Wednesday, 26 June 2013


A Suffolk man has taken the traditional Ship in a Bottle to the next level. After 13 months, and countless hours of painstaking effort, and with huge amounts of skill and patience, Allan Stevens has unveiled his latest creation. The ex-seaman has made miniature models of three vessels steeped in local East Anglian history and recreated them in stunning detail - complete with tiny crew members - all inside an old brandy bottle !

The LT 472 Excelsior, the last surviving sailing smack from the Lowestoft fishing fleet, is featured alongside the LT412 Mincarlo - the town's only surviving sidewinder trawler - and the historic east coast herring drifter YH89 Lydia Eva.

In 2001 Mr Stevens completed an 18-month project to be hailed as the first person in the world to get a model ship - the LT 459 Nelson smack - into a yard of ale glass. But he hasn't stopped there, Mr Stevens has gone on to produce many other scale models of boats, creating one inside a light bulb and even building two ships inside a 1950s glass rolling pin. He is a member of the European Association of Ships in Bottles, and is devoted to his craft building up his skills over 38 years.

Mr Stevens began the preparation work for his latest creation by researching the length and dimensions of the three vessels and then using these to calculate the correct sizes for the scale models. The three models each include four crew members no larger than six-and-a-half millimetres. The Excelsior's 12ft by 5ft measurements scale down to about 13.5mm by 5.5mm.
He opted to place the vessels in an old German brandy bottle which he had owned for more than 30 years. "It doesn't have any flaws in it and I kept it all this time so I'd have something special to put in it" he said."The boats all go through the neck and had to go into three pieces to get them in - it is a nerve-racking job.
The Mincarlo went in first, then the Lydia Eva in second and the Excelsior third."

Mr Stevens, who is a member of the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Museum, said he had already had a lot of local interest in his latest creation, which includes a miniature version of John Wylson, founder and vice-president of the Excelsior Trust, on board the model of the sailing smack.
He estimates that he had now made at least 150 ship in a bottle.
"All my works give me a great deal of pleasure, but I am especially pleased with this latest one, given the local heritage," Mr Stevens said. "I worked on it more or less every day for 13 months."

Monday, 24 June 2013

Dynamo Defies Gravity on a London Double Decker Bus

He ' walked on water' on the River Thames in 2011, and yesterday, Shoppers and tourists alike were once again left open-mouthed in London as the Master of the Impossible, Magician Dynamo performed his latest stunt, levitating alongside a London Routemaster Double Decker Bus, with his right hand touching the bus and his legs dangling in mid-air.

Passing by the Houses of Parliament, bystanders, London Taxi drivers and even passengers on the No.543 bus could barely believe their eyes.

"The reaction of the public as I was travelling was incredible. It was great to see so many people taking in the excitement," said the Yorkshire-born conjurer. 

Dynamo's new TV series, sponsored by Pepsi Max, starts July 11th on Watch.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Adding Radio Control to a Small Precedent Fairey Huntsman or Perkasa Model Boat

If you want to convert your Small 34" Fairey Huntsman or 37" K D Perkasa model boat kit into a radio controlled model you will require the following accessories: 

First of all you will need the excellent:
Planet T5 2.4GHz 5 Channel Transmitter & Receiver Set which has been designed for crystal-free operation, and has a range up to 100 metres  (always perform a range check before use). However some customers report using successfully over 100 meters.

With this we suggest you use:
Viper Marine Forward & Reverse Speed Controller 25Amp which is a Brushed Speed Control designed specifically for use in RC boats. This Speed Controller has a 25Amp motor limit, which means you can use any DC Brushed motor as long as the current drawn by that motor does not exceed 25Amps under load (with the prop connected, under water).

Other required products include: 

Planet T5 2.4GHz 5 Channel Transmitter & Receiver Set
Viper Marine Forward & Reverse Speed Controller 25Amp
Single Standard Servo - RC3S
Lead Acid Battery 12V 7Ah - BAT12V7
Electric Motor 9.6V - G7307
Heavy Duty Prop Shaft M4 x 30cm Tube - PSU2/12
Universal Coupling Joint - UCJ
Coupling 4mm threaded for PSU2 Prop Shaft - UCF/M4
Coupling 5mm for Motors & Gearboxes - UCF/5
Large Rudder 67mm Blade Depth - RAU4
Robbe Dynamic 2 Blade Propeller 40mm - R1462

Preferences do vary however, and these products are just offered as a guideline. 

Please give us a call or email if you require more in depth guidance.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Cake Decorating is taking off at Hobbies

Cake Craft at Hobbies

Burgundy Piping on a Cream Ready to Roll Icing
With the increased popularity of cooking and baking shows on TV, cake craft is slowly becoming more popular than ever, and at Hobbies we are adding more products to our range to help cater for this.

Cassie Brown Airbrush and Compressor Kit + Free DVD

There are many ways to decorate your cake and the Cassie Brown airbrush set is a great place to start and the free instructional DVD is a very helpful too, giving you ideas and tips to make your first adventure into cake decorating hopefully an enjoyable experience. 

Cake Craft

Tips For Cake Success 


The main ingredient to a successful cake is the sponge underneath, no matter how fancy the decoration is the cake needs to be right.

All these cake use a simple Victoria Sponge recipe with a Jam and Butter Icing filling, this light sponge makes a great tasting cake that pleases all crowds whether its for a retirement party (left) or just fancy birthday cakes (above and below).
Retro 80's Rubix Cube Cake


Secondly ready-to-roll icing is one of the best coverings to create a smooth base to work from, especially if you are airbrushing on a design of your own. 

For the smoothest results, cover the sponge with 2 layers of butter icing, setting each layer in the fridge for 30 mins to an hour, before covering with ready to roll icing.

Get the colours right as they go a long way to giving your cake a wow factor. This can be seen in the cakes shown in this blog.

Be Creative

The best way to make any cake look stylish and amazing is just simply be creative. Take inspiration from the internet or books. Pinterest has become very popular lately and is very useful to get amazing ideas from. 

Cake Support

Now making multiple layer cakes does require some minor engineering skills as they get heavy with all the icing on them.

Every cake will need a baseboard too which can be easily hidden with icing and ribbons, all the cake used here so far have baseboards between the individual cakes that make the finished product.

To support these cakes you will need to run plastic rods through the cake to support each layer, otherwise the top cake will sink into the cake below ruining the final product.

You can also choose to use a Madeira sponge as it is a stronger sponge to build with but  it doesn't taste as good as a Victoria Sponge. It will still need support if using many layers.


Enjoy the cake creating process and all the compliments that people will give you. Everyone likes cake! Make your cakes for any occasion, no need to go over the top with too many layers or different colours.  Try to practice your skills in certain areas and soon you will be able to make show-stopping cakes that will be the talk of your friends and family for weeks to come.

The Climber Cake 

The following cake was made for my birthday and depicted a typical climbing scene and terrain. With many layers of cake under the weight of all the icing. It tasted amazing and provided a challenge to cutting the cake in order to serve it.

Climbing cake many layers and colours
Many hours of work went into making this awesome cake, there are eight layers covered with a ready-to-roll icing that was marbled to give it the rock colour of the mountain. 

The sponge was a Victoria sponge and this was held together by many long plastic rods and cocktail sticks to keep the structure standing and the people on the rock face.

The figures were made from icing too, and stuck together with sugar glue and cocktail sticks. and crafted to give the basic hair detail. See cake craft tools 

All in all there are many different skills used making this cake above and also many other ways this can be achieved especially using the Cassie Brown airbrush set to create the rock face colours and detail. Also using sugarcraft to create the figures and additional details.

Cake craft is a fun and growing hobby that allows for individuals to be as creative as they want to be. It is great for all the family to get involved and should not just be for special occasions. There is a world of designs and ideas out there, so get creative and make something tasty.

If you can think it, then you might just be able to create it, the only way to be certain is to try and if it all goes wrong never mind as you'll still be left with a cake at the end of the day.

However if you do make it work then you will have a fantastic cake like the ones above to admire and then share with your friends, family or work colleagues. 

What are you waiting for ? Get in the kitchen and start creating!

Adding Radio Control to a Large Precedent Fairey Huntsman or Perkasa Model Boat

We have recently had a number of requests for advice of what accessories are necessary to convert some of our best-selling model boats into a Radio Controlled models. 

Starting with the classic Precedent Fairey 46.5" Large Huntsman (shown above) and the Precedent K D Perkasa 49" Large Model Boats (shown below) we have put together a rough list to be used as a guideline, although there are lots of variations and choices available.

First of all you will need the excellent:
Carson Reflex Stick Pro 2.4GHZ 2 Channel Transmitter RC System which is an ideal radio for classic two stick control with the benefit of interference free 2.4Ghz operation. A Carson (Acoms) Servo is included in the box.

With this we suggest you use:
Viper Marine Forward & Reverse Speed Controller 25Amp which is a Brushed Speed Control designed specifically for use in RC boats. This Speed Controller has a 25Amp motor limit, which means you can use any DC Brushed motor as long as the current drawn by that motor does not exceed 25Amps under load (with the prop connected, under water).

Other required products include:  

Lead Acid Battery 12V 7Ah - BAT12V7
Electric Motor 12V 10.8Ah - EM850
M4 Fine Line Stainless Prop Shaft 325mm - 4342
Universal Coupling Joint - UCJ
Coupling 4mm threaded for PSU2 Prop Shaft - UCF/M4
Coupling 6mm for Motors & Gearboxes - UCF/6
Large Rudder 67mm Blade Depth - RAU4
Graupner 2 Blade Racing Propellers - G2303/42

Thats basically what you'll need for turning your prized showpiece into an amazing remote control model !

Monday, 17 June 2013

THE NORFOLK AIRSHOW - You Will NOT Want To Miss this!!!

In addition to jaw-dropping air displays, this years Old Buckenham Airshow 2013 is set to provide yet another fun-packed show.
The show is on the 22nd & 23rd June. gates open at 10am. Admission from £5 per person on foot or £15 for a car of four people.

  • WWII Warbirds including the Spitfire, Mustang, and Stearman
  • Pleasure Flights
  • Stunning Aerobatics
  • Classic Cars & Bikes
  • Military Vehicles
  • Agricultural Vehicles
  • 1940s Hangar Dance
  • Live Bands
  • Trade Stands
  • Beer Festival
  • Funfair
  • Remote Control Displays

 - It's all happening this weekend!

This years highlights will also include:

Wildcat Aerobatics -  It'll come as no surprise that the first booking was Old Buckenham's resident Aerobatic Display Team

Jet Provost - XM479 is believed to be the only display flying Jet Provost TMk3 A still in original RAF training colours in the UK. The Jet Provost was the worlds first all jet training aircraft, and was operated by the RAF for over 30 years. The display is tailored to show off the shape and the classic 1950s jet noise.

G-Force Aerobatics - Chris Burkett flying the Extra 300S. An amazing display of precision aerobatics

RV8tors - Flying their remarkably fast, fully aerobatic aircraft with powerful smoke systems, the RV8tors perform a thrilling and unforgettable display.

Lauren Richardson - Lauren is a 25 year-old Pitts Special aerobatic pilot and Britain's top female aerobatic pilot. Stylish, action-packed lines contrast against fast and graceful sweeping figures as Lauren shows off this beautiful red and white biplane in all its modern barnstorming and extreme aerobatic glory.

Old Flying Machine Company - The Old Flying Machine Company is arguably the best warbird display company in the UK and its Spitfire and Mustang Duo of MH434 and Ferocious Frankie must surely be the most famous single aircraft on earth. The stars of countless movies and TV programmes, these two legends are of major historical significance, yet they will be taken to their limits in a thrilling display, accompanied by the soundtrack of their mighty engines.

Brendan O'Brien - Brendan will be familiar from his TV series and numerous appearances as one of aviation’s leading exponents. Renowned as one of the most talented pilots every to display, Brendan will combine his extraordinary Flying Circus with an attempt at the shortest ever truck top landing. If successful we will be applying for this record to be recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, adding to over 200 FAI World Records Brendan already holds.

Matt Summers - Matt's airshow debut was at Old Buckenham 2012 in his Vans RV7. His flawless display was the talk of the aviation community immediately afterward, none of whom could believe that a "rookie" could wow the crowds as seasoned pros can. Matt's back for more, so make sure you see this inevitable air display legend at the beginning of his career.

John Sully - John Sully's Taylor Titch is a Formula One Racer, designed in 1964 to an RAeC competition specification using the Continental C 90 aero engine. The display consists of fast fly-pasts, zoom climbs, wing overs, Cuban eights and rolling manoeuvres. Owing to the small size of the aircraft the speed appears much higher than expected and gives a sparkling performance.

Adrian Willis - Adrian is a highly experienced aerobatic pilot and one of the UK's leading aerobatic instructors, teaching the next generation of aviators their trade. Not only is Adrian displaying at the show, but you can also book a trial lesson with him over the airshow weekend to experience the thrills of aerobatic flying first hand with a master of the art.


1940's hangar dance on Saturday night. Tickets available here
Expect to see a whole new military encampment with living history displays and demonstrations.
Live bands will be playing in the Blister hangar throughout the weekend.
The funfair is far larger in 2013, and centrally located for easy access.
Last year there was over 500 classic cars to see and it's expected there will be even more this year.
It's hoped that the great collection of classic tractors and agricultural machinery will be joined by many more also.
Pleasure flights will be offered throughout Saturday, as well as trial lessons and flights in the famous WWII Stearman Biplane.

Further details can be obtained on Twitter or Facebook to get all the latest news, as it happens.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Model of the HMS Norfolk in World Record Attempt

Ships have been big headline stories just lately since Henry VIIIs flagship the Marie Rose was restored and is being displayed alongside a stunning new museum in Portsmouth. Now a Norfolk man hopes to cause a few ripples in the News headlines with his own creation and making a world record attempt

It has taken almost a decade to build, and cost him the best part of £7000, but Graham Davis is hoping its all worthwhile when he tries to set a World Record with his lovingly crafted 9ft long model ship.
Graham, 66, has been building model ships for almost 30 years, but later this month he hopes to sail into the record books with his latest creation.

His model of HMS Norfolk, a Duke Class Frigate, weighs in at 110lbs, is roughly 9ft 3ins long and has a maximum speed of 10mph.
Graham Davis is planning to sail the HMS Norfolk from Waveney River Centre  down to Boaters Hill Quay at Beccles Suffolk and back for a period of 24 hours from midday on Friday June 21st until midday on Saturday 22nd June. He estimates that, all going well, he would see his ship travel 144 miles and land him an independent world record.

Mr Davies said he suspected the speed during his record-breaking attempt would likely be 6mph, due to ''traffic on the river and the weather'' Mr Davies, who is originally from Surrey but moved to Norfolk 40 years ago, will be attempting the feat with fellow model boat enthusiasts Peter Dorsett, David Houseago, Richard Thurston, Richard Flatt and David Tedstone.

Graham says he attributes a lot of his success to his wife, Mary, who even helped free up some room in the garage where he works on his model ships. He said: ''I must say if it was not for my lovely wife I would not have had the room to do this. She kindly asked if I would like her to remove her brand new car from the garage - I said "yes, please!"

Mr Davies and Mr Dorsett attempted the record 22 years ago, when on that occasion, they equalled the record but were denied the chance to beat it because both engines on their boat blew up.
This year, with the help of sponsors Waveney River Centre, Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club, Stanton Training Services and Multicell Battery Specialists, they have higher hopes.

The team will be fundraising for Help for Heroes, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and Magpas Helimedix.
Read more and make donations by visiting

Saturday, 8 June 2013

D-DAY LANDINGS- Biggest Invasion in History - 69 Years Ago

D-Day was a turning point in World War II. On 6 June 1944, thousands of Allied troops forced their way into France after arriving by sea. Operation Neptune was the codename for the Normandy Landings, which were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, in Operation Overlord, during World War II.

D-Day is a term traditionally used by the Armed Forces for when an operation, such as an attack begins. The ‘D’ just stands for day - the day before D-Day was known as "D-1", and the day after D-Day was "D+1". Prior to June 1944, there would have been lots of D-Days. Now it is generally just used to refer to the allied attack in Normandy on 6th June 1944 and the start of Operation Overlord

The landings were conducted in two phases:  an airborne assault landing of 24,000 British, American and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France starting at 6:30 am. Surprise was achieved thanks to inclement weather and a comprehensive deception plan implemented in the months before the landings, Operation Bodyguard, to distract German attention from the possibility of landings in Normandy. A key success was to convince Adolf Hitler that the landings would actually occur to the north at the Pas-de-Calais. There were also decoy operations taking place simultaneously with the landings under the code names Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable to distract the German forces from the real landing area.

The RAF's Order of Battle included 55 squadrons of Spitfire fighters, plus two squadrons of Spitfires and four of Seafires engaged in air spotting duties and a further four air sea rescue squadrons which had some Spitfires.

This incredible photograph shows the D-Day landings of Omaha Beach.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

WARTIME WEEKEND 1940's Hangar Dance, and Airfield & Museum Open Day

The P-51D Mustang is considered by many to be the best fighter aircraft of WWII. It incorporated advanced features such as a laminar flow wing and an efficient radiator design. Powered by the Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650 engine, it demonstrated superior performance and is widely considered to be the definitive variant of the Mustang. They were used to escort bombers such as B-17s and B-24s all the way to Germany and helped the Allies gain air superiority over Europe.

 At the OUR LITTLE FRIENDS' 1940's WARTIME WEEKEND annual event at Hardwick Warbirds, Airfield Farm Topcroft, Norfolk, NR35 2BG. on Sat 20th and Sun 21st July 2013, you will be able to see charismatic planes such as the AT6-D Texan, P51-D Mustang, Auster Mk.V, and PT-13D Stearman. Come along and take a closer look at the planes and talk to the Hardwick Warbirds team

On Saturday 20th July there is a 1940's Hangar Dance with the Jonathan Wyatt Big Band. 1940's dress is optional and encouraged. Set to the back drop of P-51 mustangs and the other warbirds, there is a Bar on site, and you can bring your own Picnic (no glass please). 
Gates open at 7:30 until 11:30. Tickets £12 each. Under 12's free. 
For details on tickets call tel: 01379 870004 or email

The event is to raise money for Local Charities including Breast Cancer. 

On Sunday 15th is the Hardwick Warbirds and 93rd Bomb Group Museum Open Days.
Free admission 11am-4pm.

While you're waiting for the Wartime Weekend with 1940's Hangar Dance, and Airfield & Museum Open Day Sat 20th July & Sun 21st July, why not make yourself a model of the P51-D Mustang Plane.

Hobbies sells model kits of this famous aircraft which Tamiya has reproduced with utmost accuracy in a 1:32 scale based on actual design drawings of the aircraft as well as thorough study of actual examples. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

BUY IT NOW!!! Father's Day Gifts that Dad would buy for himself !!

Sunday, June 16th
This year instead of socks and a tie for the old man, why not buy him something he'd buy himself ?

We know Dad will love one of our New Model Display Kits, such as the Pegasus Nautilus 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea 1:144 Scale Model Kit of  the Submarine tangled in the tentacles of a giant Squid will bring a big smile to his face and give hours of modelling pleasure.

If  Dad enjoys Buses or Trams, take a look at the extensive range of Occre Model Kits which feature precision laser cut wood and quality metal parts to produce an accurate and visually stunning model.

Best Sellers include the Dennis B Type London Double Decker Bus and the London LCC 106 Double Decker Tram 

Does he fancy himself as a bit of a Pilot ? We can totally recommend the NEW Twister Quadcopter, Radio Control 2.4GHz Aircraft, which is huge fun for both beginners and experts alike, and allows for some crazy stunts and comes with LED lights for those night flights!! This product has been tested extensively in the Hobbies sales office. For quality control purposes of course!!!