Ex-navy air engineer forges marine model-making lego career

A former Royal Navy air engineer has constructed a new career – as a Lego model-maker.

Paul Derrick, who served for eight years as an Air Engineering Mechanic, rediscovered his passion for the bricks as a hobby – but that all changed when he posted models of his creations on the internet.

“Within a year I was undertaking commission builds and supplying models for exhibitions throughout Europe,” says Derrick.

From Winchester in Hampshire, Derrick comes from Royal Navy family with both his parents, grandfather, and uncle, having served.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1992 as an AEM undertaking training at HMS Raleigh, HMS Daedalus and HMS Seahawk. In 1994 he was drafted to 845 NAS, Commando Helicopter Force after volunteering for service with the United Nations in Bosnia.

He undertook three tours of duty with both the UN and NATO before leaving the service in 1999 and joining Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“It wasn’t until I had built the Lego models of the ships, that are to scale and historically accurate that I realised just how complicated the real ships were,” Derrick says.

“I am very interested in historical events, particularly from the Royal Navy during Admiral Nelson’s era and have depicted many of these in Lego. Naturally I am a regular visitor to the fantastic Royal Naval museums in Hampshire.”

Derrick created the epic 1812 duel between the USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere and was due to exhibit his work in Boston, Massachusetts last year but this was put on hold because of the pandemic.

He has also worked on the mutiny aboard HMS Bounty, which happened in 1789, depicting the crew having unlawfully seized the ship and taunting Captain William Bligh by throwing bread fruit plants at him.

“The sailors from this period were incredibly talented, it took a huge amount of skill to keep the ships serviceable, building them from Lego was challenging enough.”

Watch Derrick’s creations in build.

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