IT'S certainly one way to impress a new employer.

The 60 foot model in pride of place above the Mayflower theatre's foyer was built by joiner Russell Charlton, who joined the theatre's maintenance team just 18 months ago.

When the 62 year old heard that Titanic the Musical was coming to town he was inspired to build as big a replica as possible - in a shed at the bottom of his garden.

A model enthusiast since a boy he has made countless Airfix models - but the biggest is 14 inches long.

Now he's stepped up his skills using a photo of the infamous vessel and installed onto the model 500 lights, a smoke machine and a recording of the ship's foghorn ship - which was retrieved by divers from the wreck.

Getting the go-ahead from director Michael Ockwell Mr Charlton, 62, said he wanted to make the ship as long as the 100 foot canopy across the front of the venue, but was restricted to "just" a 60 foot long version.

Before the start of every show this week the foghorn has been set off, while a fog machine releases an impressive plume of smoke from one of the three funnels.

Mr Charlton, who lives just around the corner in Polygon said: "It's just a passion I love. It took a week to plan and two weeks to build. It looks the best at night when it's all lit up with lights right across the ship.

"It's 17 and a half scale."

As reported the musical closed yesterday but the model is staying in place until today (Monday).

The show at the Mayflower was the start of Titanic the Musical's UK tour and included a special performance at the exact time the "unsinkable ship" made its final journey to the ocean floor.