As lockdown boredom breakers go, Lego has built a solid place near the top of the pile in the affections of all ages.
But it’s unlikely many will have tackled the scale of project undertaken by Angus enthusiast Jim McDonough, who is now some 60,000 bricks into the construction of a seven-foot ship which has taken up a berth on his kitchen worktop during the pandemic.
Lego legend Jim has already found worldwide fame with creations including a replica of the Royal Yacht Britannia – now on display at the Leith visitor centre where the famous ship is berthed – and a remarkable 24-foot model of the battleship USS Missouri.
His latest challenge is the scale model of the Norwegian-registered oil supply vessel Magne Viking, a regular visitor to Montrose port where the 55-year-old now works.
Port chiefs commissioned Jim to build the model for display in the harbour offices, and Covid-19 lockdown has seen him devote hundreds of hours to the project so far.
“I’ve probably used about 60,000 Lego bricks already and the boat is around three-quarters built, so we’ll be around the 100,000 mark when it is finished, which will be a couple of months yet,” said Jim, who has been building since the age of four.
“I reckon I’ve spent around 75 hour a week on it since the start of February – no computer programs or anything, it’s just built by trial and error using the plans of the ship.
“It comes into Montrose quite often, so I was able to get all the plans from the ship itself and go from there,” he said.
With the hull and half the superstructure complete, the model of the 85-metre, 6,200-tonne vessel is scaled to around 1:36 and is around seven feet long, two feet wide and four feet high.
Jim, who lives near Arbroath, added, “Thanks to my partner, Amanda, its gets scrutinised at every stage and if she is not happy with something then it’s stripped down.
“She is my best critic by far and her input is so important as she sees little details like discolouring etc.”
Montrose Port Authority chief executive, Captain Tom Hutchison said: “When Jim came to work with us at the port and showed us some of his previous work we were amazed by the level of detail and dedication he puts into his models.
“The Magne Viking is a regular visitor here at Montrose Port and when complete Jim’s model will be displayed in the entrance to the Port offices. We think it will be a great talking point for visitors to our offices and could even encourage youngsters with a passion for lego to try building their own. “
Jim’s Britannia took five weeks to construct and was his first professional commission – even featuring an onboard Rolls Royce in its garage and a white baby grand piano in the royal deck tea room.