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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Titanic task for matchstick man
Mr Colling's earlier matchstick model of the Titanic - 6ft 2ins long

A matchstick modeller is a fifth of the way to creating a five million-match replica of the ill-fated liner Titanic.

Mark Colling is aiming for a world record with a 19ft-long ship, complete with an 8ft match model of the iceberg which sunk the Titanic in 1912.

Mr Colling is building the model in his garage in Llanelli.

The father-of-three said: "Once I have closed the doors and crack on, it's surprising how time goes".

Mr Colling is making his model of the Titanic to scale using copies of blueprints sent to him by the editor of the Hollywood blockbuster of the same name.

He has already built a 6ft Titanic model and hopes to have the body of the liner completed by January.

Mr Colling buys the special model matches in bulk - in batches of 250,000 at a time.

He is also being independently assessed along the way.

"I've gone a million matches already," he said.

Mark Colling with his model
The skeleton of the ship is the most difficult part of the model

"As soon as I get all the skeleton pattern - that's the main part - the decking just flies."

The ship's final dimensions will be 19ft long by 8ft high and 6ft wide (5.8m x 2.4m x 1.8m), while the iceberg will be 8ft high and 6ft wide (2.4m x 1.8m).

Both will sit amidst a 6ft (1.6m) wide patch of matchstick sea.

The dimensions for the current record-holder - a church - a 6ft 7in by 4ft 11in.

And, although his hobby is resulting in larger and larger models, Mr Colling's family is all in favour of it.

"At first I was making bigger and bigger and bigger models and it was getting in the way of everything," he said.

"Luckily enough I've got a garage now and I can fit all (my models) in there."

He intends to exhibit the model once its complete - and it will be so big that he is designing it so it can be reassembled in sections.

Mr Colling began his matchstick modelling in 1998 with a 3ft by 3ft (0.9m by 0.9m) Spanish galleon.

He has since completed a Mississippi steamer, as well as the Spitfire fighter aircraft and racing car.


SEE ALSO:
Matchstick men in Titanic challenge
20 Oct 03 |  South West Wales
Titanic menu among auction relics
14 Apr 05 |  Northern Ireland
Titanic blueprints fetch 12,000
08 Apr 05 |  Hampshire
Events remember Titanic tragedy
01 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland


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