HE’S a stickler for detail who could easily match the best crafters around.
Vic Lawrence has been creating jaw-droppingly intricate matchstick models for the past 18 years.
It has become a serious hobby for the father-of-six since moving to Portsmouth from Luton four years ago.
His wife Valerie passed away four months ago aged 74 and creating the models has been a source of solace for him.
The 77-year-old’s delicate pieces of work include Al Capone’s Mercedes Benz, HMS Marmion, windmills and a miniature model of Stevenson’s Rocket.
But he decided to part with some of his cherished models to make space in his home and exhibit his work at the Marmion Tavern in Marmion Road, Southsea.
Locals have been so impressed with his work that they’ve given most of them a new home.
Mr Lawrence, of Haslemere Road, Southsea, says he makes the models using matchsticks, a Stanley knife and PVA glue.
He said a grandfather clock takes around three days to make and he mainly creates the models in the evenings.
‘I’ve got about six left now. I had nowhere to store them and it was a fantastic show – it went down well,’ he added.
‘Everyone was quite impressed with them and it makes me proud when I see the reaction from people.
‘I had about 20 pieces on show altogether.
‘There were two ships around 2ft long and eight inches high, a windmill that is around eight inches high, and Al Capone’s Mercedes Benz.
‘They started off as little models. I go out and take photos and then come home and do my own designs of them.
‘I am equally proud of all my designs knowing the work that has gone into them.’
Mr Lawrence, who is also a dab hand at painting, says his passion for making matchstick models grew when his wife was wheelchair-bound.
‘I started to take them seriously to pass the time away since my wife was in a wheelchair and couldn’t get out much,’ said Mr Lawrence.
‘It gets lonely here in the flat. It gives me something to do in the evenings.
‘I’m now making models for friends and neighbours who helped me through the bad times when my wife died.
‘They comforted me and this is thanking them for the hugs and best wishes they gave me. It’s hard saying thank you to everyone. If anyone wants something special, I am obliged to do it.
‘Moving from Luton to Portsmouth was the best move I ever made.’
He also thanked his daughters Susan Martin, Linda Durbin, Freeda Morgan and Gail Lawrence, and sons Darren and Victor Lawrence for their support.