SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

What did happen to John Tilley's Hancock?

2517 views
29 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    November, 2005
What did happen to John Tilley's Hancock?
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 07, 2006 3:01 PM
  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 07, 2006 3:16 PM

Just joking, I want to show you Donald Mc Narry's models, and a model John Tilley has buit : Hancock.  I hope, he won't be angry, because I did not ask for his permission to post this picture.

Michel

 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, June 08, 2006 12:16 AM

No problem, Michel.  I've posted links to that picture - in its residence at Drydock Models - so many times that I suspect many Forum participants are thoroughly sick of it by now.

That website full of McNarry photos is a real find.  I've said before that, though I'm uncomfortable using superlatives and absolutes in the field of ship modeling, if I had to bestow the title "world's best modeler" on anybody it probably would be Mr. McNarry.  I don't consider myself up to the task of sharpening his tools.  His achievement in ship modeling is, almost by definition, incomparable - in terms not only of the amazing quality of his models but of the sheer breadth of his output.  I have no idea how many models he's built, but the total must be in the hundreds.  They range from his "miniature Board Room models" to scenic waterline sailing vessels to twentieth-century warships and liners. 

I've never been fortunate enough to meet Mr. McNarry, but I did have quite a bit of correspondence with him when I was working at the Mariners' Museum.  He started his model of the Hancock/Iris after I started mine - and got finished before I did.  Such are the work habits of the professional modeler, who has to work to a rigorous schedule in order to make a living.  I believe he built this particular model, though, as a gift for his wife, whose name is Iris - and is a distinguished ship modeler herself. 

I was able to arrange for the museum to acquire one of Mr. McNarry's smaller models - an English royal barge - and to set up the loan, for a few years, of several others.  Just recently the North Carolina Maritime Museum, where our ship model club meets, acquired Mr. McNarry's model of an American Civil War blockade runner.  I found myself literally down on my knees for about fifteen minutes, staring at it.  I suspect virtually any other ship modeler would have a similar reaction.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    March, 2005
  • From: West Virginia, USA
Posted by mfsob on Thursday, June 08, 2006 9:13 AM
I know what you mean about being dumbstruck ... I call myself a modeler, but I'm really just a very tiny bit past the "assembler" stage. When I see the work of some of the people in this forum, or an exceptional piece in a museum, I think, "These guys are the real modelers."
  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Thursday, June 08, 2006 1:02 PM
I remember first seeing some of McNarry's work when I was very young and telling myself that I'm going to build ships like that someday.  Well, I still keep saying someday, maybe in my afterlife.

His attention to scale details is incredible.

Scott

        

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, June 08, 2006 1:20 PM
One of the many astonishing things about the man's achievements is the fact that his models come from a relatively modest workshop.  Several pictures of it are on that website to which Michel has referred us.  In the foreground of one of those pictures is an old Unimat SL machine tool.  (I have one too; that's about the only similarity I can claim.)  I believe that's the only power tool Mr. McNarry uses.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Southern California, USA
Posted by ABARNE on Thursday, June 08, 2006 2:25 PM

 jtilley wrote:
One of the many astonishing things about the man's achievements is the fact that his models come from a relatively modest workshop

What strikes me is his broad range of subjects: wood, steam, diorama, frame cutaways, etc.  He's a master of a lot of of varied skills and construction techniques.  Quite impressive.

BTW, John, if that full-hull Hancock in Michel's second post is yours, then I would say that you are overy modest in your self comparison Mr. McNarry.  That's a mighty fine ship. 

Andy

 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, June 08, 2006 4:23 PM

Hi,

Does anyone have or know how to get more photos of McNarry's USS Kearsarge? The photo here shows only the back half of the ship. I've never seen a model of Kearsarge in the 1864 fit, only 1890s "as wrecked" fit. Beautiful work!

Thanks.

Weasel

 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, June 08, 2006 4:39 PM

I remember that Mr. McNarry was working on that Kearsarge model while I was working at the Mariners' Museum - i.e., between 1980 and 1983.  He sent me a query about the ship, and I was able to supply him with prints from a couple of photos that were in the Museum library.  (I assume they're still there.)  I know he wrote an article about the finished model for Model Shipwright magazine.  That must have appeared sometime in the early to mid-eighties.  I'm afraid that's all the help I can offer on that one.

Mr. McNarry sells most of his models, and doesn't divulge most of his clients' names.  I have no idea where that model is now.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
Posted by rayers on Friday, June 09, 2006 11:34 AM

Like Weasel, I too was looking for a copy of that Model Shipwright article about Donald McNarry's Kearsarge. I emailed a search request to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich yesterday afternoon, and -- talk about fast response -- had this reply in my inbox this morning:

Dear Mr Ayres,

Thank you for your enquiry. We do have back issues of this magazine and I have looked through the volumes covering 1980-1985. Although there are several articles by Donald McNarry, none of them appear to be about his model of USS Kearsage.

Best wishes,

Joanna Wood, Senior Library Assistant.

I had requested a search  between 1980 and 1985; perhaps I should have asked them to look at issues later in the decade? Since Model Shipwright is a quarterly publication, it shouldn't be that hard to find. I know the Mariners Museum has copies of the publication as well but according to their website, they charge $30 an hour with a one-hour minimum for research requests. One of the differences between a nonprofit museum and a tax-supported one, I guess.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, June 09, 2006 12:58 PM

I'm as sure as I can be that Mr. McNarry did an article about his Kearsarge model for Model Shipwright.  Either this evening or over the weekend I'll go through my back issues and see if I can find it.

I think part of the problem may be due to a spelling error.  Quite a few people seem to omit the second R in Kearsarge.

As a former employee of the Mariners' Museum I am utterly disgusted by its current policy regarding research fees.  I don't believe for an instant that those outrageous rates are necessary or justifiable in any sense.  I suspect there are two actual reasons:  (1) most of the people working there now don't know how to do research, and (2) they just don't want to be bothered. 

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, June 10, 2006 8:24 AM

Hmmm, there is a Model Shipwright index, 1972 -199?, maybe somebody in this forum has it?

What I'd like to do is to host J.Tilley's pictures, so at least John, you can provide a link to your pictures.  I think, that I still have pictures of Hancock, Bounty and Phantom.

Michel

 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Saturday, June 10, 2006 11:14 AM

Michel - If you'd host those pictures I'd be extremely grateful.  I suspect lots of Forum members are sick of looking at them, but in several threads I've had occasion to refer to them.  It would be great if we could gain access to them without having to jump over to Drydock Models.  Many thanks.

The photos of the Bounty, Hancock and Phantom are, I'm afraid, the only ones I have.  I work slow; the Hancock, for example, took me over six years.  (That's only one of the numerous differences between Mr. McNarry and me.  His productivity boggles my mind.)  The only other ship models I currently have in the house are a handful of 1/700 warships, which I don't think would interest the Forum membership much.  I built lots of sailing ships when I was younger, but I don't have pictures of any of them - and at this point I'm not sure I'd want anybody to look at them anyway.

I'm currently working on a 1/96 Golden Hind, based on the antique Revell kit that I was able to acquire through the courtesy and generosity of our good friend Big Jake.  My intention is to take some "in-progress" shots of that one - with the Pentax digital SLR I bought last summer.

I've got the Model Shipwright index and back issues out in the workshop; I'll get out there today and look up Mr. McNarry's Kearsarge article.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, June 12, 2006 9:19 AM

Dr Tilley, The Museum opened "The Nelson Touch" on October 21 last year (200th anniversary of Nelson's death at Trafalfar) and included the barge you refer to.  It is a magnificent piece of work and the first McNarry I've seen at close range.

Best,

Ron

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: vernon hills illinois
Posted by sumpter250 on Monday, June 12, 2006 1:13 PM

OK, I have a new goal now. The thing that most amazes me is the scales. 1:384, and 1:192. To model to that detail level at those scales, wow! Respect, respect, respect.  Detail at that level is humanly possible, so........once I develope the techniques, I should be able to come close. I've stated before, I stand in awe of this kind of skill, and then work to try to achieve it. I enjoy the challenge, however, I have no illusions about being able to do that kind of work, in THAT short a period of time!

  "You don't build models of ships......you build models of parts of a ship, and then assemble them into a finished product". One step at a time, one detail at a time, it can be done.  John, you are modest, I'll work at getting to your level first, and then go on from there.

Pete

Lead me not into temptation ..................I can find it myself

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, June 12, 2006 10:29 PM

The pictures of Mr. McNarry's Kearsarge model are in Model Shipwright No. 63 (March, 1988), pp. 68-70.

This isn't exactly an article per se; it's a contribution to the magazine's regular feature "Photo Album," which is how it's listed in the table of contents.  (That's probably why the lady at the NMM missed it.  I missed it myself on the first pass - but the ship's name showed up in the annual index that appeared in the next issue.  Sure enough, in the title and text the name is misspelled - though the model's nameplate, with the name spelled right, is visible in one of the photos.  The editor ran an apology for the goof in the next issue.)

Unfortunately there are only five photographs - the three that appear on the website that got this thread started, and two overall views.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 12:37 PM

Hi,

Thanks for that, but what "three" pictures on the site that started this thread? I only saw one, and that was an overhead view of the rear approximate half of the ship. Am I missing two? If so, can you direct me to them? Thanks much.

Weasel

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 12:44 PM
Weasel - You're right; my mistake.  The senile old brain remembers odd bits of information about seventeen-year-old magazine articles, but has trouble with websites it looked at two days ago.  Sorry about that.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
Posted by rayers on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 12:45 PM

I guess we did kind of hijack the McNarry thread. But I'm amazed at how hard it is to find information about the 1864 Kearsarge considering what a famous ship it was. I'll bet there are lots of photos waiting to be discovered in France somewhere. A visit to Cherbourg, anyone?

I am awe-struck by McNarry's work, which is even more incredible when you realize the small scales he works in. His replica water is masterful; when I first saw some of the images in the album I thought I had gone to the wrong link and was looking at photos of a real ship!

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 4:42 PM
  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 10:50 PM
Michel, you're a true gentleman.  Many thanks indeed.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    April, 2006
Posted by armchair sailor on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 8:24 PM
    It`s been awhile since I`ve been on this site but I was also wondering , Mr. Tilley, when you built the models mentioned earlier. They are wonderful models and what are you working on now ? You mentioned some 1/700 scale ships..... do you have any photos of them and what is your opinion of them as models ?
  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 11:48 PM

Armchair Sailor - your interest is flattering.  The Bounty is an extensively modified Revell kit; seven pieces of the original (not counting the crew figures) found their way into the model.  I finished it in 1977, having worked on it for a little over two years. 

The Hancock is my only scratchbuilt model.  It's built on the "plank-on-hollowed-out-solid" system, the basic hull being carved from basswood "lifts" and the planking made from strip styrene.  (That method worked fine, but I'm not sure I'd use it again.  It doesn't offer any particular advantage over wood planks.)  I worked on that one from 1978 through 1984 - about three years on the hull and decks, and another three on the spars and rigging.  Those figures are misleading, though.  I built those two when I was in grad school and getting my professional career off the ground.  The Hancock went through two changes of residence, and there were periods of several months at a stretch when I didn't touch it.  Its hull (before the masts went up) also made a trip to England in a suitcase, while I was doing dissertation research.

The Phantom is a somewhat-modified Model Shipways kit.  For a few years the company was selling a version of it with a cast resin hull, and I was curious to see how that system would work.  I think it has great potential, though that particular example had some significant errors.  I see MS is now selling the kit with a machine-carved wood hull.

I've built quite a few 1/700 and 1/720 warships, beginning when the first ones appeared back in the seventies.  (I was working in a hobby shop at the time; I remember being downright overjoyed at the opportunity to build a Japanese ship other than the Yamato for the first time.)  The ones I have now (various others didn't survive the various moves) aren't very numerous:  the Italeri H.M.S. Hood and Graf Spee, the Tamiya Yahagi, and a Skywave American destroyer escort.  I think they're all excellent kits; the Italeri German pocket battleships, in my opinion, haven't received anything like the attention in the modeling press that they deserve.  Like so many other ship modelers, I've got a closet full of kits waiting for my attention; realistically, I rather doubt that I'll ever build anywhere near all of them.  I don't think my 1/700-scale efforts are worth showing off here, but I've gotten quite a bit of pleasure and knowledge from building them.

I've got two current projects.  The long-term one is a scratchbuilt model of the American extreme clipper ship Young America, based on the superb plans by Hornsby and Crothers.  I won't speculate on when - if ever - that one will be finished.  The short-term project is a 1/96 Golden Hind, based on the old 1965-vintage Revell kit.  I wasn't sure after the Bounty that I ever wanted to do another plastic sailing ship, but when our good Forum friend Big Jake made this kit available I couldn't resist.  It's one of the best ever.  I'm hoping to get it done by the end of the summer or shortly thereafter - but I'm notoriously lousy at making time estimates.  To my notion, one of the great things about a hobby is that it doesn't involve time pressure and deadlines.  That's one of the reasons I've never had much inclination to build models professionally.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    April, 2006
Posted by armchair sailor on Thursday, June 15, 2006 5:46 PM

      Yeah, I also went into the 1/700 scale ships back in the 70`s absolutely going ga-ga over the selection available. The Japanese cruisers were my favorites , especially the Haguro. I really tried to put the detail into that ( this was before photoetch ) I still have it in a box packed away. I also have several battleships and the Kaga in the wings including the P.E. sets so I can get into them again. But right now I`m putting my effort, as I`ve mentioned before, into  the Monogram "United States ". I`m in the process of removing the gunport lids molded in the sides and I`ve also removed the molded on Beakhead (?) going for the one that was used in the 1812 period. I`m kinda using the 1/96 Revell Constitution as a guide in some of these areas but am also using this forum for small details that I can`t seem to find anywhere else .

      Some day, in the far future, I`m going to take the hull of a Revell heavy cruiser and make a Independence class escort carrier from scratch just for kicks and grins................

  • Member since
    January, 2011
Posted by Bugatti Fan on Monday, September 04, 2017 10:06 AM

There is another fantastic ship modeller Lloyd McCaffery who has written a book about Building Sailing Ships in Miniature published by Conway Maritime Press. The book features two of his models, the clipper Flying Cloud and the whaler Charles W. Morgan. His miniature woodcarvings that I have seen on the internet are absolutely exquisite. Besides the ship models he has carved miniature dinosaur skeletons in wood. Lloyd must be one one of the most accomplished artisans in his field. I am sure that probably John Tilley must know him personally having like interests.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, September 04, 2017 11:15 AM

Bugatti, you'll be sad to hear that John passed away this year. 

I would like to thank you for unearthing this 11 year old thread. It's a real gem and a tribute to the man. I'd suggest that anyone who can take the time to do so, bump up any of the old discussions. It's unfortunate that only the original poster can add John's name to the title, which would be most helpful for future searches. And of course there's the photobucket mess.

But again, reading this brought a smile to my face this morning.

 

Bill

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Nino on Tuesday, September 05, 2017 3:07 PM

GMorrison

Bugatti, you'll be sad to hear that John passed away this year. 

I would like to thank you for unearthing this 11 year old thread. It's a real gem and a tribute to the man. I'd suggest that anyone who can take the time to do so, bump up any of the old discussions. It's unfortunate that only the original poster can add John's name to the title, which would be most helpful for future searches. And of course there's the photobucket mess.

But again, reading this brought a smile to my face this morning.

 

Bill

 

Bill,

     I never got a chance to see high-quality pictures of Dr Tilley's Hancock. I did managed to get a few lower quality copies. It's a Masterpiece .  I'm still reading all the books he recommended. So far I can start the rigging at the masts but where's it all go when it gets to the deck??? LOL.

If we add a TAG, (ie: Jtilley), when we do a reply, might that make it easier to search on?

   Jim.

P.S.  Many Of John's Pics were on Drydocks or HMSVictoryscalemodel site, both of which are gone. I would hope that some members here still have good copies of his Models.  I loved his Tug.

 

 

  • Member since
    January, 2011
Posted by Bugatti Fan on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 10:12 AM

Bill and Nino

I was very saddened to learn from Bill's post that John Tilley died earlier this year. Way back in the 80s John wrote an article for the UK Scale Models Magazine about building the Heller kit of the Soleil Royale. I corresponded with him for some advice and found him most generous with his replies. (Post in those days!) I still have all the letters that John sent me in a reference folder, and a lovely set of colour slides of his model of the Soleil Royale that he also sent me. He also sent me some prints of his Bounty model that he also wrote an article about for the UK scale Models Magazine. Shortly after I learnt that John was going to spend some time in the UK doing research towards his Phd. We met up a few times during this period. He showed me the work he was doing on the hull of the Hancock that he was carrying about in a shoebox along with some basic tools. There is a full build and history article John wrote that ran over about 3 or 4 issues in Model Shipwright. I had the great pleasure of taking him to Portsmouth to see HMS Victory one weekend whilst he was in the UK. If only I could have taken him to see the Mary Rose and HMS Warrior that have since been placed on display as well. John stayed over at my home one weekend and came with me to the IPMS National Championships when it used to be held at Stoneleigh and kindly acted as a co judge for the sailing ships category. I was pleased to hear about his career progress via the Mariners Museum and that he eventually become a Professor and worked at Columbus State University. He will be sadly missed both on a personal level as I got to know him, and as a highly knowlegeable sailing ship modeller who was always willing to share his techniques with others. Having read a number of John's posts on internet model making forums over the years is a true testimony to this. It was John who got me interested in sailing ship models as I normally make cars. A photo of my Vasa model that I recently completed can be seen in the galleries on this site, and I like to think that I did it some justice due to a number of the techniques that John shared with me all those years ago.

Noel

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 11:02 AM
  • Member since
    January, 2011
Posted by Bugatti Fan on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 1:58 PM

Bill  Thanks for placing the link for John Tilley's obituary/tributes.   Noel

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

SUBSCRIBER-ONLY CONTENT
FREE NEWSLETTER