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.

USS Mississippi (BB-41, 1941) was commissioned in 1917, too late to serve in WWI. However, the ship served extensively in the Pacific during WWII, earning eight battle stars. This was one of several pre-war battleships to participate in the Battle of Surigao Strait, the last naval battle in which air power did not play a part. After the war, the Mississippi’s two sister ships were decommissioned and scrapped. However, the Mississipps continued to serve for another decade as a weapons testing ship (AG-128). It played an important role in the development of the RIM-2 Terrier missile system. In 1956, the ship was sold for scrap after plans to turn it into a museum fell through.

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

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship