WightLink Cenred Build

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Here are Paul Nixon’s photos during building his model of the Isle of Wight ferry “Cenred”.

When the model was first completed, and Paul was about to retire , this model project was featured in Marine Modelling International (May 2010).  Here is a transcript of the article:

FeelGood factor – A Model Master!

magazine articleWhen Cenred is eventually retired from the Lymington Yarmouth Route, replaced by Wight Sun towards the end of this year, it won’t be the last time she’ll be seen in the Lymington area. Anyone wishing to have a nostalgic glimpse of the old workhorse will be able to pop up to Setley Pond to see Capt Paul Nixon sailing his recently completed scale model.

Cenred Junior, as it is now affectionately known, took Paul a total of around 2000 man hours to produce over three years, with virtually the whole model built from scratch.

Peculiarly, for a career sailor who has been building working models from a very early age, this is the first model ship that Paul has tackled. “I’d always made model aircraft, but with planes the tendency is to go out for a day to fly it, then come back home and spend two or three weeks repairing the damage! My wife had a period of ill health and I wanted to spend more time in and around our home, and with a boat you can pop out, sail it for an hour or two, come back home put it on the bench until next time. So I could spend more time at home with my wife, but still find the time to build the boat.

“I chose the Cenred because we are going to lose the C class vessels and I thought it would be a nice idea to have a model before they disappeared. I was lucky enough to be able to get a set of ‘General Arrangements’ for around £6. They were the original plans without fitments, so I took measurements of things like the stairs and so on. I make just about everything from scratch, although on Cenred there are a couple things that I bought – the bell, smoke floats on either side of the bridge and the basic form for the rescue boats. I use a variety of materials: plastic; wood; balsa wood; metal etc… To give you some idea of the lime involved, the spotlighting for the decks took around 16 to 18 man hours!!”

Paul was able to purchase miniature Voith propulsion units, so the model Cenred handles almost exactly the same as the real thing. “To accommodate the units I had to improvise a little”, he said “and as a result you’ll see a couple of oversized baggage trolleys on the car deck – they disguise the top of the electric motor!”

If he’d wanted to build to exhibition standard he would have fitted working prows and mezzanine decks, “But I like to get the model built and then go out and enjoy it” he explains “Exhibition standard can take much, much longer!”

Paul’s interest in model aircraft started when he was 10 years old, flying hand line models. Medical reasons prevented him from a career in the Air Force, so he became a sailor. “I started building WWI aircraft from scratch when I was on a ship for maybe 4 or 5 months at a time. Whilst you couldn’t build the models at sea, what I used to do was draw the plans, on the back of old marine charts, from loads of photographs. I would then come home and in the months I was at home I’d build what I could. The whole process would take about 2 years.

“I chose WWI aircraft because they weren’t flash, they were steady to fly, and since I was at sea for long periods it suited the skills I had. Amongst my favourite models were a Vickers Vimy and a Vickers Gunbus – I sold them a while ago and someone’s still flying them, I hear.”

Paul says the scale on the boat is not exactly to scale all over the model: “Most people will only see it when it’s sailing on a pond so they won’t see the bits that are not quite right!! Building to exhibition standard demands much more accuracy. And people who build to that standard can be so precise that it will take up to 20 years to build.”

I sail the boat whenever I can, weather and shifts permitting. Setley Pond is rented by the Solent Model Boat Club from NFDC.

“Building and sailing the boat is a great escape. I’m not devoted to the detail, but because you have to do some painstaking work, the minute you start you are in a different world, away from any of the stresses that might have built up during the day!”

Paul is now looking forward to his retirement on 28th April – but there is no truth in the rumour that he plans to build a miniature version of the new Queen Victoria with all his new found spare time!!  But you can bet he’s got another model project lined up!!

[Main “Cenred” page”]    [Other models of Paul Nixon]    [other Passenger Ship Models]

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