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Not the models of your youth

Apr 24, 2007
 
Models for me always meant the Revell variety that came in a cardboard box. None of those models, however, came close to the price tag for the yacht models from Robert H. Eddy & Associates. If you are building one of these expensive beauties, make sure you don't sneeze and knock it over before you're done.

From the press release: Robert Eddy, of Robert H. Eddy & Associates in Camden, has been building model yachts for more than 30 years and has built up an impressive list of clients and projects, including his recent work on an 18-inch model of the 289-foot Maltese Falcon, the largest sailing yacht in the world.

Eddy and employee Reuben Brown have put in a combined 2,150 hours over the past 16 months working on the Maltese Falcon model with nearly eight months spent on the masts alone, and it has finally reached completion.

"The yacht is a remarkable feat of engineering and to build a model that is one-sixteenth of an inch to the foot of the actual size had its challenges," said Eddy. "This is taking model building to a level that is beyond what most people can do. It's not crazy, but it's close."

Eddy is used to challenges, especially from the owner of the Maltese Falcon, the high profile business titan Tom Perkins. This is the fourth project he has done for Perkins, who commissioned Eddy to produce models of the yachts Atlantide, Mariette and Andromeda La Dea in 2000, 1997 and 1995, respectively.

"Tom has never given me a project that is without its challenges," Eddy said. "But he trusts in me and knows I'm going to try to find my way around those challenges."

For his work on the Maltese Falcon, a clipper yacht, Eddy built the model from the shell up, layering the interior parts as he goes. The placement of each of the 20 winches is exact to the actual boat and measure just over one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter. 1.5-point and 1-point diamonds, a trademark of an Eddy model, fill the top of each winch to give the model a little extra sparkle.

Model yacht maker and Camden native Robert Eddy enjoys the coast of Italy aboard the Atlantide. The Atlantide belongs to Tom Perkins, for whom Eddy has completed several yacht models.The real challenge has been the masts. Brown spent almost 1,000 hours shaping the masts from acrylic and casting resin, which are the defining feature of the yacht's overall design. Masts and yards were individually sculpted with molds made and cast for individual accompanying pieces. Hand-painted thread, almost invisible to the naked eye, will be used for the rigging.

"It was very time consuming, but we finished on schedule," said Eddy.

Eddy completed the model Maltese Falcon in March and it was recently delivered to Perkins. Completion of the model marked the end of a long journey that began the same way as most of Eddy's projects, with him visiting the boat and noting its details.

Prior to starting on a model, Eddy studies each boat's design and details, preferably in person to photograph the vessel, and goes over blueprints with a fine-tooth comb. He speaks with the owners, the designers and the builders and acquaints himself with every nook, cranny and winch on the boat. Several hundred hours alone are spent documenting the boat before setting to work on hand-sculpting the hull and deckhouse shapes from woods and acrylics.

Upon completion, Eddy packages and delivers the models to ensure proper handling and reassembles his work at the model's destination point. Models are packed in custom-made cabinets crafted by Eddy's cousin, and travel separately from the base and glass cases that will enclose and protect the structure.