Convoy Models … how I got involved with ‘Little Ships’

This page needs revising – a lot …

My involvement with ‘Mini-Ships’ started 60 years ago when the UK toy manufacturer ‘Tri-ang’ brought out their ‘Minic’ range of 1/1200 ships and harbour accessories. A small collection of these were followed by the ‘Eagle’  (or ‘Eaglewall’) range of World War II ships. I started collecting as pocket money allowed and soon built up a large collection. Unfortunately many of the ‘Eagle’ models found themselves being ‘scrapped’ (which was ever the story! ). The development of 1/76 scale plastic tank and other military vehicle kits saw a growing interest in military modelling and wargaming, which is still there, although rather latent at the moment.

The 1970s saw me discover the ‘Ensign’ and ‘Clydeside’ ranges and with these models, plus those from other sources, I started modelling and collecting on a more regular basis. Eventually I was to discover the German dealers, and then in the late 1980’s I was to meet a group of British collectors who were mainly based in the South. Those were the days of the ‘swap meets’ at Nash Mills and (first) Theale, and this led, in 1992, to the first ‘Welton’ event. (These collectors included Roy Measday, Martin Brown and the late Vic Harman)

Meanwhile my own collection  continued to expand, with the main theme being ‘The Royal & Commonwealth Navies, 1936 onwards’. This is interpreted loosely and includes ships from foreign navies which served with the RN, ‘ironclads’ which survived as harbour hulks and anything else that takes my eye. I also have a collection of ships from the navies of the Netherlands and the Scandinavian ‘trio’ of Denmark, Norway & Sweden, and have a representative collection of ships from other countries and periods. The collection continues to expand… and has recently started to include Royal Navy ships from the pre-Dreadnought & Napoleonic periods, together with ships from foreign navies that were built in the UK.

The Welton Mini-Ship Fairs 1992 onwards

‘Welton’ had its origin in a conversation with Vic Harman when travelling back from ‘Theale’ in the Spring of 1992 (or was it the Autumn of 1991). As much of the ship collecting hobby in the UK is conducted by mail order, events such as ‘Welton’ and ‘Theale’ are regarded as important by both dealers and collectors alike as they provide focus points in the year. Finding a suitable location was not easy but eventually I was able to get the use of the Village Hall in Welton, near Lincoln. The first show took place in July 1992 and after a shaky start is now a major event on the UK mini-ship scene. It is now the longest continually running UK Ship. Over the years the show has evolved and matured and although primarily an event for UK enthusiasts it is not unusual to see overseas buyers present, as well as people from the ‘fringe’ of the hobby coming, and also to see younger enthusiasts present. The 2003 event saw our first overseas stallholders, Norbert & Matti Brocher of ‘Rhenania’ models. Events such as this involve a lot of hard work and the compliments freely given afterwards make it all worthwhile. In 2004 there was a ‘trial’ ‘Autumn Welton’ and ‘Mini-Ship Get-together’ in October, which included a naval wargame. This event proved sufficient of a success to make it worthwhile repeating in 2005, but it has now been ;rested for a few years. If you’re an enthusiast who would like to sell your surplus models space can possibly be found for you. ‘Welton’ is called by many ‘The Friendly Show in the North’, and attracts collectors from all parts of the Midlands & North of England, as well as further afield. Click here for fuller details of the Welton Fair or contact me. (A poster for 2020 appears elsewhere on the site: keep watching as it develops).  In 2008 I was able to ‘res-surrect  the ‘Mappleborough Green’ mini-ship show – unfortunately  the event did not ‘work’ and was dropped after two years.

Other events are held in the UK:  please visit the ‘UK Ship Shows’ page.

Click here for photos of past Welton shows

The ‘Convoy’ Range & ‘Convoy Models’

‘Convoy Models’ – Stocklist – – – Contact Tim Hudson on convoy [at]  or on direct telephone 01522 524672 (Overseas dialling: 00 44 1522 524672)

As well as collecting and organizing mini-ship shows I also sell new and secondhand ‘mini-ships’, and have also produced a small range (pretty much to demand): the ‘Convoy’ Range. This consists of ‘limited run’ models of armed merchant ships of the 1939-45 period and ships of the ‘Royal Fleet Auxiliary’ of this period and onwards. Models produced include British WWII ‘standard’ merchant ships (‘Empire ‘B’), Royal Fleet Auxiliary ‘Fort’ class store ships (AKS) of the 1950 period, and RFA ‘Resurgent’: a store ship (AFS) of the 1960s. Other popular models include RFA ‘Bayleaf’ (AO) and SS ‘Tactician’: an armed merchantman. Newer lines include HMS ‘Hilary’: a passenger liner converted to a Headquarters Ship (AGC), and ‘Empire Magpie’, a WWII freighter. Also available are HMS ‘Lancashire’ – an accommodation ship with the British Pacific Fleet (1945). HMT ‘Cameronia’ (WWII trooper) and SS ‘Nestor’ – a stately ‘Blue Funnel’ liner armed and equipped for war. Changing circumstances me that these models are really only available to order at the moment: please enquire for availability. I also hold a collection of new and secondhand models for sale. I have been a major stockist of models by Wirral Miniature Ships, A H Models & Deep C, together with Pierhead. These holdings are constantly changing as new collections are bought in: please contact me for details of the current list, which is also available by e-mail.

Mini-Ship collecting and been and continues to be, an important element of relaxation in a lifestyle that continues to be hectic.. Why not give it a try?

Searching for a model of your father’s (or anyone else’s) old ship?

I have over forty years experience in the ‘information business’ and I may be able to help.

Suppliers & Websites

There was a list of websites on an earlier edition of this page, complied at a time when we we’re so ‘savvy about these things. I have deliberately deleted these as they would require a lot of revising but I hope to reinstate them.

Following a recent discussion I have put on the website copies of the stocklists issued by a number of smaller (and almost certainly out of production) UK producers. The first to be done was that of Mr R Gillow, of Stockton, who supplied a large range of wargames standard models in the 1980s. I thought his models were long out of production, but on speaking to him some time ago I discovered that they are still available. Owen Howard was another small UK manufacturer in the early 1990s. His models have long been out of production, but are worthy of inclusion. The lists issued by Gerry Skinner of ‘Oceanic Models’ and the late Adrian Nash are now available. I have been able to put a few illustrations in with the ‘Oceanic Models’ lists.

Convoy Models – New Models from a variety of manufacturers
Convoy Models – secondhand & pre-loved models
DH/Wirral/Len Jordan models – Liners (L) series
DH/Wirral/Len Jordan models – Freighters (M) series
DH/Wirral/Len Jordan models – Armed Merchantmen (K) & Tankers (T)

This page © T J Hudson, contributors & photographers 26/10/2019