There have been many models crafted of the Success but I want to focus on a few that I think are of particular significance, both in terms of the craftsmanship used to construct them and for the unique history surrounding the creation of the models themselves.
Of the models I wish to highlight, two are located in Australia and one in the U.S. Let's starts with what I will call the "Croker Model." This is a museum quality model crafted by a well-known and respected South Australia modeler, the late Herbert Croker. It is a finely crafted piece of work and a clear reflection not only of Croker's skill as a modeler but also his meticulous research of his subject. I believe it is currently located at the South Australia Maritime Museum as part of the Herbert Croker Collection of models there, but I have not been able to verify this.
In describing the construction process in an article he wrote about his work (printed in Issue 118 of the Radio Officers Club (ROC) News), Croker said the model "was designed from pictures and records collected by the author during years of research and it was built entirely from raw materials." In keeping with the original construction, Croker used teakwood for the planking of the hull, the elaborately carved stern. The rails and decks were done in cedar-wood in order to give it an age-worn appearance. All the ironwork, trusses, bands, anchors and chains were fabricated in either brass or copper. Croker crafted every link of chain by hand. Croker noted that, "The rigging is authentic in every detail and all is workable, including the steering tackle." His meticulous craftsmanship is evident in the photo above.
The next model can be found to the east, in the state of Victoria, at the Williamstown Historical Society Museum (WHSM) at Williamstown, near the grand city of Melbourne, Australia. This is fitting because the Williamstown prison hulks, of which the Success was the most famous, figure so prominently in local history there. The hulks were moored in Hobson's Bay north of the Point Gellibrand lighthouse (later call Timeball Tower) and traces of the bluestone quarry where the prisoner were brought ashore each day to cut stone can still be seen today. You can read more about when the Success was a prison hulk on my website.
This history of this model (or what is known of it) is most interesting. In 1980 a member of the historical society happened to be on holiday in California, vising the San Diego Maritime Museum (SDMM). To his utter amazement, there in the museum office, lying on a bench, was a large model of the Ship Success. Here is how she appeared then:
I'll tell you about some more interesting Success ship models in my next blog.