Scottish War Blinded member Robert Wiley completes 14 foot zeppelin art project at the Linburn Centre

Posted: 22/06/2015 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded member Robert Wiley is currently putting the finishing touches to his latest art project at the Linburn Centre which is a model R34 Zeppelin.

The R34 was commissioned by the British Government for military use during World War One which spanned the length of two football pitches costing an estimated £350,000.

It was constructed in Glasgow and completed after the war had ended and re-assigned to the Air Ministry for testing.In 1919, the R34 became the first airship to make a successful return trip to America.

Robert’s model of the R34 will feature pride of place at the Museum of Flight, East Fortune, the site from where the R34 departed for America on 2 July 1919.

Measuring an impressive 14 feet in length, this isn’t any ordinary art project which includes motorised propellors and a 10,000 piece wooden frame.

It has taken Robert 16 months to reach this point who has been assisted along the way by Linburn Centre Art Instructor David Grigor as well as friends and family.

Robert recently answered some questions about his art project:

What were the inspirations behind the project?

“The inspiration came from watching a programme about the Hindenburg. I thought a zeppelin would be a great idea for an art project at the Linburn Centre. I spoke to David, Art Instructor at the Linburn Centre, and we put a plan together.”

How satisfying has it been to achieve a project like this?

“The project has provided me with a great sense of satisfaction and I’ve really enjoyed the process. My eyes are getting worse and I am happy to see the final result with what remains of my vision.”

What is left to do on the zeppelin?

“We have just started putting the RAF insignia onto the zeppelin today. I also have to fix a special rudder feature to the model and a final lick of paint.”

What will be your next art project at the Linburn Centre?

“My next project will be a swordfish submarine. A relative of my carer was part of a swordfish crew which sank off the Isle of White so it will be a fitting tribute to him and everyone else who lost their lives.”

Robert served in the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and served six tours of Northern Ireland. He developed a visual impairment in subsequent later life and was referred to Scottish War Blinded through the visual impairment support team at Borders General Hospital.

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