HMS Ark Royal model

25 Years In The Making: An HMS Ark Royal Model

HMS Ark Royal model

A Royal Navy veteran, David Fortey, has unveiled his model of former flagship aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. 

The model is over 12ft long, weighs 85kg and has taken him 25 years to build.

Mr Fortey started making it in 1992 after leaving the Royal Navy.

Working from original builders' plans from the MoD, Mr Fortey converted all measurements to 1:72 scale.

This included everything from replicating all the internal bulkheads and frames to steaming wooden planks.

Having sought advice from a Falmouth dock engineer and scoured reference books and old photographs the HMS Ark Royal model has been built to exact external detail to make it as authentic as possible, even down to the rust on the carrier. Fortey believes this makes the model look less sterile.

The model is radio controlled, weighs a staggering 85kg and is powered by a Ford Fiesta blower motor which runs off a single 12v car battery.

The motors are independent and handle exactly the same as the full-scale version. 

But was spending a quarter of a century building the model worth it?

Well, maybe not, according to David himself:

"I would recommend never ever build a model this big! It is a complete nightmare to logistically store and move around. The slightest catch of a cuff or problem [and] you end up with a lot of damage, so I certainly wouldn't build anything this big again!"

HMS Ark Royal model

Related topics

Join Our Newsletter


The British Army's giant virtual battlefield

US military's largest field exercise on Korean peninsula in five years

Find out how 'Hearts and Minds' became a very British tactic