year-old, from Mansbridge Road, Swaythling, wanted to do something to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War in which the ship served.

The dad-of-one has been building the radio-controlled ship for nine months and has already tested it out on the water at Highbridge Farm in Eastleigh.

David has been building models out of matchsticks for 25 years, starting with a kit to build a model train which was given to him from his son when he left the merchant navy.

Since retiring 15 years ago Dave spends around three hours an evening on his hobby, while watching television with his wife Julie, 53, and their dog Daisy.

His 23ft tall model oil rig, known as Cathedrals of the Sea, now based at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Florida, has held the Guinness World Record for the largest matchstick structure since it was completed in 2009.

HMHS Britannic is the 30th matchstick ship Dave has made. He has also made four coffee tables, six walking sticks, six sets of table mats and coasters and he has started making a footstool.

The former Royal Navy navigating officer said: “When I was at sea my spare time hobby was rope knotting and embroidery but then my son bought me the little kit and it just started from there.

“I build all my ships for a reason and it is just whatever is topical at the time.

“I was going to build something to commemorate the First World War and this was the largest ship that sank during that war.

“I normally use photographs and I make my own drawings.

“It keeps me going and gives me something to do.”

David plans to add a smoke machine to the ship in the coming months to make it even more realistic.

Tudor House and Garden will be displaying ten of Dave’s models until September 17.

The Eastleigh and District Model Boat Club member will also be exhibiting some of his models at the Bill Targett Memorial Steam Rally in Highbridge Farm, Eastleigh, on May 17 and 18, weather permitting.

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