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DIY Ship Ahoy!

(Shanghai Daily)

09:03, June 24, 2013

Wu Linzhao poses with his most cherished scratch-built model, the 1/350 USS Independence. He began the project immediately after the ship's builder published some photos and diagrams of the ship in 2008. The real ship was still in sea trials when he finished the model.Photo by Zhu Moqing/Shanghai Daily

A master model ship builder sees a relationship between a nation's industrial development and the skill of its model-building population. He also tells Zhu Moqing that Chinese young people are in serious need of the DIY spirit essential in the scale-model world.

Switching on a desk lamp, putting on some classical music, sipping tea and then for hours meticulously attaching hair-thin rigging onto a model of the HMS Dreadnought (1906) - one of the last touches to the beloved project that has lasted for months.

This scene conjures up perhaps an elderly maritime connoisseur in the West, or a Japanese scale-model geek, but definitely not someone in fast-paced Shanghai. However, this is the passion of retiree Wu Linzhao who lives in Xuhui District.

The 1/350 HMS Dreadnought is the latest masterpiece by 64-year-old Wu, who recently published a book recounting the production of his 25-ship model collection, which has been carefully chosen to represent 500 years of maritime history. It's what Wu calls his "time capsule fleet," starting with a medieval Venetian galley. Quite a few model vessels are Chinese, including the Dingyuan, the German-built flagship of the Chinese navy during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in the first war with Japan (1894-1895).

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