A thrifty factory worker has paid tribute to the heroes of World War Two by building intricate replicas of two iconic RAF planes – from bits of scrap.
Rob Wass, aged 34, spent 1,500 hours creating a model of a Lancaster Bomber from odds and ends including carpet grippers, brass cable fittings and aerosol cans.
And just one month later he built a Spitfire in four weeks, with parts from a fridge freezer, an old TV, door hinges, a baking set, rulers and parts from an air vent.
The labour of love took 300 hours to complete – and the 75 hours a week he spent on the machine was crammed around his 40-hour a week job in a factory.
Rob, of Barnsley, said: “I’ve not had much sleep to be honest with you, but once I get started on something like this, it’s all I can think about.
“People might think I’m a bit mad, but this is what I love to do. Every bit of my spare time has been devoted to making it.”
Rob, who is single, added: “I’m not sure there would be many girls prepared to put up with their man spending all their free time in the workshop on a hobby.
“But projects like this are my baby – you fall in love while you’re making them.”
Rob, who built the metre-long models in a shed at the bottom of his garden, chose to build a Spitfire as it demonstrates ‘British engineering at its best’.
“It’s a beautiful plane, a lean fighting machine, and I had to make my own tribute to it,” he said.
Rob, who has had no craft or art training, said he did not use any measurements for the model and based the entire thing on pictures from books.
The Spitfire model is now set to be auctioned with a reserve price of £400 at the Great Centenary Charity Auction in September, where Rob hopes to raise a sizeable amount of cash for the Royal British Legion.
The Lancaster Bomber will be sold at a later date. “So many brave men have given their lives for this country,” he said.
“I just wanted to honour them in the best way I know, and also try to raise some money for a fantastic cause.”
Explaining his inspiration behind the project, he said: “I bought a book about the Bomber Command and immediately felt a connection.
“I also wanted to pay my own tribute to all the 55,000 men who died in Bomber Command, they were so brave.”
He added: “The bomber was really fun to make and I even bought some sheet metal to finish off the wings.”
Recalling how his passion started, Rob said: “About three years ago I found myself unemployed with loads of time on my hands.
“So I just started building bits of stuff around the house, even though my tools were very basic and I didn’t know what I was doing.
“But that set me off, and after I got back into working I kept up with it the metal work on the same level, but I got myself some much better tools.”
Rob added: “I never got on all that well with school, but making things like this has always been something I’ve done well at, I’ve always been able to make interesting things from bits and pieces.
“I’m really pleased that my work has been noticed by so many people now and hopefully it will fetch a good amount of money at auction.”
The auction is planned for September 21 at Raynham Hall in Norfolk and will be run by James & Sons.