Robert's work and more information can be seen at http://www.yachtmodels.com
- How long does it take to build a model?
Anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 hours.
- What's that in days?
If you went to work every day, 40 hours a week for a year, that's 2,000 hours.
- You do nothing but build one model in an entire year?
Uh-huh. I have a model in my shop that's a month and half from being finished with 2,000 hours in it.
- How many have you built?
Almost 30 full models and tons of half-models-half the boat put on a backboard.
- What's the going price?
They average from $100,000 to upwards of $200,000, materials included.
- What got you into this?
It was a hobby that turned into a profession. My first model was a Duesenberg automobile from die-cast metal.
- What's the smallest one you've built?
A model of a Bugatti dinghy. At a quarter-inch to the foot, it was only two and a quarter inches long.
- Why would anyone want a model of his boat?
It's a major part of his life. He might sell the boat, but the model will always stay with him. Plus, there's no launching, docking, or storage fees once it's paid for.
- Has anyone ever skipped out without paying?
No. People pay in monthly installments. They're welcome to visit and check on the progress.
- Don't you get bored?
Never. There's no tedium to it because there are so many things to do: carving, metalworking, fabrication, making castings.
- Exciting. You built tiny boats, but do you own a big one?
Just a 19-footer with a 90-hp Honda. If I had the time, I'd build a full-size boat, but I haven't yet. It's a curse I live with.
- Have you ever built a ship in a bottle?