David Reynolds, from Southampton, England, has spent over 10,000 hours gluing 250,000 matchsticks into a veritable matchstick armada of 20 legendary ships.
The 51-year-old retired oil rig worker first made headlines last year, when the Guinness Book of Records acknowledged his oil rig replica as the largest matchstick model in the world, numbering 4,075,000 matchsticks. But the matchstick master didn’t sleep on his laurel after this notable success. He kept on gluing matchsticks and this year he finally completed his amazing collection of 20 famous ships, including Nelson’s HMS Victory, the Cutty Sark, Queen Mary and even the Titanic.
The creator says he was inspired by the city of Southampton and England’s seafaring history, but the fact that his father worked on board the Queen Mary, and his life at sea as an oil rig worker also had something to do with it. He considers his intricate matchstick models a tribute to the men and women who risked their lives at sea, throughout history.
Asked if he uses official plans from museums, to get every detail right, David Reynolds said that would cost him up to 1,000 pounds for each ship, so he prefers to use whatever photos and models he can find and do his own drawings. Each ship in his matchstick armada has taken between four and seven months to complete, and cost between 300 and 400 British pounds. The entire fleet took him around 10 years to build, and he says the hardest part was recreating the anchors, lifeboats and safety robes, as they take tremendous patience and time.
Mister Reynolds discovered the art of matchstick model making when his son bought him a kit, when he was housebound after serious surgery. It started off as a hobby, but quickly turned into a passion that continues to bring him worldwide recognition.