Requests for more work of this kind came in and fibreglass became the material of choice, due to the convenience of being able to make multiple copies of parts from a single mould. This was ideal when several versions of a particular prop were required for stunt work etc. Production in fibreglass was much quicker than making bespoke items individually from wood. Hand-crafted parts were therefore only produced for mock-ups, prototypes and pattern making.
As the demand for items modelled in fibreglass increased, it became necessary for Shawcraft to purchase a second factory. This unit was set up in late ‘58/’59 at 69 Rockingham Road, Uxbridge. It would later be the birthplace of the Daleks.
From quite early on, Shawcraft were also producing scale models of various motor cars, commissioned by the Ford Motor Company for their showrooms as display pieces. It is known that Ford had 14 such models on display at their museum in Dagenham and at least two have turned up at the Museum Of British Road Transport in Coventry.
Scale Ford Consul - one of many 8th scale models built for the
Ford Motor Company.
Click to enlarge.
These 8th scale models were the responsibility of employees Lez Ward, Stan Wilkins, Ron Waldron and John Stears. Lez made the majority of the Ford car modes, one of which, a 22” by 7.5”, Ford Corsair 2 door 2000E recently came to light when it was sold privately on eBay for over £3,000.
Models constructed by Shawcraft (and full size replicas) appeared in more than 25 films made by such studios as J Arthur Rank, British Lion, Hammer Films, Ealing Studios and Shepperton. They ranged from aircraft with 3-inch wingspans to the 67ft wingspan of the Vickers Vimy mentioned earlier. There was also a 40ft model of the Titanic – one of many nautical models made by the company – made for the film A Night To Remember.
Over the years, model work was done for films such as: Above Us the Waves, Angels One Five, The Malta Story, The Purple Plain, The Net, Quatermass II, Check Point, Reach for the Sky, The Battle of the River Plate, Sea Fury, Hornblower & the Atropos, Campbell's Kingdom, The Sleeping Prince, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Abominable Snowman, Ill Met by Moonlight, Yangtse Incident, Sink the Bismark, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Castaways, Superman II, The Guns of Navarone, The Bedford Incident and Cromwell.
Architectural models also featured among Shawcraft's production including factory layouts for Nuclear Engineering (Langley airfield), Johnson & Johnson (Slough trading estate) and housing development models for the Uxbridge Town Council.
Many of the Shawcraft exhibition models were photographed in monochrome by the local Richings Park photographer, Freddie Standewick who lived and worked in a local studio flat opposite the bakery in Bathurst Walk. His pictures of the Company's models were often used by such magazines as Flight and The Aeroplane. Other photographs of the larger special effects, such as the 40ft Titanic model and a 32ft Graf Spee battleship, were taken and published by The Middlesex Advertiser & Gazette.
The location of the workshops, on the edge of a prosperous estate, led to many approaches from the public, ranging from pleas to repair lawn mowers and rotivators to requests to build prototypes of various inventions.
Jock Cockburn, the inventor of the Rotosythe lawn mower, was a regular for whom Shawcraft built the prototype Ski-Cat, a device for training water-skiers. That was followed by a prototype hovercraft trialed on the gravel pits near West Drayton. Other approaches for help included one from the local Brownie pack, who required an urgent GRP repair to their Toadstool. The work was duly carried out to their satisfaction!