William Tompkins built 307 different model ships at a scale of 1/600. Mr. Tompkins started building his massive collection when he was in his early teens, and he continued to make highly detailed models throughout his lifetime. The fleet of model ships includes a wide array of models that span several decades, if not more, so the collection offers an insightful view of naval evolution over time. A portion of William Tompkins’ fleet of 1/600 scale model ships is on display in the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA.

Commissioned a week after the end of WWII, USS Midway (CV-41, 1951) was the largest ship in the world until 1955. The ship served for an unprecedented 47 years, saw action in the Vietnam War, and was the flagship of the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. Finally decomissioned in 1992, the Midway is now a floating museum in San Diego, CA. It’s the only remaining US aircraft carrier from the WWII era that is not an Essex-class ship. Bill’s scale model Midway is configured here for “Project Sandy,” a 1947 experimental attempt at firing a captured German V2 missile from the flight deck. This risky program almost ended in disaster, the was discontinued. (Note: this model was based on a plastic kit, with scratch-built Project Sandy details added.)

Exhibit added: May 6, 2014 - Last modified: January 25, 2024

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship