Captain Kidd Interactive Pirate Display

Museum of London

These pirate models were commissioned by the Museum of London from Cod Steaks in Bristol for their Captain Kidd exhibition, to form part of an interactive display entitled 'Safe Passage'.

The pirate and galleon models were produced to be pushed around a trackway by children, so they are all very smooth with no easily-snappable details; for example, the pirates have stubby knives, rather than the muskets and cutlass in the original N.C Wyeth reference illustration. For the same reason, these models were painted with a single colour, so they can be touched up by in-house staff whenever the paint chips through use.

The original designs for the pirate figures and ships were much less detailed than I finally produced, but I felt they needed a little more character than was specified, and having seen the models, the client agreed.

The scenic models which are positioned on Martin Hargreave's beautifully-painted table top also had to be strong enough to withstand possible prodding and poking by small hands, which made for an interesting construction conundrum, particularly in the case of the model shipwreck. In the end, Louise Vergette welded a lightweight steel cage from my original wooden mock-up, which I then clad with jesmonite.

I got a little carried away with the model waterfall: I reasoned that a pirate waterfall should, out of necessity, have a hidden cave behind it, and following on from that thought, I couldn't resist adding a tiny treasure chest, which is virtually impossible to see, unless you know it is there!