Scottish War Blinded members to exhibit R34 Airship models at the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune

Posted: 28/09/2015 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded members Robert Wiley and George Gowans will exhibit models of the R34 Airship at the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune from 9-18 October 2015.Robert and George have produced their models at Scottish War Blinded’s Linburn Centre in recognition of its achievement as the first airship to make a return transatlantic journey from East Fortune Aerodrome to America in 1919.

Scottish War Blinded member Robert WileyThe exhibiting of the models will form part of a wider programme of events organised in October by the National Museum of Flight who are celebrating 100 years of military and civil aviation at the East Fortune aerodrome.

Robert’s model took 18 months to complete and measures an impressive 12 feet in length. The model comprises reinforced cardboard, metal rods, wiring and a 4,000 piece wooden stick frame and is finished with battle grey paint and RAF insignia. Motorised propellers and search lights have also been installed which visitors can activate.

Robert (pictured) said: 

“The project has provided me with a great sense of satisfaction and I’ve really enjoyed the process. The project has been a focal point of the Linburn Centre Art Room for some time and fellow Scottish War Blinded members have contributed towards the project, as well as family, and their help has been greatly appreciated. My eyes are getting worse and I am happy to see the final result with what remains of my vision.”

George’s model is smaller in scale and took 6 months to complete. George has used over 2000 matchsticks to complete the body and tail of the R34 model airship and used sandpaper to achieve a finer finish. The model is completed with three external gondolas and motorised propellers.

George said:

 “When I saw Robert’s larger model of the R34 Airship at the Linburn Centre I decided to make a miniature version with matchsticks. I felt confident taking the project on as I have experience making miniature models for years including a musical chalet, grandfather clock, gypsy caravan and writing desk both at home and at the Linburn Centre. It’s been a mind-bending experience and very satisfying to complete. It has taken 6 months to complete and I am really happy with the finished model and hope visitors at East Fortune enjoy the interactive propeller feature.”