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Building a model of HMS Picotee

Our job is to look after all the old models in our collection but occasionally we get to build something new. This model of the small ships that protected convoys from submarine attack during the Second World war was made for the Battle of the Atlantic gallery

Veterans were asked to choose a ship as a memorial and they chose 'HMS Picotee' as she was one of the ships that sank with no survivors. These small ships were named after flowers and were known as ‘flower class corvettes’ this is one of the first of those ships to be built. They were a very simple ship design built quickly at the start of the Second World War to provide every convoy with a warship escort; they even used second hand guns left over from World War One!

The model was entirely hand made featuring a traditional carved wooden hull and delicately hand made metal fittings. The parts are really tiny as the model is 96 times smaller than the real ship. The main gun is only 50mm long and is made from brass with a shield made from thin steel. The only part we didn’t make was the anchor chain! 

The model is painted to appear realistic with rust stains caused by the hard winter weather of the North Atlantic. The model is no bigger than an A3 sheet of paper and is on display in the Battle of the Atlantic gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum

Click on the thumbnails below to see the building of the model in progress.

The model of HMS Picotee is our most realistic model, and is shown at sea in mid-Atlantic. This shows the model when it was not quite finished and was still waiting for some tiny crew men. The main gun is made from carefully soldered brass, the barrel of the gun is about 50mm long. The finished and painted gun; if you look carefully you can see all the shells around the edge of the gun platform and tiny ladders made from wire. The tiny anchor windlass can stand on a 10p coin, the chain is the only thing we did not make. The bow cuts through the water and the hull is streaked with rust. The ships number is hand painted in water colour. The hull was carved from pine and the deck house is made from acrylic, one of the few stable (long lasting) plastics.

WW2 Escort Ship, scale 1:96

Merseyside Maritime Museum collection

Accession number MMM 1993.107